Worrying number of small and micro-businesses use a pen and paper as their main method for managing financial accounts


More than a third (34%) of micro-businesses have felt overwhelmed by their business accounting, according to research by FreeAgent.

Many business owners struggle with the complexity of their accounts, with 33% of those responsible for completing business tax returns saying they felt anxious about those tax returns.

Additionally, 8% stated that they were “very anxious” about completing their Self-Assessment, VAT and Corporation tax returns.

Alarminlgy, 20% of micro-business owners surveyed admitted that a pen and paper was their main method for managing accounts – while 17% claimed they did not have immediate access to important financial information.

The report also found that 13% of micro-businesses have missed tax return deadlines, with 9% of such businesses receiving fines for having done so.

Ed Molyneux, co-founder and CEO of FreeAgent, said: “Anxiety about your accounts is a clear warning sign that you’re not on top of the numbers.

“To counter this, we recommend micro-business owners put robust systems and practices in place. The more organised you are, and the easier you make it to manage your basic accounting, the less likely you’ll be to feel overwhelmed or anxious about your finances.

“Also, when it comes to tax returns, it’s important not to panic if you miss a deadline. Filing your tax return late can be a scary prospect but as long as you do it as soon as possible – and settle your fine and actually pay the tax you owe – you should be able to avoid extra fines and scrutiny.”