Access to Work

Bookkeeping and Accounts – For the disabled entrepreneur, tax does not have to be taxing

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When you start up in business you are required by law to keep some form of accountant, in order for the tax office to calculate tax on your profits.

Many disabled people wishing to start up in business are concerned about, how they will be able to do this as they have had no experience in doing so. Some disabled entrepreneurs have concerns about the cost involved in hiring a bookkeeper or an accountant to submit there records to the tax authorities.

In this article I will use the term bookkeeper as the majority of small businesses may only need an accountant for a small part of there record keeping responsibilities. Accountants have gone through more training than bookkeepers and are able to handle more complex issues. If your small business does not need the skills of an accountant, then there is no point in paying top dollar to use one. 

Other concerns people have, is how they will be able to cope physically doing their tax records if they have a disability which limits the work they can do.

In my experience these fears are often blown out of proportion as people feel they need to be an expert in maths to be able to keep records. This is simply not true. For someone setting up a small business, record keeping is a fairly simple process which should not incur much attention from a bookkeeper or accountant.

I would advise anyone who is thinking of starting up a small business and has concerns about record keeping to first visit the tax office and ask them what is required. Many local tax offices has staff whos job it is to help small business submit their tax records and some even run courses. If you think about it, all the Government wants, is for you to pay the correct tax you owe.

When you visit them, explain your concerns and any issues you may have. From my experience they have been very helpful with people who have disabilities and may already understand the concerns you have.

They could help you set up a system which will suit both parties and keep you on the right side of the law. They may be elements of keeping and completing records that you don’t feel comfortable with. For these more taxing (sorry) elements, you could always get a bookkeeper to do them.

As I was saying, keeping records for tax purposes is fairly straight forward and  inexpensive, if you are prepared to do some of the work yourself. If all you want to do, is once a year turn up to your bookkeeper, dump a sack full of receipts on his table and run off, then yes it is going to cost you.

You can reduce this costs by keeping your records in order, which will mean less work for the bookkeeper. I would recommend that you get yourself some envelopes and files, and at the very least keep all the receipts/ invoices in order, on a month to month basis.

Talk to a few bookkeepers, tell them you are on a budget and you want do the majority of work yourself. Work with them and the tax office and find a system that is right for you.

There is also support available from Access to Work. If you have a disability which restricts the bookkeeping work you can carry out, you may be entitled to equipment or a support worker to enable you to operate your business effectively. They will not pay for someone to do your accounts, but will help easy issues which are directly related to your disability.

If your local tax office does not offer courses, try your local enterprise centres or the council. From time to time these organisations run courses for all abilities.

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