I keep getting letters from Revenue and CRO that I always have to chase my accountant about, how do I ensure that you won’t do this too?

All of your company deadlines go into our operating system (Senta), which means that we’ll be contacting you BEFORE things fall due and you receive letters! In fact, we may inform you of obligations you weren’t even aware of, or that were not in the original scope of the work we agreed upon.


We want to be able to forecast easily, when will that be likely to happen?

Our first job with any new client is to ‘clean up’ existing data. This may involve migrating data onto Xero from the current system, or tidying up data already in Xero. This usually takes between 1-2 months. Once we are confident in the accuracy of current data we’ll then begin to look at putting forecasts in place.

This of course, is a conversation we need to have a make sure that forecast in demand, prices and cost of sales are accurate and justifiable.


Can you review our legal contracts, terms and conditions and insurance provisions?

We work with a few legal partners that we can recommend in supporting your current and ongoing requirements. We will be happy to make introductions!


How does your pricing work?

We use GoProposal, not just a software tool but a whole pricing philosophy committed to delivering transparency at all times.

Take a look at our startup store to get a feel for the prices on services we offer.


I’m considering moving my accounting to First Accounts, what does signing up involve?

We only work with digital, eCommerce and SaaS businesses. Providing that’s you, the first step is to arrange a Discovery Call for us to learn a little bit more about each other and book a meeting to review your current finance function and discuss what working together would look like.

Find out more here.


If you work with lots of other startups, how do I know my ideas and business models are safe with you?

All of the financial data that we hold on our clients is strictly confidential. Whilst we will help you to learn from best practise within agencies and benchmark you against our client base, we will never share confidential information on individual clients. We are also strictly bound by Chartered Accountants Ireland’s confidentiality clauses, as well as GDPR policies.


I feel like I’ve outgrown my current accountant and I need a more mature finance function. How can I make that work?

In the early days, you make do with an accountancy firm who file the required returns, whilst someone else keeps the day to day books as best as they can before the accountant swoops in and tidies things up at year-end.

As your business scales, the finance function requirements become more complex and the risk of getting it wrong increases. First Accounts was formed to help startup businesses to have access to a mature finance function without the headaches of building and managing it in-house.


Can you help if I have fallen behind on my bookkeeping?

We understand that business owners are busy and that bookkeeping is often left to build up for months and even years. We have an affordable catch-up service to get you up to date if you have fallen behind.


Is there a minimum monthly contract?

We do a lot of transactional services which require no minimum spend (€0), but for relational clients who we represent financially, our minimum monthly fee is €250.

How much bookkeeping do I need?

This depends on the number of transactions in your bank account, and how many bills, expenses and sales invoices that are needed each month to help you decide the amount of bookkeeping support you need.


Why does my business need bookkeeping?

There are many reasons, but there are two vital ones:

  1. Out of necessity: you simply cannot report your income and calculate taxes owed correctly if your books are out-of-date. Either you are paying too much tax, or worse, you’re under-declaring taxes and exposing yourself to heft fines, and a tarnished reputation.
  2. It’s better for business: If you want to have a better chance of success and an accurate view of your business finances, profitability and cash flow, then you need your accounts to be up to date each month.


Can I get accounting if I’m not a bookkeeping client?

Sorry, our bookkeeping service is only available to accounting clients. If you’re looking for help and support with bookkeeping, we have a helpful YouTube channel with handy tips on how to start a company in Ireland, setup and use Xero cloud accounting, and how to make the best use of all the grants and investment schemes available.


Is bookkeeping difficult?

It certainly can be, but it really depends on your ‘setup’!

At First Accounts, we use Xero, Hubdoc and Brightpay as the core elements of our bookkeeping function. By using these tools, we make it extremely simple to keep on top of record-keeping.

If you migrate to our system, it should not take more than a few hours a month to keep your account up to date. Your client managers can give you tips on how to make things easier with tools like automated bank feeds, and our OCR expenses app. If you have more complicated accounts, or you simply need to free up more time, then our bookkeeping service could be ideal.


Who will handle my bookkeeping?

One of our experienced, qualified bookkeepers will take care of your bookkeeping needs. They are quick, efficient and know everything about our system setup so you can be sure everything is taken care of.


How quickly and how often will my bookkeeping be done?

As often or as quick as you want, but we will need to charge more.

Typically though, once you send us all the documents we need – such as receipts and your company’s banking information (on a CSV file or direct bank feed) – we will ensure your bookkeeping is completed within 20 working days of receiving all the information we need. If you don’t have a CSV file or bank feed, you can send us copies of your company’s bank or credit card statements, but the service will cost more due to the additional time involved in processing these.

