Technical and Insight
FRS 102 simplifications will help small companies
The triennial review of FRS 102 has taken place and the FRC is proposing a number of changes.

The triennial review of FRS 102 has taken place and the FRC is proposing a number of changes. 

This review takes into account stakeholder feedback on the implementation of FRS 102. Of particular interest are the proposed simplifications to accounting for directors’ loans for small companies. 

Current accounting treatment
Many small companies benefit from loans from the director/shareholder which: 

  • are not repayable on demand
  • have either no interest/ very low rates of interest of interest charged.

The various versions of FRSSE which were traditionally used would simply account for these loans at the year-end balance at cost. So they might be treated as due within/after 12 months but the interest issue could be ignored. 

FRS 102 had a requirement that, despite no interest being charged, the company still had to discount the loan from the director unless it was repayable on demand.  The complicated instructions were included in the FRC staff education note 16 and included the suggestion that the difference created by the discounting would be an ‘additional investment’ in the company. This treatment has caused many problems for small entities who see it as wholly inappropriate. Consequently this has resulted in a number of calls to the ACCA Technical Advisory helpline. 

Proposed accounting treatment
The review has resulted in proposed changes to this contentious treatment and these are included in Financial Reporting Exposure Draft 67 (FRED 67) issued by the FRC. 

The relevant changes in FRED 67 mean, for small entities, a more proportionate accounting solution for a loan from a director who is a natural person and a shareholder in the small entity (or a close member of the family of that person), which will permit the loan to be initially measured at transaction price rather than present value. Thus FRS 102 will no longer require an estimate to be made of a market rate of interest in order to discount the loan to present value.

Responses to FRED 67 should be provided to by 30 June 2017.

The FRC aims to finalise the amendments in December 2017, with an effective date of accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. Early application will be permitted provided that all amendments are applied at the same time.

The proposed changes offer a sensible solution to small entities that receive non-interest-bearing loans from directors. However, the only disappointing element is the timeframe of the proposed changes which will leave small entities currently preparing accounts having to potentially account for the directors’ loans in a manner which is very likely to be changed in the near future.

Tax efficient cash extraction from businesses
When to charge a company rent and mortgage interest.

When to charge a company rent and mortgage interest.

With the recently announced reduction of the tax free dividend allowance to a modest 2k next year, many practitioners will be interested to explore other avenues of tax efficient cash extraction still available to clients. The necessity to ensure the Finance Bill proceeded because of the General Election resulted in several changes. One of these is that clause 5 was left out of the bill to allow its progress:  

‘Dividend nil rate for tax year 2018-19 etc
(1) In section 13A of ITA 2007 (income charged at the divided nil rate), for “£5000”, in each place, substitute “£2000”.
(2) The amendments made by this section have effect for the tax year 2018-19 and subsequent tax years.’ 

We will see if it reappears in a Finance Bill later this year or early next year but the intention to reduce the allowance has been clearly flagged.

Many directors of small and micro-entities run their businesses from home and often fund their ventures with own and family cash. Are they getting all the cash and tax benefits they are entitled to? Interest on loans provided to the company by directors and cash spent on rent are possibly two most significant costs that small businesses forego, sometimes not to the overall benefit of the company itself and its founder.

Interest charged by director on loans made to a close company
A director can, if he or she wishes, charge his or her company market interest on loans made to the business. 

Tax treatment for the director
A director is likely to treat interest income as:

  • Savings income, if interest is charged at commercial rates and there is written agreement between the director and the company, confirming that interest is charged.
  • Remuneration, if there is no written agreement or the loan was not made for an allowable purpose. NIC will apply.
  • Distribution, if the interest rates are considered excessive.

A director is required to declare interest received on his or her personal tax return if the payment is treated as interest in the company’s accounts, whether allowed or disallowed for corporation tax purposes.

Tax treatment for the company
The company is likely to treat the interest paid as tax deductible interest cost, if the loan was made wholly and exclusively for an allowable purpose. This assumes that interest is charged at reasonable, commercial rates, or such rates that are required for the director to recover personal loan interest cost on finance obtained personally and loaned to the company for an allowable purpose. Tax relief is only available in case of a close company, if interest is actually paid out within 12 months of the year end. 

If interest is paid out within 12 months of the year end and the term of the loan it relates to exceeds 12 months, the company is required to submit quarterly CT61 returns. 

Rent charged to a company by its director working from home
If a company’s office is based at a director’s home or a substantial proportion of business related activity and director’s duties is carried out from home, charging the company rent is an alternative to recovering only a proportion of office running costs (see below) and saves tax on national insurance (not applicable to property income). 

A formal written non-exclusive licence agreement (for differences between licence and lease agreement please seek legal advice), accompanied by board minutes, should be drawn between the owner, or joint owners if the property is owned jointly, to allow company occupation of the home space and enabling the director to charge rent. 

