Technical and Insight
Starting your own accountancy practice in the UK (part 2)

From engagement letters to AML and data protection, there’s a host of areas to address when setting up a new practice.


From engagement letters to AML and data protection, there’s a host of areas to address when setting up a new practice.

 

Last month, I discussed setting up a new accountancy firm in the UK covering the structure of the firm, name and regulatory considerations such as practising certificates and determining the regulatory body of the practice and picking a name for the practice.

 

I will leave systems and software until the next issue, instead focusing on many other practicalities in this article.

 

ICO data protection registration

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK's independent body which was established in order to uphold information rights in the public interest.

 

If you process any personal information in your business then you are legally required to register with the ICO and pay an annual data processing fee. You will then be added to the public register of businesses.

 

There is an online application form that has to be completed which is relatively straightforward. You then need to pay the fee at the end and, in our case, this was £40 (or £35 if you pay via Direct Debit). The fee is dependent on the size and turnover of the business and there are three tiers of fees ranging from £40 to £2,900 per annum.

 

You need to renew the payment every year or you could be fined up to £4,000.

 

Bank account

Early in the set up process, you will need to set up a bank account for the firm. Considerations when selecting a bank include:

  • ease of set up
  • ease of access and support
  • bank costs and charges
  • other facilities such as credit cards.

 

In our case, we opted for one of the newer ‘digital banks’ because it was quick and easy to set up and it is easily accessible both online and via its mobile app.

 

The set up was really fast - we had an account set up the same day with the whole application being undertaken on my mobile phone. In the past this could have taken weeks!

 

Tax agent

In order to deal with HMRC on behalf of a client, it is necessary to register with HMRC as a tax agent.

 

Once you register as an agent, your clients can then each authorise you to act on their behalf for specific services such as PAYE, VAT and corporation tax.

 

The tax agent registration can be all done online through the HMRC website; you need your Government Gateway User ID and password to register. Once you have registered, you must enrol for each service that you need to use.

 

Once you have enrolled, your clients can then authorise you to act on their behalf for each service. Thereafter, you will be able to use the online service from HMRC for a range of services including filing their VAT returns and updating a client’s details.

 

Registering for VAT

When you set up a new accountancy firm there is no requirement to register for VAT as you will not have crossed the VAT threshold at that stage. However, this is something you might decide to do early if you feel that clients will expect you to be VAT registered. It will allow you to reclaim VAT on some of your costs (where applicable) and also it will avoid you having to add 20% to the total costs to clients at a later date which can be expensive for non-VAT registered clients.

 

VAT registration with HMRC is straightforward and can be done online via the HMRC website. You need to provide details such as your turnover, business activity and bank details. Once your application is processed, HMRC will issue the business with a VAT number and you can then sign up for an online HMRC VAT account.

 

Anti-money laundering

Anti-money laundering (AML) is an area that needs to be addressed early when setting up an accountancy practice as there are a number of considerations. ACCA has a lot of information to help you with AML.

 

When you register your firm with ACCA, they automatically send an email providing you with a link to the AML Risk Assessment Questionnaire which all firms must complete and this is then processed by ACCA.

 

As a firm, you must work through the AML guidance on ACCA’s website and the AML review process. There are a number of considerations that need to be addressed. You must ensure that your AML training is up to date for you and your team and several online training providers are available.

 

You may also opt to subscribe with an organisation to assist you with AML compliance and risk management such as Mercia, SmartSearch or AMLCC. These organisations guide you through the process and it is also possible to conduct the verification checks through them.

 

If you do not opt to subscribe, there are online tools to allow you to undertake AML checks on clients such as Veriphy and Credit Safe; these organisations then will issue a report to show the outcome of the ID check which you can store with your client’s records.

 

Engagement letters

It is mandatory to have a letter of engagement in place with all clients; this should be completed when you take on a new client and it will detail the work that you will complete for them and the fee.

 

ACCA has extensive guidance on this and provides standard engagement letters, covering letters, privacy notice, schedules of services and standard terms and conditions of business.

 

Services and pricing

It is essential to decide on the services that your practice is going to offer and also decide on how you are going to price this work. Although you do not need to go into the fine detail at the time of setting up, you need to have a basis for winning work and pricing it early so you are ready for the first client who you onboard.

 

We will cover the proposal and pricing software in a later issue but consider now how you are going to charge for work. Will you work on an hourly fee basis, per job basis or will you have a fee structure as a package where the client pays an agreed monthly amount for a specific bundle of services?

 

Also how you price is up to you but this will not be set in stone and will be something that you revisit regularly throughout the lifetime of the firm.

 

You may also decide to start with a limited range of services and add to these as your firm grows and develops. This may be because you discover your clients need other services that you did not anticipate or because you find there are certain types of work you enjoy more than others.

 

Values

It is really important to establish the core values for your firm. Your values are what you believe in, what you stand for; these then drive how the business grows and develops and feed into the overall culture of the practice.

 

It is very common for firms to publish their values on their website as this will be of interest to potential clients and also potential new team members. Values are often mentioned in social media posts as this is also a good way to tell people a little about the firm and what is important to you. Your values will often resonate with others who have the same or similar core values and so are attracted towards working with you either as a client, business partner or new team member.

 

It is a good idea to set out your values early when setting up your firm as these then feed through into everything that you do. Try not to have a huge long list of values but limit these to the key ones that represent who you are and what you believe in as an organisation.

 

Designing your logo

Designing your business logo is an important step that you need to do early because this will feed into all your stationery, online communication and social media.

 

Your logo is something you can design yourself using an application such as Canva or you could have it designed for you. In all cases, the logo should be something that represents your firm and knowing your core values really helps your design and the colour choices.

 

If you have your logo professionally designed, the designer often can go on to create your social media templates, letterhead and email footer. This ensures that you have a consistent logo, fonts and colour palette on all your material which is then used by all members of your team and can be a real time saver.

 

There is a lot to consider when setting up your own firm and in the next issue we will start to look at the systems and the software that you need to consider when establishing an accountancy practice. This concerns both the practice and also the technology you use for your clients and these are important considerations when setting up a new firm.

 

Caroline Harridence ACCA – Co-Founder, C-Squared Finance Limited

Tax considerations for employees working from home

Employer payments towards additional household costs incurred by employees who work at home.


Employer payments towards additional household costs incurred by employees who work at home.

 

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, most employers have followed government advice and agreed with their workforce that anyone who can work effectively from home should do so.

 

HMRC has published guidance for employers to Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Generally, where expenses payments are made to, or benefits-in-kind are provided for, an employee they are deemed to have been made or provided by reason of that employment and are regarded as part of the reward for the job.

 

However, section 316A, Income Taxes (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 states that no liability to income tax arises in respect of the payment made by an employer to an employee in ‘respect of reasonable additional household expenses which the employee incurs in carrying out duties of the employment at home under homeworking arrangements'.

 

Section 316A ITEPA 2003 provides an exemption for payments made by an employer to an employee in respect of the reasonable additional household expenses which the employee incurs in carrying out the duties of their employment at home under homeworking arrangements. HMRC accepts that homeworking arrangements exist where two tests are met:

  • there must be arrangements between the employer and the employee
  • the employee must work at home regularly under those arrangements.

 

In the current circumstances, with employers requiring their employees to work from home for a limited or even indefinite period of time as a result of a temporary closure of the business premises, HMRC accepts that for the duration of that period these two tests would be met.

 

There is nothing in s316A that requires homeworking arrangements to be in place for a particular period of time. If not already working under homeworking arrangements, HMRC would agree that employees would be covered by the exemption when either the employer agreed they could work from home or from when government advice was announced.

 

Homeworking arrangements

Homeworking arrangements means arrangements between the employee and the employer under which the employee regularly performs some or all of the duties of the employment at home. The arrangement does not need to apply to all employees.

 

It is not mandatory for the arrangement to be in writing, but it must be done as part of a formal process. The exemption does not apply where an employee works at home informally (ie an employee takes work home in the evenings).

 

The employee must work at home regularly so the working at home is frequent or follows a pattern. For example, an employee agrees to work three days each week on the employer’s premises and two days at home. This will be the case even if the days on which the employee works at home vary from week to week.

 

Where an employee works regularly from home under agreed ‘homeworking arrangements’, their employer may pay up to £6 per week tax-free from 6 April 2020 (£4 per week up to 5 April 2020) without requiring supporting evidence of the cost. HMRC would expect that £6 per week would be sufficient for most cases, particularly where the additional costs are only for heating and lighting the work area.

 

If an employer doesn’t reimburse an employee the employee can ensure their notice of coding is amended to account for the £6 per week where additional cost has been incurred. HMRC has stated that it will apply this for the full tax year even where the employee has worked from home for part of that year. 

 

There are two ways to provide for a greater amount:

  1. The employer can agree with HMRC in advance on a scale rate payment that is calculated to reimburse the average additional costs that employees meet while working at home. The agreement can provide for the scale rate payment to be increased annually in line with inflation OR
  2. The employer can reimburse the actual additional costs incurred by each employee. In such cases, the employer is expected to keep records to show how the payments have been computed.

 

Additional costs incurred by employees include the extra cost of:

  • heating and lighting the work area
  • metered cost of increased water use
  • increased charges for internet access (please see below)
  • business telephone charges
  • insurance (if applicable)
  • business rates (if applicable).

 

The additional household costs must be reasonable and must be incurred in carrying out the duties.

 

Costs that would be the same whether or not the employee works at home (and as a result are not allowable) are:

  • mortgage interest
  • rent
  • council tax and water rates.

 

Broadband

If an employee who begins to work from home under ‘homeworking arrangements’ is already paying for a broadband internet connection at home, there is no additional expense to be claimed. If the employer reimburses the employee’s broadband internet charges in such circumstances, the reimbursement is taxable.

