Frequently Asked Questions

HASL aims for accuracy and transparency in both our books and how our service works. If anything remains unclear or if you have a question not covered by this FAQ, please get in touch with us here.

How We Work

How does pricing work?

Our accounting, bookkeeping, and tax plans are based on a monthly subscription model with transparent pricing that scales with your expense rate, the number of employees and your business needs such as connected applications, for people and or property management, POS, and inventory.

Is support included?

Yes! Support is included in your plan. Your dedicated finance business partner is happy to answer any questions you might have. We aim to respond within a business day or less.

Do we send sales invoices on your behalf to your customers? 

Yes, we are happy to provide this support as an additional service. Please contact us to discuss. However, we are Xero certified partners, so that means we will also set up workflows in Xero to automate invoicing. We can also work with connected applications that will seamlessly connect to Xero and automate your accounts receivables process. Systems automation is included in all packages.

Do we pay purchase invoices on your behalf to your suppliers? 

Yes, we are also happy to provide this support as an additional service. Please contact us to discuss. As standard, we provide a secure and modern way of processing all your expenses which will include automation with audit trail and approvals for your supplier payment runs. This is with our partnership with Pleo. Training is included and for free.

What is the difference between accrual and cash bookkeeping?

Cash bookkeeping only tracks when money enters or leaves a bank account. Accrual bookkeeping is a more sophisticated approach that records when the money was earned or owed. Most larger companies use accrual and HASL does accrual from day one so there is no painful transition later.

What types of companies does HASL work with?

We specialise in working with the hospitality industry in Scotland. That is – businesses that provide food services or accommodation services. This includes, but is not limited to, bars, cafés, restaurants, mobile food vendors, caterers, and hotels.

What are the requirements to start with HASL?

We have three requirements that allow us to deliver the most accurate books for your business.

  1. Electronic transaction access
  2. Expense reporting software
  3. A bank account that is you have designated for your business. Speak to us if you for a referral to our banking partner, Tide.


Do we offer discounts for start-up companies?

Yes – HASL has special offers for start-up companies with less than 2 years of trading. Contact us to learn more about the additional services we can help you with when registering a new company.

What is our cancellation policy?

Your initial period as our client partner is a paid trial for 3 months. You can leave us at any time during this period. Your subscription is a minimum 12-month contract from the sign-off date, after the initial paid trial.  If you decide not to renew after the year is over, you can let us know in advance as we will require a two-month notice. Although we wish you never leave us, we use the notice period to pull together your transfer-out pack.

Can you change price plans during the contract?

Yes, we understand the need to flex with your business. You can change your package with us at any time.

Are there one–time fees upon signing up?

Yes, there is an onboarding fee equal to one month of bookkeeping to help us make sure your setup process is a smooth one.


Why use Cloud Accounting Software?

HASL does all its bookkeeping in Xero because it offers several advantages:

  • Seamless tax preparation.
  • Industry-standard.
  • Data security and portability.
  • Integration with other software applications e.g., POS and PMS.

If I am on QuickBooks Online, can you migrate me from QBO?

Yes, we can help you transition your books over to Xero. As part of our onboarding process, we will make monthly journal entries in Xero from your monthly account totals in QBO (for both the balance sheet and the P&L/income statement) going back to the beginning of the year. We can also help with other software, please let us know which software you use.


How do taxes work with HASL?

Tax preparation is included in your HASL Bookkeeping subscription.

If HASL did not do my books for the entire year, can I still use HASL Tax including the Tax Credit service?

Yes, we will generally want to look at the year’s books to make sure they meet our standards, but many HASL customers started HASL halfway through the year. We can help you to submit a claim for R&D tax relief for up to two previous accounting years.

Do you do personal income taxes?

Yes, we support self-assessments for the self-employed.

R&D Credit

What is the R&D tax credit?

The accounting definition

Accounting practice is an area that has seen significant upheaval in recent years with the introduction of new UK GAAP from, broadly, 1 January 2015. Most companies will now prepare their accounts per Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102.

Different definitions of ‘research’ and ‘development’ apply depending on the accounting route chosen/required but all are broadly similar. The position under FRS 102 is considered here:

In the glossary to FRS 102, ‘research’ is described as:

“Original and planned investigation undertaken with the prospect of gaining new scientific or technical knowledge and understanding.”

Examples of research activities are:

  1. activities aimed at obtaining new knowledge.
  2. the search for, evaluation and final selection of, applications of research findings or other knowledge.
  3. the search for alternatives for materials, devices, products, processes, systems, or services.
  4. the formulation, design, evaluation, and final selection of possible alternatives for new or improved materials, devices, products, processes, systems, or services.

And ‘development’ as:

“The application of research findings or other knowledge to a plan or design for the production of new or substantially improved materials, devices, products, processes, systems or services before the start of commercial production or use.”

Examples of development activities are:

  1. the design, construction and testing of pre-production or pre-use prototypes and models.
  2. the design of tools, jigs, moulds, and dies involving new technology.
  3. the design, construction and operation of a pilot plant that is not of a scale economically feasible for commercial production; and
  4. the design, construction and testing of a chosen alternative for new or improved materials, devices, products, processes, systems or services.”

Do I qualify for R&D tax credits?

“R&D takes place when a project seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology”.

What is a ‘project’?

A project consists of the activities conducted to a method or plans to achieve that advance in science or technology.

