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Post Info TOPIC: Some questions about self-employment


Newbie

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Some questions about self-employment


Hello,

I am currently living in the North-East of Scotland and am close to finishing an IAB Level 2 Certificate in Manual Bookkeeping. I have been looking into the possibility of self-employment after I complete the course, though there are some things I am still unsure of and would be grateful of any advice.

1. I am aware of having to sign up for AML and have heard mention of AMLCC; is their service mandatory or does it simply make it easier to comply with AML?

2. Do I have to register with the ICO?

These two questions may be more subjective so I understand if there isn't one definitive answer;

3. Would sole traders and smaller clients expect me to know how to use software such as Sage or Quickbooks?

4. Would clients expect their Bookkeeper to know how to do Payroll? I haven't currently done a Payroll course but was considering the IAB Course next.

Thank you in advance for your help.



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Ross


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GrampianRoss wrote:

Hello,

I am currently living in the North-East of Scotland and am close to finishing an IAB Level 2 Certificate in Manual Bookkeeping. I have been looking into the possibility of self-employment after I complete the course, though there are some things I am still unsure of and would be grateful of any advice.

1. I am aware of having to sign up for AML and have heard mention of AMLCC; is their service mandatory or does it simply make it easier to comply with AML?

Its a business offering a service. not a part of the legislation.

2. Do I have to register with the ICO?

You need to check https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/self-assessment/

These two questions may be more subjective so I understand if there isn't one definitive answer;

3. Would sole traders and smaller clients expect me to know how to use software such as Sage or Quickbooks?

4. Would clients expect their Bookkeeper to know how to do Payroll? I haven't currently done a Payroll course but was considering the IAB Course next.

3 & 4... Well... Clients basically expect bookkeepers to be cheap accountants. You are expected to know everything, keep abreast of everything, and very often they will grumble about needing to employ you as you are seen to them as an overhead rather than a necessity for keeping their business ruinning.

Every client is however different. Whatever software you learn they will probably want somthing else. The saftest knowledge base for bookkeepers is Sage. But consider that as a start not end point as over time you will add many more bits of kit to that.

Sometimes you use your software but more often than not you will be using theirs.

Thank you in advance for your help.


Don't forget that you need PII insurance in place.

You say that you are in North East Scotland. Do you have enough clients around you that do not already have representation to make a living at this?

Don't get tricked into working for less than minimum wage. If a job will take 8 hours make sure the client pays for 78 and doesn't demand you do 8 hours work in 2 because they don't understand what you do.

Good luck with the business,

All the best,

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



Master Book-keeper

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Hi Ross
To add to what Shaun has said, these questions have all been asked loads of times on here, but from differing viewpoints on the professional bodies, so have a wander round the site.

If you gain a licence from IAB, you will get access to amlcc for free, if for some reason you go with HMRC then it's as Shaun states.

My question would be how are you going to get real world experience. Exams are one thing but they really do not prepare you for the things clients throw at you. Clients expect you to have a wealth of knowledge on all tax, so get as much knowledge in this area as you can, but beware a little knowledge can be dangerous and do make sure your PII covers you before you prefer such advice, take on a particular client. Armed is forwarned so to speak.

Most clients want you to use software these days, most software companies provide such for free. Don't be pscriptive, it reduces your client market.

Have a look at the sticky threads under each of the various sectional headings on the forum, there is a ton of useful info there as well.

Plus maybe trawl through some of the questions posed and see if you can answer them easily, or at the very least know where to look to research them because you will need to remember that a large % of your time will be spent researching how to do/why/what regulation and this is not restricted to your early days.

Other than that, at this stage, the best advice I can give is never EVER take advice from HMRC, their guidance is just that 'guidance', often doesn't reflect the law, which is why so many tribunals occur. So start with their guidance, but always check the related law, eg VAT act, etc.





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Joanne

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position (and by that I dont mean with HMRC)



Veteran Member

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Hi Ross,
Just to add, that if you do go into practice you will need to be aware of GDPR, information on staying compliant is also on the ICO web-site. If you are thinking of applying to be a Member in Practice with the IAB, they will ask for a recent DBS check. (They will also ask for a copy of the client checklist, the risk assessment procedures for your bookkeeping practice, and the letter of engagement for clients - there are templates on the IAB web-site that will help with all of these).

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.



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Lorraine



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First of all, thank you all for your replies. On the subject of how I would procure clients I had planned on a mix of advertising (local newspaper and Facebook), asking friends and family to recommend me to anyone they know that is looking for a bookkeeper, and also attending seminars at my local Business Gateway as I have been informed by a number of people that these are great places to meet other people who have either just started a business or are looking to start a business, many of whom will/may be looking for a Bookkeeper. In fact the Business Gateway actually has seminars specifically on networking. Oh, and I also plan on using a Member get Member system whereby if one of my clients recommends my services to a friend and that person also signs up for my services then they would both get a discount.

Also I forgot to mention that I am currently working part-time in a manual labour job, and am living with my parents so I wouldn't require the bookkeeping to support me financially right off the bat.

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Ross


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Sounds good, Ross, and well thought out. Payroll, that you mentioned before is a good standalone. There is a lot of advice on this forum for different accounting and payroll software, as well as links to free training, and you will be able to build up your skillset, your kit and the list of services for your practice. I think it does help to be able to offer clients different services, but training is also going to help you if you decide that you would prefer to be employed in a finance role.

Once you decide to announce your plans at work, you never know, one or two of them may also need (or know someone who needs) a bookkeeper. I was once offered work when I was a taxi fare, it just led from the conversation.

All the best



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Lorraine



Master Book-keeper

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Welcome to the forum Ross, lots of good advice you've got there. Feel free to join in where you can.

Best wishes with your future career.



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John

Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.

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