A formal agreement means that in his or her private capacity, the director becomes a landlord, earning rental income and claiming all directly attributable rental expenses, including a proportion of mortgage interest, council tax and other relevant rental costs and associated VAT, which are usually disallowed if the director opts to get relief solely by reclaiming expenses only. The director will need to fill in the property pages of the self-assessment tax return. 

Both rent charged and expenses claimed by the director-landlord should be reasonable by reference to market prices at the time of the transaction, and linked to the level of commercial activity taking place at the director’s home. HMRC is likely to challenge amounts that are excessive or rent charged when activities carried out by the company operating from home are very limited or minor.

The effects of the interest cost restriction applying to directors letting their home to a close company
Recently introduced restrictions on the deductibility of mortgage interest for income tax purposes affecting residential landlords may also affect directors renting out their home space to their company. Arguments for and against have been voiced, but the application of the interest restrictions rules to our scenario remains a grey area. 

It is common practice for HMRC to allow part of mortgage interest as an business expense, even in situations when the mortgage had been initially taken to finance the purchase of a flat or a house solely for residential purposes of the owners, who decided to start and run a business from their home later on. The same applies when new mortgage is taken out in order to finance an extension to a private home, driven by the business need, or a suitably larger home had been purchased with a view to accommodate company premises.

HMRC has been quoted when responding to a request for clarification by Nichola Ross Martin, whether interest on new mortgages taken out by directors in their private capacity be restricted, when the director earns rental income from his personal company.   

HMRC’s response indicated that the part of home used by the company would constitute a ‘part of a dwelling-house’ used ‘for the purpose of generating income’ within the meaning of either s272B(2) or s272B(3) ITTOIA 2005 under the new rules. Therefore the loan would be “dwelling-related” for the purposes of s272A and the restriction would therefore still apply in full to any part of a loan attributable to these parts of the property.[1]

Successful small businesses with healthy cash flows and their owners may benefit from reasonable rent and interest deductions. While tax-driven incorporations are likely to slow down and cease in time in the current tax environment, there are other business cost deductions available to companies to reduce their tax bill, that can and should be explored.    

Public sector and IR35 suppliers
Guidance to share with clients who operate in the public sector.

Guidance to share with clients who operate in the public sector. 

The new IR35 provisions within the public sector apply when: 

  1. A worker personally performs services, or is under obligation to personally perform services for the client
  2. The client is a public authority
  3. The services are provided under circumstances where, if the contract had been directly with the client, the worker would be regarded for Income Tax purposes as an employee of the client or the holder of an office with the client, or the worker actually is an office holder with the client.

In summary, individual worker (say A) provided services via an intermediary (say B) to a public authority (say C). 

C must look at the arrangements under which A provides their services, and decides if these new rules apply. If C decides the new rules apply tax and employee’s national insurance will be deducted and the net amount paid to B. The VAT exclusive amounts must be accounted for by C through Real Time Information in the same way as for an employee.  These rules do not affect employment rights available to the worker.

The guidance from HMRC says: ‘The worker’s intermediary is able to reduce the turnover it records to reflect the deductions made from the fee from the fee payer’.

These new rules do not create any new pension obligations on the public sector, agency or third party to operate occupational or stakeholder pensions. These new rules do not affect: 

  • workers who provide their services to clients other than public authorities
  • where an agency directly employs a worker and it operates tax and NICs on earnings it pays to the worker
  • foreign entertainers who are within the statutory tax withholding scheme.

To help to decide whether the new rules apply a tool has been made available entitled check employment status for tax

Public sector body providing information to intermediary
The public sector client must inform the intermediary, agency, or third party with whom they have a contract to provide the services that the contract falls within the new off-payroll rules or that it does not. For contracts starting on or after 6 April 2017, this decision should be notified before the date of entry into the contract, or before the provision of the services begins. For contracts already in place before 6 April 2017, the decision should be notified before the date of the first payment made on or after 6 April 2017. 

If the public sector client fails to notify its decision within the timescale, they become liable to account for tax and NIC.

The intermediary, agency or third party with whom the public sector client has contracted directly may request a written response setting out the reasons for the decision. The public sector client must reply to the written request for the reasons within 31 days of receiving it.

The fee paid to the intermediary is treated as a payment of the worker’s employment income when it is paid. For tax, NICs and Apprenticeship Levy purposes, the worker is treated as having an employment with the fee-payer. Stakeholder pensions, statutory payments and certain other employment rights do not apply.

Intermediary paying worker a salary
The intermediary can pay the worker provided to the public sector client, through that intermediary’s payroll. The intermediary will receive a deduction up to the total of the net fee, exclusive of VAT received from the fee-payer. In example 1 above that would be a non-taxable payment up to the total of £4,200 per month that does not require further deduction of Income Tax or NICs. An amount up to £4,200 per month can be paid by the intermediary to the worker each month through the payroll without income tax and NICs. 