 

But if the employee does not already pay for a broadband internet connection at home and needs one in order to work from home under ‘homeworking arrangements’, the broadband fee is an additional household expense that the employer can include within tax-free homeworking payments.

 

While not directly connected with payments made under working from home arrangements, it is worth noting that if the employer has provided the employee with an interest free loan (to assist in case of hardship) of up to £10,000 in a tax year, this is a non-taxable benefit.

 

Could PPR relief and BPR disappear soon?

While rumours abound, what guidance can you provide clients now?


While rumours abound, what guidance can you provide clients now?

 

News that the government is preparing the ground for IHT and CGT reforms has been circulating for some time. Whilst the introduction of reform is yet to be announced, due to the Budget being delayed and the extent of tax changes required due to the impact of covid-19, the expectation is that once announced, the changes will come in force immediately.

 

IHT reforms

The IHT regime has remained largely unchanged for some 26 years but changes are now very likely. In November 2018 and July 2019, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published two reports on IHT reform, and in January 2020 the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) published ‘Reform of inheritance tax’, indicating that change is on the way.

 

Currently the IHT regime allows the following main reliefs or tax savings:

  • Potentially exempt transfers (PETs)
  • Business Property Relief (BPR)
  • Agricultural Property Relief (APR)
  • gifts out of surplus income
  • spousal exemption
  • capital gains tax uplift relief in the context of IHT
  • charity exemption
  • non-domiciled individuals exempt on overseas assets
  • other minor exemptions and nil rate bands.

 

It remains to be seen how many of these reliefs will make it through the tax reform.

 

The OTS made the following recommendations as at July 2019:

  • reduce the seven year period to five years (this change is likely to benefit the taxpayer)
  • abolish taper relief
  • single personal allowance exemption
  • remove automatic CGT uplift when an IHT relief or exemption applies
  • technical reforms to business and agricultural reliefs
  • change how tax is paid on lifetime gifts.

 

In January 2020 the APPG proposed a much more radical reform, which included the following recommendations:

  • tax both death and lifetime transfers at flat rate of 10%
  • annual gifts exemption of £30,000
  • abolish PETs – all lifetime gifts charged unless within annual exemption
  • abolish the nil rate band
  • death allowance at similar level to current NRB
  • few exemptions – spouse and charity exemptions retained, but no agricultural or business reliefs
  • abolish the CGT uplift
  • abolish non-domiciled status for IHT.

 

Whilst OTS proposals are much more focused and realistic, APPG recommendations lean more towards a wealth transfer tax and could be seen as less likely. However, CGT uplift on death and business/agricultural reliefs feature in both reports, indicating obvious areas for change.

 

CGT reforms

Currently the following main CGT reliefs apply:

  • rate 10% - 20% for most assets
  • 18% - 28% for residential property
  • entrepreneurs’ relief (now called Business Asset Disposal Relief)
  • Principal Private Residence relief (PPR)
  • gift relief for business assets
  • gift relief for IHT ‘chargeable transfers’
  • rollover relief
  • deferral relief
  • no CGT on death.

 

Contrary to IHT, the CGT regime has changed significantly over the years. Rates changed from 30% in 1965-1988, then levelling at income tax rates, with 18% for two years to April 2010, six years at 18/28% or 10% with ER to April 2016, currently at 10% or 10/20% or 18/28%.

 

Discussions about CGT changes include:

  • likely change of CGT rate – some point out the rate could return to income tax rates
  • capping PPR for example up to £1m or similar
  • restrictions of CGT free treatment of ISAs
  • restrictions on eligibility for business assets disposal relief (BADR)
  • CGT uplift on death
  • a return to some form of taper relief in case of business and investment assets.

 

It remains to be seen what the extent of changes will be, although with the expectation that some changes are almost certain, practitioners should consider if having a discussion with clients who are considering selling their main residence or passing assets under BPR should take place sooner rather than later.

 

The consultation on CGT runs till November 2020

 

 

Boost your funding knowledge with new support from our partner Capitalise

Deepen your knowledge and confidence around funding to deliver better support to clients.


Deepen your knowledge and confidence around funding to deliver better support to clients.


Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have needed more help than ever accessing capital to support them through what has been unprecedented times. But over the past 15 years, traditional banks have retrenched away from directly supporting those SMEs to where most relationships with turnover under £3m are generally managed in teams centrally or offshore. The days of picking up the phone to your relationship manager who knew and understood your business have gone. An advice gap for SMEs has formed precisely at the point when they need it the most.

 

At the same time for many businesses, and far from being the full solution, CBILS and BBLS are the stopgaps. Whilst 1.2m SMEs have taken a bounceback loan, the average loan facility of £27,000 (less than a single director’s salary) is not a significant capital cushion for a prolonged economic recession that is further limited by pandemic related restrictions. Additional working capital will be needed if UK SMEs are to once again be the backbone of the UK economy.

 

Research by the capital advisory platform, Capitalise.com, has shown that when it comes to applying for funding, an SME is four times more likely to be successful when partnering with an accountant rather than going at it alone. Having a deeper understanding of the usually complex funding market enables you to support your clients further and strengthens your relationship. They'll seek your counsel as a trusted adviser.

 

As an ACCA member, you now have access to Capitalise's CPD certified Learn courses. They will help deepen your knowledge and confidence around funding whilst giving you important insight into how lenders and banks work, putting you in the best position to support clients around their broader needs. 

 
The two courses are: 

  • Core – Here you’ll gain an introduction to funding, the changing role of the bank manager, an overview of the funding market, and insight on compliance and your new role (approx. 1 1/2 hours CPD)
  • Adviser – Next, you’ll learn how banks approach lending, how to have confident conversations with clients and take a closer look at the different types of funding available (approx. 3 hours CPD)

 

Each course has its own certification, is designed in bite-sized chunks that can be done in one go or across different sessions and includes a range of documents and links to help support you further.  


You can access them directly here.

R&D tax relief – a refresher

A handy guide to R&D, including worked examples and reflecting the impact of Covid-19.


A handy guide to R&D, including worked examples and reflecting the impact of Covid-19.

 

Research & Development (R&D) tax relief provides financial tax incentives when companies take the risk to advance, develop, modify or improve a product, service, process or solution despite the uncertainty of the outcome. Eligibility is not dependent on whether the project is ultimately successful.

 

Two schemes are available depending on the size of the company:

  1. Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Scheme for small companies
  2. Large companies fall under the Repayable Credit Large Company Scheme or R&D Expenditure Credit (RDEC) for large companies.

 

An SME is a company with fewer than 500 staff and a turnover of under €100m or a balance sheet total under €86m.

 

SMEs

From April 2020 SMEs are entitled to deduct the total of 230% of actual research costs expensed (of revenue nature) to reduce their taxable profit or create an augmented surrenderable trading loss and obtain a 14.5% tax credit. Tax relief for capital costs follows a capital allowances regime (RDA) and is not within the scope of this article.

 

Example (per Tolley guidance)

SME Ltd has the following results for the year ended 31 March 2020:

 

Trading loss

£170,000

Qualifying R&D expenditure

£45,000

 

The surrenderable loss is the lower of:

  • £170,000
  • £45,000 x 230% = £103,500

 

The tax credit given will be 14.5% x £103,500 = £15,007.50.

 

This tax credit of £15,007.50 will either be used to reduce company’s corporation tax bill if it has other sources of income or to discharge any outstanding PAYE and NIC (or indeed VAT) liabilities for the period. Any remaining tax credit will be received as a tax-free refund.

 

The trading loss of the company carried forward is now £170,000 – £103,500 = £66,500.

 

Large companies

Large companies currently obtain tax relief via research and development expenditure credits (RDEC) only. Previously, for three years between April 2013 and April 2016 large companies had an option to claim an enhanced deduction of 130% or irrevocably elect for RDEC.

 

A RDEC is taxable (above the line credit) and its amount depends on when R&D expenditure was incurred. Companies qualify for:

  • 13% credit for expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2020
  • 12% credit for expenditure incurred from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2020
  • 11% credit for expenditure incurred from 1 April 2015 to 31 December 2017
  • 10% credit for expenditure incurred from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2015.

 

As an anti-avoidance measure, any cash credit is capped at the total of PAYE and NI paid in respect of the staff whose costs form part of the qualifying expenditure of the claim. If there are insufficient PAYE/NIC liabilities, the credit can be carried forward and utilised in later years.

 

Example (per Tolley guidance)

Large Ltd has trading profits of £5,000,000 for the year ended 31 March 2020 before deducting R&D expenditure of £1,500,000. The R&D expenditure is qualifying expenditure for the purposes of RDEC. The company claims RDEC relief and its corporation tax computation is as follows:

 

 

£

Trade profits before R&D expenditure

5,000,000

Qualifying R&D expenditure

(1,500,000)

 

3,500,000

RDEC (£1,500,000 x 12%)

180,000

Trade profits

3,680,000

Corporation tax at 19%

699,200

Deduct RDEC

(180,000)

Corporation tax payable

519,200

 

 

Costs which qualify for R&D claim

  • Costs must be relevant to trade already carried on by the company although it is possible to claim pre-trading expenditure as an immediate loss for relief (or tax credit) if election is made in writing within two years of the end of the accounting period.
  • Costs in relation to staff actively carrying out R&D or on qualifying indirect activities apportioned to the R&D function such as maintenance, administration and clerical activities in relation to direct R&D activities. For example, reports prepared by a PA on testing outcomes of a research test will qualify as an administration cost in relation to a direct R&D activity. A report on lab equipment maintenance requirements prepared by a PA will not be a qualifying cost as the activity supports an indirect function of lab maintenance.
  • HMRC is likely to reject claims where 100% of staff expenditure has been claimed, even for direct R&D staff, due to the assumption that all staff take breaks during standard working hours.
  • Broadly, 100% of externally provided and subcontracted worker cost if the claimant company is connected with the subcontractor, and 65% if the work is subcontracted to an unconnected party. SMEs may elect for a connected party treatment and in some cases such an election may be beneficial. Provisions relating to R&D claims when R&D is subcontracted are complex and depend on multiple factors.
  • Materials and consumables used in carrying out R&D activities, excluding those sold in normal course of business.
  • Payments to volunteers of clinical tests if amounts are relevant payments.
  • Utilities including power, water, fuel used directly in carrying out R&D, excluding telecoms and data. Costs of electricity if supplied to mixed-use building must be proportioned.
  • Software used directly in R&D or apportioned if used also for non-R&D activities.