Activities that directly contribute to achieving the advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty are R&D. However, certain qualifying indirect activities related to the project are also R&D.

What is ‘scientific or technological uncertainty?

Scientific or technological uncertainty exists when knowledge of whether something is feasible is not available and cannot be easily deduced by a competent professional.

Examples of activities that may directly contribute to R&D:

The creation or adaptation of software, materials, or equipment; planning activities (including planning and management of the work but not researching gaps in the market or examining a project’s financial, marketing, or legal aspects); and design testing and analysis.

Examples of activities that do not directly contribute to R&D:

The commercial and financial steps necessary for innovation and the development and marketing of the product, etc.; the production and distribution of goods and services (with the exception, of design, construction and testing of prototypes which generally falls within the scope of R&D); and administration and support services (i.e., storage, cleaning, repairs, etc.).

Examples of qualifying indirect activities

Indirect supporting activities (e.g., administration and security) undertaken for R&D; ancillary activities essential to the undertaking of R&D (e.g., maintaining equipment and leasing laboratories); and research and feasibility studies.

FP&A Services

Outsource vs. hire a full–time FP&A?

Financial Planning and Analysis is completed by commercial accountants or analysts. It is very costly for small business owners to hire full-time analysts, so we are on a mission to disrupt the accountancy services by offering commercial accountancy business support alongside traditional accounting services. All our package deals include management accounts.

What does the process for HASL FP&A Services look like?

Get started by reaching out to your new finance team here. Our finance business partners will set up a call to discuss what fits your business needs and answer any questions. After you sign up, our FP&A team will further scope out the details of supporting your financial needs and timelines during a kick-off call. Our goal is to deliver robust financial analysis and expert support to unlock growth for your business. For more details on our FP&A Services, see here.

Hospitality Accounting

Why is bookkeeping for hospitality businesses unique?

Hospitality businesses face challenges around managing physical goods (such as COGS, inventory, supply chain, fulfilment), and often have complex selling channels (such as multiple platforms, differing fee and pay-out structures, and multiple payment processors). They also tend to have large transaction volumes.  This is one of the reasons why it is important to have a professional bookkeeper with a strong background in your industry.

Financial Accounting – The hospitality industry like most service sectors consist of buying and selling goods and services. The main areas are hotel rooms and F&B. However other areas include gaming, forms of entertainment and other club and cruise ship services. Finance Business Partners will analyse and summarise all these financial transactions and draw up reports and balance sheets that will accurately reflect the earnings over expenditure to arrive at profitability.

Cost Accounting – This is very important as it classifies, and records hundreds of expenses made in a whole lot of different departments. The focus over here is the classification of functional heads which will have to be exact if the final balance sheet is to be accurate in all respects. An example will illustrate this point. If you are a general manager of a resort you cannot stop at restaurant accounting services. Your deputies in various departments such as the golf course, F&B and the spa will be spending money to keep the operations running. This is challenging for you to track but is a must if you are the person who will be accountable for the entire operations. Finance Business Partners will dissect the total costs as per area of functioning and products and services sold. This will be presented in appropriate formats to make the whole matter easily comprehensible. Here again, outsourcing this function will take a load off your shoulders. We aim to give you the freedom to focus on your operations instead.

Managerial Accounting – This includes the forecasting of activities based on experience /performance and is a major financial consideration for the restaurant and hospitality sector. Based on previous expenses and utilisation of goods and services it must be decided what level of inventories should be stocked. You will do well to outsource this inventory management which we include in our restaurant accounting services so that your inventory is optimized.

Tax Accounting – Another very onerous task for the hospitality sector. The range of taxes payable cover a broad spectrum that includes amongst others, hotel room occupancy, F&B, entertainment, and other services, all with varying tax rates which might also differ between states. Let us take care of this aspect for you.

What kinds of hospitality businesses does HASL support?

HASL serves small businesses in the hospitality sector of Scotland. This is initially across food & beverage and accommodation services. It will soon include leisure and recreation. Please do not hesitate to contact us now as we may support your business very soon.

Do you handle inventory?

HASL makes inventory updates in your financial statements every month based on data provided either directly by you or by the source of truth for your inventory, such as an inventory management system.

What system do you recommend for managing inventory?

We work with a variety of inventory management solutions that integrate into Xero but recommend Market Man based on its simplicity of use and ability to scale. Get in touch with us for more information on our recommended technology stack for hospitality here.

Does HASL break out revenue and costs by product and/or channel?

Yes, HASL can break out revenue and costs in your P&L by product line and/or channel. Depending on the degree of granularity you would like to capture, we recommend doing this in the P&L itself for simpler breakouts (e.g., revenue by channel) and via a detailed KPI dashboard for more complex analysis (e.g., monthly profitability by SKU).

Does HASL handle VAT?

Yes. We handle your VAT returns as standard. We use software that is compatible with Making Tax Digital for VAT.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a government initiative that sets out a bold vision for the UK to have “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world”. The first stage rolled out on 1st April 2019 and followed by:

April 2021

All VAT returns submitted through accounting software must be sent via the software’s MTD connection.

April 2022

VAT-registered businesses with Vatable sales below £85,000 must follow MTD rules.

April 2023

HMRC will introduce MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment.

2026 onwards

HMRC will seek to introduce MTD for Corporation Tax.


Can HASL help me with funding?

We have partnered with Fluidly who can help with funding services through their platform.

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