Why Keep Books

Every business needs to keep books and records to ensure that proper control over the business is maintained. This is the case whether the business is operated by one person as a sole trader just providing his/her own labour or by a limited company of substantial size with separate directors and shareholders. These records will help to ensure that all work done/sales are paid for and not forgotten and that all business expenses are claimed for.

Since the introduction of self assessment there has been a statutory requirement to keep proper books and records. Previously it was only recommended by the Inland Revenue that proper books and records be kept. Now it is against the law not to. A further incentive to keep books, if one were needed, is that the HM Revenue & Customs can now impose penalties of up to £3,000 for failure to do so!

It has always been a good idea to keep good records and this provides at least some additional protection in the event of an enquiry by the Inland Revenue. Some people work under the foolish misapprehension that keeping poor records means that the Inland Revenue can not prove anything. The simple truth is that HM Revenue & Customs do not have to prove their case. All they have to show is that the records are unreliable and they can then disregard them and come up with their own figures. When they do this the, figures can and sometimes are flights of fantasy but this is the businessman's problem not HM Revenue & Custom's! Don't expect the Inspector of Taxes to be sympathetic if you have not kept books or if your records are poor, he/she will exploit this situation to your detriment.

What Is Meant By "PROPER Books And Records"?

This will vary according to a number of factors including:

  • the size of business

  • the number of people involved in it (Sole trader, Partnership, with employees or not)

  • the legal status (Limited companies are generally expected to keep better records)
    Whether goods are bought on credit or not

  • Whether all sales are on "cash" terms on credit terms

  • The range of transactions normally undertaken

  • Whether the business is VAT registered or not

We can give you advice at the outset on the type of books required. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until you have completed your first year of trading before consulting us or any other accountant. By then you may have gone down the wrong track with your books and made the preparation of your accounts more difficult, more time consuming and therefore more expensive than you need have done.

We can advise you on the sort of records that you should keep and can provide a range of accounting records designed for ease of use by clients whilst providing the information needed to prepare their accounts in a useful format.

Computerised Records

We can also you advise on:

  • the use of spreadsheets adapted to provide the basis of your accounting records

  • a number of computerised accounts packages

Manual Records

The manual accounting records we can provide ready made up include:

A pad of weekly cash sheets

Suitable for businesses which are registered for vat and use the cash accounting scheme.
They can also be used by businesses which are not registered for VAT.
These are useful to Pubs, Restaurants and many Shops.
The pads contain 52 weekly sheets and 4 quarterly VAT Summary Sheets all pre-printed to guide you through the process as simply as possible.

A range of Accounts books

Suitable for sole traders in a number of trades, who are not vat registered. Each of these books has been specifically tailored to meet the needs of various trades including but by no means limited to:

Sub Contractors (who are paid net of CIS tax)

Sub Contractors (paid gross of CIS tax)

Taxi Drivers



Bed & Breakfast establishments


Locum Doctors

And many more - we can also design and produce others to special request.

A Limited Company Accounts Book

Suitable for one person limited companies (including service companies) who are not vat registered


Naturally we can also advise on whether other pre-printed proprietary accounts books or analysis books available from good stationers would be more suitable in any particular circumstances.

Full Bookkeeping Service

If you want or need to divest yourself of all the recurring bookkeeping work, then Handley Evans & Co can handle that for you. Using modern technology we can create and maintain your accounting records and give you access to them online.