 

Other red flags to look out for when preparing a claim

Subsidised R&D costs

  • Where a company obtains state aid subsidies such as government grants, SME tax relief is denied, and the company may only claim RDEC, even if the grant itself is used for other purposes than the R&D project.
  • CJRS grants qualify as subsidies and a company which obtained the grant does not qualify for the SME R&D scheme. RDEC claim can be made but CJRS grant receipts must be excluded from the claim. To the extent the furlough payments were met by the employer, rather than via the CJRS, and some qualifying activity was still carried out during the furlough period (once the CJRS allowed part time work), an appropriate proportion of employer staff payments may be included in a claim.

 

Going concern impact on R&D claim

  • Where a company is not a going concern, its audit report has been qualified on the basis of going concern or would be qualified but for the expected R&D credit or if the company has gone into liquidation, no R&D tax relief can be claimed.

 

Exceeding R&D expenditure cap

  • If the total combined value of an R&D claim per project exceeds €7.5m, only RDEC and not SME relief can be claimed.

 

Restrictions when subcontracting R&D

  • If a large company or an entity outside the scope of UK tax subcontracts work to an SME - SME relief is denied but RDEC can be claimed.
  • If an SME subcontracts R&D work to a large company – SME, rather than the large company, claims the relief.

 

Evidence that R&D costs have been incurred

  • A claim can be made for expenses actually incurred and paid.

In Teksolutions-Inc v HMRC [2019] TC745, a company's R&D claim was rejected in full as the company failed to prove that it had incurred and paid expenses claimed. The company could not provide bank statements or other documentary evidence to justify the claim.

Building an accountancy practice that works for you (not the other way round)

Too much work, too much stress, too little time. It doesn’t have to be that way. Find out how...


Too much work, too much stress, too little time.

 

I speak to accountants in practice on a daily basis and I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard this complaint. Well, it’s not really a complaint - it’s more of a desperate cry for help. I hear it from accountants who have been in practice for decades, from new start-ups, from multi-partner firms and from sole practitioners. These accountants are working long, long hours for low fees and little satisfaction, missing out on precious time with their family and friends as a result. Does that sound familiar?

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

In this series of articles I’m going to show you how you can have an accountancy practice that gives you better profits than now, takes up less of your time than now and is far more fulfilling than now. Each article is based on a chapter of my best-selling book, Putting Excellence Into Practice, which sets out a seven step methodology for building a profitable, sustainable, value-driven accountancy business (if you want to find out how it works, you can download a free copy of the book).  

 

So let’s start with why so many accountants are in this situation.

 

Inadvertently, far too many accountants run their practices inefficiently. They dislike change and procrastinate over taking important action.

 

In an ideal world, your waking hours should be fairly divided between work and home, so that running your accountancy practice leaves plenty of time to enjoy with your family, your friends and on your health (by health, I mean keeping active and fit, pursuing interests, and keeping your mind on things outside work).

 

The sad reality

Sadly, the reality for many is that work is all-consuming. You take on ever more clients who expect you to be at their beck and call, but however hard you work, they show little if any appreciation.

 

 

Your practice and life balance

 

 

Each morning, you arrive in your office with a plan: to cross just 10 items off your to-do list by the end of the day. But each evening you’re lucky if you’ve ticked off six. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, clients have bent your ear and your email inbox has been crazy.

 

Your employees often bring more problems than solutions and you always have to double-check their work because it’s simply not to the standard you’d like.

 

There are legislation changes and the endless new technologies to get to grips with. For many people, it’s simply overwhelming.

 

All in all, the money isn’t great either – especially when you consider how much time you put in. Worse, you’re often challenged on fees and negotiated down. And even when you’ve won the work, the client goes on to dispute the cost of every piece of additional work you do for them as they 'assumed it was part of the package!' 

 

Most importantly, the result of all this is that what should be an exciting, enjoyable and emotionally rewarding experience – having your own business – isn’t.

 

One of the saddest parts of my work is hearing just how many of the accountants I speak to deeply regret missing out on important times with their children as they’ve grown up or with their life partner as the relationship has died. Their pain, as they acknowledge that they’ll never get those opportunities again, never gets any easier to bear.

 

In all the scenarios I’ve outlined above, the accountants have exceeded their working capacity by far – and yet it’s an inefficient capacity.

 

Of course, this isn’t true for everyone. Some of you reading this will be working a manageable number of hours and taking home a reasonable income. No doubt you’re asking yourself, ‘Why change?’

 

The answer is: because the world around you is changing.

 

Firstly, there’s that ever growing number of ‘cheap accountants’ who are driving your clients away or forcing you to negotiate your own prices down. Their numbers are only going to increase and negotiating on price will get even more difficult – especially if you fail to differentiate yourself. Clients will simply think you’re delivering the same services, but charging a higher fee for the sake of it.

 

Technology

Then there are the advancements in technology. In a process that’s only going to accelerate, software is automating more bookkeeping and accounts production than ever before. Many business owners, for example, already think you simply click a button and – voilà! – finalised accounts appear. That may not be the case just yet, but in reality, how long will it be before it is? It’s nearer than you dare to think.

 

Compliance accounts were once highly valued by business owners; today few of them care about having their accounts produced. It may be a legal requirement – just as it’s a legal requirement to take your car for an MOT every year – but most of us simply want to fulfil our obligations in the cheapest, least painful way possible.

 

Many traditional accountants, however, haven’t yet woken up to this. They’ve been happily producing accounts for many years, talking to clients as little as possible, sending out the draft accounts by post, and they don’t want to change.

 

In fact, they’re often working through so many sets of accounts that they simply don’t have a chance to analyse them to find out where each business’s strengths and weaknesses lie.  And, because they have so little meaningful contact with clients, they don’t get the chance to understand what each of them really wants to achieve for – and from – their business. As a result, they don’t get the opportunity to work with them and help them achieve those things either.

 

A mistake that many businesses make is not to evolve their product or service until demand for it has already begun to wane. In other words, they don’t even think about change until they realise that no one wants their product anymore. Unfortunately, by this time it’s often too late and their clients have moved on.

 

Your accountancy practice is no exception to this and the core services you offer have a lifespan too. The practice of the future then is one that will be happy for computers to crunch the numbers, while the role of the accountant will be directly client facing. In other words, your role will be to sit with clients and to go through the real-time data with them: identifying strengths and weaknesses, producing trends and forecasts, and carrying out ‘what if’ exercises to examine the ways in which their businesses could be improved.

 

What’s next?

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll take you on a journey that will enable you to overcome the challenges I’ve described so far. Here’s a brief insight as to what you can expect:

  • why it’s so important to change the way you run your accountancy practice – not just to improve your own life, but the businesses you work with
  • based on over 20 years' working with accountants, I’ll share the typical inhibitors they face in making fundamental changes and give you mechanisms to overcome these
  • how you can attain a new, efficient capacity enabling you to work less hours, for more income, while delivering greater value to your clients
  • help to change your mindset from building an accountancy practice to building an accountancy business, creating scalability by developing a team of people as committed to growing your business as you are and performing to consistently high standards
  • you’ll then be ready to attract even more of the right kinds of clients in a way that requires little effort, yet keeps a steady flow of new business coming in
  • throughout your journey, your sense of fulfilment will have been increasing and we’ll build on that. Most accountants I know have a genuine desire to make a difference. If you’re one of them, this section is for you
  • what does excellence look like in an accountancy practice? I’ll explain exactly what it means.

 

If this resonates with you and you’re already fired up to start making changes, that’s fantastic! Download my book right now and let’s get going.

 

Shane Lukas – MD, AVN

 

Next month you can read Do your clients see you as ‘just’ an accountant?

 

Why process and efficiency are crucial elements of a digital firm

Will Farnell recaps earlier articles on transitioning to a digital firm and digs deeper into two key elements.


Will Farnell recaps earlier articles on transitioning to a digital firm and digs deeper into two key elements.

 

We are now at month five of eight so probably time for a recap of months 1-4 before we continue to look at the topic of process that we introduced last month.

 

The series of articles is based around my Digital Firm Wheel that formed the basis of much of my book entitled The Digital Firm.

 

 

Client Experience Digital Wheel

 

 

We started the series by looking at the need to change the way we run our accounting firms, the shifting expectations clients have based on the way they buy services generally.  A generational shift running alongside the ability for technology to disrupt any industry means as firm owners we have to regularly think about what we do and how we do it.  This really is all about strategy and the decision we make about where we take our firms to remain competitive.

 

The second article looked at my favourite topic, pricing.  I enjoy talking about pricing as it’s the area I got most wrong and as such learned some great lessons that I am able to share.  The article discussed why we need to focus on the outputs we deliver rather than the inputs we make associated with that output.  Our clients don’t care about input just the outcome.  It is imperative we are able to price consistently and openly, not forgetting we live in a subscription world and clients like certainty.

 

We then moved onto the single most important element of digitalisation.  Client experience.  Technology for technology's sake is pointless.  Why would we want to make any changes that don’t enhance the experience we deliver to clients?  Anyone who works in an accounting firm cares about the client - therefore, delivering more and better for the client is the catalyst for any change you might make.

