Posted - 31/12/10 | 0 Comments

Clear is ready for the UK VAT rate change on 4 January 2011

On 4 January 2011 the rate at which VAT is levied on applicable goods and services changes from 17.5% to 20%. If you are VAT registered this change will effect what you must put on your invoices. At the moment, if you are VAT registered, Clear will apply VAT at 17.5% to each line of your invoice by default. This is clearly shown as you create a new invoice. If you are eligible to apply a different rate of VAT (Reduced Rate or Zero Rate) then you can select these rates for each line from the drop down list in the “VAT Rate” field as you create a new invoice (see the screen shot below).

The change to cater for the new VAT rate is already made and available in Clear. You will see that when you create a new invoice, the drop down list in the “VAT Rate” field now includes an option to add VAT at 20%. This is shown in the screen shot below:

VAT is usually charged on the basis of when the goods or services are delivered and not when the invoice is sent. The 17.5% VAT rate will remain available for use for the foreseeable future in order that you can invoice for goods and services delivered before 4th January. However please note that from 4th January the default VAT rate applied on your invoices will be 20%. If you want to change that to 17.5% you will have to select this rate from the drop down list in the “VAT Rate” field.

To save creating more invoices than is necessary, it is possible and quite legitimate to include different VAT rates on the same invoice. So you could apply the old 17.5% VAT rate to some lines (where those goods and services were delivered before 4 January 2011) and the new 20% rate to lines for goods and services delivered after 4 January 2011. Don’t worry about all of the calculations, Clear takes care of that!

If you have any doubts about which VAT rate you should apply on invoices around the changeover date it is probably wise to speak to your Accountant.

The Clear Team

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Posted - 23/12/10 | 0 Comments

Video: The Clear Choir wish you a Merry Christmas

After several glasses of mulled wine and even more practice runs, the team sing a Christmas greeting to all of our customers, partners and followers.

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year. We look forward to continuing to take our electronic invoicing services to new places in 2011.

The Clear Team

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Posted - 21/12/10 | 0 Comments

Bill of the Week: £4,900 for watching the Apprentice? You're fired.

Congratulations to Stella English, who’s just won BBC’s The Apprentice.  A worthy winner!

The series has made for great watching as usual … especially Stuart Baggs (‘The Brand’), whom – we were told – is not even a fish, never mind the size of the pond he inhabits.

The Apprentice can be watched for free … for most of us.

But one solicitor was billed an astonishing £4,900 for the privilege and is this week’s Bill of the Week or maybe even Bill of the Year!

The problem arose because of confusion over ‘unlimited broadband’. Apparently, she thought her all-you-can-eat 3G data card deal would be good abroad. It wasn’t.

So while the 46-year-old was sampling the sun and watching the BBC iPlayer on the French Riviera, the bill for streaming The Apprentice and several other programmes to her laptop was ramping up faster than the queues at Britain’s snowed-in airports. The rate was £4.25 per megabyte, apparently. That roughly equates to an eye-watering  £40 per minute of viewing time!

Not even Stuart Baggs is worth watching at that price! 

But there was a happy ending. Her mobile provider waived the fee. And no-one got fired.

Do you have a funny or frustrating bill or invoicing story to share? If so please tell us about it by emailing: billoftheweek@clearinvoices.com. We’ll give you a £50 Amazon voucher if we publish your story.

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Posted - 20/12/10 | 0 Comments

Clearly the Christmas Party

Hello December! You crept up on us a bit. One minute it was autumn and the next there is snow on the ground and Maria Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” is blaring through the office. It can only mean one thing – in the words of Noddy Holder – “IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAS!” And that means its time for our Christmas party.

This year was a new high. For a start we got through the whole party without the need for an ambulance (think of an alcoholic version of the Tortoise and the Hare and suddenly you are at the Christmas party c. 2006 – the Hare wasn’t well!). This year we went to the Priory (no not that Priory!) where we took over the upstairs bar and rubbed shoulders with its wall-to-wall pop icons.

We had a great turnout – maybe something to do with the free bar. There was lots of back slapping and high fives as we set about celebrating a great year. It was also our pleasure to welcome some friends of the family. After the longest pre-dinner drinks ever we sat 35 people down on one long table and feasted on all those things that you only put yourself through once a year (who invented bread sauce? Liquid bread!!).

Of course everyone was at the office the next day at 7.00am for the annual charity run…..not! Well done to Ping and Minal who made sure everyone was in the right place at the right time on the night. Thanks also to the Priory for hosting us – long suffering bar staff and very loud music. Celebrations over, we have now packed the Christmas party back into its container until next December.

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Posted - 13/12/10 | 0 Comments

Bill of the week: I’m dreaming of a tight Christmas

What’s your biggest restaurant invoice? For some City brokers, the good times are still rolling, so it seems. And it’s less about belt-tightening, more about easing yourself out to another notch.

According to London’s City AM, a couple of brokers were entertaining two clients at the Roux at the Landau restaurant. Adopting a philosophy that ‘life’s too short to drink cheap wine’, they reportedly paid over £1,000 for two bottles of Montrachet and another £500 for a bottle of Grands chezeaux. That’s an average of a cool £83 a glass – not the kind of stuff you make mulled wine with!

Wisely deciding not to drink on an empty stomach, they then tucked into platters of lamb, sole, scallops and foie gras. Puddings followed, ringing up a grand total of £2,003. No doubt they all made it back to the office for a full afternoon’s work – lighter in the wallet, but heavier round the middle.

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Posted - 06/12/10 | 1 Comment

Video: Clear creates an invoice in less than ten seconds

We keep telling people that Clear lets you produce invoices quickly but now we are going to show you. So click on the video below to see an online invoice created and ready to send in less than ten seconds. In fact to be precise it took 6.76 seconds. That’s not quick, that’s blisteringly quick. In fact it is so quick that when Minal finished this in 6.76 seconds she did the Usain Bolt pose!!

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Posted - 01/12/10 | 0 Comments

Cool new reporting tools with Clear 1.5

Hot on the heels of the very well received V1.4 we have just released Clear V1.5. The theme of this release is putting succinct information at your fingertips to enable you to stay on top of invoicing. We figure that a lot happens in the time between sending an invoice and collecting payment for it. This release is all about keeping on top of what happens and doesn’t happen in that time – it’s all about smart reporting. So let’s dive in and take a look.

The Reporting “home” page gives you a simple list of all the available reports. We hope this list will grow and we start with a plea – please tell us what you want to see in here. If a new report would make your life easier please go to the forum and tell us – the forum is at: https://forum.clearinvoices.com/.

Probably the most popular report is aged debtors. This shows a great snapshot of who hasn’t paid and how overdue they are so you can identify the most delinquent customer at a glance and take action. Here’s a screen shot:

If the Aged Debtors report prompts you to jump on the phone and start chasing overdue bills then you can arm yourself with an “Unpaid Invoices report” to do it. You can select which customer or customers you want to target from the report generator as shown here:

The result is a report that lists each invoices that is still outstanding from that customer(s) like this:

In a just a few simple reports you have got right to the heart of the problem of who is not paying on time. It is amazing how many small companies never quite get on top of this vital piece of information.

Your Accountant will also love V1.5! With just a few mouse clicks you can now run a VAT report for a defined period which shows the total VAT across all invoices. You can see this as a simple total or presented as a total per customer or showing the VAT split on every invoice. You can download all of these VAT reports as a CSV file making VAT returns a piece of cake.

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