Bookkeeping Services

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What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the process of recording and tracking financial transactions for a business. This includes recording income and expenses, tracking assets and liabilities, and preparing financial statements.

It is a crucial part of accounting that helps businesses keep accurate and organised financial records, make informed financial decisions, comply with tax regulations, and assess the business’s financial health.

Bookkeepers typically use accounting software or spreadsheets to record and categorise these transactions, ensuring the financial records are accurate and up-to-date.

What types of bookkeeping services are available?

There are various types of bookkeeping services available, including:

  1. Basic bookkeeping includes recording income and expenses, monitoring bank accounts, and preparing monthly bank reconciliations.
  2. Full-service bookkeeping includes all the services provided in basic bookkeeping and additional services like payroll processing, accounts receivable and payable management, and financial reporting.
  3. Tax preparation: This entails preparing tax returns for both businesses and individuals.

What does Bookkeeping include?

  1. Data Entry: Accurately record financial transactions, including sales, purchases, receipts, and payments.
  2. Bank Reconciliation: Ensure that your bank statements match your books, helping avoid discrepancies.
  3. Suppliers and Trade Creditors: Handle all your supplier invoices, ensuring they are paid on time and helping you to avoid late payment fees.
  4. Customers and Trade Debtors: Manage invoicing, ensuring that your customers pay on time and helping you avoid disputes.
  5. Management Accounts: Accurate financial statements, including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow forecasts. These statements will give you a clear picture of your business’s financial health.
  6. VAT Returns: Ensuring that your financial information is accurate and up-to-date.
  7. Payroll Processing: Ensuring that your employees are paid on time and that you comply with all payroll regulations.

Our bookkeeping services are designed to be flexible, so we can tailor our services to meet your specific needs. Whether you need full-service bookkeeping or just a few specific services, we are here to help. Our bookkeepers are trained and experienced and work closely with our accountants, so you can rest assured that your financial information is safe.

Why is bookkeeping important?

Bookkeeping for businesses is significant, regardless of their size, as it enables them to:

  1. Track their financial performance: Bookkeeping allows businesses to maintain accurate records of their income and expenses. This information is essential for assessing profitability, identifying trends, and making informed financial decisions.
  2. Make informed financial decisions: With up-to-date financial records, businesses can analyse their financial health and make strategic decisions based on solid data. It helps in budgeting, cost control, and planning for growth or expansion.
  3. Complying with tax laws: Accurate bookkeeping ensures a business complies with UK tax regulations. It allows for proper calculation and submission of tax returns, reducing the risk of penalties or HMRC enquiries.
  4. Obtain financing: Lenders and investors often require businesses to provide accounts and records when seeking loans or investments. Well-maintained bookkeeping records demonstrate a business’s financial stability and creditworthiness, making it easier to secure financing.
  5. Prepare for the future: Bookkeeping provides insights into a business’s financial strengths and weaknesses, enabling proactive planning for future challenges and opportunities. It aids in setting realistic financial goals and strategies for long-term success.

Bookkeeping is a fundamental aspect of financial management for businesses, playing a crucial role in their success, compliance, and ability to make informed decisions in an ever-changing economic environment.

Benefits of Outsourcing Bookkeeping

There are many benefits to outsourcing bookkeeping to a professional bookkeeping service, including:

  1. Time and Cost Savings: Outsourcing bookkeeping can save both time and money for businesses. It frees up valuable time for business owners to focus on core activities while eliminating the need to hire and manage in-house bookkeeping staff, reducing personnel costs.
  2. Improved Accuracy: Well-trained professional bookkeepers stay updated on the latest accounting standards and regulations. This expertise leads to more accurate financial record-keeping, reducing the risk of errors and financial discrepancies.
  3. Peace of Mind: Knowing that your bookkeeping is in the hands of skilled professionals provides peace of mind. It allows business owners to have confidence in the accuracy and compliance of their financial records while they concentrate on running their business.
  4. Avoid Costly Mistakes: Accurate financial records are essential for tax compliance. Outsourced bookkeeping services can help businesses stay on top of tax obligations, avoid costly mistakes, and maximize eligible deductions.
  5. Informed Decision-Making: Reliable financial records produced by professional bookkeepers offer valuable insights into a business’s financial health. This data assists business owners in making well-informed decisions regarding budgeting, investments, and growth strategies.
  6. Access to Expertise: Outsourcing bookkeeping provides access to a team of experts with extensive experience in the field. This expertise can save businesses time and money by efficiently managing bookkeeping tasks.
  7. Focus on Core Business Functions: By delegating bookkeeping responsibilities, businesses can concentrate on their core competencies, such as product development, customer service, and business growth, without being burdened by time-consuming administrative tasks.
  8. Timely and Accurate Reporting: Professional bookkeeping services use up-to-date software and technology to ensure accurate record-keeping and timely financial reporting. This allows businesses to have access to crucial financial data when needed.
  9. Reduced Risk of Errors: Leveraging the latest bookkeeping software and technology reduces the likelihood of errors in financial records. Accurate bookkeeping is essential for the long-term financial health of a business.