 

That brings us up to date.  Last month I introduced the topic of process and the closing statement was that ‘you as the accountant have to own the process’.  We talked generally about why process is important and how we needed to educate clients on the process they needed to follow.  In this month’s article I want to focus on a specific example of how the right process, people and technology can affect your firm for the better.

 

The role of daily bookkeeping

I’m sure at some point you shared a viewpoint that I held back in 2008.  Prior to my firm using cloud accounting tools I didn’t really do bookkeeping.  Part of me thought, I’m an accountant not a bookkeeper.  Besides that, it's low value work and I can’t deliver it profitably.  As well as this the data was locked on a computer at the client’s office, challenges with version control and so on.

 

In late 2008 I partnered with KashFlow and by the middle of 2009 we were their largest partner firm and by the end of 2009 every client I had used KashFlow and continued to do so until about 2015 when we moved our clients to Xero.  Suddenly the opportunity of bookkeeping became more viable and in 2011 when we partnered with Receipt Bank the penny dropped. We were able to design processes that meant we could get data from clients daily and in turn deliver them better access to data to run their business.

 

Over the next few years and more so once we moved every client to Xero in 2015 we started to play with team structures and processes that allowed us to effectively deliver regular bookkeeping services to clients in a way that was efficient, valuable to the client and, most importantly, profitable: we were after all accountants!

 

We finally got this right in about 2017.  It was trial and error to get the perfect blend of the client doing the bit they needed to do, us using the right level of team members to do the work and the right mix of technology.  A perfect balance of people, process and technology.  The result of this is that we now deliver daily bookkeeping for around 60% of our clients and we average four minutes per day per client.

 

I mentioned in previous articles the importance of the client experience.  Getting this people, process and tech triangle right leads to our clients having reliable data to make better business decisions.  More importantly it means we are talking to many of our clients at least once a week.  Given our efficiency we can deliver this cost-effectively for the client and it's one of the reasons that our biggest growth areas as a firm right now is in outsourced finance function work.

 

The key point here is that the bookkeeping work we do becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself.  It enables us to engage with clients weekly, it gives us a reason to get to know our clients better.  It also gives our clients data they would not usually have.  The process we have developed enables us to deliver a level of client experience beyond anything we could get operating in a more traditional monthly, quarterly or annual engagement.

 

Take a moment though.  How much impact does client’s current failure in providing you with information have on the turnaround time of accounts in your practice?  Can you imagine a situation where you don’t have to ask clients for year-end or VAT quarter information?  Our clients send it to us regularly throughout the year, in most cases daily!  Your quarter 4 VAT return means you can run the year-end accounts straight away.  Year-end becomes month 13.  Once again this is about delivering world class client experiences for your clients.

 

Making it happen

As with anything, making it happen starts with a plan. 

  1. What do you want to achieve?
  2. Map out the current process: where are the duplicate steps, what can you take out?  Disruption to an industry occurs when you remove the friction.  What friction can you remove from your current processes?
  3. Educate your team on your vision, share what you are trying to achieve and involve them in the process.  They know what will work and what won’t but focus on the driver for change – better client experience.  Everyone cares about the client.
  4. Educate the client!
  5. Most importantly remember ‘you, as the accountant, have to own the process and ideally the end to end process’.

 

Next steps

In next month’s article we will discuss the much discussed topic of advisory (other services).  If you have great data and great relationships with clients as you talk to them every week you are better placed than anyone to help your clients achieve their own personal and business objectives.

 

Ahead of next month do revisit the earlier articles to refresh yourself with the themes we have discussed as they will all be relevant for next month’s article as we explore the new role accountants need to play, extending themselves beyond pure compliance.

 

Will Farnell – Founder & Director, Farnell Clarke

 

SDLT holiday – time to invest in the property market?

Guidance for clients looking to benefit from the stamp duty reduction.


Guidance for clients looking to benefit from the stamp duty reduction.

 

One of the key measures announced by the Chancellor in July was the reduction in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential property. The purpose of the reduction is to boost the housing market and support the construction industry.

 

Accountants are often asked by their clients what they should do to get the full benefit of this and how they can increase their income. This is a valuable piece of advice that can guide your clients in taking an informed decision which is right for them in the long run.

 

What are the current SDLT rates?

Property or lease premium or transfer value

SDLT rate

08/07/2020- 31/03/2021

Up to £500,000

Zero

The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)

5%

The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)

10%

The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

12%

 

The result of this SDLT holiday means those buying a property in England and Northern Ireland won’t pay any tax at all on purchases up to the £500,000 threshold – a saving of up to £15,000. Above £500,000 the normal rates apply, but you still make the saving on the first half a million. As the savings are quite substantial, there is enormous interest seen among first time buyers and landlords, which has boosted the housing market demand.

 

The governments of Scotland and Wales apply different tax rules, and people buying here will pay 0% only on the first £250,000.

 

You can use HMRC’s SDLT calculator to work out how much tax you’ll pay.

 

Does this change mean that this is the right time to buy an investment property?

As an investor, your clients may be thinking about starting or growing their property portfolio, especially when interest rates on savings are at an all-time low. If they have sufficient funds, this may be the right time to invest in property to generate an additional source of income. The SDLT holiday means that they will only have to pay the 3% surcharge when buying another buy-to-let property up to a value of £500,000.

 

However, if the client is a new landlord, you will need to advise them of the other responsibilities which they should be aware of as a landlord. Some of the key questions to consider asking your client may include:

  1. Do you want to keep the property until retirement or want to pass it on to your next generations?
  2. Have you factored these ongoing costs?
  1. Majority of the councils have withdrawn empty property council tax relief (unless it is uninhabitable), which means that you have to pay council tax from your own pocket for your empty property if the tenant has left.
  2. Regular repairs, landlord gas and electricity safety checks, insurance means there is less true margin left for you.
  3. From 6 April 2020 - mortgage interest is fully disallowed and replaced with a maximum of a 20% tax credit. Residential buy-to-let landlords are no longer able to deduct their finance costs from their property income to arrive at their taxable property profits. They will instead receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability for their finance costs. So, if you are already a higher rate taxpayer, you may need to think about an alternative structure ie buying a property in the company or buying in the name of your spouse or children.
  4. Are you going to manage the property yourself or engage an estate agent to handle all the paperwork involved?
  5. Do you have an alternative source of income to fund the above costs should your property become vacant?
  1. If you fail to perform your landlords’ responsibilities, there are hefty fines and convictions based on your careless behaviour towards the maintenance of the property.
  2. Rental property investment business is generally seen as a passive source of income unless otherwise proved. In the event of death, there is no relief available from inheritance tax, which could be obtained on a trading business (business property relief). This could result in 40% of your estate ending up with the treasury instead of your family.

 

The SDLT reduced rate provisions apply for a limited time up to 31 March 2021 and you may wish to alert your clients to take advantage of this measure. At the same time, it should be noted that the additional rate of SDLT applies in various situations that clients may not have fully appreciated, for example when buying a property jointly as a married or civil partnership couple, the rules apply to both individuals even if only one of them owns a previous property. In this case, the higher rate would apply meaning 3% SDLT on a property within the £500,000 purchase price.

 

 

Useful resources

ACCA technical factsheet: landlord reliefs and taxes

Guidance for landlords and tenants

Covid-19 impact on customer due diligence

How to manage disruption to the administration of documents used for identification and verification as part of AML procedures.


How to manage disruption to the administration of documents used for identification and verification as part of AML procedures.

 

Part 3 of the Money Laundering Regulations outlines the requirements of customer due diligence (CDD) obligations. Verifying the identity of the client (demonstrating that they are who they claim to be) by obtaining documents or other information from independent and reliable sources, wherever possible, is one of the requirements stated in the legislation.

 

Covid-19 lockdown has disrupted the administration of documents used for identification and verification. Firms should consider whether their policies and procedures will need to be adapted to take this into account, having been risk assessed and documented accordingly. See, for example, the press release relating to the extension of the validity of photocard drivers’ licences.

 

HMRC has the following guidance: ‘If you are presented with a recently or soon to be expired official photo ID (expiry date between 1 February and up to 31‌‌ December), you may accept it, if you are satisfied it confirms the identity of your customer'.

 

In September, CCAB published the updated (draft) Anti-Money Laundering Guidance for the Accountancy Sector (AMLGAS). The guidance covers the changes to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations 2017 introduced as a result of the implementation of the 5th Money Laundering Directive (5MLD). This is a draft document pending approval from HM Treasury.

 

Accountants are reminded that electronic verification is acceptable, but when choosing an electronic verification service provider, they should note the guidance included in the CCAB guidance which states:

 

5.4.18 Before using any electronic service, firms should ensure they understand the basis of the systems they use and question whether the information is reliable, comprehensive and accurate. The process should be secure from fraud and misuse and capable of providing an appropriate level of assurance that the person claiming a particular identity is in fact the person with that identity, to a degree that is necessary for effectively managing and mitigating any risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Consider the following:

 

  • Does the system draw on multiple sources? A single source (eg the electoral register) is not usually sufficient unless there are additional controls to validate the information. A system that combines negative and positive data sources is generally more robust.
  • Are the sources checked and reviewed regularly? Systems that do not update their data regularly are generally more prone to inaccuracy.
  • Are there control mechanisms to ensure data quality and reliability? Systems should have built-in data integrity checks which, ideally, are sufficiently transparent to prove their effectiveness.
  • Is the information accessible? It should be possible to either download and store search results in electronic form or print a hardcopy that contains all the details required (name of provider, original source, date, etc.). It is sufficient to have a record of the issuer of a document and its unique identifier, it is not necessary to have a reproduction of the original document.
  • Does the system provide adequate evidence that the client is who they claim to be? Consideration should be given as to whether the evidence provided by the system has been obtained from an official source, eg certificate of incorporation from the official company registry, or passport.