The intermediary should report to HMRC non-taxable payments the intermediary pays the worker on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) that the payroll software produces.

Intermediary paying worker/shareholder a dividend
The intermediary company can pay a dividend if it has distributable reserves. If this is paid to the worker/shareholder this will be tax free up to the total of the net fee received from contracts in the public sector, where Income Tax and NICs have been deducted at source. The worker/shareholder would not need to declare that dividend on their Self-Assessment Return. This is assuming that the company has not paid the worker/shareholder in any other way, such as via the payroll.

Corporation tax
The guidance from HMRC says: ‘When you are calculating your company’s income, you should deduct the total amount of the invoice, less the amount of Income Tax and NICs that were deducted at source. Your company accounts should reflect this deduction to ensure the amount is not taxed twice.’  

Further guidance from HMRC can be found here and here 

The legislation which introduces these provisions is the Finance (No 2) Act 2017 Schedule 1, which amends ITEPA 2003. The legislation is currently a Bill, which can be found at the following address. The details are in Schedule 1 of this Bill while the Bill and Explanatory Notes can be found here 


Changes to PSCs – action now required!
New measures to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing are on their way.

New measures to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing are on their way. 

On 26 June 2017 changes will be made to UK anti-money laundering measures which are designed to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. These measures will increase the transparency of who owns and controls companies in the UK.

How does this affect ACCA members and their clients/companies?
Most companies will only have submitted their first confirmation statement. This normally involves firms incorporated prior to 30 June 2016 inputting details of PSCs and a full statement of capital with the confirmation statement. This was initially needed as Companies House would not have this information. Each year the company then needs to confirm those details. 

Where changes had occurred in the year, affecting areas like the statement of capital, shareholder information and SIC codes, the current rules are that these could be updated on the confirmation statement. 

The revised legislation will make changes to the current requirements relating to significant control (PSC) information and reporting. ACCA members who are involved in filing the statements need to be aware of the new rules to avoid late/inaccurate reporting. 

The new rules mean that from 26 June changes to the PSC information cannot be updated on the confirmation statement (CS01). So effectively changes since the previous statement cannot be reported annually.

Instead forms PSC01 to PSC09 will need to be submitted detailing the changes. The company has 14 days to update their register and another 14 days to send the information to Companies House.  This is a major alteration to the requirements so it is essential that clients understand their reporting responsibilities and inform their accountant of any changes on a timely basis.

To confuse matters slightly, the following should be noted: 

  • There is no alteration to the existing rule that changes to a company’s officers, registered office address or the address where records are kept must be made separately. 
  • Form PSC01 (alteration form) is already in use but used to notify Companies House of an individual with significant control when the company has elected to keep PSC register information on the public register. This election is voluntary and if made would normally mean that more personal information will be visible to searchers than would otherwise be the case.
Dividend payment templates

60 second update:  The practical procedures for payment of dividend templates for board minutes, dividend vouchers and dividend waivers.

60 second update:  The practical procedures for payment of dividend templates for board minutes, dividend vouchers and dividend waivers.

The payment of a dividend is governed by a company's Articles of Association. Unless otherwise stated, this will be in accordance with paragraphs 30-31 of Table A. 

Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006 (s830)) states that 'a company may only make a distribution out of profits available for the purpose'.

What this means is that the company needs to have sufficient retained profits (accumulated realised profits less accumulated realised losses) to cover the dividend at the date of payment.  

1.    Declaring dividends
There are two types of dividends - interim and final. 

Interim dividends are those which are paid throughout the  year (monthly, quarterly, annually etc.) Before declaring an interim dividend, the directors must satisfy themselves that the financial position of the company warrants the payment of such a dividend out of profits available for distribution. The general meeting cannot interfere with the directors’ exercise of their power to pay interim dividends. Note that HMRC consider the date of payment of interim dividends to be the date of entry in the company’s books. CTM 20095 (8) 

Final dividends are paid once per year after the end of each year. Where a final dividend is declared and the resolution fixes a later date for payment then the declaration creates a debt owing to the shareholder. However, the shareholder can take no steps to enforce payment until the due date of payment (or payments if by fixed instalments, see Potel v CIR (1971)). The ‘due and payable’ date in such circumstances is the date fixed for payment and not the date of declaration. 

Before declaring a dividend, company’s directors must hold a board meeting and keep the minutes of the meetings (on paper or electronic format) with their statutory records (CA 2006 s388). Here is an example of the Board Meeting Minutes.

2.    Issuing dividend vouchers
For each dividend a company issues, a voucher must be created and given to its shareholder. This voucher provides the following details about the dividend: 

  • Name of company
  • Company registration number
  • Date of issue
  • Name and address of shareholder receiving the dividend
  • Share class
  • Amount of the dividend payment
  • Signature of authorising officer.

