The FreeAgent Blog

FreeAgent: now even Friendlier with Accountants

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Ed Molyneux - Jump to comments

Here at FreeAgent we're delighted to announce the launch of FreeAgent Friendly, our new way of working with UK accountants and their clients.

FreeAgent Friendly

From today, we'll be directly providing our award-winning cloud software to accountancy practices, and increasing investment to extend our world-class support to accountants as well as their clients.

We're proud to be the UK market-leader in cloud accounting and currently support over 34,000 small businesses. Up till now our rapid growth has been primarily driven by strong word-of-mouth recommendation, as well as being a key part of Barclays Bank's MyBusinessWorks package.

With our new FreeAgent Friendly programme we'll provide accountants with both practice and client training, marketing assistance, formal accreditation and exposure to our rapidly-growing base of micro-businesses, which as a market comprises 99% of the 4.8m enterprises in the UK.

Critically, we’ll also offer simple pay-as-you go monthly billing, including free automated Bank Feeds and fully integrated RTI-compliant Payroll.

If you want to find out more about the FreeAgent Friendly programme then contact us at sales@freeagent.com.

Autumn Statement: What the Chancellor didn't say

Posted on 5 December 2012 by Emily Coltman - Jump to comments

We’ve heard what the Chancellor said in today’s Autumn Statement about revising growth forecasts and changes to the pension allowances. But what about the things that he didn’t choose to mention in the House of Commons - and what do these mean for small businesses?

Option for cash accounting

Sole traders and non-LLP partnerships with annual sales of under £77,000 will, as the government suggested in the Budget earlier this year, be able to choose to prepare their accounts on a cash basis from April 2013.

That means that instead of adding up income and costs whether or not you’ve been paid for them, and then paying tax on the resulting profit, you would be able to choose instead to add up what your customers have paid you, and take off what you’ve spent in cash.

There will be no need to worry about adjusting your figures for closing stock, customers who haven’t paid you, bills you haven’t paid, etc.

I think this could make small business accounts much easier to understand and to manage.

Option for flat rate expenses

The Budget also mentioned the option for these small unincorporated businesses to take flat rate allowances for certain expenses, such as subsistence, postage and stationery, and telephone bills, rather than having to spend time calculating the real amounts spent on these costs to go into their accounts.

The Autumn Statement confirmed that this option will be available from April 2013.

Potential simplification of employee benefits and expenses taxation

The Office for Tax Simplification will carry out a review of the taxation of employee benefits and expenses, with a view to making recommendations for how this could be made easier. 

I welcome this wholeheartedly as the current P11D reporting and tax system is vastly over-complicated. Why, for example, is private travel paid for by the employer treated differently for NIC if the employer pays for it directly, than if the employee pays and is reimbursed?! 

Integration of income tax and NICs not ruled out

The government says that it’s currently waiting on progress of other changes and will then look to consult formally on integrating income tax and National Insurance.

I would like to see these integrated as their separation causes a great deal of complication, for example, certain income, such as dividends and bank interest, is subject to income tax but not to National Insurance.

Annual Investment Allowance increase - sting in the tail?

The Chancellor mentioned a temporary increase in the current Annual Investment Allowance level, from £25,000 to £250,000, for 2 years starting on 1st January 2013.

But in the full Treasury report, this is mentioned under “Allowances from corporation tax”. So will this increase only be available to businesses that pay corporation tax - in other words, limited companies, and certain clubs and societies only - and not to sole traders, partnerships or LLPs?

No further steps to tax controlling persons at source

In the Budget the government announced that it would look to tax as employees anyone who provided their services through an intermediary such as a limited company, and acted as a “controlling person” in the client’s business.

The Autumn Statement has said that this will not go ahead, which will be welcome news for many contractors.

However there is also a promise of IR35 being “strengthened”, “to put beyond doubt that it applies to office holders for tax purposes”.

This area remains under review so it’s a case of “watch this space”.

Additional small business funding

A further £72m of follow-on funding has been earmarked for start-up loans. This is a step in the right direction but I would hope to see this being used to expand the start-up loan scheme to open it to those of any age, or perhaps those aged 18 and over. At the moment eligibility stops at the age of 24 which I think is too young a threshold.

 

There are certainly some key points of interest in the Autumn Statement and some in particular that could make small business owners’ lives much simpler when it comes to finance and tax.

FreeAgent powers MyBusinessWorks for Barclays Startups

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Ed Molyneux - Jump to comments

If we at FreeAgent were to coin a motto, it might be "Thinking hard about accounting, so you don't have to" - our aim is for every single freelancer and small business in the UK and beyond to be awesome at managing their finances!

That lofty goal is rapidly getting closer, especially since we're announcing today that FreeAgent is powering the bookkeeping element of the MyBusinessWorks package being offered by Barclays Bank to all its startup business banking customers.

Actually, if you've been in a Barclays branch in the last few weeks you may well have seen the MyBusinessWorks brochures. We’re already helping a large and growing number of Barclays Bank's customers get their finances off on the right foot.

We're really proud to have been selected for that task, especially on top of the partnership with IRIS we cemented last year. Thanks in part to these relationships, our customers have propelled us to being the largest and fastest-growing online accounting provider in the UK.

That's very exciting of course, but in a way it's a by-product of our efforts, and the really good thing is that enables us to invest more and more in refining, improving, simplifying and extending FreeAgent itself.

We're getting to the point where the scale and scope of what we can do - the difference we can make - is growing ever faster. It's a challenging and exciting time to work here at FreeAgent Towers (and yes, we're hiring!).

So stay tuned - we’re just getting started.

Software Satisfaction Awards Win!

Posted on 15 October 2009 by Roan Lavery - Jump to comments

FreeAgent wins Best Newcomer at the Software Satisfaction Awards 2009

We're a bit late catching up with this one, but it's been a hectic week here at FreeAgent.

Last week we attended the Software Satisfaction Awards 2009, held at the Hogwarts-esque Royal Courts of Justice in London. A start-studded (well Robert Llewellyn from Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge was there!) event celebrating the last year of UK Software Industry. Predictably, the main focus was around the "cloud" with online vendors dominating in most categories across the board.

Most of the FreeAgent team were there, suited and booted, as we were lucky enough to be nominated for 2 awards: Best Online Accounting App and Best Newcomer. We came runner-up in the Best Online Accounting App category and won the award for Best Newcomer across all categories!

The night was also a great chance to meet some of our partners (like Javelin) and "competitors", all of whom are thoroughly nice chaps, and there's a surprising amount of camaraderie amongst the small group of online accounting vendors currently trying to shake-up the traditional world of clunky and confusing desktop accounting software.

Thank you to all our users who supported us and voted for us in the awards. We look forward to doing it all again next year.

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