5 Killer Solutions For Smart Business Owners

Starting a small business is one of the toughest things you will do in your life, so its important that you are equipped with the right tools to make it a success.

The following are the tools you must have when starting a small business:

Lead management system

A good lead management system or better known as CRM is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur or a small business owner. Many small businesses spend thousand’s not to mention the time investment in tracking down their first few potential clients but when they are rejected they quickly move on to the next potential and never actually keep in touch with their initial leads.

It can take 6-10 touches to close a prospect and it can take weeks, months or even years to build professional trust with some clients before actually do business with you. All these prospects and there the last conversation and the next action point need to be recorded in a smart, simple-to-use CRM solution.

Here are a few suggestions:

There are many more out there and you should feel free to trial each one before reaching a decision. Important: Make sure that you are happy with the Email Integration options with whichever CRM you choose. It should be easy for you to send mass emails to the database.

Smart Phone and Business Laptop

Using your old phone or laptop when meeting prospects does not cut it.  The number of times that I have met with owners pitching their services using their old phone and laptop and then apologising by saying ‘my laptop is old’ or ‘I don’t have data’, its just not the right approach.

Get a good smartphone with ample data and invest in a used Core i5 laptop at the minimum. If money is a problem then purchase a reconditioned laptop. I bought a reconditioned ThinkPad Corei5 for AED 1000 and its just a good looking powerful machine.

Latest smartphone with unlimited data seems to be normal for teenagers but it should be mandatory for an entrepreneur.

Email on the Go

Do not think that you are too big to not have access to your emails ‘all the time’.  I have read countless business blogs that preach leaving emails in the office and I doubt the writer of those blogs can actually afford to do that.

Email on the GO is mandatory.

Did you know that Microsoft recently made all their MS Apps available free to download to mobile platforms and G Suite for Business has always offered a free app that integrates with existing Gmail application.

Although we do need to take a break from work it is important to be able to access critical applications on the go if the need arises.

Cloud Storage (File Sharing)

Please tell me that you do not store your business files locally on your laptop or PC?

The only way to work is to have one of the cloud storage platforms setup on your working machine and are able to access it across all devices.

Check out the following options with brief explanations.

Dropbox is the best and its FREE. Its the most seamless solution on the market and simply works. However, if you start to build a team then you will need to use the paid version which is not so expensive.

Google Drive is great if you are collaborating on documents with other team members such as word or excel documents. It is free if you already have work Gmail or you can use your personal Gmail. Either way, its good but Dropbox is much more seamless when synchronising across several machines.

Cloud Accountant

If you are in business to make a profit (trust me not everyone thinks this) then you will need a committed accountant to help you understand if you are actually making a profit or if you are just turning over money.

Modern-day accountants still use traditional accounting methods, expecting to visit clients each month or the client visits the accountant to drop off his ‘books’. This is counterproductive and instead you should retain a cloud accountant such as Profits Plus Accountants.

Profits Plus Accountants are committed to providing all accounting services through Xero Cloud Accounting Software. Getting to grips with the Profit and Loss is very important to business owners and leaving it to an accountant who will produce your accounts after 15 months at the earliest is just business suicide.

Our dedicated team of qualified accountants help clients produce monthly management reports through real-time accounting solutions like Xero which offer invoicing and payment integrations.

Profits Plus Accountants

We are a British Accounting Firm based in Dubai and we help businesses navigate the FTA requirements using the most advanced cloud accounting software in the World.

We make sure that you remain 100% compliant.

As a Silver Partner of Xero Cloud Accounting Software, we have a local team based in Dubai with over 20 years of experience (collectively).

If you are looking for an accountant in Dubai then speak to Mubashir Malik, a Managing Partner at the firm. You can reach him directly on [email protected].

Note: www.profitsplus.ae is a domain belonging to Profits Accounting and Bookkeeping, an accounting and bookkeeping firm registered with Dubai Economy, Trade License No. 796316.

What is a FAF File? [FTA Audit File]

fta audit file

The FTA has produced a very concise document on the required functions of accounting software which are needed to produce the FTA Audit files (“FAF”) for VAT and Excise Tax should they ever request it.

What is accounting software?

Accounting software should be a key part of any modern growing business whether a retail store or a service provider and it is not something reserved just for large corporations.

Currently, there are many accounting software solutions being used in the UAE the key players in the market are:

When selecting an accounting solutions business owners should ensure that the solution complies with the requirements of the FTA.

