Insights From the FMco Team

The Shoebox Client

The Shoebox Client

We deal with a lot of what we casually refer to as the “shoebox” clients. The shoebox client is someone whose financial documents are stored in the aforementioned shoebox and that documentation is presented to us as is. As far as they are concerned, they do their job, and it’s our job to look after the contents of the shoebox.

Many of our shoebox clients work as consultants or in the trades as sole traders, and are typically very good at balancing important figures in their head. They know about margins, how to price a job, how much they can afford to pay suppliers, and so on. But for working out profit and loss, they leave all of that to us, and often their VAT calculations as well.

The shoebox is usually a repository of bank statements – quite often unopened – along with purchase invoices and sales invoices, and oftentimes no more. It’s our role now also to find out what things they are missing (a common occurrence) and what kind of efficiencies we can bring to these kinds of clients.

Subsistence and mileage are the two main areas where clients aren’t fully aware of how the regulations work. Likewise, we’re keen to make sure that our clients are fully aware of the tax implications when purchasing a commercial vehicle. While there was once something of a grey area surrounding this, things have been tightened up and clarified in recent years, and we don’t want people to fall afoul of these regulations.

Technology, in particular mobile access to emails and photos on phones, has begun to change the way people look after paperwork in their working day. Paper receipts can get quickly turned into digital files stored in a specific mailbox. While this technology has taken off hugely in the USA and Britain, with options like Hubdoc or Receipt Bank providing a lot of options for managing financial documents, it has been slower to take off in Ireland.

Our shoebox clients are ultimately concerned about the October income tax filing deadline, and typically most larger operations have filing responsibilities throughout the year, so the focus in October falls more on this kind of client. With the changes in submissions from paper to digital, things are a lot more efficient but the flexibility offered by Revenue in previous years might no longer be available. However in our many years of experience working with clients of this ilk at FMCo, we find they don’t care greatly about the finer details. They do their work, and pay us to make sure that the tax man is one less thing to be concerned with!

A “shoebox” client will usually move towards an online solution when they want to make billing and debt collection an easier process. Once this happens we can advise on best systems to suit the client and their budget.

For information about the possibilities that software can afford your business, we suggest you read our post about cloud-based accounting software and what is recommended for clients.

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