Outsourcing bookkeeping to professional bookkeeping services offers numerous advantages, including cost savings, improved accuracy, peace of mind, and better-informed decision-making, ultimately contributing to the success and efficiency of businesses.

What is Cloud-based bookkeeping?

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Cloud-based bookkeeping solutions are becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes. These solutions enable businesses to manage their financial records in the cloud, providing easy access to data from anywhere with an internet connection. Here are some benefits of using cloud-based bookkeeping solutions:

  1. Cloud-based bookkeeping software allows businesses to manage their financial records in the cloud. The software is user-friendly and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
  2. Easy access to data: Cloud-based bookkeeping solutions allow businesses to access their financial records from anywhere, anytime. Business owners and accountants can easily access and manage financial data from their office, home, or even while travelling.
  3. Increased efficiency: Cloud-based bookkeeping solutions streamline financial record keeping and make tracking expenses, invoices, and payments more manageable. With the automation of manual tasks, businesses can save time and reduce the risk of human error.
  4. Automated bookkeeping: eliminates the need for manual data entry, saving businesses time and reducing the risk of errors.
  5. Real-time financial data allows businesses to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently.
  6. Real-time collaboration: Cloud-based bookkeeping solutions allow business owners and accountants to work together on real-time financial records. This helps in identifying discrepancies or issues that require immediate attention.
  7. Customisable reports: allowing businesses to analyse their financial data in a way that suits their needs.
  8. Scalability: Cloud-based bookkeeping solutions are highly scalable and can adapt to the changing needs of businesses. As businesses grow, they can easily add more users or upgrade their features to meet their needs.
  9. Secure storage: ensures that all financial data is stored securely in the cloud, protecting businesses from data loss or theft.

Our cloud-based bookkeeping solutions provide businesses with a cost-effective and efficient way to manage their financial records.

Selecting the Right Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

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Choosing the right bookkeeping service for your business is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your financial management and overall success. Here’s how to make an informed choice:

  1. Define Your Needs: Start by clearly defining your specific bookkeeping needs. Consider factors like the size of your business, the complexity of your financial transactions, and any industry-specific requirements.
  2. Credentials and Expertise: Look for bookkeeping services with qualified professionals with relevant qualifications and experience. Check if they are members of recognised accounting or bookkeeping bodies.
  3. Industry Specialisation: Some bookkeepers specialise in particular industries or sectors. Choose a service that understands the unique financial aspects of your industry, as this can be highly beneficial.
  4. Technology and Software: Inquire about the bookkeeping software and the service’s technology. Ensure it aligns with your preferences and needs for real-time reporting and data accessibility.
  5. References and Reviews: Request references or read online reviews from other businesses using the service. This can provide valuable insights into the service’s reliability and quality.
  6. Service Offerings: Determine the range of services offered by the bookkeeping service. Some may provide additional services like tax preparation, payroll processing, or financial reporting, which could be advantageous.
  7. Cost and Transparency: Understand the pricing structure and fee arrangements. Ensure there are no hidden costs, and the service provides transparent billing practices that align with your budget.
  8. Data Security: Ask about the measures to protect your financial data and ensure compliance with data protection regulations, including the GDPR.
  9. Communication: Effective communication is essential. Choose a service that is responsive and accessible when you have questions or need assistance.
  10. Scalability: Consider whether the bookkeeping service can adapt to your business’s growth. Ensure they can handle increased volumes of transactions and provide support as your business expands.
  11. Contracts and Terms: Review the terms of the contract carefully. Understand the duration of the agreement, cancellation policies, and any clauses related to confidentiality.
  12. Location: Decide whether you prefer a local bookkeeping service for face-to-face interactions or are comfortable with remote services that provide flexibility.
  13. Trial Period: Some bookkeeping services offer trial periods. Use this opportunity to assess their performance and suitability for your business.
  14. Fit: Trust your instincts. Choose a bookkeeping service you feel comfortable and confident in establishing a long-term working relationship with.

