Bookkeeping & VAT

We understand that finding the time to keep your books and VAT records up to date can be difficult, there are so many more pressing issues when running your business. The ever changing VAT regulations are an additional headache for over burdened business managers.  Than on top of all that the government introduce Making Tax Digital and you have to get to grips with that as well!  

R A Clement Associates have long standing expertise in bookkeeping & VAT and can relieve you of this burden. 

The Team

Gavin Hill heads our busy bookkeeping & VAT department which operates from the Oban and Fort William offices. Gavin himself is based in the Oban office but will travel to your site if needed.

or call him on 01631 562 643 for a VAT health check or to discuss your requirements. Meet the team. 

Our Bookkeeping & VAT department offers the following services:

Other Helpful VAT Information

HMRC Helpline
National HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) HELPLINE - There is a free help line which is manned from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday for questions about Customs, Excise and VAT. Tel: 0845 010 9000

HMRC Website

National HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) WEBSITE -

For a the full VAT guide see  "Notice 700, The VAT Guide"

NOTE: This guide is very long so get yourself a cup of tea before you tackle it or just phone us on 01631 562 643 and we will answer your VAT questions.

(This section contains the details for the bullet points listed at the very top of this document)

Full bookkeeping & VAT service at your site or ours.

You can send us your paperwork (invoices, bank statements and payment and receipts details) and we will deal with it all on a monthly or quarterly basis. We can send you timely management reports including debtors/creditors lists and complete your VAT returns for you on line

Alternatively we can do all this on your site, freeing up your time to focus on more creative aspects of your business.

If you would like to discuss either option call Gavin Hill now on 01631 562 643 or email Gavin.

Short term help with bookkeeping & VAT to cover staff shortages.

If you need someone to do your books whilst staff are off sick or on maternity leave, we can cover that period. Our staff are experienced in many types of bookkeeping software.  We can even complete hand-written ledgers and add them up correctly!

Advice on appropriate bookkeeping software

Another minefield! If you are thinking of computerising your books how do you decide which package would best suit your business? Various factors influence the choice of software, such as whether you calculate VAT on a cash or invoice basis. We have a wide ranging experience of the different bookkeeping packages and can help you to decide the most cost effective solution for your business. Get it right first time and save yourself time and money. Please call us on 01631 562 643. We really could save you from making a costly mistake.

Set up & tailoring your bookkeeping software

Perhaps you are just starting to computerise your books and would like someone experienced to tell you the most efficient way of doing it. We have many years experience of doing exactly that for our clients. We can set up the software to suit your way of working and to give you the information you need to monitor your business.

We can offer you cost effective advice on how to optimise your bookkeeping software.  Email or phone him on 01631 562 643 to discuss your options.

Advice on weekly, monthly and annual bookkeeping procedures.

Once you have computerised your books, it is good practice to run certain routines periodically. We know what procedures should be run at the end of each week, each month and each year and would be happy to share this information with you.  E.g. If you reconcile your bank at the end of each month your accountants will not need to do this and you will save money. (You will also have a more accurate idea of your bank balance.)  We can show you how to reconcile your bank if you have never attempted it before.  We can also run through the management reports and explain what they mean.

Call Gavin Hill on 01631 562 643 to discuss this further or email Gavin now and he will phone you back. It is quicker and cheaper than learning the hard way!

Training in bookkeeping packages.

Sage - We know that many of you are running Sage accounts packages. We also run Sage on behalf of many of our clients. We have staff who know many useful Sage shortcuts and can structure a training package to suit your business. We can train on your site, with your data or here in our office for more general training. We can train a small group or a single member of staff.

Cashflow Manager - For smaller businesses Sage can be too complicated and expensive so we offer Cashflow Manager as a simpler alternative. Training in Cashflow Manager does not take very long and is therefore very cost effective. We can show you how to enter your income and expenditure, how to reconcile the bank, produce management reports and backup your data.

Other Bookkeeping Packages - We offer similar training and help with QuickBooks and Quicken.

Call Gavin Hill on 01631 562 643 to discuss training in any of the above packages or email Gavin with your details and a member of the VAT team will contact you.

Help with VAT registration

How do you decide if you need to register for VAT or if your business would benefit from voluntarily registering?  For the definitive answer please contact us 01631 562 643 because there are so many variables to consider. We can lead you through a series of questions to determine whether you should register and if you would benefit from using one of the various VAT schemes. We can then complete all the forms and send them off to HM Customs & Revenue on your behalf.

More information is available from the HM Customs & Revenue (HMRC) website at  You can download the form (VAT1) and notes needed to register for VAT from HM Revenue & Customs website.  

