Accountancy Blog

Risk assessment and contingency planning

How to minimise disruption in your business.

It has been a challenging and eventful three years for UK businesses with a series of high-profile incidents highlighting how situations can change suddenly and often without warning.

From the continued pressure of uncertainty relating to Brexit, terrorism, fire, extreme weather and cyber-attacks, how would your business cope if it was affected by something similar?

Would your staff know what to do? Would the business be able to keep trading? And what about smaller events, like your biggest customer suddenly switching to a competitor or multiple staff experiencing sickness issues?

If you do not already know the answer to these questions, then it’s time to start building a contingency plan for your business. More…

Accounting for charities

An overview of accountancy issues in the third sector.

If you’re in charge of running a charity, you will know how it differs from operating a business and how its motives and goals vary.

Non-profit organisations are treated very differently under the law, and managing a charity’s accounts can offer some unique challenges as a result.

The stakes are high, too. The work charities undertake can literally be a matter of life and death, for the beneficiaries of charity work, whether it’s in the UK or abroad.

In recent years, charities have felt under pressure, a combination of reduced investment from central government combined with economic uncertainty – more people are looking for help from charities, while at the same time fewer people feel able to give. More…

Making Tax Digital

More than a million VAT-registered businesses have now been mandated into the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme, which came into force on 1 April 2019.

Under the scheme, businesses that are registered for VAT with a turnover of more than £85,000 are required to keep digital records and submit their VAT returns using MTD-compatible software.

According to HMRC, only around 100,000 VAT-registered businesses had signed up to the new regime by 1 April 2019.

Since then, businesses with VAT reporting obligations have been signing up at a rate of 4,000 a day. More…

Landlords feeling the pinch as tax measures begin to bite

Most buy-to-let landlords saw their tax bills increase in 2017/18, suggesting the effects of changes to mortgage interest relief were beginning to be felt one year after they were introduced.

In a survey by Paragon, 58% of landlords said their tax bill for 2017/18 was higher than a year before, with an average annual increase of £3,039.

The report said this was a result of changes to mortgage interest tax relief, which is being phased out over a four-year period and replaced with a basic-rate tax credit by April 2020. More…

Delay to increase in probate fees

Changes to probate fees – due to take effect last month – have been delayed as Parliament wrangles to resolve the Brexit stalemate.

Bereaved families currently pay a flat fee of up to £215 to obtain the grant of probate needed in England and Wales to administer estates worth more than £5,000.

That system was due to be replaced on 1 April 2019 by a new regime, which would set fees on a sliding scale based on the value of an estate.

The changes will eventually abolish probate fees for estates worth less than £50,000 in England and Wales, although estates worth more than this face paying increased fees of up to £6,000. More…

MPs call for break-up of Big Four’s accountancy services

The UK’s largest accountancy firms should be split into audit and non-audit businesses, according to recommendations from a Government committee.

The Big Four accountancy giants conduct 97% of large companies’ audits, while also supplying those companies with other accountancy services.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee published a report highlighting a potential conflict of interest between the audit and consultancy services offered.

It endorsed a previous proposal from the Competition and Markets Authority that an operational division between audit and non-audit services should be put in place. More…

Making Tax Digital – it’s here………

MTD zero-hour is here.

The moment has come: if your business has a taxable turnover above the VAT-registration threshold, which is currently £85,000, you’re now obliged to keep records in digital form and to file your VAT returns using HMRC-approved software.

You probably got a bit fed up of being reminded about the deadline for the first wave of the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme in the course of the past year or so, and who could blame you?

Adverts from Revenue were appearing all over our favourite websites and social media, alongside agenda-laden reminders from software providers, banks, and anyone else with a stake in this project. MTD even started to pop up in commercial breaks during prime time TV, and on colossal posters on the London Underground. There was simply no escaping it. More…

Apprenticeship ‘starts’ fall by a quarter

The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen by 26% since the Government’s reforms to the apprenticeship system, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

In April 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced several changes to the apprenticeships scheme, including a levy on large employers and a co-funding requirement from smaller firms.

The changes were intended to improve the quality of apprenticeships and meet employers’ needs, but instead seem to have caused participation in the scheme to decrease “substantially”.

In the 2017/18 academic year, there were 375,800 new apprenticeship ‘starts’ – down from 509,400 in 2015/16. More…

IHT and the probate charge

Affluent families in England and Wales face paying probate charges of up to £6,000 from this month after ministers confirmed it as a fee rather than a tax.

Families have been used to paying flat fees of up to £215 to obtain the grant of probate needed in England and Wales to administer estates worth more than £5,000.

Critics had labelled the move as a “stealth tax”. Taxes are usually introduced in parliamentary bills, before going through a committee stage, and being voted on by MPs and Lords.

Ministers, however, circumnavigated this by classifying the charges as a fee, which saw the legislation narrowly approved by MPs and passed as a statutory instrument.

Instead of the flat rate, which is in place until 5 April 2019, the proposed system sets fees on the following sliding scale based on the value of an estate. More…