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At Starling, we want to make business admin as frictionless as possible, providing you with simple, easy-to-use tools that save you time and money. Here, we outline six features of our Business Toolkit, available to both sole traders and limited companies, that could help you cut down on admin and free up time to run and grow your business.

The Business Toolkit is available to Starling business customers, through Online Banking on your laptop or desktop, priced at £7 per month. At time of publication, your first month comes free. And of course, our original business accounts are still free to open.

1. Run your bookkeeping and banking all in one place

When it comes to technology, many of us feel weighed down by too much choice. We end up with too many apps, too many screens, too many tabs on our browsers. At Starling, we want to make life simpler by providing everything in one place.

With the Toolkit, there’s no need to juggle lots of different websites or software and no need to sync your bank feed to an external party or refresh it. Your bookkeeping can tick away in the background, letting you get on with launching a new product or answering customer enquiries.

2. Create invoices and match them with live payments

Within the Business Toolkit, you can create invoices, send them seamlessly by connecting your bank account to your email, and track them to stay on top of your cash flow. There are options to replicate previous invoices and edit the details. You can also customise your invoices by adding your business logo and alternative contact details.

Matching invoices to incoming payments couldn’t be easier - our software suggests a match based on the invoice reference and amount. You can then check that the match is correct and approve it, saving you time spent scrolling through your bank feed trying to work out if an invoice has been paid or not.

3. Submit your VAT return directly from Starling

For business owners registered for VAT, our Making Tax Digital compliant software connects your Starling bank account to HMRC.

The Toolkit calculates your upcoming VAT payment, based on the transactions in your bank account, combined with your VAT scheme and settings information. Then, when the time comes for submitting your VAT payment, you can do so directly from the Toolkit.

Our Making Tax Digital software is quick and secure - you can rest assured that your VAT payment is in safe hands and will reach HMRC without any hiccups. Starling is an HMRC recognised software provider. We also have a full banking licence, meaning that your money is covered up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

4. Estimate your upcoming tax payment and save towards it

If you’re a sole trader, the Business Toolkit can also estimate your self-employment tax bills, to help you complete your SA103F form (the self-employment part of your self-assessment tax return). You can then use Spaces, a feature in the app that enables you to set aside money from your main balance, to save towards your tax liability.

All Starling business customers have access to Spaces. You can name the purpose of a Space, for example New Equipment or Holiday Pay, and add to it as and when you like, or set up a monthly contribution. You can also attach an image to Spaces, to help visualise your saving objective.

5. See an overview of your monthly spend with automatic categories

Whenever a Starling business customer spends money, we automatically categorise that transaction. This enables you to quickly analyse your monthly outgoings. For example, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve spent on marketing or your workplace, just by glancing at your Spending Insights.

Our default is to show spending for an entire month, but you can also set your own date limits in Online Banking, for example from the day your office rent goes out. The Spending Insights feature is available to all Starling customers, even if they don’t subscribe to the Business Toolkit.

The available categories are based on the HMRC tax categories, which should make things easier for you and your accountant when they look over your transactions. Better still, we use the category of each transaction to decide the appropriate tax treatment for your tax and VAT calculations. For example, expenses categorised as ‘Workplace’ will automatically be set to 100% tax deductible, whereas ‘Entertainment’ is automatically set to being non-deductible.

If a category isn’t quite right, you can always choose a different one. You can also adjust the tax-deductible amount in the Toolkit, if a transaction was only partially for business or disallowable.

6. Attach photographs of receipts to transactions

Another feature that’s available to all Starling customers is the ability to take a photograph of a receipt and attach it to the relevant transaction. You can upload the image either from the app or in Online Banking. This feature is especially helpful for those who subscribe to the Business Toolkit - images of receipts can be used as a digital record to support your tax return.

With Starling, it couldn’t be simpler to keep track of receipts as you go. Whenever you spend money from your business account, we send you a real-time notification with the amount, name of the merchant and a prompt to add a receipt. That way, you can attach the receipt then and there, rather than saving them up and spending hours trawling through piles of crumpled paper.

If you have an iOS device, you’ll be able to see which transactions already have an attached receipt by the paperclip icon. We’re going to roll this out for Android users soon, so watch this space.

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