In conclusion, selecting the right bookkeeping service is critical in managing your business finances effectively. Take your time to research and evaluate potential options, keeping your unique business needs and objectives in mind. Making an informed decision can lead to improved financial management and greater success for your business.

Resources for learning more about Bookkeeping

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Here is a list of resources to learn more about bookkeeping:

  1. GOV.UK – Business Finance and Support: The UK government’s official website offers a wealth of information on financial management for businesses, including bookkeeping basics, tax guidance, and downloadable resources: GOV.UK Business Finance and Support
  2. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB): ICB is a professional body in the UK that offers resources, courses, and qualifications for bookkeepers. Their website provides valuable insights into bookkeeping practices: The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)
  3. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC): The HMRC website offers guidance on tax-related matters for businesses, which is closely linked to bookkeeping. Business owners can find information on tax returns and record-keeping: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  4. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA): CIMA offers resources, articles, and webinars that cover various aspects of financial management, including bookkeeping. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  5. Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT): AAT provides qualifications and resources for accounting and bookkeeping professionals. Their website includes articles, guides, and information on training: Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  6. Small Business Forums: Online forums like UK Business Forums or The Small Business Forum often discuss bookkeeping and financial management. Business owners can seek advice and share experiences with peers:
  7. Online Courses and Tutorials: Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning offer various online courses on bookkeeping. These courses often include video tutorials and downloadable resources:
  8. Books: Numerous books cover bookkeeping, including “Bookkeeping For Dummies” by Jane E. Kelly and “Bookkeeping and Accounting All-in-One For Dummies” by Jane E. Kelly and Paul Barrow.
  9. Local Business Support Organisations: Local business support groups, chambers of commerce, and business advisory services may offer workshops, seminars, or networking events that include bookkeeping topics.
  10. Accounting Software Providers: If you use accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks, or Sage, their websites often provide comprehensive resources, tutorials, and guides specific to their software, which can be valuable for learning bookkeeping.

Remember that learning bookkeeping can be a gradual process, and it’s essential to start with the basics and gradually build your knowledge. Additionally, seeking advice from a professional bookkeeper or accountant can be beneficial for specific questions or complex financial situations.

Case Studies

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Illustrating how businesses have benefited from using our bookkeeping services:

Case Study 1: Small Content Creator Business

Challenge: A Content Creator in London was overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations of his business. He found it challenging to keep up with his bookkeeping tasks, which included recording sales, tracking VAT, and managing expenses. As a result, his financial records were disorganised, and he was unsure about his business’s financial health.

Solution: The business owner outsourced his bookkeeping to our professional bookkeeping service. We assessed his needs and implemented a system to track income and expenses efficiently. We also reconciled his bank accounts regularly to ensure accuracy.


  • The business owner saved several hours each week, allowing him to focus on content and partnerships.
  • The accuracy of his financial records improved significantly, reducing errors and potential tax problems.
  • With clear financial insights, the business owner could make informed decisions about equipment and props.

Case Study 2: Medium-Sized Marketing Agency

Challenge: A medium-sized Marketing Agency in Manchester was experiencing cash flow issues. They often struggled to pay their suppliers on time, which strained relationships, and they occasionally faced challenges meeting payroll deadlines.

Solution: The consultancy partnered with our professional bookkeeping service, which has expertise in managing business cash flow. The service implemented rigorous supplier payments and customer receipts systems, closely monitored outstanding invoices, and helped streamline expense tracking.


  • The business improved its cash flow management, ensuring prompt customer collections and timely payments to staff.
  • Late fees and penalties were significantly reduced, leading to cost savings.
  • The agency was better positioned to plan for future expansion and investment opportunities, as they had a clearer picture of their financial stability.

These case studies demonstrate how businesses can benefit from outsourcing their bookkeeping needs. By leveraging professional expertise, they save time, reduce errors, and gain valuable insights into their financial health, enabling better decision-making and improved overall business performance.

Tips for keeping accurate financial records

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Keeping accurate financial records is essential for the success and compliance of any business. Here are some tips to help you maintain accurate financial records for your business:

  1. Use Accounting Software: Invest in accounting software that is suitable for your business size and needs. Software like Xero, QuickBooks, or Sage can streamline record-keeping and reduce manual errors.
  2. Set Up a Chart of Accounts: Create a well-structured chart of accounts specific to your business. Properly categorize income, expenses, assets, and liabilities to ensure consistency in recording transactions.
  3. Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate: Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business to avoid mixing personal and business transactions, which can complicate record-keeping.
  4. Record Transactions Promptly: Enter financial transactions into your accounting system as soon as possible after they occur to prevent forgetting or misplacing receipts and invoices.
  5. Reconcile Bank Statements: Regularly reconcile your bank and credit card statements with your accounting records to identify and correct discrepancies promptly.
  6. Keep All Supporting Documentation: Organise and retain all financial documents, such as receipts, invoices, bills, and contracts, in an easily accessible filing system. Digital copies are also acceptable for tax and auditing purposes.
  7. Track Business Mileage: If you use a vehicle for business purposes, maintain a mileage log to record trips accurately. HMRC has specific guidelines for claiming mileage expenses.
  8. Monitor Accounts Receivable and Payable: Keep track of outstanding customer invoices (accounts receivable) and unpaid bills (accounts payable) to ensure timely payments and avoid cash flow issues.
  9. Regularly Reconcile and Audit: Conduct regular internal audits of your financial records to catch errors and discrepancies. Reconcile accounts monthly or quarterly to ensure accuracy.
  10. Back Up Your Data: Regularly back up your accounting data to prevent data loss due to technical issues or data corruption.
  11. Seek Professional Advice: Consult with a qualified accountant or bookkeeper to set up your accounting system correctly and receive guidance on complex financial matters.
  12. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with changes in tax laws, accounting regulations, and industry-specific financial practices that may affect your business.
  13. Budget and Forecast: Create a budget and financial forecasts to help you plan for future expenses and revenue, ensuring that your financial records align with your business goals.
  14. Use Technology Wisely: Leverage technology to automate repetitive tasks and reduce the risk of manual errors. Explore tools like receipt scanning apps to digitize and categorize paper receipts.
  15. Train Your Team: If you have employees involved in financial record-keeping, provide them with proper training and guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  16. Regularly Review Financial Reports: Periodically review financial reports, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets, to gain insights into your business’s financial health.
  17. Hire a Professional: If managing financial records becomes overwhelming or time-consuming, consider outsourcing bookkeeping or accounting services to experts who can maintain accuracy and compliance.

By implementing these tips and maintaining disciplined financial record-keeping practices, you can ensure the accuracy of your financial records, make informed decisions, and meet your financial obligations as a business.

Common bookkeeping mistakes to avoid

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Avoiding bookkeeping mistakes is crucial for your business’s financial health and compliance. Here are some common bookkeeping mistakes to watch out for and prevent:

  1. Ignoring Receipts and Invoices: Failing to keep and record receipts and invoices can lead to inaccuracies in your financial records. Keep a systematic record of all financial documents.
  2. Mixing Business and Personal Finances: Combining personal and business finances can complicate bookkeeping and create confusion. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business.
  3. Inconsistent Categorisation: Inaccurate or inconsistent categorisation of income or expenses can lead to misreporting. Create a clear and consistent chart of accounts for categorising income and expenses.
  4. Failure to Reconcile Bank Statements: Not reconciling your bank and credit card statements with your financial records can result in overlooked errors or discrepancies.
  5. Ignoring Petty Cash: Neglecting to track and reconcile petty cash transactions can lead to missing expenses and inaccurate financial reports.
  6. Late or Incomplete Record-Keeping: Delaying the entry of financial transactions or leaving transactions incomplete can result in errors and omissions in your records.
  7. Not Backing Up Data: Failing to back up your accounting data regularly can lead to data loss in case of technical issues or data corruption.
  8. Overlooking VAT: If your business is registered for VAT, failing to account for and remit VAT correctly can lead to compliance issues and penalties.
  9. Not Reconciling Accounts Receivable and Payable: Neglecting to reconcile outstanding customer invoices (accounts receivable) and unpaid bills (accounts payable) can affect cash flow and create confusion.
  10. Incorrect Payroll Calculations: Errors in payroll calculations can lead to employee dissatisfaction and legal issues. Ensure accurate payroll processing, including taxes and deductions.
  11. Forgetting Mileage Records: If you claim mileage expenses for business travel, not keeping a mileage log can result in incorrect expense claims.
  12. Lack of Documentation: Insufficient documentation for transactions, such as missing invoices or purchase orders, can raise questions during audits.
  13. Failing to Plan for Taxes: Not setting aside funds for taxes or not correctly estimating tax liabilities can result in financial strain when tax payments are due.
  14. Using Outdated Software: Using outdated or unsupported accounting software can lead to compatibility issues and a lack of access to essential features and updates.
  15. Ignoring Financial Reports: Neglecting to regularly review financial reports, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets, can result in missed opportunities to identify financial trends and issues.
  16. Incomplete Record of Fixed Assets: Failing to maintain an accurate record of fixed assets and depreciation can affect the accuracy of your balance sheet.
  17. Not Seeking Professional Help: Attempting to handle complex financial matters without professional guidance can lead to costly mistakes. Consult with qualified accountants or bookkeepers as needed.
  18. Disorganised Filing: Poor organisation of financial documents and records can lead to difficulty finding necessary information.

