Business and taxes
I want to set up my own business. What should I do?
Wow! There is so much to talk about. We feel strongly that you should seek advice from a qualified, Chartered Accountant as early as possible in the process. You may do this by taking advantage of Lotuswise’s free initial consultation (worth £250+VAT) at which you will learn how to keep books and records, use software, market your business, which taxes you may need to pay, whether to incorporate or to operate as a sole trader. You will also pick up a number of tips on how to succeed in business.
Do I have to set up a limited company to start selling?
No. There are a number of different options available including being a sole trader (self-employed), working through a limited company or forming a partnership. We will be able to explain the pros and cons of each allowing you to decide which would be most suitable for you.
What are the benefits of having a limited company?
A Limited Company benefits from being regarded totally separately from those who own it, called its shareholders. The liability of the shareholders is limited to the initial capital they introduce so their personal assets can be protected in most cases (although not all). Shareholders can work as employees in their Limited Companies or choose not to. Employees will need to be paid a salary and normally the Company will need to run a payroll and be registered for PAYE. Shareholders can be paid a dividend, although a number of rules apply as to how this can be done.
Do I need to become VAT registered?
A business needs to register if it has or is likely to exceed the annual VAT threshold set by the Government. In some cases, it may be advisable to register a business for VAT on a voluntary basis. We would be pleased to advise on this and also the various schemes available and their benefits.
Location and hours
Where in Eastcote are you situated?
We are at Lotuswise Suite, 258 Field End Road, Eastcote, Middx HA4 9UU. Our office is opposite and slightly left from the Station with visitor parking available.
We are 2 minutes from the platform at Eastcote which is served by Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines. These connect us with Central London and the City of London including Baker Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Aldgate as well as Ruislip, Ickenham, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Pinner, Northwood, Rickmansworth, Watford and Wembley in North-West London, Amersham and Chesham in Buckinghamshire and Ealing, Sudbury and Acton in West London. Harrow-on-the Hill is two stops away and connects us with the Chiltern Line going to Marylebone.
Which buses are you served by?
We are served by bus routes 282 (Ealing Hospital, Hanwell, Greenford, Northolt, Northwood, Mount Vernon Hospital) and 398 (Ruislip, Rayners Lane, Wood End).
I’m waiting outside Eastcote station what do I do now?
Join us for a coffee!
Directions from the Station: Cross at the Lights, turn left and walk 20 yards. We are in Ferrari House on your right.
Is there parking available at your site?
Yes, we normally have visitors’ parking available behind our building.
If I am not in the country and would like to contact you, how am I able to do so?
Phone, Skype, WhatsApp, Text, Social Media Messaging, in short anything other than pigeon!
Are Lotuswise available at weekends or evenings?
We are normally available for evening meetings in weekdays and weekends by prior appointment.
When were you established?
Lotuswise Financial Management Limited was established in 2007.
What kind of clients do you have?
In short, over 35 years. Rajeev Sharma, Managing Director, graduated in 1983 and after training as an Auditor with Deloitte, pursued a career in Commerce in Finance Director and Controller roles. His experience encompassed domestic and international groups and professional services, technology, telecoms, IT and consumer electronics sectors. He brings sound financial judgement, knowledge of good practice and productive technology to Lotuswise’s small business clients. We are also proud to have a complement of experienced Qualified and part-qualified Accountants and Apprentices. An authorised ICAEW training firm, our staff are trained to the highest standards and are members of distinguished professional bodies like the ICAEW, ACCA, AAT.
Why should I choose Lotuswise over other companies?
It is not our policy to comment on the work of other professionally regulated Chartered firms. We aim to provide an excellent service and also endeavour to provide great value. As Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants, we use our extensive commercial experience to add value in business areas other than compliance alone. We love to work with people who love their businesses!
I currently have another accountant. Will it be easy for me to transition to you?
It is fairly easy to change Accountants. There are some professional protocols which we adhere to as ICAEW Chartered Accountants which seek to protect all parties. We always aim to make the transition as seamless as possible.
How quickly can we change accountants?
This depends on how quickly the professional protocols can be completed – we have often completed this exercise within a week.
What type of facilities could you offer for a small business?
We have a really comprehensive set of facilities available. See our services page for details.
What is the difference between your website and your mobile phone app?
Our app provides a convenient interface specifically designed for mobile devices (IOS and Android) and a different experience to browsing our website. It features the following services:
- Push notifications allowing convenient, up-to-date communications from Lotuswise
- Information about Lotuswise and using our services
- Tax calculators (14 types)
- Mileage Tracker
- Tax tables
- Tax key dates and Tax tips
- News and Blog
- Easy login to QuickBooks, Receipt Bank
Free initial consultation
How long do meetings generally last?
Our initial consultation meetings normally last approximately one hour.
If I have a meeting, what do I need to bring?
Not very much. Something to take notes with as you will learn a lot! Bringing any Companies House and HMRC correspondence is useful if you have questions.
Do I need to bring all my documents with me for the free initial consultation meeting?
No. We give you a list of documents we need if you engage with us. Bringing relevant documents with you to the initial meeting can however save valuable time and often helps with the answers to questions you may have.
How long after the initial consultation meeting do I get a quotation?
We aim to get this done within 2-3 days of the meeting.
What exact information do you need from me to prepare a quotation?
- Nature of the business
- Number of Directors, Shareholders, employees etc.
- Average number of sales, purchase and bank transactions
- Any areas of accounting or tax complexity
- Services required (VAT, payroll, book-keeping, software apps, reporting, advice, registered office, company maintenance)
- Current state of accounting records and how much information is available electronically
Do you provide any guarantees for your work?
