Bookkeeping for sole traders (tips!)

Melanie Richardson


Bookkeeping is a vital part of your business's operation. Making sure you keep excellent and accurate records is something you should be doing regularly, especially if you will be completing your own tax return to the HMRC.

Getting your tax returns submitted correctly is essential to avoid any inspections or fines by the authorities, so good bookkeeping practices are something you should be using. Even if you have an accountant to complete your tax returns, having up to date and organised records to pass onto them is key.

Here are 3 great ways to keep your books in superb shape:



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Keep your accounts regularly updated


Some sole traders will make the mistake of only looking at their books the week before their tax return is due. Please don't do this as it will give you lots of late nights and stress, trying to work out what happened 10 months ago! Instead, be smart and allocate time each week or month to update your books with the information fresh in your mind.

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Make sure to claim all the business expenses you can


This is one area that many can find tricky so it can be wise to let an experienced accountant handle it for you. If you would rather do your own tax return though, make sure to find out what allowable business expenses you can claim back.

The general rule is that they must be incurred wholly and exclusively for your business. Another great tip is to hang onto any receipts for expenses you will claim as HMRC will need to see these as proof of what you are saying. For the full list of what is an allowable business expense, it is best to visit the HMRC website for definitive details.

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Attend a free HMRC workshop


Not many people seem to know about this tip but the HMRC do put on regular free workshops to help explain things in this area better. They are usually run in various locations around the country so you should be able to find one close to where you are based. Each workshop is on a specific subject normally so you can pick the ones that you need most help with.

If you are finding your bookkeeping and tax returns complicated or stressful, why not let us help? Covering the whole of Sussex, we are experienced Chartered Accountants who will be only too happy to meet all of your bookkeeping needs.

To discuss your self assessment get in touch with our Business Services Partner Robert Willison:


Tel: 01825 763366

Robert east sussex accountants

Key Dates:

Online tax return due date: Midnight 31st of January 2018

Pay the tax you owe: Midnight 31st of January 2018


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