 

View further guidance on Customer Due Diligence, CCAB AMLGAS and other Anti Money Laundering related matters.

How and when to use electronic signatures

Top tips on using electronic – or digital – signatures.


Top tips on using electronic – or digital – signatures.

 

The current pandemic and subsequent lockdown and social distancing rules have placed an increased emphasis on the ability of professionals to provide non-face to face services.

 

Accountants regularly provide or require information – including signed documents such as accounts, engagement letters, and reference letters – from their clients. With digital enablement, firms have been able to streamline their processes by using a digital platform to get these documents signed without compromising the security of their clients’ information.

 

What are digital signatures?

A digital signature is a qualified electronic signature which meets certain requirements under articles 26, 28, 29, and annexes I and II, of eIDAS.

 

Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 (the eIDAS Regulation) has direct effect in EU member states from 1 July 2016. It establishes an EU-wide legal framework for electronic signatures. Article 26 of eIDAS Regulation defines:

 

1) an 'electronic signature' as 'data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign'
2) an 'advanced electronic signature' as one which meets the following requirements:

a)   it is uniquely linked to the signatory

b)   it is capable of identifying the signatory

c)   it is created using electronic signature-creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his sole control, and

d)   it is linked to the data signed therewith in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable, and

3) a 'qualified electronic signature' as 'an advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures'.

 

Articles 25(2) and (3) of the eIDAS Regulation provide that a qualified electronic signature shall have the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature and that a qualified electronic signature based on a qualified certificate issued in one member state shall be recognised as a qualified electronic signature in another.

 

Does someone have to sign or type for electronic signatures?

Electronic signatures can take several different forms, where a person could:

  1. type their name into a contract or into an email containing the terms of a contract
  2. paste their signature (for example, in the form of an image) into an electronic (soft copy) version of the contract in the appropriate place (for example, next to the relevant party’s signature block)
  3. access a contract through a web-based e-signature platform and clicking to have their name in a typed or handwriting font automatically inserted into the contract in the appropriate place (for example, next to the relevant party’s signature block); and
  4. use a finger, light pen or stylus and a touchscreen to write their name electronically in the appropriate place (for example, next to the relevant party’s signature block) in the contract.

 

Which documents can be electronically signed?

Accountants can sign most documents digitally instead of traditional wet ink signatures provided that:

  • the entity’s legal documents do not prohibit electronic signatures (which is unlikely). The majority of constitutional documents require that the documents must be signed, without specifying the type of the signatures, hence electronic signatures are presumed to be valid.
  • The law does not specifically require wet signatures (eg in property exchange transactions).

 

Wet ink signatures are no longer required in most cases as confirmed by the Law Commission’s September 2019 report: Electronic execution of documents.

 

The Law Commission considered EU law, UK legislation and case law, and stated that electronic signatures can be used to execute documents, including where there is a statutory requirement for a signature, provided that the signatory intends to authenticate the document. As noted by the Law Commission in 2001 an ‘intention to authenticate’ can be established if the conduct of the signatory indicated an authenticating intention to a reasonable person.

 

The UK government confirmed that it agreed with the Law Commission’s conclusion that electronic signatures have a legal basis (see Ministry of Justice announcement of 3 March 2020).

 

What should you consider before using a platform for digital signatures?

Before choosing to use a platform for digital signatures, the first thing to ensure is the security of your clients’ information as you would be sending confidential information on the platform to your client. Additionally, among other requirements, you need to consider:

  • whether the use of an electronic signature is appropriate for your client
  • what are the risks involved and insurance to cover them
  • how much would it cost
  • how easy is the platform to use and its interaction with other used software
  • does the platform provide an audit trail of electronic signature for evidence
  • how to tailor your firm’s management procedure for quality maintenance?

 

A signing platform is a software providing an interface through which people can both create and upload documents to be signed electronically and affix electronic signatures to those documents. Such platforms may also provide an ‘audit trail’ of an electronic document, which includes data such as the time at which it was signed and the IP address through which it was accessed.

 

Engagement letters

All ACCA practitioners must send to their client a letter of engagement which sets out the terms under which they are agreeing to be engaged by their client before any work is undertaken or, if this is not possible, as soon as practicable after the engagement commences.

 

ACCA partners with Practice Ignition, which enables a subscribed firm to get not only their engagement letters signed digitally, but also an option to get their fee paid on time through in-built payment collection facility to avoid any future disputes.

 

Audit report

Section 503 of The Companies Act 2006 requires: 

  1. the auditor's report must state the name of the auditor and be signed and dated
  2. where the auditor is an individual, the report must be signed by him
  3. where the auditor is a firm, the report must be signed by the senior statutory auditor in his own name, for and on behalf of the auditor
  4. where more than one person is appointed as auditor, the report must be signed by all those appointed.

 

The above does not refer to any specific type (wet/electronic) of signature, hence either type has full validity as recognised by UK Law Commission and UK government.

 

Same regulations do apply for other types of entity’s audits and independent examination, covering charities, LLP, Co-operative societies etc.

 

ACCA partners with IRIS which offers an online IRIS Openspace solution where accountants can securely upload, store and approve documents. The platform is fully GDPR compliant which means you do not have to worry about the security of sharing confidential information.

 

Accounts and tax returns

Your professional responsibility towards clients emphasises the need to obtain appropriate instructions from clients and to ensure that clients have signed or otherwise approved accounts. IRIS Openspace does provide both options – approval or signature on their portal.

 

Land registry

From Monday 27 July 2020, HM Land Registry will accept ‘witnessed electronic signatures’ – electronic signatures that enable an individual to sign legal documents, but which still require a witness who is present at the time to also sign the documents electronically.

 

Whichever platform you choose, good market research about the company and their commitment to keep the software protected, updated with technological advancement and market competitiveness is necessary.

 

Useful resources

 

Electronic signature guide

HMRC has made it easier for individuals to spread their income tax payments

Self assessment customers can now apply online to spread the cost of their tax bill into monthly payments without the need to call HMRC.


Self assessment customers can now apply online to spread the cost of their tax bill into monthly payments without the need to call HMRC.

The online self-serve 'Time to Pay' service has been increased to £30,000 for self assessment customers.

 

Once individuals have completed their tax return for the 2019-20 tax year, they can use the online self-serve 'Time to Pay' service through GOV.UK to set up a direct debit and pay any tax that is owed in monthly instalments, up to a 12-month period.

 

If they wish to set up their own self-serve 'Time to Pay', they must meet the following requirements:

  • no outstanding tax returns
  • no other tax debts
  • no other HMRC payments set up
  • their Self Assessment tax bill is between £32 and £30,000
  • it is no more than 60 days since the tax was due for payment. 

 

If they do not meet these requirements, they might still qualify for Time to Pay, but will need to call HMRC to set this up.

 

If they set up a 'Time to Pay' arrangement, they will have to pay interest on the tax paid late. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

Business law needs to encourage ethical behaviour to help build better Covid-19 recovery

The laws that govern business will increasingly have to enable and highlight trustworthy activity in order to support a sustainable economic recovery from the global pandemic.


The laws that govern business will increasingly have to enable and highlight trustworthy activity in order to support a sustainable economic recovery from the global pandemic, according to a report we have published today to mark Global Ethics Day (21 October).

 

The increasingly digital economy, climate crisis and social changes are driving new business models, with the Covid-19 virus highlighting the importance of resilient businesses and cooperative action.

 

Clear and effective business laws are needed more than ever to build back a sustainable economy, which will depend heavily on being able to measure the trustworthiness and integrity of businesses and individuals.

 

Jason Piper, head of tax and business law for ACCA, and author of the report Tenets of Business Law: A Framework for the Future, writes: ‘Every major economy is experiencing or facing the threat of economic depression, and many face existential threats to some of their most important sectors.

 

‘The challenges and opportunities facing policy makers and entrepreneurs alike are almost entirely novel, and yet the success of responses to them will depend on timeless concepts, one of the most important of which is integrity.

 

‘Shared values of integrity are all well and good, but in the online world of digital transactions, how can we measure trustworthiness? We need common frameworks and standards against which trustworthiness can be assessed.’

 

The report stresses that society depends upon business and businesses rely upon trust in order to judge who is a suitable trading partner.

 

Accountants have always acted as the gatekeepers of trust, reporting on the financial performance of other businesses in order to provide assurance of their financial actions and position.

 

However, assessing companies now needs to be viewed through a wider lens and broader criteria encompassing more than just reporting financial data.

 

Jason Piper adds: ‘Business law structures are designed to enable as much as they are to protect. Compliance and risk management are essential elements of those frameworks, but a successful business will go far beyond that bare minimum. Positive engagement with the transparency and accountability provisions of business regulation demonstrates an openness to collaboration and cooperation.

 

‘ACCA believes that lawmakers should formulate a framework in which business success makes a net positive contribution to society’s prosperity. To be a sustainable organisation means being committed to minimising environmental impact whilst putting social justice and social responsibility at the heart of the strategy.’

 

The report says that new ways of doing business will rely more heavily on winning the trust of partners and customers. Increasingly, it will be possible to track the ethics of companies and individuals as part of the decision-making process of whether to trust them. The character of the company can be revealed through attitudes towards human rights, the environment and tax planning.

 

The accountancy profession can be that source of trust that society is calling for, as they are at the heart of organisations’ efforts to create, protect and communicate their value.

 

The full report can be found here

Revamped cyber guide can help small businesses work securely online

Small businesses will benefit from a revamped version of a popular guide telling them how to stay safe online that has been published by cyber experts.


Small businesses will benefit from a revamped version of a popular guide telling them how to stay safe online that has been published by cyber experts.

