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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page. We will be adding to this page frequently so please come back and view it regularly. If the answer to your question is not here, then you can contact us via our 'Contact Page'.

Why do I need an accountant?
Should I (or my company) be VAT Registered?
Do I need a National Insurance number? If so, when should I get it, and how?
What is a UTR?
What is an Annual Return?
The surgery for which I work wants me to go on PAYE. What do I do?
What should I send, when you do my accounts?
What expenses can I claim for?

Why do I need an accountant?
There is more to preparing a set of accounts than simple arithmetic. Accountants are experts at knowing what your income comprises and what expenses you can, or can't claim for. They will almost certainly know of expenses that you would not think of. They are also experts in the completion of tax returns - not an easy task under self-assessment, although it may seem so on the surface. We find, also, that those who do their own accounts and tax returns are more likely to receive an HMRC enquiry into their affairs, as HMRC are aware that they are unrepresented and therefore liable to make errors. They are also less able to fight their case

Should I (or my company) be VAT Registered?
VAT registration should only be considered in the case of longer term work - preferably a year, but 6 months minimum. It can be very beneficial, as you can 'earn' money from the VAT department. This benefit is greater with a limited company than with self-employment.

Do I need a National Insurance number? If so, when should I get it, and how?
In all cases, yes, a National Insurance number should be obtained as soon as possible. This is especially the case if limited company VAT Registration is to be considered. You arrange an appointment with your local Jobcentre Plus and go along with your passport to fill in the application form.

What is a UTR?
A 'UTR' - short for Unique Tax Reference - is a personal, 10-numeral tax reference which, when issued, is yours for life, just as your NI number. It is issued to self-employed individuals and directors of companies, and anyone else whose tax affairs are such that they have to submit annual tax returns. It is normally issued shortly after self-employed registration or the issue of other appropriate forms.

What is an Annual Return?
This is an official document for limited companies and not for self-employed individuals. It is a Companies House obligation, not an HMRC one. It is a simple document telling Companies House of any changes in the structure of the company and that it is still 'active'. It has to be submitted with a £15 filing fee on or around each anniversary date of the incorporation of your company. Notification should come from Companies House shortly before the due date and this should be sent on to us. Although simple, it is of crucial importance, as failure to submit it can lead to the 'strike-off' of your company and loss of all money in your company bank account.

The surgery for which I work wants me to go on PAYE. What do I do?
First of all, without being facetious - assert yourself! (the initial meeting with me will prepare you for this). Remember that you are a locum professional offering your considerable skills, you are not grovelling for a "job". If this fails, contact me, or suggest that the practice vet does. Also, a written contract (we can supply you with one of these) may be of interest to the practice.

What should I send, when you do my accounts?
Normally we try to complete limited company accounts to each anniversary date, and self-employed accounts at any time between 5th April to mid January. This may vary, if the business ceases. All documentation should cover the whole period up to, and including the period end date and should comprise:

  1. All fee invoices.
  2. All expenses receipts, categorised and in date order,
  3. Cash Book - if used.
  4. Bank Statements for all accounts in the company's name (if limited Company),
  5. Company cheque book and paying in book (if limited Company)
  6. Bank Statements of your personal account, if agreeable (so that we can cross-refer the flow of monies between any limited company accounts and your own)
  7. Details of any Credit Card charges / interest
  8. Any other information you believe may be useful.
  9. And for your personal tax return (using the 5th April tax year basis):
  10. Any savings interest from deposit accounts,
  11. Pension Premiums paid, etc.
  12. Details of any Pay As You Earn (PAYE) employment you may have had.

What expenses can I claim for?


  • Travelling Expenses (possibly including air fares)
  • Subsistence Expenses
  • Hotel Expenses
  • Motor Expenses
  • Car Hire
  • Tools and Instruments
  • Hire of Tools
  • Protective Clothing
  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Repairs
  • Fixed Assets (e.g. Computer, Camera, etc.)
  • Business Loan Interest
  • Hire Purchase Interest
  • Bank Interest and Bank Charges
  • Visa Card etc. Charges
  • Business Insurance
  • Professional Fees and Subscriptions
  • Accountancy Fees
  • Legal Fees
  • Telephone
  • Mobile Telephone
  • Internet Costs
  • Computer Expenditure
  • Printing, Postage and Stationery
  • Books and Journals
  • Photographs
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Advertising
  • Use of Home as Office

Although this list is fairly comprehensive, it isn't exhaustive. If you have an expense that you feel may be allowable, then ask us.