Business // Accounts talk {from a girl who never expected to run a business!}

November 12, 2018

When I started my blog, just over 4 years ago now, I never expected to make any money from it. It was at a time where I perceived there to be so many big blogs already so I didn't think there was any room for me to join them, and also influencer marketing just wasn't really a big thing back then. I'm not even sure if the term influencer, which I really hate but it seems to be the way to describe my job, existed. I started this blog, and my Instagram account for the love of sharing and taking photos, and wanting to document everything from our house projects to my favourite recipes, garden growing, days out and travel adventures. Yet over time, and I'd say particularly in this last eighteen months, blogging/instagramming/content creating/collaborating has now become my full time job.
Which is still just madness really when you think about the fact that Instagram is just an app. {side note, I feel grateful every single day for everybody who follows along and love the community which is on that app}. 

Gradually, paid campaigns started coming in, and whilst I'm still very aware of what I take on {I turn down 90% of offers that come my way because I've only ever wanted to work with brands that I truly love and believe in. Otherwise it makes it all too stressful and I'm proud of my curated Instagram feed, I don't want some randomly placed ad to ruin that}, it's now become my main source of income. With this came a business. And it took a long time to dawn on me that my job is actually running a business. Which I know some people can't really believe either as they think that my job isn't really a job at all but is in fact just faffing/taking pretty photos! Which is probably partly true haha I mean it's hardly saving lives each day is it? But there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, I guess with any job that can be hard to appreciate from the outside. And I might write another post about the fact that it's so engrained within my life which can be weird, and challenging at times. But that's another story. Today I wanted to talk about the business side of things.

For a long time, I was keeping track of invoices/open work/money owed on a note on my iPhone and issuing invoices from a word document on my laptop. I used to make up an invoice number each time and unless the company I was billing requested certain things, it was pretty basic. I didn't keep track of my accounts or income earned as it literally never occurred to me that I was running a business, if that makes sense? I guess I was just pretty clueless/naive and the amounts that I was earning didn't come close to covering the expenses I was incurring from running a blog.

Eventually as it grew, I realised that I really needed to start doing things properly as when I did have to produce my first lot of accounts, it was such a nightmare, and a huge headache, to go back through old emails/documents to find everything that I'd invoiced for over the past couple of years. And I didn't even know where to start on my expenses. I realised that everything would be so much simpler with an accountant. But I didn't want to pay a lot of money for an accountant as I wasn't earning that much money. It's just a small business. But a business is a business no matter how small and so you do need to keep on track of, and submit accounts each year. So my brother in law who set SAS Micro up, who specialise in this kind of thing for what they call home-preneurs/individuals and small businesses, suggested that I should make use of their services.

SAS Micro are a tech-driven accountancy practice that focuses on individuals and small businesses that are often sent to the back of the queue by traditional accountants. Their processes, software and cost is tailored towards this, meaning that your business can thrive from efficiency and means you don't have to waste any of your precious time. They offer simple, efficient and affordable accountancy, taxation and bookkeeping services.

I personally didn't really want to give any of my time, when I could be writing content/doing work or doing something fun, to these admin accounts issues.

Now, instead of my iPhone notes, and rusty invoicing system, I use a program called Xero {designed with the non-accountant like me in mind} which they've set me up with to keep track of everything, and I mean everything. I have a proper business bank account {which instead of paying a big fee for, SAS have a company they're affiliated with called Tide which is free and you just pay a small amount per transaction and can set it up with a selfie on your phone rather than having to go to a branch with lots of documents}, which means that Xero can tick off when any invoice is paid. It can chase payments for you, it will let you know when invoices are overdue. And crucially, because everything is on there, I'll never have to waste time again by going back through all of my invoices/expenses when it's time to submit my tax return.

SAS Micro now submit everything that I would have to do to HMRC so I don't have to worry about deadlines or getting penalties. If you're worried about the level of tax that you should be paying, they can talk you through all of that too.

I had no idea what bank reconciling meant for example - all things that a book keeper/accountant would do for you but normally at a big fee. Now with Xero I can pretty much manage everything myself, knowing that the team are there in the office if I'm not sure on anything. And I went along to a Xero training day at SAS Micro which helped me hugely too {although if you're not local to their offices, like most of their clients who are all around the country, then they can do everything remotely with screen sharing}.

I'm most excited about keeping track of my expenses with ReceiptBank, a new app that SAS are offering to their clients which means you can simply take a photo of a receipt, or forward an email with a screenshot of a bill for your congestion charge/parking/client lunch whatever it may be, and it will automatically set that up as a itemised bill on Xero which will make everything 10x easier for working out where you stand, and having a proper record for the Taxman. It saves having those piles of receipts and spreadsheets {or in my case, embarrassingly basic iPhone notes when I remembered}.

The cost is low but the key thing for me has been the time & money saved from employing SAS Micro and whilst I'm only paying a small fee, knowing that there is a real team in an office {who are super friendly} behind it if I need any help. And I also love how they're all millennials who post on Instagram/social media rather than some stuffy old school accountancy practice.

If you're interested in finding out more, you can get in touch with them at or call 0333 202 6442 and go to

I'd love to hear your experience with running a business, or if you're as bad with accounts as I am/was?!

R <3 xx 

Photos of me by Binky Nixon from this shoot.

{This is not a sponsored post. Whilst I'm kind of related to the SAS Micro directors, I've been dealing with Finlay and this is all based on my actual experience and I honestly would recommend them. I'm not under any obligation to share anything but thought this might help anyone in a similar position to me and I'm also super proud & supportive of the business that they've created.}

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  1. I run a business called Silver Apples Bakery in Manchester with my sister.were a smallish team of 12 and grew pretty can be completely overwhelming going from managing small invoices and a couple of people to pay to teaching yourself how to issue thousands of Invoices and run payroll, stock etc. We now use Xero as well and it's drastically improved our day to day running of the finance side of the business. Great to read your story as we can identify with all of those stages from small start up to actually being a living, breathing business !Tm

  2. I’m gearing up for my first tax return and I have piles of papers everywhere and iPhone notes. I sell French Antiques and most purchases are with cash. It’s a nightmare


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