 

The NCSC Small Business Guide has been revamped for 2020 as well as its response and recovery guidance.

  • The NCSC’s Small Business Guide sets out key areas for business cyber security
  • Timely revamp will help organisations now operating online due to coronavirus
  • Latest in a raft of measures from the NCSC, a part of GCHQ, to help small businesses thrive online.

 

The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) re-launched Small Business Guide sets out five key areas for businesses to help improve their cyber security.

 

The new-look guidance arrives at a time when many organisations have moved their operations online due to the coronavirus pandemic. It highlights accessible and actionable steps to take which have little to no cost.

 

A survey by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) found around half of micro and small businesses (52%) reported falling victim to a cyber security breach or cyber attack in the past year. The average cost to these businesses was nearly £1,000 – rising to more than £3,000 for some.

 

The Small Business Guide is part of a collection of NCSC guidance which has been reviewed and refreshed to offer up-to-date tips on implementing key security controls.

 

This includes the Small Business Guide: ‘Actions’ resource, which breaks down the recommendations into individual steps, and our Response and Recovery guidance which outlines how to prepare, manage, resolve and report an incident if one does occur.

 

The NCSC has published tailored advice and guidance to support all organisations, including how they can securely move their physical operations online and safely scale-up home working.

Helping your clients take their next steps in response to Covid-19

PracticeWeb’s new insight report offers practical advice based on engagement and discussions on UK Business Forums.


PracticeWeb’s new insight report offers practical advice based on engagement and discussions on UK Business Forums.

 

The past few weeks have felt in many ways like a turning point in the UK’s coronavirus response. As regional restrictions have increased and the new ‘three-tier’ alert system has been put into place, further financial support measures have been announced to support the economy.

 

But rather than the blanket support given to businesses and the self-employed when a full national lockdown was announced in March, the government’s economic focus is now on maintaining ‘viable’ jobs – those that can exist in the long-term outside of the furlough and SEISS schemes.

 

For many small business owners, this means making difficult decisions about whether or not their own business has a long-term future.

 

While putting together PracticeWeb’s new insight report based on engagement and discussions on UK Business Forums, there were several conversations among small business owners that stood out to me, because of the way they talked about that turning point.

 

Some were frustrated that their business would no longer get the same support through furlough or grants, while others had already started to make other plans.

 

In one thread, a user summed up the experience of many small business owners, and the difficulty of knowing when to take action:

 

‘So, early on you're thinking three weeks, probably more likely six weeks of lockdown, but the reality is nine weeks plus – and then reopening with limitations that mean you won't be seeing the same turnover as prior.

 

‘You've staff furloughed, not convinced you'll need them back... What do you do, and when? I can claim 80% of their earnings until October, but once one has realised the futility of things, when do you act?’

 

Guidance for start-ups

For several of the forum’s users, the answer was to start a new business altogether.

 

There were new threads about a wide variety of business ideas over the quarter, dealing with everything from property to herbal teas. In most cases, people were looking for specific, practical guidance. They wanted to know what their reporting responsibilities were, and whether their financial projections looked accurate.

 

Some were looking for a new business route to go down, while others were entering self-employment for the first time after being made redundant.

 

There are a lot of opportunities here for accountants to provide specific, targeted content that appears in search results for niche queries.

 

We know that start-ups are not ideal for every accountancy firm, however. Our clients often tell us that while new businesses are interesting to work with, they’re also highly time-consuming – and they come with a higher risk of business failure.

 

If you know that you don’t want to work with brand new start-ups, you could instead use your content and early conversations with prospects to lay the foundations for a working relationship in the future.

 

Helping your existing clients adapt

For business owners who don’t plan to start from scratch, but whose business is no longer able to function the way it did before the pandemic, the other option is to pivot to new products or services.

 

A worrying theme that emerged from the forums was that a number of people had been forced to take on risky, time-consuming, or unprofitable work, simply because they needed the cash. Others were carrying out additional work on the side, while waiting for their main business to pick up.

 

This is where accountants have a real opportunity to showcase their skills as business mentors and advisers, helping SME owners and operators to plan their recovery in a structured way rather than reacting to immediate financial pressures.

 

Communicate your value

Whether your clients and prospective clients are starting from scratch or changing their business direction, make sure they know that you can help them.

 

Our insights from UK Business Forums show us that small business owners are often reluctant to spend money on professional advice. In many cases, they struggle to see the value they’ll get for the fee.

 

For accountants to bridge that gap, effective branding, consistent communications, and relevant content are all essential.

 

Find out more in our new report, Life after lockdown: How accountants can help SMEs adaptand take a moment to watch this video

 

Melissa Tredinnick, Assistant Editor, PracticeWeb

 

 

ACCA hosts meeting with The Small Business Commissioner

ACCA recently brought together members from private sector, not for profit and education sectors for a discussion on the government’s proposed reform of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).


On 9 October ACCA brought together members from private sector, not for profit and education sectors for a discussion hosted by ACCA’s Head of Technical Advisory, Glenn Collins on the Government’s proposed reform of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).

 

Special guest and Small Business Commissioner, Philip King opened by talking briefly about how the PPC had been strengthened in recent years, resulting in tighter controls on reporting and suspensions for failure to uphold. The Enterprise Act in 2017 requiring businesses to report payment practice data gave the opportunity to create benchmarks and measure compliance with the Code. Signatories agree to pay 95% of invoices within 60 days and work toward 30 days. There has been 360 additional signatories since the remit was transferred to the SBC’s office in March 2020.

 

ACCA member and Corporate Panel Chair, Ashley Smith highlighted his long-running work in this area, stating that an ACCA survey in 2015 had shown 75% of members were not aware of the Code at all. In 2018 this had moved to 70% but showed there was much more work to do improving visibility of the PPC. Ashley’s research has shown that very few suppliers do extensive due diligence on payment history and he believes the PPC can provide a one-stop-shop for credit searches on potential customers. Members agreed that Government should work to collate data from the PPC, CH’s and Duty to Report to provide a single overview of businesses’ payment history.

 

Peter Lewis, Group Director of Resources at Cartrefi Conwy, highlighted that the value of prompt payment to small businesses is underappreciated. Prompt Payment is treated as a matter of CSR within his current business to ensure local smaller suppliers are treated fairly. Often larger businesses feel more comfortable applying interest and fines than small businesses that may suffer more from the impacts of late payment.

 

Carl Reader FCCA agreed that prompt payments should be a CSR issue for businesses. While visibility of the code will be important Carl suggested that for smaller businesses or freelancers, the opportunity to win business with large corporates might overshadow the risks presented by data indicating poor payment practice.

 

Members unanimously agreed that late payment from large corporate companies has the biggest and most detrimental impact on the stability of small businesses. Late payment from large businesses creates a ‘domino effect’, prohibiting the smaller businesses they owe from being able to make their own payments to others on time.

 

It was highlighted that the current legislation does not incentivise larger businesses to comply with the Prompt Payment Code, and that reforms should focus on finding a way to do so. 

 

Better use of deterrents was a reoccurring theme during discussion. Members believed revised deterrents were needed to strengthen the Code; more transparency around those that pay their suppliers late will help combat the issue of late payment.

 

All members stated that overall, it is the corporate responsibility of those in the profession to prevent late payment. The importance of paying others on time must be emphasised, potentially through campaigns and the incorporation of the topic into CPD and exams. 

 

Philip King thanked members for their time and welcomed any further evidence on approaches to strengthening the code.

How we've responded to HMRC consultations

We have collated a summary of ACCA consultation responses to support you in your future day to day work.


We have collated a summary of ACCA consultation responses to support you in your future day to day work. We value the feedback and insight that you bring so please send us your comments and views on this summary and future consultations.

 

 ACCA’s Response to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020 – 24 September 2020

  1. Government must use accounting information to support data-driven decision making and public service outcomes. Government should now ‘take a balance sheet approach’ to managing public finances and set benchmarks for new fiscal targets aimed at creating a more inclusive and greener future.
  2. ACCA supports the return of Enterprise Finance Guarantee to give business continued confidence around access to finance as CBILS is phased out. ACCA research found only 27% of businesses revisited business plans in light of Covid-19 and businesses may not be aware of their financial risk in the coming 6-12 months. Businesses will need a reliable successor loan scheme to ensure they can access finance.
  3. ACCA advocates for better use of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) help local businesses access professional advice. Many businesses may be at risk as debt repayments become due over the next 12 months. ACCA supports enhanced funding for LEPs to offer SMEs in financial distress free initial consultations with accountants to provide advice on financial forecasts and improve financial sustainability.
  4. The spending review must consider strengthened powers for the Small Business Commissioner in order to tackle Late Payment issues. During Covid-19, 65% of businesses have experienced an increase in late payment and this spending review presents a well-timed opportunity to reinforce the powers of the Small Business Commissioners Office to tackle late payment.
  5. The recapitalisation of UK businesses is a key priority for government and industry, and ACCA welcomes the government’s move to extend loan scheme terms to support business cashflow. The creation of a non-departmental Recovery Corporation or similar should be considered to manage the administration on the volume of recapitalisation and restructuring.

 

ACCA’s Response to HMRC’s Consultation on Raising Standards in the Tax Advice Market - 28 August 2020

  1. ACCA does not support additional professional body supervision of non-professional body member tax agents. Additional regulation may not be the most effective way to target poor behaviour. Although it may present an added deterrent, it is our view that those that offer unethical or bad advice do so in the knowledge that they are acting outside of the spirit of the tax regime which they seek to exploit.
  2. While HMRC expects all tax agents, including unqualified agents, to comply with HMRC’s ‘Standard for Agents’, the scope of this does not fully replicate professional body standards. It continues to be difficult to enforce standards across the board when agents are not required to have a similar standard of qualification and regulation by professional body.  In principle, therefore, it should be easier to maintain high standards and thereby improve taxpayer compliance if all tax agents are appropriately qualified.
  3. ACCA invites further discussion with HMRC on ‘kitemarking’ or similar and improving assurance for customers and the standards of tax advice offered by qualified advisers.