Any competent accounting software should be able to produce Sales Invoice, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and General Ledger but the FTA have very specific requirements, namely the need to generate a FAF File.

FTA Audit File

FAF is something that could be requested by the FTA whilst conducting a periodic audit to ensure that tax and returns have been prepared correctly. It is strongly recommended that businesses check with their software vendors to make sure they are able to produce FTA Audit Files (FAF) if required, otherwise it would be a very costly exercise to do on-demand.

NOTE: It may be possible that your software is able to produce data in FAF but your accounting partner failed to implement and monitor the documenting of the transactions as per the FTA Requirements and you only realise when the FAF is requested at which point it could take weeks to rectify.

Key Elements to be present in FTA Audit File (FAF) are:

  • Company Information such as Company Name and TRN No.
  • Master Files
    • Supplier File
      • Name of Supplier
      • Location of Supplier by Emirates
      • TRN No. if applicable
    • Customer File
      • Name of Customer
      • Location of Customer
      • TRN No. if applicable
    • Source Documents
      • Purchase Invoices, Imports, Credit Notes (with all details)
      • Sales Invoices, Credit Noted Issued to Customers (with all details)
      • Payments
        • Transaction Date
        • Payment Date
      • General Ledger
      • Product File

In summary, your accounting software must be able to produce all or any of the above if requested by the FTA during a periodic audit of your VAT Return.

Profits Plus Accountants

We are a British Accounting Firm based in Dubai and we help businesses navigate the FTA requirements using the most advanced cloud accounting software in the World.

We make sure that you remain 100% compliant.

As a Silver Partner of Xero Cloud Accounting Software, we have a local team based in Dubai with over 20 years of experience (collectively).

If you are looking for an accountant in Dubai then speak to Mubashir Malik, a Managing Partner at the firm. You can reach him directly on [email protected].

Note: www.profitsplus.ae is a domain belonging to Profits Accounting and Bookkeeping, an accounting and bookkeeping firm registered with Dubai Economy, Trade License No. 796316.

Xero Cloud Accounting Partner in Dubai

Xero cloud accounting is one of the most exciting innovations in accounting. Profits Plus Accountants are a Silver Partner with Xero Cloud Accounting. More importantly, we engage with all clients through Xero Cloud Accounting and this approach earned us the title of ‘No.1 Xero Cloud Accounting Partner in the UAE‘.

Currently 95% of our clients are taking advantage of the free subscription offered to Xero Cloud Accounting software only available through Profits Plus Accountants. Similarly, you too can get your business on Xero Cloud Accounting and work with the only accounting company in the UAE dedicated to cloud accounting.

Read More

Understanding VAT in the UAE 2019

Value-Added Tax or VAT is a tax on the consumption or use of goods and services levied at the point of sale. VAT is a form of indirect tax and is used in more than 180 countries around the world. All OECD countries except for the US have VAT (or a variation). While it feels exactly the same as a general sales tax to end-consumers, VAT is a more sophisticated tax and overcomes many challenges that affect the general sales tax.

VAT is charged at each step of the ‘supply chain’. End consumers generally bear the VAT cost while registered businesses collect and account for the tax, in a way acting as a tax collector on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority.

NEED TO MAINTAIN RECORDS

VAT registered businesses will need to charge and account for VAT however, all businesses are required to maintain their business records and other information as specified in Tax Procedures Law and the Tax Law.

The fine for failure of the person conducting Business to keep the required records and other information specified in Tax Procedures Law and the Tax Law is AED 10,000 the first time and AED 50,000 if repeated.

Administrative penalties for violations have been issued by Cabinet Decision No. (40) of 2017 and can be found under the Legislation section on the FTA website.

EXECUTIVE REGULATION

As per Article 2 of the Cabinet Decision No. (36) of 2017 on the Executive Regulation of Federal Law No. (7) of 2017 on Tax Procedures Accounting Records and Commercial Books shall include the following:

accounting books in relation to that business, which include records of payments and receipts, purchases and sales, revenues and expenditures, and any business, and any matters as required under any Tax Law or any other applicable law, including:

1) Balance sheet and profit and loss accounts.
2) Records of wages and salaries.
3) Records of fixed assets.
4) Inventory records and statements (including quantities and values) at the end of any relevant Tax Period and all records of stock-counts related to Inventory statements.

BRITISH ACCOUNTANTS IN DUBAI

Profits Plus Accountants are British accountants based in Dubai. We deploy the most advanced software in the World in order to make sure that you remain 100% compliant and we leave no room for error when it comes to your accounting records.