 Here is an example of a dividend voucher template 

3.    Taxation of dividend
All taxpayers are required to pay tax on dividends above £5,000. The following rates apply:  

  • Basic rate taxpayer – 7.5%
  • Higher rate taxpayer – 32.5%
  • Additional rate taxpayer – 38.1%

Ultra vires and illegal dividends
As a brief reminder, dividends or distribution to shareholders may only be made out of profits available for the purpose. For interim dividends, full accounts are not required. However, the directors are required to have sufficient information available in order to enable them to make a reasonable judgement as to whether the amount of the ‘distributable profits’ at the date of payment is acceptable. 

Any dividend paid in excess of this profit, or out of capital or when losses are made, is ‘ultra vires’ and, in effect, ‘illegal’. 

The treatment of the improperly paid dividend is dependent upon the position of the recipient:

(a) If the recipient knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that a distribution or part of it is unlawful, then he/she is liable to repay it to the company.
(b) If the recipient is not aware that an illegal divided was declared (ie shareholder of a quoted company), then no such liability exists. However, for private companies that are controlled by directors who are shareholders, such members are deemed to know the status of the dividend.

A significant consequence of the payment of an ‘illegal’ dividend might arise if the company goes into liquidation. If it is found that dividends have been paid ‘illegally’ to the directors over the three years prior to insolvency, the directors might be required to repay same to the company.

5.    Dividend waiver
There can be a number of complexities around dividend waivers. The process described looks at the process that is needed rather than explores case law. If a shareholder decides to waive his right to receive a dividend, he must do so before the date it is paid, via a formal deed. 

The Deed of Waiver must be signed by the shareholder, must be witnessed, and returned to the company. Here is an example of a dividend waiver template.

A waiver should typically be used only for genuine commercial reasons, and not purely to avoid tax.

The company should have sufficient retained profits to pay the same dividend rate to all shareholders (including the shareholders who waive their rights to dividend). An alternative solution to a dividend waiver is for the company to issue different classes of shares.

Major amendments to the Finance Bill
Next month’s General Election has resulted in changes to the Finance Bill. Read our summary now.

Next month’s General Election has resulted in changes to the Finance Bill. Read our summary now. 

When Members of Parliament backed the motion by 522 to 13 on holding an early General Election on Thursday 8 June under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, one of the consequences was the removal of contentious clauses within the Bill. This is to ensure the passage of the Bill before Parliament dissolves.  

Schedule 25 Making Tax Digital
The removal of Schedule 25 Making Tax Digital has resulted in changes to the associated recordkeeping requirements. In the Trading and property businesses income section Clause 19 and 20 resulted in the removal of Schedule 5 contains provision about the calculation of the profits of a trade, profession or vocation or a property business, in particular the calculation of profits on the cash basis and Schedule 6 contains provision about a trading allowance and a property allowance giving relief from income tax. 

Schedule 5 contained the changes to ITTOIA for the calculation of profits when using the cash basis. It included the basis for the calculation along with the £150,000 receipts limit and treatment of capital expenditure. This had a commencement date for the 2017/18 tax year. 

The Schedule 6 amendments were also to be effective from 2017/18 and related to  reliefs for an individual regarding income of a relevant trade and miscellaneous income.  

In the Administration, Avoidance and Enforcement section the clauses 120 to 122 relating to Reporting and record-keeping being Digital reporting and record-keeping for income tax etc, further amendments and Digital reporting and record-keeping for VAT – which all relate to the digital record keeping requirements as part of the schedule 25 MTD  – were removed. 

Additionally it is interesting to note the response to the House of Lords Committee following their report. Before Parliament was dissolved the government issued its reply to the questions raised by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee. This followed the Committee questioning the cost-to-business assumptions and calling for government to delay the scheme until 2020 to allow for a full pilot and ACCA's evidence is quoted several times. It is clear in the reply from the government that it is 'committed to the digital future of the tax system' and will 'pursue Making Tax Digital measures in a Finance Bill in the next Parliament'. Recognising the concerns raised, the letter also states that 'all elements of Making Tax Digital will be fully tested before mandation'. 

The Bill IR 35 for the Public Sector is retained, being schedule 1 and is not listed as one of the removed schedules and this continues in force.

The Investment Income and Reliefs Section sees some changes withclause 21 and the changes detailed in schedule 7 remaining. The following clauses – for many of which the changes applied from April 2017 – are all being withdrawn: 

Other clauses dropped from the Bill include those on corporate loss relief and interest deductibility, VAT in relation to fulfillment houses and penalties for enablers of defeated tax avoidance schemes. 

The removal of clause 5 (detailed below) will see the dividend nil rate stay at £5,000 for 2018/19 unless amended by a Bill later this year or early next year: 

“Dividend nil rate for tax year 2018-19 etc
(1)In section 13A of ITA 2007 (income charged at the divided nil rate), for “£5000”, in each place, substitute “£2000”. 
(2)The amendments made by this section have effect for the tax year 2018-19 and subsequent tax years”. 