Which expenses qualify for R&D tax relief?

In order to claim R&D tax credits, you must have incurred revenue expenditure in relation to qualifying R&D activity. The following categories of expenditure can be included:
Staff Costs: Cost of directly employing staff who are actively engaged in R&D activity. Includes: PRSI, pension fund contributions, bonuses and (if applicable) payment to subjects involved i.e. for clinical trials.

Externally provided workers and subcontractors: Cost of paying a staff provider for staff provided to the company, or a sub-contractor who is directly and actively engaged in carrying out R&D activity.

Consumable Items: Consumable or transformable materials used directly in carrying out R&D.

Software: Revenue expenditure incurred on computer software employed directly in R&D.

Utility Costs: Power, water and fuel used directly in carrying out R&D.

Why would my business need these services?

There are many reasons, but there are two vital ones:

Out of necessity: in order for your business to continue, you will need to apply for these extenuating forms of finance. They are completely legal and available for your business, so nothing to be worried about.
It’s better for business, and the economy: if your business is successful because it had the cash to invest in the right things at the right time, then it will bring employment and create growth in the economy.

Can I get help with grant aid and investment if I’m not an accounting client of yours?

Of course! We are only too glad to help with this – book a discovery call.

We also have a helpful YouTube channel with handy tips on how to test eligibility and apply for all the schemes available to your business.

Is it difficult to get funding this way?

It certainly can be, but it really depends on your what your business does.

At First Accounts, we will assess how long it will take based on a variety of factors, which will need to find out by discussing your business and investigating with your current accounting.

Who will process the claims?

One of our experienced, qualified accountants will take care of your grant, investment and tax refund claims. They are quick, efficient and know everything about our system setup so you can be sure everything is taken care of.

How often do I need to file a VAT return?

An Irish VAT-registered company normally has obligation to submit VAT returns every two months. The due date for the filing of the VAT return together with the associated payment for any VAT due is the 23rd day of the month following the relevant VAT period, e.g. the May/ June 2020 VAT return is due by 23 July 2020.

What fines and penalties are issued for non-compliance?

The following is a list of penalties for VAT

  • failure to register as an accountable person — €4,000
  • failure to charge the VAT and pay VAT over to Revenue — €4,000
  • failure to keep proper books and records — €4,000
  • failure to comply with invoicing requirements — €4,000
  • failure to furnish a quarterly statement of intra-Community supplies (VIES return) to the Revenue Commissioners — €4,000
  • assisting in making incorrect returns, invoices, credit notes — €4,000
  • issue of a VAT invoice by a non-registered person — €4,000
  • unauthorised charge of a flat-rate addition — €4,000
  • willfully obstructing or delaying an officer authorised by the Revenue Commissioners in exercising his or her powers — €4,000
  • preventing or obstructing a person authorised by the Revenue Commissioners to inspect property for the purposes of valuing the property for VAT purposes — €4,000
  • where the failures or acts referred to above are carried out by a body of persons, the secretary of the body is liable for the payment of a separate penalty — €4,000
  • supplying taxable goods and services in contravention of the requirement of security for the protection of the Revenue (Section 109 bond) in respect of each such supply — €4,000.

How difficult is it to calculate and report VAT?

It really depends on your bookkeeping system.

At First Accounts, we have perfected this using Xero cloud accounting software.

You will need to record allowable VAT on purchases (reimbursable VAT) and VAT on sales (collected VAT).

You will also need to track sales of services and goods to the EU (and keep a record of your customer’s EU VAT number).

What is VAT RTD?

All VAT-registered persons are required to file a Return of Trading Details (RTD) following the end of their accounting period (which is usually aligned to the financial year). The RTD is a statistical return summarising actual sales and purchase figures, the VAT on which was included in the less detailed periodic VAT returns during the accounting period. The return gathers the information through four key questions:

  1. Have you made supplies of goods or services?
  2. Did you acquire any goods or services from the European Union, including Northern Ireland?
  3. Did you purchase goods or services for resale?
  4. Did you purchase goods or services that are not for resale but where VAT paid on them can be claimed as an input credit?

The fields on the return are completed using the net sales or purchase figures at the various VAT rates applicable to the relevant transactions. For example, the net total sales of goods and services supplied for question 1 would be broken down into the various VAT rate categories (9%, 13.5%, 23%, etc.) and included in the return based on the total for each rate.

What is a VIES return for?