Help with deregistering from VAT

If your circumstances change so that you are able to cancel your VAT registration you must complete the HMRC form "VAT 7" which can be downloaded from HM Revenue & Customs website. There are conditions that MUST be satisfied before you can voluntarily deregister from any VAT scheme and you should consult R A Clement Associates before taking any such action. Email our

VAT department

to request a meeting, or call us now on 01631 562 643.

Take into account the following points before making any decision:

  • You can deregister if you are able to convince HM Customs & Revenue that your taxable turnover in the next 12 months will not exceed the deregistration threshold.
  • You must deregister if you stop making taxable supplies, i.e. if trading ceases.

Advice on most appropriate VAT scheme for your business

The most common way of accounting for VAT is on an invoice basis. There are however various other schemes which might benefit your business, either by improving your cashflow or by simplifying the process of accounting for VAT. Of course you cannot just select the one you like best, your business must be eligible to use that particular scheme.  The schemes are listed below along with eligibility criteria, if appropriate. Please remember this is just an overview. To get an expert opinion on the best VAT scheme for your business you should contact us by phone on 01631 562 643 or email Gavin Hill

Cash based accounting - Cash accounting enables you to account for VAT on the basis of payments received and made instead of on tax invoices issued and received. More details...

Annual accounting -  Under annual accounting, you make agreed payments on account and need complete only one VAT return per year.  More details...

Flat rate schemes for small business -  More details

Assistance with your VAT return

We are very flexible about how we help you with your VAT return.

We can either take all your bookkeeping paperwork, process it and complete your VAT return for you or we can just offer a word or two of advice on what figure goes in what box.

Give Gavin Hill a call on 01631 562 643 or email him for details of how we can help.

VAT on self-build projects

If you are building your own house you can reclaim the VAT on most of the goods purchased for the site and the house. There are lots of rules associated with reclaiming the VAT but basically, it applies to people who are building or converting their own property or having a property built or converted for them.  For full details see the Revenue website. Then email Gavin Hill in our VAT department or phone him on 01631 562 643 andhe will explain what it all means. You may find it easier to let Gavin do the claim for you.  He does that for lots of people and knows all the complexities.

Some general pointers on how the scheme works:

  • The VAT is reclaimed at the end of the build for private, domestic residences.  You must claim within 3 months of completion and you only get one attempt at it, so make sure that you include all the relevant invoices.
  • Details of all qualifying expenditure must be submitted with the claim so retain all your invoices and credit notes.  Only original invoices can be included with the claim, photocopies are not acceptable.
  • To qualify for the refund scheme you must be constructing "a new building designed as a dwelling".
  • The work has to be carried out in the UK, including the Isle of Man but excluding the Channel Islands.
  • Most services are excluded from the scheme. You cannot reclaim VAT paid on professional fees such as architect's fees, unless they are included as part of a "design and build" contract.
  • VAT paid on the hire of plant and machinery and on delivery charges cannot be reclaimed under the scheme.
  • VAT wrongly charged by builders or subcontractors cannot be reclaimed so check that the invoices are correct as soon as you receive them.  Do not wait until you are ready to complete your VAT Refund Scheme forms at the end of the project.
  • Restoring an existing building does not qualify for a full VAT refund unless the building has not been lived in for 10 years or more, in which case it is treated as a conversion.
  • If the dwelling has been unoccupied for at least 3 years the rate will drop to 5% and can only be claimed if the building work was handled by a VAT registered builder.  DIY renovators do not have an equivalent scheme and cannot claim back any VAT.
  • You cannot use the refund scheme if you are a speculative developer, landlord, B&B operator, membership club or care home operator making a charge to residents (even if not for profit).
  • Workshops, garages or enclosed swimming pools built in the grounds of a new dwelling are excluded from this scheme because they are not designed as a dwelling.
  • Dwellings other than private, domestic residences can be included in this scheme. E.g. a hospice, residential accommodation for school children, the armed forces, the old, disabled or drug dependent individuals.  However hospitals, prisons and hotels are excluded.

Negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs over VAT disputes and representing you at VAT tribunals.

VAT disputes and tribunals are never fun.

You may have perfect VAT records but if HM Customs & Revenue randomly select you for investigation it can take many hours of your time and your accountant's time to prove that you have done nothing wrong.

Our accountants are experienced at representing clients in disputes with HM Revenue & Customs.  We will ensure that the HMRC representatives know the boundaries of their investigative remit and that they do not overstep the mark.

All this peace of mind can be bought with a single, annual fee if you subscribe to our Abbey Tax Protection Insurance policy.

Your ad hoc VAT questions answered

Please feel free to call us, even if it is just a short VAT questions. (But note that a short VAT question may receive a long VAT answer!) We are happy to help, that is why we are here.  Call Gavin and his team on 01631 562 643 or email the team with details of your enquiry.