Employment income
Clauses 9,10 and 12 to 16 saw the removal of proposed changes that impacted the 2017/18 tax year. The exception being the ultra-low emission vehicles which have effect for the tax year 2020-21 and subsequent tax years. The taxes impacted were: 

  • taxable benefits: time limit for making good
  • taxable benefits: ultra-low emission vehicles
  • provision of pensions advice: limited exemption
  • legal expenses
  • termination payments etc: amounts chargeable on employment income
  • PAYE settlement agreements.

Corporation tax
Many of the changes around corporation tax were due to commence for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2017. The following corporation tax relief changes and changes to other areas in clauses 29 to 36 of schedule 9 have all been removed: 

Chargeable gains
The following chargeable gains changes clauses 37 to 40 were all removed: 

Provisions relating to more than one tax: domicile, overseas property etc
The following chargeable gains changes clauses 41 to 44 were all removed: 

Disguised remuneration
The disguised remuneration changes clauses 49 to 51 being Trading income provided through third parties, Disguised remuneration schemes: restriction of income tax relief and Disguised remuneration schemes: restriction of corporation tax relief 

Other clauses removed
These include clauses 52 to 56, 60, 62 and 63, 66 and 67 and 70 relating to
First-year allowance for expenditure on electric vehicle charging points,
Disposals concerned with land in United Kingdom,
Co-ownership authorised contractual schemes: capital allowances,
Co-ownership authorised contractual schemes: information requirements,
Co-ownership authorised contractual schemes: offshore funds,
Landfill tax: taxable disposals,
Air passenger duty: rates of duty from 1 April 2018,
Petroleum revenue tax: elections for oil fields to become non-taxable,
Gaming duty: rates,
Remote gaming duty: freeplay 
Tobacco products manufacturing machinery: licensing scheme 

Fulfilment businesses
The fulfilment businesses changes clauses 108 to 119  being.Carrying on a third country goods fulfilment business, Requirement for approval, Register of approved persons, Regulations relating to approval, registration etc., Disclosure of information by HMRC, .Offence, Forfeiture, .Penalties, Appeals, Regulations. Interpretation and Commencement

Other clauses and schedules
These relate to Enquiries .Partial closure notices, Avoidance, Customs enforcement powers, Data-gathering from money service businesses and Northern Ireland welfare payments: updating statutory reference 

The schedules excluding those highlighted earlier that have been removed are:

Schedule 8 Social investment tax relief

Schedule 10 Corporate interest restriction

Schedule 11 Relief for production of museum and gallery exhibitions

Schedule 12 Trading profits taxable at the Northern Ireland rate

Schedule 13 Deemed domicile: income tax and capital gains tax

Schedule 14 Settlements and transfer of assets abroad: value of benefits

Schedule 15 Inheritance tax on overseas property representing UK 
residential property

Schedule 17 Employment income provided through third parties: loans etc 
outstanding on 5 April 2019

Schedule 18 Trading income provided through third parties: loans etc 
outstanding on 5 April 2019

Schedule 24 Third country goods fulfilment businesses: penalty

Schedule 26 Partial closure notices

Schedule 27 Penalties for enablers of defeated tax avoidance

Schedule 28 Disclosure of tax avoidance schemes: VAT and other indirect 

Schedule 29 Requirement to correct certain offshore tax non-compliance

We will see which clauses reappear in any Finance Bill later this year or early next year. 

You can see more here and here



‘Threats’ are not always what they seem
We should embrace opportunities presented by so called threats such as MTD and auto enrolment, writes the Secret Accountant.

We should embrace opportunities presented by so called threats such as MTD and auto enrolment, writes the Secret Accountant

Do you remember when we used to go to work to do accounts and tax and longed for a day when we could do something slightly different? Well, be careful what you wish for! 

I had a very nice man who used to work for the Home Office visit me the other day on a recommendation from an associate. He came to talk about cybersecurity and the dangers we all face and the conversation very quickly moved on to a thing called GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation.

On the face of it, a very good thing and working in a business which deals in nothing but confidential information, I wholeheartedly believe we can’t be too careful. What is slightly more worrying is that however careful we are, should something go wrong, we can be made into a criminal and fined enough money to ensure that continuing in business is going to be difficult.

But don’t worry, there is a business to be had in advising all of our clients of such glad tidings and advising them what they need to do with the data they hold in order to avoid prison and bankruptcy.

[At the time of writing] These regulations will start to take effect around the same time our good friends at HMRC are introducing the first wave of MTD. The jury still seems to be out as to whether we will be doing four times as much work with all the excitement of 31 January being visited on us four times a year instead of just once.

Alternatively it may come to pass that we actually having very little to do because the new system is likely to be so user friendly to the valued ‘customers’ of HMRC that the role of the accountant will be proved to be the superfluous nuisance that my pals at the golf club have been telling me we are for years.