A VIES (VAT information exchange system) is a return outlining details of overseas supplies made by VAT-registered businesses. All Irish VAT-registered businesses providing services to customers in other EU member states must submit VIES returns where the customer is a business customer (such supplies are referred to as ‘business-to-business’ (‘B2B’) supplies).

What is VAT MOSS?

VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) is a way of paying VAT on supplies of certain digital services if either: you are an Irish business who makes supplies to consumers in EU member states, your business is based outside the Republic of Ireland and EU and you make supplies to the Republic of Ireland or EU consumers.

For instance, if you sell digital goods/services to Italy, you will need to collect VAT at the Italian standard rate and report this to Revenue. Revenue will then pass this VAT on to the Italian Revenue services.

How much do payroll services cost? What factors go into the pricing?

Pricing for our payroll services includes a base fee which is based on the frequency of your payroll, a fee for each employee, and the number of extra forms that need to be filed with Revenue. Other contributing factors include garnishments, SML, new hires, and if you’re doing business in other countries.

What do I need to provide in order for you to process my payroll?

We’ll need the information found on each employees’ P60 or P45. Also, information about how you pay each employee (i.e. hourly, salary, commission), and if you provide bonuses. Lastly, we would need to know about any recurring voluntary or involuntary deductions from employees’ checks and in some cases, whether they are qualified pre-tax deductions or not.

We would also need to know their personal information (using our form).

What do your payroll processes look like?

After you provide us with the basic information, we do the rest. Everything is scheduled electronically for payslips to be emailed out.

We can also automatically calculate and schedule payroll taxes electronically from your business account. We will also submit your quarterly tax reports and annual returns using ROS.ie

What are the advantages of outsourcing payroll to a service provider?

Outsourcing payroll saves time and money. It is actually less expensive to have an outside service process your payroll when you factor in all the variables. You also get the peace of mind of having a payroll professional making sure that you are in compliance.

What does a Company Secretary do?

It is a legal requirement of every company in Ireland to have a Company Secretary. The Company Secretary is an officer of the company and one of their primary roles is corporate governance. They provide advice to members of the board and ensure the company remains legally compliant. They also ensure the administration of the company is run smoothly.

Why do I need a Registered Office Address?

The registered office of a company is that to which CRO correspondence and all formal legal notices addressed to the company will be sent. The registered office can be anywhere in the State.

The address must be a physical location, not just a post office box number, because people have the right to visit the company’s registered office to inspect certain registers and documents and to deliver documents by hand. A letter addressed to the company at its registered office address must be capable of being delivered by An Post.

What is a Virtual Office?

A virtual office is part of the growing flexible workspace industry that provides businesses with a combination of services, from space and/or technology, to postal redirects, without those businesses bearing the capital expenses of owning or leasing a traditional office.

What is a B1 Annual Return?

An annual return (Form B1) is an electronic document setting out certain prescribed company information which is required to be delivered by an Irish company, whether trading or not, to the CRO.

What is cloud accounting?

Cloud accounting means storing and accessing accounting and bookkeeping data and programs over the Internet (on multiple servers in various locations) instead of your computer’s hard drive.

The “cloud” is just a metaphor for a series of computers linked via the internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.

What are the benefits of cloud accounting?

The best advantages to cloud accounting are:

  • the ability to crunch data faster than your computer can
  • the ability to work anywhere with an internet connection
  • much better data security
  • the ability to scale your accounting needs quickly
  • the ability to have updates in the background, without interruption
  • reduced costs from outsourcing

Is the cloud secure?

Most cloud solutions are multi-national corporations who have A LOT to lose if there are any data breaches.

A loss in consumer trust could mean the end of their business.

That’s why they direct a lot of funding towards security – more so than the average business owner could manage if there files were on a laptop that could be easily stolen and hacked into.

What kind of software do I need for cloud accounting and how much does it cost?

This is the best part – due to the economies of scale that can happen when more people use the cloud.

You don’t need to install any other software other than a modern internet browser in most cases. From there, you simply use the software as and when you need it (no need for you to update it).

Xero and Hubdoc are our favourite cloud tools to use. Xero is priced between €19 and €39 per month, and Hubdoc comes free with a Xero subscription.

What will happen if I don’t adopt cloud-based technologies?

The cloud isn’t just the future, it’s the present. Even if your on-site accounting solution seems to function “just fine”, or if you’re diligent about managing your traditional processes, the world of accounting is inevitably changing, and it’s important for your business to keep up.

The risk associated with maintaining old processes isn’t a question of capability – rather, it’s a question of whether or not you want to grow your business and maintain a competitive edge.

In any case, why not just take this as an opportunity to clean up your existing processes and gain some efficiencies along the way?