Expenses - and how to record them

Record your expenses, check they're ok to claim, and get them to your bookkeeper

receipts-1372961__340.jpgAs a business you'll want to stay on top of your expenses and make sure you record all your expenses.  Expenses may include bills from suppliers, travel to and from clients, receipts for meals and purchases made for the business.  If you're not sure what you can include in your business expenses, get in touch with your personal bookkeeper at Whitehill, or have a look at the guidance from HMRC if you're a self employed worker.

Keeping a good record of expenses is one of the main ways businesses can claim the right amount of VAT as well as ensuring they pay the right amount of Corporation Tax (or personal tax if you're a sole trader or self employed).  It's one of the first things we recommend; many of our clients have saved hundreds of pounds by improving their capture and recording of expenses.

Here at Whitehill we're always looking to make technology work for you; we've identified 3 easy ways to ensure you get all the receipts, bills and invoices to your bookkeeper, to suit every level of technical interest and experience..

The golden rule for all expense claims is that you can only reclaim for expenses which have been incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the course of running your company.

Here are some of the main business expenses you can set off against Corporation Tax (unless otherwise stated):

  • The costs of supplying the goods or services your business provides
  • Salaries
  • Executive pension contributions (via an approved scheme).
  • Employers’ national insurance contributions (NICs) payable on salaries paid to company employees.
  • The cost of subsistence while away from your workplace (no claims after 24 months for subsistence the same ‘temporary workplace’).
  • Accommodation costs when away from normal place of business (although must not exceed 24 months) at a ‘temporary workplace’).
  • Travel and parking costs, mileage allowance if using own vehicle of 45p/mile for the first 10,000 miles, and 25p/mile thereafter. 20p/mile rate for bicycles.
  • Training course fees as long as the skills are relevant to the business.
  • Stationery, postage, and printing costs.
  • Business insurance, such as professional indemnity insurance, you can claim against your company.
  • Company formation and ongoing costs (e.g. Confirmation Statement), although the company formation fee is a ‘capital cost’, and cannot be set off against Corporation Tax.
  • Telephone and broadband packages (if the contract is in the company name).
  • Mobile and Smartphones (if the contract is in the company name).
  • The cost of business calls can be reclaimed on a residential phone bill.
  • Home office costs (a flat £4/week without receipts is allowed by HMRC, or work out a proportion of the household bills).
  • Computer equipment and software.
  • Costs of advertising and marketing your business.
  • Business gifts up to £50 per individual are allowable before more complex rules apply.
  • Incidental overnight expenses of £5/night (£10/night if overseas) can be claimed as a flat rate if you are working away from home.
  • Authorised bank charges, e.g. standing charges each quarter.
  • Christmas party exemption for directors and employees of £150 per person per year (you can include your partner or spouse).
  • Professional fees, such as accountant or solicitor.
  • A limited number of professional subscriptions, if allowed by HMRC.
  • Capital allowances (depreciation of assets).
  • Business magazines and books.
  • An eye test for employees who use computer equipment.
  • An annual private health check for employees.
  • Hire purchase agreements (in the company name).
  • Company car expenses (benefit in kind charge for private use).

Here's 3 easy ways to get your expense receipts, invoices and bills to your bookkeeper, making sure you don't miss any!


Use your smartphone app

If you have a smartphone and one of the popular Cloud Accounting packages such as Quickbooks or Xero, you can install and use the smartphone app (provided free of charge) to record your expense and attach a photo within a few minutes.  This is ideal for entering small receipts for shop-bought items, meals and similar receipts.  Once you've recorded the expense you can forget about saving the paperwork - it's stored in your accounts. For Quickbooks Online, click on the "+" and select Expense.  enter the amount and photograph the receipt.  Enter what type of expense it is and store it - you're done! 

Problems?  If you're a client, contact your personal bookkeeper at Whitehill who will be able to help.


Forward by email

If you have a receipt or invoice sent to you by email, you can simply send that on to an email address where it will be processed and added to your accounts.  For example, when you get your setup from Whitehill, we'll include an email address for sendig invoices to.  If you receive an invoice from a supplier as a PDF, PNG or JPG attachment, forward it to your expense email address and we'll process it, making the entry into your accounts within a few days. 

If you don't already have your expense email account and you're a Whitehill client, contact your personal bookkeper who will be able to provide this.


Post or drop in

If you'd prefer to post or drop in your paperwork, that's absolutely fine!  Just post it to our main office in Royal Wootton Bassett, or drop in to us at either our Abingdon office or at Wootton Bassett.  Our "contact us" page has the full address, postcode and a map of how to find us.