When we were at the SWPP convention, what did we learn? - part 1 of 1

Published 01/04/2010

We've done the annual convention for many years. It's a good way for us to get our name known, meet new and existing clients and also to find out the 'hot' accounting and tax questions that need to be looked at. It is also a chance for us to catch up with Juliet and Phil. This year there were more delegates than ever before. Some even stopped and spoke to us...

We always find it very interesting speaking to photographers, finding out how they have set up their businesses. We speak to amateurs earning a few hundred pounds a year, people who had been amateur for years but were either thinking of turning professional or already had done so, and well-established, thriving photography businesses.

Photographers are in the main clued up about business. Sometimes as accountants we see trades where there is a real lack of awareness.

This is not the case with photographers, but that doesn't mean we cannot help.

A good example is the newly formed businesses. Commonly we are asked whether there is any claim available for equipment bought before going professional. This shows both a good grasp of business and also the need for professional advice.

In future issues we will look at the most common questions posed at the show.

Of course, we were asked for general business and tax advice. The most common 'nuggets' I passed on over the show weekend were:

• Don't be scared of the tax man. Surprisingly, they can be very helpful. They are not really as scary as you imagine. Sometimes it takes an age to get through to the right person, but they get there in the end. Remember though, they can't tell you how to save money though.

• Keep records. Essential. It's a legal requirement, but more than that, it's simply good business practice to know where your finances are up to.

• You don't have to choose between employed and selfemployed.

Many people are both. It's perfectly acceptable.

You may register as self-employed even if you still work for someone. It can make your tax more complex so take care.

• Get an accountant. Of course, I would say that. Really though, if not us then unless you are totally sure, get advice. It will work out cheaper as they will help you get it right in the first place.

• Speak to your peers. Especially if they are our clients! Your contemporaries will have come across the same or similar issues, and can offer good mentoring advice.

By Julian Shaw, TWD Accountants. March 2010.

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1st Published 01/04/2010
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