Mind you the extra members of the team we had to employ to cope with the extra payroll work that auto enrolment has created won’t be putting their feet up, that is the straw that broke many a camels’ back in the small business community as all the bookkeepers who do a bit of payroll threw their hands in the air in horror.

The reality is that with a bit of flexibility and foresight, all of these things have created more opportunities for the profession, on top of those that are created on a regular basis by the awfully nice chaps at the Treasury who in their quest to simplify tax are slowly growing our tax textbooks to a size that means we no longer need to go to the gym to lift weights!

Our sympathies should lie with our entrepreneurial clients who continue to try and create, fix, and grow businesses against this onslaught of administrative burden that most of them never bargained for on the day they took a leap of faith and risked their future to pursue their dream.

The Secret Accountant – a practitioner based within the UK

VAT partial exemption
A review of the potential pitfalls.

A review of the potential pitfalls. 

When a business that is registered for VAT makes exempt supplies it will normally fall within the scope of partial exemption. This creates two problems: 

  • output VAT cannot be charged on exempt supplies – sounds obvious but the business needs to make sure it knows exactly which of its sales/services are affected
  • input VAT associated with the exempt supplies cannot be reclaimed – again sounds very simple but in reality it may be difficult to identify which inputs are directly connected with the exempt sale.

What is an exempt supply?
HMRC has published a lengthy list of goods and services showing which rates of VAT apply and which items are exempt or outside the scope of VAT. Businesses need to review this to ensure they are correct in what rate – if any – they charge on their supplies. 

As an example of the complications a business might face, look at the differences below: 

  • Sports and physical education is generally exempt subject to various conditions. HOWEVER, if you let facilities for playing any sport or for taking part in any physical recreation these supplies are normally standard-rated. BUT, if the rental is for more than 24 hours or is for a series of 10 or more sessions, subject to conditions, then your supply may be exempt. 
  • Medical services provided by registered health professionals are normally exempt. HOWEVER, there is an official list of practitioners to whom this applies and this involves a ‘statutory register’. Therapists such as acupuncturists, psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and others who do not have statutory registers cannot currently exempt their services. BUT, some services performed by a doctor may be taxable or exempt. For example where a medical report is produced solely to provide a third party with a necessary element for taking a decision for insurance or legal purposes, the supply is taxable at the standard rate.

So the first hurdle of identifying exempt supplies may be harder than it first appears. 

How is the claimable input VAT calculated?
The second hurdle is working out what inputs can be claimed. There are three main steps to calculating how much input tax you can recover. These are: 

  • direct attribution of input tax
  • apportionment of residual input tax
  • completion of an annual adjustment.

Option 1 is quite straightforward and simply involves identifying the amount of VAT incurred on purchases that are used, or intended to be used, exclusively in making taxable supplies.  Remember that the opposite is also true and a business cannot recover the input tax directly attributable to exempt supplies. This option might help many businesses and the problem ends here.

Option 2 is more complicated. Residual input tax is input tax on purchases used to make both taxable and exempt supplies. For instance this could be because it is an expense used directly to make both taxable and exempt supplies or because it is an overhead of the business and thus cannot be directly attributed to either taxable or exempt supplies. The amount that can be recovered is worked out using a set calculation - full details from HMRC here. Businesses will need to perform this standard calculation each quarter and be aware of the anomalies such as capital goods and reverse charges which are not taken into account and also ‘overrides’ to the standard method. 

Option 3 may suit businesses where the VAT periods are affected by factors such as seasonal variations either in the value of supplies made or in the amount of input tax incurred. Basically the input tax claimed in each period is only provisional. This is reviewed at the end of a longer period (which is normally a tax year). Any difference between the amount of recoverable input tax as a result of the longer period calculation and the total amount you have provisionally claimed on your VAT returns during the longer period is deemed to be annual adjustment. The calculations are again complex with more guidance at section 12 here

The good news!
If the above options do not fit a particular business then HMRC does allow what it calls a ‘special’ method to be used. A special method is any calculation, other than the standard method, that enables the business to calculate how much of the input tax is recoverable. This method is unique to the particular business circumstances.  Written approval is needed from HMRC before it is used but it may be a more convenient way to calculate inputs where the established methods produce results which are not fair and reasonable.

More good news – the de minimis limit
In most circumstances, where the business has exempt input tax which is ‘insignificant’ (judged by a de minimis limit) it can simply be treated as if it were taxable input tax and recovered in full. This de minimis limit is where the total value of your exempt input tax is not more than: 

  • £625 per month on average; and
  • half of your total input tax in the relevant period.

The total value of exempt input tax is that which is directly attributable to exempt supplies plus the proportion of any residual input tax that is attributable to exempt supplies.

‘Total input tax’ excludes blocked input tax (such as VAT on the costs of business entertainment) which is irrecoverable. 'On average’ means the average over the tax period or longer period. 