By being vigilant and avoiding these common bookkeeping mistakes, you can maintain accurate financial records, ensure compliance with UK tax regulations, and make informed financial decisions for your business.

Glossary of bookkeeping terms

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Here is a glossary of bookkeeping terms:

  1. Accounts Payable (AP): The money a business owes to its suppliers or creditors for goods or services received but not yet paid for.
  2. Accounts Receivable (AR): The amount of money owed to a business by its customers for goods or services provided on credit.
  3. Balance Sheet: A financial statement that shows a business’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time, providing an overview of its financial position.
  4. Bank Reconciliation: The process of comparing a company’s bank statement with its own records to ensure that the recorded transactions match the bank’s records.
  5. Book Value: The value of an asset as recorded on the company’s books, often different from its market value.
  6. Capital Expenditure (CapEx): Money spent on acquiring or improving a long-term asset, such as machinery or property, that benefits the business over an extended period.
  7. Cash Flow Statement: A financial statement that tracks the flow of cash into and out of a business over a specific period, showing how cash is generated and used.
  8. Chart of Accounts: A structured list of all accounts used by a business to classify and record financial transactions.
  9. Credit Note: A document issued to a customer when goods are returned or when there is a reduction in the amount owed for a transaction.
  10. Debit Note: A document issued to a supplier when goods are returned or when there is an increase in the amount owed for a transaction.
  11. Depreciation: The gradual reduction in the value of a fixed asset over time to reflect wear and tear or obsolescence.
  12. Double-Entry Bookkeeping: A system of bookkeeping in which every financial transaction has equal and opposite effects on at least two accounts, ensuring that the accounting equation (assets = liabilities + equity) remains in balance.
  13. General Ledger: A complete record of all financial transactions of a business, organised into accounts and used to prepare financial statements.
  14. Income Statement (Profit and Loss Statement): A financial statement that summarises a business’s revenues, expenses, and profits (or losses) over a specific period.
  15. Journal Entry: The recording of a financial transaction in a journal or ledger, typically including date, accounts affected, and the transaction amount.
  16. Trial Balance: A report that lists all the account balances in the general ledger to ensure that debits equal credits, helping to identify errors or discrepancies.
  17. Value Added Tax (VAT): A consumption tax levied on the value added to goods and services at each stage of production or distribution, collected by registered businesses and paid to tax authorities.
  18. Working Capital: The difference between a company’s current assets and current liabilities, representing its short-term liquidity and operational capacity.
  19. Accrual Basis Accounting: A method of accounting in which revenue and expenses are recorded when they are earned or incurred, regardless of when cash is exchanged.
  20. Cash Basis Accounting: A method of accounting in which revenue and expenses are recorded when cash is received or paid, typically used by small businesses.

This glossary provides definitions for standard bookkeeping terms and can be a helpful reference for business owners and bookkeepers.

Bookkeeping Quotes

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“Don’t ever let your business get ahead of the financial side of your business. Accounting, accounting, accounting. Know your numbers.” — Tilman J. Fertitta

“I am writing to apply for the position of bookkeeper. Attached, you will find my list of qualifications. I have been keeping books for four years now, and I am never going to give them back.” — Joey Comeau

“One could argue that double-entry bookkeeping was one of history’s great advances.” — Charlie Munger

“Few have heard of Fra Luca Pacioli, the inventor of double-entry bookkeeping; but he has probably had much more influence on human life than has Dante or Michelangelo.” — Herbert J. Muller

“Markets are as old as the crossroads. But capitalism, as we know it, is only a few hundred years old, enabled by cooperative arrangements and technologies, such as the joint-stock ownership company, shared liability insurance, double-entry bookkeeping.” — Howard Rheingold

Get in touch

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Accurate and timely bookkeeping is crucial for the success of any business. Mercian Accountants provides reliable and efficient bookkeeping services to businesses of all sizes. Our team of qualified and experienced bookkeepers ensures that your financial records are kept up-to-date and accurate, giving you the peace of mind to focus on running your business.

We offer competitive pricing for our bookkeeping services, and our flexible payment plans can be tailored to fit your business needs and budget. Don’t let bookkeeping become a burden for your business; contact Mercian Accountants today to learn more about how we can help with your bookkeeping needs.