VAT on services

In recent months I’ve noticed a few people mentioning that the VAT rate on services is 13.5% (One even charged it incorrectly on an invoice). Simply put the VAT rate on services is often NOT 13.5%

13.5% is the ‘lower’ rate of VAT. 21% is the ‘standard’ rate of VAT.

To give you an example the following services are all invoiced at 21%

Property Auctioneering
Consultancy (Excluding farm)
Quantity Surveyors
Art & Artists, Design – (Adverts,commercial drawings)

This list is by no means exhaustive. The moral of the story is! If your not sure what VAT rate you should be charging check it out.

If you would like any advice on VAT matters please phone Ralph on 091-442882

Cheap Accountants

If I’m totally honest pricing is one of the hardest parts of being in business. We run the practice as efficiently as possible to keep costs down for our clients. Clients are now getting more and more price sensitive. But like most other products and services it can be a complete false economy to choose your accountant solely on price and heres why –

Tax planning Whether we give fixed prices* (90% of Do My Books clients are on fixed price) or bill by the hour it comes back to two simple things for accountants: the amount of hours to complete the task and the experience of the individual involved. If an accountant is pricing ‘cheaply’ are they putting in the time to ensure the client isn’t over paying tax? Is the accountant charging enough from each client to allow them selves to take time out each month to read, study and attend training seminars on the latest tax affairs? The other concern is if an accountant has a technical query have they charged enough in the quote to engage a  tax consultant who is an expert in their field? Ultimately ensuring your accountant is well versed in current tax matters and is budgeting for adequate amount of tax planning time is critical.

Management Accounts A huge amount of Irish small businesses and even some medium ones have no idea how much profit they are making on a monthly basis and rely on the end of year statutory accounts for management information. This can lead to poor business decisions, cash flow problems and ultimately business failure. When comparing prices between accountants its important to discuss what management accounts (If any) are included in the price.

Qualification The word accountant is not protected by law in Ireland. So effectively anyone can call themselves an accountant. It goes without saying that you ensure your accountant is a member of a recognised accounting body.

Availability Its important to ask, who will be dealing with your account and working on your accounts in the longer term. A managing partner? A junior? The level of business advice and expertise you will receive can vary considerably from a junior to a 10 year veteran.

This may all seem like common sense but as the recession (Sorry for using that word!) continues small businesses rightly look for value, its just important to remember to compare like with like.

As always if you would like to discuss any of the above please do not hesitate to email me or call on 091-442009

Anti money laundering quiz

Xero offline for next release

I’ve been very lazy with blogging over the last few weeks for a variety of reasons but I will now make an effort again.

Firstly Xero is going to be offline tomorrow 13/02/2011 Irish Time 16:00 for two hours.

Secondly I am considering running a small business one day boot camp with some other trainers anyone interested please email me on