There is some ‘small print’ to go through (section 11 here) but use of these provisions could potentially enable the business to simplify its VAT calculations and also to claim back inputs which would normally not be allowed.

Of particular interest would be the scenario where a business has residential property income (exempt supply) and so would normally be unable to reclaim any input VAT.  

New HMRC fraud reporting hotline
Does this hotline change the way ACCA members report?

Does this hotline change the way ACCA members report? 

At the start of April, HMRC launched a new hotline for reporting fraud/tax evasion and this was accompanied by an email alert which members will have received if they are subscribed to the HMRC email update service. 

The email comes from HMRC Business Help and Support Emails and this is the same service that invites practitioners to other services, for instance ‘talking points’ webinars. The text of the email is:  

Dear xxxxx

On 4th April HMRC will launch the HMRC Fraud Hotline, a new service which will simplify the fraud reporting process. A new telephone number and online form will replace two separate tax evasion and customs hotlines.

People wishing to report fraud or evasion from 4th April will be able to contact HMRC using either: 

  • The HMRC Fraud Hotline - on 0800 788 887 - between 8am-8pm seven days a week
  • A digital form which will be published on the GOV‌.UK website.

As well as making it easier for people to report fraud, streamlining the service will also create more time for analysis of intelligence, so cases are quickly passed into the hands of investigators.

The concern is that members receiving this email may be wondering whether their money laundering/tax evasion reporting responsibilities have changed and this new much simpler service should now be used.  

Existing advice
Normally relevant reports would be submitted under the Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) regime to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Full guidance from ACCA can be found here  

The key requirements are found in section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA): accountants should make a report if – and only if – all the three conditions below are met: 

  • if you know or suspect, or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting, that some person is engaged in money laundering
  • if the information on which you base your knowledge or suspicion has come to you in the course of your business (which will be, in the case of a practising accountant, your work in providing accountancy services by way of business) and
  • if either a) you can identify the person who you think may be engaged in money laundering or can provide information concerning the whereabouts of the laundered property or b) you believe that the information you have may assist in the identification of the person engaged in the laundering or the whereabouts of the laundered property.

Where these three conditions are met, a report must be made ‘as soon as is practicable'.

The digital form referred to in the email from HMRC is much simpler and does not contain any of the above stipulations. The details it requires are: 

  • Section 1 – Information about the person/business
  • Section 2 – Information relating to their business details
  • Section 3 – Using this information
  • Section 4 – Your details
  • Section 5 – Submitting the form.

When completing the form it is permissible to enter part details where the full information is not known.

As part of the above, the form asks for the ‘connection’ to the person/business reported which implies that this could be used for clients. The additional help notes explain further:

Your connection with the person or business
If your information relates to a business, is it one you have worked for or used? Please do not seek additional information on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs, only report what is already known to you.

So the HMRC service may give the impression that it is a substitute for the SAR regime.

Advice to members
Even though the email has been sent out on email lists which include accountants who have signed up for various HMRC services, ACCA’s advice is that the existing SAR regime must still be used by accountants. The ‘light’ version of reporting to HMRC does not meet the three key requirements above and crucially there is no means of addressing the consent to act issues that the SAR report contains. 

The new hotline is mainly aimed at the general public as confirmed by one of the hotline staff recently.  They also confirmed that their own guidance was that accountants and other regulated sectors should continue to use the SAR regime.

Keeping charity clients updated
Recent changes for charities include around model accounts and audit/examiner reporting requirements.

Recent changes for charities include around model accounts and audit/examiner reporting requirements. 

Model accounts
The Charity Commission has updated its accounts pack for charitable companies.

CC17 Charity accounting templates: accruals accounts (CC17) SORP FRS 102 for charitable companies provides templates, suggested notes and explanation of the accounts and they have been updated for Update Bulletin 1 which applies for accounting periods beginning after 1 January 2016. 

Matters for reporting by auditors and examiners
The Charity Regulators (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)) have listened and responded positively to the comments received on the consultation they undertook - Reporting matters of material significance to a UK charity regulator: Revised guidance for auditors and independent examiners.

The result is that they have made significant alterations to the proposed changes, removed several matters of material significance, amended or clarified some wording and reverted to the original wording in one matter of material significance, being ‘Matters suggesting dishonesty or fraud involving a significant loss of, or a major risk to, charitable funds or assets’.

The new list of nine matters of material significance includes two (matters 8 and 9) that need to be reported: 

  • If an auditor has concerns regarding a charity’s accounts and issues a modified audit opinion report or qualified independent examiner’s report.
  • Where an auditor has concerns that conflicts of interests or related party transactions have not been properly managed or declared.

The changes apply for accounting periods beginning after 1 May 2017. This and earlier guidance can be found here

HMRC’s policy on client information
HMRC has made changes to the way it will supply information to accountants/agents.

HMRC has made changes to the way it will supply information to accountants/agents. 