Mubashir Malik the Managing Partner can be reached on +971529834145 and welcomes meeting in person to discuss how he can help your business or email us on [email protected]

www.profitsplus.ae is a domain belonging to Profits Accounting and Bookkeeping, an accounting and bookkeeping consultancy registered with Dubai Economy, Trade License No. 796316 and trading with the name Profits Plus Accountants.

 

The guaranteed way to raise money for your small business

Business loans used to be the responsibility of the banks, but that is no longer the situation. Banks want to lend to companies that carry a low risk or have enough assets to secure against the loan amount.

Business loans in Dubai are even more difficult, especially since 80% of the population is made up of Expats that could exit anytime their situation changes either in Dubai or in their hometown. Not that they would leave without paying their debts………..

Small businesses are the lifeline of a any country but most small businesses struggle with cashflow and this can significantly hinder growth. Lack of funding is also required when a business ends up having to write off bad debt and lack of access to timely funding can cripple a business if that was to happen.

So how can a small business owner access funding in such a global market when they are competing not only with local competition but with a freelancer living on the other side of the World with less than half the overheads.

Good Practice for Business Owners

Investors, individuals or institutional, look for a number of things when making a decision to lend:

1. Owner – the individual behind the company is the most important, so become a likeable person and professional in your business endeavours. If you arrange a meeting, keep to it, if you need to make a payment do it straight away, if you make a promise, make sure to deliver on it. Your reputation will spread quickly within the business community and amongst your peers. These are the same individuals who could be contacted or approached for lending in future.

2. Accounts – maintain good accounts from the day you start and not when you need a loan. Maintaining accurate books is so important and should not be ignored. Try to use a cloud accounting software that gives you access to real-time management accounts.

3. Processes – create solid workflow in your business, get organised, paperwork goes in files not draws. Keep records well organised, maintain a CRM system if possible.
These are just the basics of any company and without these you will struggle to raise even the smallest loan.

Personal Loans

When borrowing for your small business it may be easier to borrow personally, especially if you are on an employee visa within your own company. Banks and Credit Cards (not recommended) will lend to employees with 3-6 months of salary proof.

The following are links to platforms that would be a good start to personal lending:
• SouqMal: This is a great place to start for personal lending. Applying through SouqMal will help you access hundreds of lenders in the UAE with just one application.
• MyMoneySouq: Another great platform to access hundreds of personal lending options with just one application. Review the lending rates and the terms all online before speaking to anyone.
• Friends & Family: Always the best and cheapest option, hence the reason to be a nice person 😊.

Business Loans

Banks are the last place we recommend for Business Loans, there are many small business friendly options and we analyse some of these below:

1. Friends and family. At the top of the list is friends and family. Consider approaching those who are employed rather than entrepreneurs. People who work have less time to consider creative investment options and usually end of storing their money in savings accounts paying less than 3% per annum. If you can offer them a return of over 5%-10% per annum then you could be a better option for most people who simply work and save.

2. Beehive.ae, consider going to people but through a platform. Beehive is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects small business owners with investors without the need for a conventional intermediary. Its focus is on finance from AED 100k on repayment terms from 6-36 months. Check it out on www.beehive.ae

3. Eureeca.com, an amazing platform for those wanting to raise more than $200k. Launched in 2013 the team at Eureeca have helped many high growth businesses raise significant amounts. Check them out on www.eureeca.com

4. Dubizzle, What the…? I hear you ask, Dubizzle, Really? Well, Yes. Dubizzle is amazing platform in Dubai and posting in their business section for an investor, with as much detail as possible, does actually work. Just be careful to select the right person.

Although there are many other options I personally believe these are a great place to start, but remember to ensure the following information in place:

1. Access to a good set of accounts. We can help with that www.profitsplus.ae
2. Good processes, softwares, and CRM. Check out Zoho CRM
3. Try to keep the business in the blue by lowering overheads and increasing your fees. Only grow when it is justified.
4. Solid website will also help and a good positive online presence.

Good Luck with your fund raising exercise and do message me if you need any help. If you want to speak to an advisor to help you with VAT, Funding or Accounting then contact me, Ali Afzal, on +971585442030 or email me on [email protected]

Cloud Accounting [Xero] v’s Traditional Accounting [Tally]

The Evolution of Cloud Accounting 

In the past few years, we have witnessed the birth and rapid evolution of cloud computing, with more and more traditional services being replaced by their far more efficient, affordable and secure cloud alternatives. Accounting is no different and thanks to the hectic pace technology is moving at, the question is no longer whether you should move to cloud accounting but rather, when.