 

 

ACCA’s Response to HMRC’s Consultation on the HMRC Charter: 14 August 2020

  1. Language around the right of taxpayers to have appropriate representation has changed from the previous Charter. Individuals and businesses often require professional support to set up account details with HMRC, check calculations and use office tax portals and will frequently engage a professional agent specifically to deal with all tax obligations. Wherever possible, ACCA recommends that the Charter allows taxpayers to exercise that right to representation at every possible opportunity.
  2. Members have expressed a concern that taxpayers assume that in the absence of any acknowledgement of fault from HMRC, it must be the agent who is at fault. This damages the taxpayer/agent/HMRC relationship and is detrimental to long term tax morale. Acknowledgements of error as standard from HMRC would build greater trust and raise the standard of the overall system.
  3. The Charter must include additional clarity on HMRC’s commitments to reviewing and taking action on failures to act in accordance with the Charter. It is ACCA’s view that this will grant customers greater confidence in HMRC’s institutional drive for accurate information and fair conduct. HMRC’s measurement against the Charter must be visible, measurable and supported by verifiable evidence. If HMRC is not reaching its own standards, then it must acknowledge this and explain clearly what steps are going to be taken to remedy that, how they will be assessed and when and how HMRC will publish the results of the assessment.

 

Members may get in touch and contribute to future consultations by contacting UKPolicy@accaglobal.com.

Updates to our guidance on accounting for loans and grants

Revised factsheet helps practitioners.


Revised factsheet helps practitioners.

 

Following the recent announcements by the Chancellor in his Winter Economy Plan, businesses may be looking to alter the payment terms of their loans under the various coronavirus-related loan schemes.

 

This will necessitate certain changes in the accounting for these loans due to the loan terms being extended. Our previous factsheet on accounting for loans and grants has been updated to reflect these changes, which should make clearer to practitioners how to implement these within the financial statements of their affected clients.

 

Download our revised factsheet now

 

 

Inheritance tax planning – extra guidance for practitioners

ACCA responds to calls for more information and content on inheritance tax (IHT) planning.


ACCA responds to calls for more information and content on inheritance tax (IHT) planning.

 

Feedback from our recent CPD webinars suggests that several practitioners are requesting more information and content on inheritance tax (IHT) planning.

 

IHT planning should not be seen as affecting a mainly older generation of clients as many recent changes in taxation and other factors have potentially brought younger clients into the IHT net.

 

Whilst the recent measures for the additional residential nil rate band will provide some relief, such planning should be considered for all affected clients based on criteria such as marriage, birth of a child or general exposure to inheritance tax.

 

Download our free factsheet and watch our webinar now

 

 

 

Planning for SMEs to deliver one third of government contracts

SMEs invited to have their say in survey which lays the groundwork for an increased share of government contracts by 2022.


SMEs invited to have their say in survey which lays the groundwork for an increased share of government contracts by 2022.

 

As the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK, CCS uses its commercial expertise to help buyers across central government, public and third sectors. The collective purchasing power of CCS customers, combined with CCS procurement knowledge, allows CCS to provide the best commercial deals providing significant savings and benefit in the interests of UK taxpayers.

 

CCS and Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

CCS helps thousands of public and third sector buyers in the UK with billions of pounds of spending each year. In line with the 2018 GOV. UK SME Action Plan, CCS is supporting the government objective to have a 33% spend of the UK government supply chain contracted with SMEs by 2022. 

 

In support of this objective, CCS actively supports SME engagement with the public sector procurement market and aims to ensure that SMEs can compete with larger organisations on a fair and even basis. CCS is currently in the process of enhancing user experience and accessibility, introducing a number of new processes to remove repetition and ease doing business in general, thus making the bidding process easier, quicker and less burdensome.

 

SME engagement

As part of the CCS objective to support and encourage SME access to public procurement opportunities, CCS aims to provide a series of services which will assist SME businesses/organisations. In order to ensure that the services and enhancements which CCS plans to provide reflect the needs of the SME community, CCS is entering into a series of engagements with the SME community. 

 

The first of these engagements is a short 20 question, SME Engagement Survey concentrating on the areas of market access, registration and PPQ/SQ submission.  It is estimated that the survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. Any assistance that members of the SME community can provide by the way of completion of this survey would be greatly appreciated. 

 

CCS SME Customer Engagement Survey

Covid-19 policy activity - ongoing support for members

Find out how ACCA is engaging with government - on your behalf.


Government Engagement 

ACCA’s Policy Team is working to develop recommendations and lobby for government policy to support members and the businesses they advise. The team maintains close relationships with a number of government departments and ministers to ensure that members have clear and relevant guidance.

 

Members have been sharing a range of helpful insight and experiences which we have reported back in response to government requests for business intelligence and our targeted lobbying and we continue to welcome a broad range of views and insight from members to shape lobbying at UKPolicy@accaglobal.com

 

 

Comprehensive Spending Review & Meeting with Minister Paul Scully

On 24 September ACCA submitted evidence to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Find a summary of our response here

 

Ahead of our submission we held a meeting on 18 September with Minister for Small Business Paul Scully MP and the Finance and Leasing Association. ACCA President, Mark Millar and Council member Susan Allan spoke on behalf of ACCA, talking about the need to reintroduce the Enterprise Finance Guarantee to keep finance available to SMEs, modernization of capital allowances to allow green investments in properties and  enhancing Local Enterprise Partnership models to encourage more SMEs to take professional advice, particularly throughout covid.

 

ACCA Makes Representations at the Labour Party Conference

With Party Conferences going virtual this year, ACCA took up an offer to host a policy discussion at the Labour Party Conference on 24 September. Our event entitled ‘Greening Up: Better Work in a Just Transition’ was hosted by ACCA’s Head of Sustainability, Jimmy Greer and welcomed guests Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ed Miliband MP, ACCA Expert, Yen-Pei Chen, Catherine Howarth, CEO at ShareAction and Miriam Brett, Director of Research and Advocacy at CommonWealth.

 

Ed Miliband

 

ACCA’s Yen-pei Chen called for systemic change and spoke about ACCA’s policy recommendations including rethinking labour taxes, boosting social protections and how government can support circular business models to drive down resource consumption.

 

Representations to Parliamentary Committee

In September ACCA was invited by Nick Owen, Chair of the Professional Business Services Council (Industry council convened by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) to submit representations ahead of an evidence session in Parliament on post-pandemic recovery. 

 

ACCA spoke of the need for better digital infrastructure to support more localized working models as well as the need to embed finance professionals into the national Industrial Strategy as ‘super connectors’ in local economies. ACCA noted that our members have unrivalled access to local business communities and deal daily with the analysis of business data as well as horizon scanning for risks/ opportunities that could support better policy making within government.

 

Public Accounts Committee

In September, ACCA was invited to submit evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on user experiences of Making Tax Digital Reforms, ahead of their questioning of HMRC officials on measure to close the tax gap.

Working with ACCA’s member policy group, ACCA’s Policy Team submitted anonymous ‘testimonials’ and anecdotal evidence from members to the committee with our recommendations for an improved MTD user experience. We received correspondence in return asking to publish member comments in the committee report upon conclusion of the inquiry.

 

If you are interested in hearing from ACCA more regularly on requests for evidence and opportunities for engagement on Policy issues please email UKPolicy@accaglobal.com to express your interest.

 

HMRC Consultations

In August ACCA responded to two HMRC consultations. The first, outlined the revised HMRC Charter to which ACCA noted that it was vital that ‘the right to appropriate representation’ would need to be carried into any new charter and HMRC should include clarifications on how it would commit to reviewing and reporting its own failures to uphold the Charter.

 

The second consultation focused on raising standards in the Tax advice market, whereby we highlighted issues stemming from a lack of harmonized standards for non-registered agents and invited further engagement on suggested kitemarking schemes for professionally qualified agents

 

Please find a link to a summary of our consultations here.

 

 

Government Engagement:

ACCA’s Policy Team is working to develop recommendations and lobby for government policy to support members and the businesses they advise. The team maintains close relationships with a number of government departments and ministers to ensure that members have clear and relevant guidance.

 

Members have been sharing a range of helpful insight and experiences which we have reported back in response to government requests for business intelligence and our targeted lobbying and we continue to welcome a broad range of views and insight from members to shape lobbying at UKPolicy@accaglobal.com

 

Members can access previous Policy activity updates on ACCA UK’s Covid-19 hub for members

Microsoft SharePoint – cyber warning

The NCSC is raising awareness of a new remote code execution vulnerability affecting Microsoft SharePoint.


The NCSC is raising awareness of a new remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2020-16952) affecting Microsoft SharePoint.

 

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow an attacker to run arbitrary code and carry out security actions in the context of the local administrator on affected installations of SharePoint server.

 

Find out more now 

NEWS
Webinars tackling the topics which matter

Delve into our autumn series of free technical webinars for practitioners now.


Our autumn series of free technical webinars for practitioners is coming to a conclusion but all of the webinars will be available on demand. The series feature these webinars:

 

Inheritance tax planning available on demand

Speaker: Paul Soper, tax lecturer and consultant

Accompanying technical factsheet

 

Landlord reliefs and taxes available on demand

Speaker: Paul Soper, tax lecturer and consultant

Accompanying technical factsheet

 

Differences between realised and distributable profits and a recap of key areas available on demand

Speaker: Helen Kerrigan, Future Finance Training Ltd

Accompanying technical factsheet

 

Business recovery options available on demand

Speaker: David Fleming, Duff & Phelps

 

VAT issues with online trading 23 October (12:30)

Speaker: Dean Wootten, Wootten Consultants Limited

 

 

Register for any or all of these sessions using this link. Each webinar will count for one unit of verifiable CPD where it is relevant to the work that you do.

