Frequently Asked Questions

At Kirkwood Wilson, we’re keen to provide transparency and information whenever and wherever possible. Read the answers to our frequently asked questions to find out about accountancy, bookkeeping, cloud accounting and much more.

What is a chartered accountant?

A chartered accountant is a professional who has completed a rigorous training and qualification process in accounting and financial management. They’re typically responsible for providing financial business advice, auditing financial records, preparing financial statements, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Chartered accountants often work in public accounting firms, private companies, or government organisations.

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Bookkeeping is recording financial transactions, while accounting involves analysing and interpreting financial data for decision-making. Bookkeeping is the foundation for accounting.

How long to keep accounting records

The duration for which you should keep accounting records varies depending on the jurisdiction and specific regulations. In general, it is recommended to retain financial and accounting records for a minimum of 5 to 7 years. This includes documents such as invoices, receipts, bank statements, tax filings, financial statements, and other supporting documentation. However, certain records with long-term significance, such as incorporation documents, property records, or major contracts, may need to be kept indefinitely. It is essential to consult with local governance or seek advice from a professional accountant or legal expert to determine the specific retention periods applicable to your situation.

What is the best accounting software for a small business?

When selecting accounting software for your small business, consider popular options such as Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage. Assess your specific requirements, budget, and desired features to make an informed choice that aligns with your business needs.

What is cloud accounting?

Cloud accounting refers to the practice of using accounting software and storing financial data on remote servers, commonly known as the cloud, instead of on local computers or servers. With cloud accounting, users can access their financial information and perform accounting tasks online through a web browser or mobile application. This allows for real-time collaboration, data backup and security, and accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud accounting software often offers features such as invoicing, expense tracking, bank reconciliation, financial reporting, and integration with other business tools. It provides businesses with convenience, flexibility, and scalability, as well as the ability to streamline accounting processes and reduce reliance on physical infrastructure.

What is digital accounting?

Digital accounting involves using technology and software to perform accounting tasks, manage financial data, and streamline financial processes. It replaces manual methods with electronic alternatives, providing efficiency, accuracy, and automation in financial workflows. It includes electronic bookkeeping, online banking, digital invoicing, automated data entry, and cloud-based accounting software. Digital accounting improves data management, enables real-time access to financial information, and supports informed decision-making.

What is xero?

Xero is a comprehensive cloud-based accounting software that caters to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a wide range of features and tools to facilitate efficient financial management. With Xero, businesses can effortlessly create and send professional invoices, track payments, manage expenses, reconcile bank transactions, and handle payroll processes.

Kirkwood Wilson is a Xero Gold Partner, which means that our accountants are experts when it comes to Xero cloud accounting.

Is switching accountants straight forward?

Yes – once you have accepted our fee proposal, we’ll ask you to contact your old accountant out of courtesy to them. We’ll then do the rest!

I don’t currently use any accounting software. Is that an issue?

If you’re new to business, or used to keeping records via spreadsheets, our friendly team will help get you integrated with our accounting systems and will provide you with all the training you need. We provide ongoing support so you’ll always have help on hand should you need it.

How do your fees work?

We offer a fixed-fee service. We’ll quote you for the work you need to complete each month. Any additional one-off work will be billed separately and we’ll always have a conversation with you about this before beginning any work.

I’ve got a question that needs answering, what do I do?

We actively encourage our clients to get in touch when they have any queries for us. Our team of friendly, knowledgeable accountants will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Can you help me set up a limited company?

Registering a Limited Company correctly is one of the most common mistakes we see with new clients. It’s really important that the business is set up correctly from day one. For a small fee, we’ll register your company, tailor your articles of association and get you registered for VAT and PAYE if applicable.

Can you process my employees’ payroll?

Payroll processing is probably our most requested service by clients. Trying to stay on top of payroll legislation is no easy task, and with our help, payroll for your business will be worry-free. You simply tell us the employees’ gross pay for the period and we’ll do the rest.

Should I set up as a sole trader or a limited company?

There’s no one size fits all answer to this question, with various considerations being required before making a decision as to which route you go down. Give us a call and we’ll talk you through the benefits and drawbacks of both.