Problems with traditional accounting software

The drawbacks of traditional accounting software certainly play a role in the shift to cloud accounting. The data in the traditional accounting software system isn’t up to date and neither is the software. What’s more, the software only works on one computer – the data needs to be manually transferred between devices, usually by virtue of USB drives. This presents a myriad of other issues, mostly to do with security and reliability.

Traditional accounting software and services are outdated since they are rooted in the idea that only one person should have access to the data. This means that important people within your business may not have access to the financial and customer details, which impairs productivity and diminishes the level of customer service your organization can provide.

What’s more, traditional accounting software tends to be costly and updates and regular maintenance are expensive (often not included in the initial price), time-consuming and challenging especially if you’re not tech-savvy. Keeping backups is rarely one and even then, it may cost you more time and money than it’s worth.

When it comes to your company’s financial needs, you cannot afford to settle for outdated accounting services that charge you too much while bringing almost no value to the table. What you need is an experienced, qualified and pioneering accounting firm that will handle every single detail, provide you with cutting-edge accounting tools and allow you to focus on your company’s future growth instead of book-keeping.

What is cloud accounting

Cloud accounting is the alternative to traditional accounting software, whether it’s on-premises or self-install. The only difference is that cloud accounting is hosted on remote servers, similar to the Software as Service business model: data is sent to the cloud where it can be processed and returned to the user.

This means that all functions are performed off-site, rather than on your desktop which minimizes issues related to reliability and security. All you need to take advantage of cloud computing is a reliable connection to the Internet or another network via a cloud application service provider. Because of that, cloud accounting is far more flexible than traditional software – the accounting data can be accessed from any point around the world and from any device that has an Internet connection. What’s more, cloud accounting software like the one Profits Tax Consultants use can update your financial information automatically and provide you with real-time financial reporting.

Profits Tax Consultants is a cloud-based accounting firm based in Dubai that will go above and beyond to ensure that your company is provided with CFO-level accounting services and support your company’s growth and expansion. Our state-of-the-art cloud-based software is run by experienced British accountants who have spent more than 20 years of working with British companies and VAT.

Xero Cloud Accounting Software

One of the key players in the shift towards cloud accounting is Xero, a New-Zealand-based software company that develops cloud-based software for small and medium-sized businesses. Their software lets companies share access to the latest business numbers with their teams, accountants and bookkeepers so everyone – including team members around the world – are kept in the loop and up to speed.

This means that you can easily log into any Xero file you want by simply using your Internet connection. You can share access with your accountant who in turn can not only open the file but make adjustments, prepare and lodge BAS and tax returns, and provide real-time assistance if needed. This saves up time and money as the accountant doesn’t necessarily have to send the data back and forth, either digitally or physically.

We at Profits Tax Consultants truly believe Xero has transformed the modern world of accounting. Instead of having a monthly meeting with your accountant where you pile mountains and mountains of paper files, you can easily manage your accounting information in real-time. This helps you make faster and more effective decisions. Unsurprisingly, in the past 12 months alone, Xero has shipped more than 1,2000 features and product updates, most of them designed to provide accountants with back time and helping them migrate to methods of value-priced billing while increasing their workload at the same time.

Profits Tax Consultants is a 100% cloud-based accounting service, which means that you will be able to take advantage of the flexibility, convenience, and practicality of a cloud service based on the Xero Cloud Accounting Software. In addition, we will integrate accounting systems inside your company, offer you book-keeping as well as expense management services that will enable you to monitor your company’s growth, expenses and earnings.

Benefits

In a nutshell, cloud accounting software like Xero enables professionals to save time, and businesses to enjoy greater flexibility, reliability, and security when it comes to financial operations. Xero certified accountants can create a lot of efficiencies going beyond that of manual data entry: using the cloud service, they can finally have time to analyze the work and truly help small businesses remain cash flow-positive.

Some of the benefits associated with using cloud accounting software are increased accessibility, productivity, organizational reporting and improved back-up and recovery. Cloud accounting can improve the productivity within your organization by saving you enough time to focus on actually running your business rather than spending valuable resources on bookkeeping and accounting.

What’s more, a Xero certified accountant can access your accounting and financial information from any point around the world. This makes it the ideal option for businesses that have remote employees or work with accountants from abroad. This also frees you from having to install and maintain software on individual desktop computers (so you can save money on your IT infrastructure and training expenses). With cloud accounting, you can also improve the communication within your business as employees in other departments, branch offices or remote areas can access the same data and version of the software, and make changes if needed.

