Can I Do My Own Accounts? And iXBRL Format

If you’re an accountant yourself, perhaps with an understanding of the intricacies of HMRC and its multitude of forms, or know someone who has these skills and is willing to assist you, you may be able to handle your own accounts without hassle.

Having said that, not only will it take up many hours of your valuable time (which could be used for chargeable work, or for spending quality time with family and friends), but you also run the very real risk of getting it wrong. This could lead to any number of worrying situations, such as where you’ve not put enough aside to cover your tax bill, or you get fined for the unpaid tax because you missed a vital deadline.

We could liken having an accountant to building your own house. You could potentially save money by doing it yourself, but run the risk of repercussion if you do any of the specialised work incorrectly. Alternatively, you could pay a builder and then concentrate on doing what you do best; earning the money to pay for it. Choosing to have a good accountant handle your tax submissions means you have no need to worry about deadlines, tax intricacies - or even submitting your documents in the correct format.

What is iXBRL?

XBRL stands for extensible business reporting language - used for financial statements. It enables a document to be readable by humans, as well as machines, by adding a computer-readable tag.

iXBRL is the development of XBRL; it allows an electronic rendering of XBRL documents. While an XBRL document requires specific software to operate, an iXBRL document can be opened in any browser.

As of the 31st March 2011, all tax returns have needed to be submitted to HMRC in iXBRL format.

If you use high powered software programs like Sage or IRIS, which most accountants use, you won’t have any concerns over this requirement.

iXBRL Accounts: software vs accountant

Certain software is required in order to render iXBRL format documents. Ensuring your documents are correctly formatted is only one aspect to submitting your tax returns. The reason the majority of contractors choose to appoint an accountant is that they no longer need to worry about the intricacies of tax. Unless you are experienced in tax returns, calculations, deductions and all requirements for HMRC, appointing an accountant may be your best option.

Providing an accountancy service involves far more than simply checking invoices and receipts, and then filling in a tax return form once a year. A good accountant will provide ongoing, proactive advice throughout the year and not just at the end - when it will probably be too late to save you from an excessive tax bill. And in order to do this, they have to keep abreast of the UK tax system and all of its regulations and legislative changes - including staying compliant with iXBRL format documents.

Your accountant should:

Poor tax planning, or even worse no tax planning, can lead to any number of financial difficulties - such as an overdrawn directors loan account, financial penalties due to late or incorrectly submitted tax submissions, incurring additional tax for things that are classed as ‘benefits in kind’ and so on. The list is endless.

The SJD Service

You will have access to your own dedicated accountant via telephone, email and face to face meetings throughout the year, to give you all of the help and advice that you need. Some other accountancy companies require you to work through a call centre and only have access to your accountant at year end.

We’ll also send you email alerts so you never miss a deadline. We understand that you are busy and may miss one notification, which is why we ensure that several are sent.

We will support you fully, act as an intermediary between you and all HMRC correspondence and contact with regards to VAT, PAYE and other tax-related issues. We will also keep you fully updated with regards to changes in tax law and the UK tax system that may affect you including IR35 related changes.

What services does SJD Accountancy provide?

Our all-inclusive fixed fee service starts from £120 plus VAT per month which covers:

Accountancy Packages

Expenses Guide

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How can SJD Accountancy help?


Appointing an accountant can save you time and stress when starting up on your own. If you would like to speak to someone about any of the above information or any other queries you may have, arrange a callback and a member of the team will be in touch.

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