 

Getting started on your digital journey

Introducing our suite of resources for practitioners who are in the early stages of their digital journey.


Introducing our suite of resources for practitioners who are in the early stages of their digital journey.

 

 

Going digital - member experience podcasts

This series of podcasts features ACCA practitioners discussing how they digitalised their practices and is packed full of top tips:

  • Graeme Tennick of Graeme Tennick & Co - the emotional journey and mistakes along the way
  • Peter Jarman of PJCO Accountants Ltd - practicalities and the importance of an in-house champion
  • Eriona Bajrakurtaj of Major's Accounts & Co Ltd - the obstacles to digitalising a traditional family practice and how collaboration with other practitioners would have made a huge difference.

 

Videos

  • Alan Woods FCCA of Woods Squared walks us through his TechStack (the software in his practice) and the resulting client experience in this video

 

Webinars

Digitalising your practice’s client onboarding process

ACCA is collaborating with Practice Ignition to provide a solution that helps you to streamline and automate your client onboarding experience.


ACCA is collaborating with Practice Ignition to provide a solution that helps you to streamline and automate your client onboarding experience, from engagement letter creation to debt recovery.

Practice Ignition has launched a version of its product with ACCA templates. These templates have recently been updated by ACCA.

 

For next steps, and to start a free 14 day trial of Practice Ignition, you’ll find all the information here.

Their return on investment calculator allows you to determine how much your ROI would be if you use Practice Ignition in your firm.

 

They have bespoke pricing for smaller firms (a client base of fewer than 15), so if you are interested, please get in touch with trent@practiceignition.com (put 'ACCA templates' into the subject line) and a member of the Practice Ignition team will be in contact.  

 

Rest assured that ACCA will always have free engagement letters for members to use. You can download our free factsheets from our website:

 

Engagement Letters for tax practitioners

Engagement Letters for practitioners: accounts production

 

Each factsheet contains a main client covering letter with a privacy notice, a terms and conditions document and the most commonly used schedules of services.

ACCA members scoop multiple awards!

Find out which ACCA members have been successful in picking up awards this autumn...


ACCA members have been very successful with awards this autumn – many have been shortlisted in their categories with some fantastic wins. We celebrate all those shortlisted and the winners.

 

 

Digital Accountancy Awards 2020

In the Best Digital Accountant category, Graeme Tennick, Paul Lodder, Cheryl Sharp, Kieron Townsend and Jibran Quershi all made the shortlist with Graeme Tennick taking the award.

 

Digital Accountancy Awards

 

 

Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards 2020

With over 200 nominations and over 100 women shortlisted, the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards honour the inspiring achievements of women across all segments of accountancy. ACCA members were well represented:

  • Urchana Moudgil won two awards - Inspiration – Business and Public Sector and Woman of the Year – Business and Public Sector
  • Wendy Walton also won two awards: Leader of the year – Practice (National and Global) and Woman of the Year – Practice (Global)
  • Anne Ovens won the award for Role model of the year – Practice (Small)
  • Alex Falcon Huerta won the hotly-contested award for Woman of the year in a category that also saw Anne Ovens, Behnaz Rayati, Eriona Bajrakurtaj,Gillian McCreadie and Wendy Walton shortlisted.

 

ACCA is proud to have been sponsors of these awards that recognise the work and achievement of our members.

 

Considering putting yourself or your practice forward for an award? Check out our handy guidance to get you started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has coronavirus changed your team forever?

Be part of an industry-wide survey into the staffing plans of accounting firms across the industry.


Be part of an industry-wide survey into the staffing plans of accounting firms across the industry.

 

Coronavirus has thrown the accounting industry into turmoil. What staff want from firms is unknown and, as we head towards 2021, planning for the future of your team is almost impossible.

 

That is why we have partnered with AccountingWEB.co.uk and the Cranfield School of Management to launch the Talent Attraction and Management 2020 survey.

 

Participation will make you eligible to receive a complimentary copy of the research report that will take an in-depth look at how 2020 has affected the recruitment, training, and development plans of accounting firms across the industry - and what it means for their future.

 

Our in-depth analysis of the survey data will uncover the key trends across the industry that will help guide you to make the right staffing decisions for your firm in 2021.

 

In the survey, we want to know about the people challenges you are facing and the changes you are making to protect your business in the short term and drive growth and success in the longer term. Share how your accounting firms, teams, roles, and organisational structures have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Take the survey and be part of a research project that can not only help shape the future of your firm, but that of the industry.

 

Your answers, and the information you provide, will be treated confidentially and anonymously and used only in aggregate with others to identify trends within the sector.

 

Take the survey

 

 

Lockton approves new PII insurer for ACCA members

Lockton, ACCA’s recommended insurance broker, has approved Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd as the membership’s new insurance provider.


Lockton, ACCA’s recommended insurance broker, has approved Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd as the membership’s new insurance provider.

 

Lockton is committed to continually evaluate its offering to the ACCA membership, ensuring it delivers a best-in-class policy wording, at competitive premiums, underwritten by a leading insurer with an excellent claims service.

 

After conducting appropriate due diligence, Lockton approved Arch as the best insurance provider and the most able to support the demands and needs of the membership. Arch has a very experienced underwriting team providing professional indemnity and allied insurance solutions to professional services firms. The insurer is now at our disposal and will deliver innovative insurance solutions for the membership.
 
Lockton does not take the decision to change scheme insurers lightly and must ensure there are clear benefits for members in doing so. In this instance, the broker is pleased to advise that there are positive enhancements to both coverage and service and these, along with any other material differences, will be explained to members by a Lockton account executive upon renewal.
 
Arch is absolutely delighted to be part of the strategic partnership long valued by ACCA and Lockton and we are all looking forward to this being a very successful and rewarding collaboration. Backed by stable underwriting and financial performance, Arch commands an A+ A.M. Best financial strength rating. The firm really understands professional services and is a solid and supportive partner.
 
Lockton has also aligned the leading professional negligence specialist law firm Caytons to the ACCA scheme. Caytons will deliver an exemplary claims service to members and offers a complementary legal helpline for support when needed.
 
Finally, it is important to highlight that should the scheme prove to be unsuitable for any practice, Lockton, as an independent and Lloyd’s of London insurance broker, will approach other leading A-rated insurers on their behalf to obtain terms. In most circumstances, Lockton can provide members with choice and the right solution whatever their unique situation and requirements.

 

For further information, contact the Lockton ACCA Team:

 

ACCAaccountants@uk.lockton.com

0117 906 5057


 

Our next Professional Courses events

Find training to suit your CPD needs now.


PRACTICE SEMINARS:
Time: 09:30-12:30
Fee: £60 + VAT (£72.00) per webinar
CPD: 3 units per webinar

 

Accounting and auditing refresher (Recorded webinar)
Anti-money laundering and fraud update (Recorded webinar)
Protecting your firm's and client’s reputation (Recorded webinar)
Inheritance tax planning (Recorded webinar)
Businesses in trouble – how to help your clients in times of crisis -12 November
FRS 102 practical issues – learning from others - 19 November
IR35 - how to prepare for 2021 - 26 November
Wealth and asset protection -  03 December
Auditing update - 15 December

 

 

GENERAL TAX UPDATE
This live webinar provides a current tax update for finance professionals working across all business sectors.


Fee: £115 + VAT (£138.00)
CPD: 6 units
Time: 09.30-16.00

 

Dates:
10 November (Scotland)
13 November
14 December

 


ACCOUNTING STANDARDS UPDATE
This live webinar has been designed to update finance professionals on the recent developments in accounting standards.
Fee: £115 + VAT (£138.00)
CPD: 6 units
Time: 09.30-16.00

 

Dates:
27 October (Scotland)
29 October
30 November

 


COMMERCIAL, COMPANY AND EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE
This live webinar is aimed at accountants working both in private practice and in commercial settings generally. It is a general update of all legal areas relevant to such professionals.
Fee: £115 + VAT (£138.00)
Time: 09.30-16.00
CPD: 6 units

 

Dates:
08 December

 


Saturday CPD conference three for practitioners - 24-27 November
This conference consists of four sessions, which makes it a cost-effective way of staying informed about the latest technical issues.
Topics include:

  • Claiming allowances and reliefs for individuals and owner-managed businesses
  • Protecting your data and digital privacy
  • Autumn budget update
  • Cross-border VAT in 2020 and beyond

 

Fee: £115 + VAT (£138)
CPD: 8 units

 

 

Saturday CPD conference two for practitioners - Recorded webinars
This conference consists of four sessions, which makes it a cost-effective way of staying informed about the latest technical issues.
Topics include:

  • Construction industry tax update
  • Employment law update
  • Knock your socks off service in these challenging times
  • Accounting standards update

 

Fee: £115 + VAT (£138)
CPD: 7.5 units

Play a part in analysing cyber threats to accountancy organisations

The National Cyber Security Centre is surveying the accountancy sector. Take part now.


The National Cyber Security Centre is surveying the accountancy sector. Take part now.

 

Ipsos MORI, an independent research organisation, has been commissioned by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), with the assistance of ACCA, to carry out a short online survey with accountancy sector organisations to understand their views on cyber security. The findings of the survey will be used to inform the ‘Cyber Security Threat to the Accountancy Sector 2020’ report to be published by the NCSC later this year. 

 

If you are responsible for cyber security or have sufficient oversight in this area in order to answer questions on how cybersecurity has affected your organisation, begin the survey now

 

Taking part is completely voluntary, but it is a good chance to have your say on this important topic.