Arts Trail Entries

Well, the closing date for entries for the first Worcestershire Arts Trail was today and what a response! I know there are a few still winging their way through the post (thanks to articles in the local papers last week) but here’s the stack I worked my way through today:

it’s going to be a great event, and I’m so excited about helping to start something new like this. Roll on May!

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Tax Returns for Super Small Creative Businesses [part two]

Personally I’m not a fan of calculators, I get easily distracted and never arrive at the same figure twice when I add things up ‘by hand’. I realise that I might not be inspiring confidence in my ability to give Tax Return advice but I can, I’m pretty sure, do Excel.

And I recommend that you do to.

The name spooks a fair few people.

Excel *shudder*

However –  large companies use it for a reason – it makes life easier and more accurate. Most people are scared of it because it is, here and there, a foreign language –  but a quick Google can find you a starter guide like this one – which will give you a basic grounding in it.

With that you can build a fairly simple sheet to help you add up and manage your incoming and outgoing costs. I’ve made up a blank version of the sheet I use for you to have a play about with – download it here:

For Windows 7 – with instructions included:

Account Spreadsheet April 5 to April 6 WINDOWS 7

For Windows Vista and below – no instructions on sheet, see images below instead

Account Spreadsheet April 5 to April 6 Windows Vista and below


and see what you make of it. It should provide you with profit and loss figures for your business that’ll be vital for getting that pesky Tax Return done by the end of the month.

Tax Returns for Super Small Creative Businesses [part one]

It’s that time of year again … January 31st is fast approaching and all your filing is still in a couple of old carrier bags at the back of your workshop – isn’t it?

Mine was until Tuesday too, so there’s no shame in admiting it.

Filing. Eeek. Despite my protestations there’s a teeny, tiny, dusty part  of my soul that likes to see things in order. It rejoices when the filing is done and everything is neat and tidy. It’s the reason that all my paperwork is chronological and that I always have a receipt book:

I know, I don’t get out much.

Still, last year I got totally caught out by the Self-Assessment Tax deadline. It was my fault, I believed Moira Stewart when she said, in her confident News Reader voice, that ‘it’s quick and easy to file your Tax Return online’.

And to an extent it is.

What no one mentions is that registering for the privilege of using the ‘easy online service’ can, at busy times, take well over a week. The busiest time for HRMC is the last week of January. It’s the week when everyone registers in a panic on the 28th and frantically watches the Postman each morning until one of those little brown Inland Revenue envelopes arrives ….

Anyway … Getting everything in order for filing your return can be pretty scary – especially if you’ve never done such a thing before (and can’t afford an Accountant).

So, here are a few ideas to get you started:

1.       Keep everything. Obvious yet vital.

2.       Get organised early. Find a day to spread your paperwork out on the floor, kitchen table or anywhere else you can get a clear idea of just what you have.

3.       Love chronology. Order your receipts, bank statements, invoices etc. monthly – and then within that by date and/or supplier.

4.       Feel no guilt. Stupidly small things, like that one gold jump ring you had to pop back and buy (which only cost 72p … ) are still business expenses. You spent your hard earned cash on them to further your business – so count them.

5.      Double check things. Sometimes I loose a recipt but will have a stub to say I paid it in my cheque book – or a transaction record on my bank statement. These things need counting too – so long as you can prove what they were!

6.       Archive it – buy a couple of cheap ring binders, some dividers and preserve that order you just created from chaos.

Once you’ve done all that have a cup of tea, maybe some cake – then we’ll talk about Excel.