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Going for gold with Xero and Exchange Accountants Belfast.

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Winning gold is the ambition of any athlete and achieving the gold standard should be the objective of any business. So we’re proud to share with you exciting gilt-edged news about Exchange Accountants.

We are now the very first Xero Gold Partner in Northern Ireland. By partnering with Xero, we know we’ll provide more business value and insight to our small and medium enterprise clients.

Delivering Gold standard service with Xero

Xero is a powerful, online, cloud based accounting software. Being cloud based, means you can access your account anywhere, you’re no longer tied to your desktop. All information and transactions are secured in the cloud so if the worst should happen and your computer crashes, you won’t lose a byte of data.

Compared to traditional accounting software, Xero makes managing your bookkeeping, accounting and business reporting simple but yet powerful.

It’s designed for the business owner. You don’t need to be a financial professional to use Xero, and it makes the whole process of working with Exchange easier. You’ll see in real time any changes to your tax situation.

Xero is an absolute knockout of a system and we think you’ll agree so contact us and we’ll show you the ropes.

Achieving the Xero gold standard is a real milestone for us at Exchange Accountancy. It’s a whole new chapter for the firm and our employees are qualified and certified to work with this powerful piece of software

Our Practice Director Conor Walls said: “By investing in Xero and Xero training certification for all our staff, we’ve invested in our clients as well. We want to provide them with a service that is unrivalled in Northern Ireland. Our clients will be able to avail of a host of additional benefits such as real time planning, forecasting and all the tools you need to stay on top of your key figures.”

Talk to us about going for gold

If you’re looking to put your business on the winner’s podium in 2016, now’s the time to make the move to Xero and start seeing how we can make your business fitter, leaner and packing a much stronger punch.

Contact us to arrange a Xero demo and start aiming for the gold standard.

Safeguarding your business ideas

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

You will have automatic copyright protection for writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content and sound recordings

‘Design right’ automatically protects your design for 10 years after it was first sold or 15 years after it was created – whichever is earliest. You can use it to stop someone copying your design.

Design right only applies to the shape and configuration (how different parts of a design are arranged together) of objects. You can also register your design for better protection provided it meets the eligibility criteria. You must register a design to protect 2-dimensional designs such as graphics, textiles and wallpaper.

You’ll need proof of when you created a design if you want to claim design right. This could be copies of your design drawings or photos:

  • kept with a bank or solicitor
  • that you’ve sent to yourself by registered, dated post and kept unopened

Protection you have to apply for includes:

  1. Trade Marks: for example product names, logos and jingles.
  2. Registered designs: covers the appearance of a product including shape, packaging, patterns, colours and decoration.
  3. Patents: inventions and products including, machines, machine parts, tools and medicines.

The time it takes to register these various protections varies from one month to around five years (in the case of patent applications).

You could register more than one type of protection. For example: register your name and logo as a trade mark; a product’s unique shape as a registered design; patent a new working part; or use copyright to protect your drawings.

What qualifies as a tax allowable travelling expense

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

HMRC’s opinion on qualifying travel costs is clearly set in their employee travel guide. For instance:

The sort of travel that qualifies for tax relief is travel that is ‘on the job’, as distinct from travel ‘to the job’. The most common example is travel between one workplace and another in connection with a single employment. The cost of such travel is incurred in actually carrying out the duties of the employment, although the treatment may be different where one of the workplaces is the employee’s home.


Amanda is a senior manager in a sales consultancy company. She manages teams in offices in Leicester and Nottingham and is regularly required to travel between the two. Tax relief is available for the full cost of the travel between the 2 workplaces because it is undertaken in the performance of Amanda’s duties. No relief is available for travel from her home to the offices or her return home from the offices as this is ordinary commuting.

Another example is where travel is integral to the performance of the duties. Typical examples are a commercial traveller, or a service engineer who moves from place to place during the day carrying out repairs to domestic appliances at clients’ premises. Such employees are sometimes described as having travelling appointments.


Tony is a service engineer working for a company that services and maintains white goods for the commercial sector. He visits up to 10 customers each day throughout the UK. He has no normal workplace and is emailed his job list each evening for the following day. Travel is an integral part of his job and he carries out the duties of his employment at each customer’s premises. Tax relief is available for the cost of all Tony’s business travel, including from his home to his first appointment and from his last appointment to his home.

If you are unsure if your travel costs qualify for tax relief please call for more information.

Sunday trading review

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

The Government is undertaking a review of the Sunday Trading legislation. The review aims to deal with the concerns of larger high street retailers, who are concerned that they cannot compete effectively with online retailers unless they are open seven days a week at normal opening hours.

The Government is consulting on plans to give local areas the power to allow large shops to open for longer on Sundays.

The reforms would give metro mayors and local authorities the power to determine Sunday trading rules that reflect the needs of local people and allow shops and high streets to stay open longer and compete with online retailers.

Local authorities would have the discretion to zone which part of their local authority area would benefit from the longer hours, allowing them to boost town centres and high streets.

The existing Sunday trading laws were introduced more than 20 years ago before high-street shops faced competition from online retailers. The law currently prevents large stores from opening for more than 6 hours. Small shops covering less than 3,000 sq ft can open all day.

The Government is committed to giving the UK’s major cities the power to compete for international tourism while increasing consumer choice. Paris has recently extended Sunday trading opening hours in areas of international tourism, and Dubai and New York shops open into the evening 7 days a week.

Small business changes

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Some of the key changes that will impact small businesses in particular are set out below:

  • Taxation of dividend income from April 2016. The present 10% dividend tax credit is being abolished from April 2016. In its place an annual dividend tax allowance of £5,000 is being introduced. Dividends received will be free of further charge to Income Tax up to this limit. Above the £5,000 limit dividend income will be taxed as follows:
  • Basic rate tax payers at 7.5%
  • Higher rate (40%) tax payers at 32.5%, and
  • Additional rate (45%) tax payers at 38.1%

Shareholder directors of small companies that pay limited salaries and high dividends may be affected by this change and should review their dividend strategy.

  • National Insurance Employment Allowance. From April 2016 the present £2,000 allowance is being increased by 50% to £3,000. The Chancellor has also announced that the allowance will be withdrawn for one person shareholder/employee companies.
  • Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). The annual limit for this generous tax allowance, presently up to £500,000 of qualifying expenditure can be written off against taxable profits, was due to revert to £25,000 from 1 January 2016. It has been confirmed that the £25,000 limit will instead increase to £200,000 with no further changes currently tabled.

It was also announced that Corporation Tax rates would fall to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020.

A number of counter measures will also be introduced to curb tax avoidance. This continues HMRC’s strategy to root out and penalise businesses that continue to misuse tax legislation in a way not intended by parliament.