We aim to provide an excellent service and also endeavour to provide great value. In the unlikely event that a client is dissatisfied, we will act quickly to rectify any shortcomings or issues.
Can you meet with us?
In some cases, we are able to meet you if you cannot get to the office. This is dependent of course on distances but we always try to be helpful. Skype is often a good alternative.
Working with Lotuswise
How many times can I call Lotuswise for advice every month?
Great question. There is no set limit, subject to a fair usage policy. If a client needs to get advice many times a month, on an ongoing basis, we recommend they move to our Platinum package which then includes a Part-time Finance Director service. A number of clients have taken advantage of this facility.
What kind of support can I expect from Lotuswise?
We can tailor our support to your needs. For some clients, we have become a fully outsourced accounting function or “the Accounts Department”. For others there is a collaboration where they perform some functions and we perform others.
How much money will you save my business?
We believe we save money in a number of ways. We offer great value book-keeping services which allow regular reporting for decision-making and freeing up the owners or Directors to run the business. We also provide time and labour-saving technology like cloud accounting with bank feeds and document capture apps which reduce keying in of information considerably. We also use legal tax planning measures when available to reduce your tax burden. The savings normally pay for our fees and much more!
How much time will you save my business?
We can supply time-saving cloud and document capture apps and take over your book-keeping resulting in very significant time-saving. These apps also allow you to raise estimates, invoices and get information for collection of debts and payment of suppliers amongst other things.
Do you charge hourly?
Almost all of our services are provided on a fixed fee basis, giving you the benefit of no surprise invoices and the total budgetary convenience of known costs. Our tax fee protection service covers you for our additional fees in the case of an HMRC investigation into your (or your Company’s) tax affairs. Most of our packages include this at no cost but if your package does not, then it is available for a small add-on fee. In some limited cases we will quote a fee per hour. This is rare and only when it is difficult to estimate the work required.
Can you give us a rough quote?
Our website includes a number of packages designed to give you an idea of what fees we may charge, based on certain criteria. The exact fee quote will be based on a number of business variables including, turnover, activity or number of transactions in a typical month, whether the client wishes to do their own book-keeping, whether there is payroll, vat and the level of reporting and advisory services they need.
Do you provide a best price discount (price match)?
We aim to provide great value when compared with other professional Chartered Accountants. There are other firms or individuals who call themselves Accountants but may not be Qualified Accountants and may not be regulated by a reputable accountancy body like the ICAEW. It is not our policy to compete with such organisations or individuals as we strongly believe we offer a totally differentiated service and experience in comparison.
Can I obtain a quotation immediately?
You can get an idea of what our service will cost from the Packages page. For a full quote, we will need to get details (see above).
How does the fee payment process work?
Clients are liable for fees under annual contracts. Fees are paid on a monthly basis by direct debit.
Should I do my bookkeeping myself?
We leave this decision to you. If you wish to do your own book-keeping, we provide initial training so that you are able to do what is required. Most of our clients however prefer us to take this on as it frees them up to get on with what they do best: run their business.
My business is a start-up. I am nervous to go and see a Chartered Accountant because our numbers are low and their fees will be high.
We were all start-ups once. Lotuswise have a unique perspective when it comes to start-ups. We want to help these businesses at the start when they need an experienced Accountant most and arguably can afford them the least. Because we recognise this, we offer special “low-start” discounted packages protecting your cash at the start when it is really short in supply. We are open and honest and will tell you if we feel you are making mistakes.
Why do you use QuickBooks?
Simply put, QuickBooks Online is one of the best Cloud Accounting products in the market place. Some years ago, Lotuswise decided that we would put Cloud Accounting at the heart of our service offerings as it offered state of the art technology to businesses in a very cost-efficient way. We researched the market and found QuickBooks offered the best all-round functionality and value. The ability for Client and Accountant to fully collaborate on the Cloud was a real game changer for the industry. Backed by Intuit, a multi-billion $ turnover Software Company, we are proud to be a QuickBooks Platinum Partner. All our staff have advanced Quickbooks accreditations.
How quickly can we move to online accounting?
This depends on how much data has to be transferred. We would formulate a plan with the client and implement accordingly. In simple cases, there is no reason why a move could not be completed in a handful of days.
Are you able to complete consistent book-keeping analysis to provide me with monthly figures with budgeting and variances?
Absolutely. We are very happy to tailor our services in accordance with the clients’ needs.
What is Receipt Bank?
Receipt Bank is an app which allows details on Purchase Invoices and Receipts to be “captured” without keying in the information. The data is then available to be automatically “published” to QuickBooks (or certain other Cloud Accounting apps) and is available for matching with a payment also automatically imported by QuickBooks from the Business Bank Account. When accessing reports in QuickBooks which include the transaction, the user may “drill-down” to the transaction and find a pdf copy of the original document attached to the transaction for convenient viewing. Other apps also exist which provide similar technology and integrate with QuickBooks. These include AutoEntry and Datamolino.
What is Xero?
Xero is a Cloud Accounting App which has been very popular in recent years. Lotuswise are Xero accredited and happy to work with clients using this app.
Professional Body and Status
Why did you choose to register with ICAEW over other accountancy bodies?
ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 147,000 chartered accountants worldwide. They provide qualifications and professional development, share knowledge, insights and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession. Please see the video on the partners page of our website (link). Other accountancy bodies (ACCA, CIMA etc.) also have high professional standards and we have members of those bodies amongst our staff.
What are your qualifications? What professional certifications do you have?
As an authorised ICAEW training firm, our staff are trained to the highest standards and are either Qualified Accountants or student members of reputable professional bodies like the ICAEW, ACCA, AAT.