The first thoughts may turn to marketing, socials and a website. However, a good financial accounting system foundation is essential. It is just as important as having a business plan or strategy.
Making tax digital coming in April 2026 is a great opportunity to start your bookkeeping set-up. With this in mind, plus planning ahead for self-assessment tax bills.
Learning to Understand your financials can help you know what is or is not working for you and the company. One day, when you are ready to sell the business, your knowledge of the business will be of great benefit.
Whether an online business or not. You need to figure out at some stage if you want to do the bookkeeping, have an in-house bookkeeper or outsource to a bookkeeping service as the business grows. Whichever route you take, it has to be the right one for you as the business owner. Having a professional bookkeeper will free up your time if you no longer wish to do the accounts. If someone outsources the cleaning, no one bats an eyelid, so your accounts are no different.
I am looking forward to outsourcing the fish tank cleaning as it can be time-consuming, especially the monthly filter cleaning. Plus, they will know the best set-up when I change from gravel to sand, etc.
Here are some tips
Registering with HMRC
Register with HMRC as self-employed by the 5th of October in your first year of business and have a turnover of £1000 or more. Check with HMRC for the details of setting up as a Sole Trader.
Business Bank account
The business needs its own bank account. This is important to the business and you as:
A) Keeps the business finances away from personal finances as it is its own entity.
B) If you have a bookkeeper or accountant that charges by transactions. Having your business finances run out of your personal bank account will cost more; they can see all your purchases. There are some things you don’t want others to see. Buying for Christmas or birthdays could give the game away.
There are many cloud accounting services available. If you are not starting with a bookkeeper or Accountant who can advise you on what they recommend or use, do some trials and see what is a good fit for you and your business.
With Cloud accounting, you can have your bank statements, bills and expenses in one place without hunting for this receipt or that statement. It will all be under one digital roof.
A receipt captcha is an excellent tool because as soon as you make a business purchase in a shop, for example, snap the receipt in the mobile accounts package app, and it is there ready to be matched up to the bank statement.
One tip is to have an envelope or wallet that keeps the receipts crinkle-free. This is important, especially if you do not take a photo immediately, as it can affect the readability of the receipt. I know many people crumple them up and put them in their pockets. Then, they have problems reading the tiny print on the receipt.
I keep a zip-up wallet, as I keep my receipts, so it makes easy storage for that accounting year. The same goes for bills. I fully get we are going into a digital way of life, but the old habits can be hard to let go of. I was brought up being told to always keep a paper trail just in case.
Alert, I know this has not only happened to me.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned with computers is to make sure you back everything into the Cloud. I know some people will back up onto a memory stick, but I worry if it gets corrupted, all will be lost, and only leaving everything on a computer can truly spell disaster, as I have recently had to happen to me.
Luckily the only bits saved to my computer were pictures I had made up and downloaded. Some were in the Cloud but had some on the PC itself, and the PC went white-screened and was unresponsive, so it had to be sent to the computer hospital for repairs, where it was totally wiped clean.
Take it at your own pace, research, ask questions and seek help when you need it. Please do not think you are alone, as being a sole trader/entrepreneur can be lonely, but there is help in groups and memberships of like-minded people. They do not have to be in the same trade as you. I was alone for a long time and discovered such groups and a business mentor. These have made a huge difference in my personal and professional life.
Do the research for business bank accounts, and if you go down the route of cloud accounting, use the free trials to test-run which one is the best fit for you and your business. If you find it a struggle, taking a step back and breathing, putting on some music and dancing, changing the scenery, and taking a walk can make a huge difference.
Have faith in you. You really can do this.
A tip I learned this week was how to get cooking oil off the outside of a glass bottle. It was with hand sanitiser, and I seriously thought this was a nuts idea, but hot, soapy water was not working. It totally blew my mind as it had worked. It was the alcohol content that just melted the oil away.
This is my very first blog post. I hope it was helpful, and I look forward to doing some more with tips and not just on bookkeeping.
If you are curious to find out if I can help, book a call and let’s have a chat