You deserve better: why you need to break up with your spreadsheet ahead of the MTD for VAT start date

image of a broken heart

When you first got together, everything was great. Side by side, you felt like you and your spreadsheet could take on the world. But then the cracks started to show - sure, your spreadsheet was great sometimes, but you couldn’t help feeling that they were actually holding you back…

If you’re harbouring doubts about whether your spreadsheet is up to the job of managing your small business finances maybe it’s time for a reality check. How many of these ring true?

You have needs that it just can’t fulfil

Ok, you can do some basic stuff with spreadsheets, like record money in and out, do sums and maybe generate some graphs and reports if you’ve got the time and the know-how. But you deserve more and they just can’t deliver when things get serious. With Making Tax Digital for VAT set to render most spreadsheets for VAT accounting useless in April, things really are about to get serious – can you afford to go on with your current spreadsheet?

When you rely on a spreadsheet you still have to create and send all of your own invoices, follow up on late payments, run payroll yourself, and more - you’re the one putting in all the effort.

For your small business bookkeeping, you’ll save yourself time, money and stress by letting FreeAgent step up to the plate and actively do the hard admin work for you. Whether it’s sending and chasing invoices, running payroll for you, expense recording, time tracking, building reports, MTD-compatible VAT filing, Self Assessment - FreeAgent really can be there when you need it.

They’re not worth your time

As a business owner, your time is precious and it’s best spent with your other love - doing work that earns you money. Having to laboriously enter data by hand into a spreadsheets is a massive time drain, plus most processes can’t be automated. Dull.

With FreeAgent you can save yourself serious time on a daily basis. So much is done for you automatically: invoice reminders, importing bank transactions from your bank into FreeAgent, automated online payments from your customers, reports on the financial state of your business generated at the click of a button - you get the idea. You can even use FreeAgent integrations such as Dext to gather your paper receipts, scan them and process the data into FreeAgent, with only a few clicks from you. Dreamy.

It’s not just them, it’s you

Yeah, sorry about that. Since you have to do all the hard work inputting data into spreadsheets and you’re human, it’s possible that errors can creep in.

Don’t believe us? Human error in spreadsheets has been responsible for some deal-breaker level mistakes. In 2012, JPMorgan Chase incurred a whopping £6 billion trading loss due to a blunder related to using the wrong formula. Awkward. Organisers for the 2012 London games also famously oversold a swimming event by 10,000 tickets, all due to a single keystroke error which made it appear as if 20,000 tickets were available when the venue could only accommodate half that number.

Mistakes are easy to make but hard to catch - don’t take the risk with spreadsheets when it comes to your small business finances in 2019.

They’re chock full of insecurities

If you’re saving spreadsheets locally on a PC or laptop and your machine stops working, you might be waving bye to the data in them for good. FreeAgent's cloud accounting software is completely web-based - there's nothing to download, update, or install and you can access it at any time, from any device.

Version control is also a constant risk with spreadsheets - how many times have you been pinging a spreadsheet back and forth with your accountant and then accidentally used the wrong version? There's no need to have ‘final-final-v2.xlsx’ with FreeAgent.

When you use FreeAgent, your data is is stored in a nuclear bunker. Literally. It’s not romantic, but it’s certainly secure, meaning you can safely access your accounts at any time and from any device. It uses bank-level security so you can finally kiss goodbye to insecurity worries.

They always cause a drama at tax time

At tax time you need a supportive partner that will pull their weight, not someone who expects you go raking through a plastic bag full of receipts and do all the hard work.

You can count on FreeAgent to have your back and be there to help. Because you’ve been automatically importing your banking data and managing your invoices and expenses regularly, most of your data is already there. FreeAgent uses that data to show you a real-time forecast of how much tax you owe and when it’s due (no shocking revelations at deadline time!). You can also file MTD-compatible VAT and Self Assessment returns directly to HMRC through FreeAgent itself, so your tax return process is as drama-free as it can be.

If 2019 is the year that you finally kick outdated accounting to the kerb, FreeAgent is here to show you true happiness. It’s specifically designed for freelancers and small businesses so you know it’s right for you - give it a try for free today and never look back!

Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.

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