Xero also makes it easier for you to get real-time reporting and visibility throughout your organization. With cloud computing, subscription-based models are the most popular option – you can pay a subscription to receive updates as soon as they’re launched, without having to invest more money in additional software purchases.

Xero also provides you with better backup and recovery capabilities. Cloud accounting makes storing and recovering data more convenient and reliable than in-house servers. All these benefits also ensure cloud computing is one of the most, if not the most, cost-effective option on the market. If you’re looking for a Dubai accountant, working with someone who is Xero certified can save you a lot of time and expenses in terms of maintenance and management of data and servers.

What the future holds

Given the many benefits cloud accounting offers to small and medium businesses, it’s not surprising that experts believe that cloud accounting will become the new normal. What’s more, Xero and similar software may become even more important and relevant as AI and machine learning grows in popularity.

Since we are a 100% cloud-based firm, we are able to offer you high-value, low-cost accounting services by cutting down on conventional, obsolete and expensive hardware and software and passing those savings on to you and your brand. Our mission is to establish an honest, trusting and lasting relationship by going the extra mile and ensuring your satisfaction. Choosing Profits Tax Consultants means having a whole team of highly-experienced British accountants at your disposal 24/7.

If you’re looking for a Dubai accountant but have not yet made the switch to cloud accounting software, it may be a good idea to put a framework in place as soon as possible. Steadily working towards a plan is the key to enhancing what you already have and prepare for the future – and by the looks of it, the future of accounting is synonymous with cloud accounting.

This whitepaper was written by Ali Afzal, the Managing Director of Profits Tax Consultants and Accountants in Dubai. We provide cloud accounting services starting from AED 850 per month and you can learn more about the software on www.profitsplus.ae/software or visit us Xero on https://www.xero.com/uk/advisors/accountant/2017/profits-tax-consultants/ .

Paying your VAT to the FTA by Profits Tax Consultants

That time of the year has arrived when many small businesses have submitted their VAT return and are now making VAT payment to the FTA.

Below are the options on how to make payment to the FTA (caution each one has a cost associated and you should check all options to find out which is the cheapest – we suggest the exchanges):

  1. Paying via e-Dirham or credit card through the FTA Portal.

Yes the most obvious is to log in and pay via e-dhirham or VISA and Mastercard. This option is simple, quick and for those last minute payments probably the best option. Although we have not tested the e-dhirham option the VISA and Mastercard do seem to be very expensive option.

  1. e-Debit payment option allows the Taxable Person to directly debit the amount to FTA’s bank account when making any due payments.

You can make a payment through e-debit and the fee for using eDebit is AED 10 which will be charged by e-Dirham. This option only works if you have a bank account with any of the following banks:

  • Citibank (Retail)
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai (Corporate and Retail)
  • Dubai Islamic Bank (Retail)
  • Emirates NBD (Corporate and Retail)
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (Corporate and Retail)
  • Noor Bank (Retail)
  • Standard Chartered (Corporate and Retail)

Please note that this is an initial list of banks and the list may have changed and its ideal to check with your bank.

e-debit payment is made through the FTA portal by clicking ’Pay via Bank’.

  1. Paying via bank transfer (GIBAN). A GIBAN is a unique IBAN number that is given to every taxable person and should be displayed on your FTA Portal.

Once you get your GIBAN you can then proceed to make a normal local bank transfer via your bank and add the FTA as a beneficiary using the GIBAN number and FTA Details.

Please note this option can take up to 24hrs to appear in your account.

  1. Exchanges (UAE Exchange or Al-Ansari Exchange)

It is now possible to make a payment to the FTA through a number of the exchanges in Dubai. You will require the following information:

  • TRN No
  • GIBAN Number
  • Amount Payable
  • And take some ID (always handy)

REMEMBER: In case a payment is not received on time, a penalty of late payment will apply. In order for the payment to be credited to your account by the 28th you should make the payment before by the 25th of the month (at the latest). 

For help on submitting your VAT Return, Profits Tax Consultants offer a vat submission only package for AED 2000 per quarter. Visit our website on www.profitsplus.ae

This article was written by Ali Afzal, a tax consultant in Dubai and the Managing Director of Profits Tax Consultants.

It is possible that this information is out-of-date and you should confirm the facts by visiting the FTA Payment User Guide by clicking here.