When information is requested by an agent it will now be sent to clients. It suggests a quicker solution would be for the client to access the information via their personal tax account and supply it to their agent. 

The message sent by HMRC is reproduced below:

‘We have recently seen a large increase in requests from agents for their clients’ pay, tax and employment history information, often in bulk, mainly to claim employment expenses, and involving a growing number of security issues. These include agents pretending to be their clients, and calling on behalf of clients who have not given the necessary permission.

As a result, we are making changes to the way we supply this confidential data. While we can continue to take requests for this information on our helplines, we can no longer provide the detailed personal information directly to agents over the phone. From now on, we will send the requested information directly to your clients, who will then be able to forward it to you for the relevant claim to be made or tax return completed.

I appreciate that this security measure will add some time to the process, and I am sorry about that. As a quicker alternative, please note that your clients can access this information through the online service in their Personal Tax Account. They can now view, print and download their pay and tax details in just a few minutes at – they’ll need their National Insurance number and a recent payslip, P60 or passport to sign-in for the first time.

As you may know, we are working on a digital facility that will enable agents to access their clients’ details securely online, which I expect to go live later in the year. In the meantime, I hope you can understand the reasons for the urgent changes to our phone service in respect of this matter.’

Employers beware – expect an increase in coding notices
Understanding HMRC’s plans to address tax under/over payments during the tax year.

Understanding HMRC’s plans to address tax under/over payments during the tax year. 

On 10 April HMRC published a policy paper ‘Helping customers pay the right amount of tax on time’. The paper aims to address tax under/over payments during a tax year which historically are sorted out after that year has ended.

To illustrate the issue, HMRC estimates that during the tax year: 

  • around 8m customers underpay or overpay their tax each year
  • two-thirds of these customers (5.5m) overpay tax, of which just over 50% are the lowest paid, earning under £15,000 a year
  • the current system can take up to two years for an individual’s tax account to be balanced after an under-payment has occurred.

HMRC’s answer to the problems is to make system improvements which will get the code right during the tax year. The plan will be that taxpayers will pay the right tax at the right time and avoid people paying too much tax during the year or getting unexpected tax bills at the end of the year. The paper states that this is part of their overall ‘modernisation plans’ which effectively means the ‘making tax digital’ regime.

How does this affect employers?
This will inevitably mean more coding notices being issued but using the batch system as now. As the employer is legally responsible for completing all PAYE tasks the increase will add to the existing payroll burden. RTI will be unaffected but HMRC is stressing the need to submit accurate data on time.

Large business reporting
Introducing the payment practices reporting website.

Introducing the payment practices reporting website. 

Large businesses must publish information about their payment terms and practices, and how they keep to them with mandatory reporting starting to be required from October 2017 (this depends on the financial year dates). 

The businesses that are in scope of the requirement are those that, on their last two balance sheet dates, exceeded two or all of the thresholds for qualifying as a medium-sized company under the Companies Act 2006 (section 465 (3)) during a financial year.

These thresholds are: 

  • £36m annual turnover
  • £18m balance sheet total
  • 250 employees.

Parent companies or LLPs also will need to consider the group threshold requirements. 

The new service has tools to help consider if reporting requirements are met and the first reporting date. It also contains a publish a report section   

The service can be searched by company name to access the prompt payment reports filed by businesses and highlights when reports have been filed.

The guidance for reporters can be found here

What Brexit could mean for UK corporate insurance buyers
How could the UK insurance market be affected by the EU referendum result?

How could the UK insurance market be affected by the EU referendum result? 

The London insurance market is taking a risk-based approach to plan and act for a ‘hard’ exit from the European Union (EU) in April 2019. Specific plans are unlikely to evolve until the outcomes from political negotiations become clear. However, some insurers are actively reviewing their options for future operating models, in some cases considering expanding their presence in Continental Europe.

Materially, however, not much has changed in the last six months. The cost and breadth of UK insurance cover is still not expected to be directly affected, in the short or medium term, by the EU referendum result.

How UK insurance could be affected
Concerns are focused around client administration and service provider regulation, including: 

  • freedom of services for pan-European policies
  • ‘passporting’ of services into and out of the UK (allowing services to be provided across the UK/EU by a regulated entity in one UK/EU territory without having to have separate permissions in each territory)
  • FCA/PRA regulatory changes
  • European regulatory compliance including Solvency II and potential equivalence
  • data protection regulation and compliance
  • law and jurisdiction of insurance contracts and claims settlement.

The insurance industry is lobbying the UK government, both directly and through trade groups. Common interests include: 

  • securing a regulatory environment that is appropriate for the UK insurance market
  • retaining the ability to passport out of and into the UK
  • mirroring the EU data protection regime
  • securing protection for EU employees in the insurance market.

Despite some challenges, the UK insurance market has the time and opportunity to work collaboratively to ensure that UK insurers continue to provide companies with the most suitable, cost-effective protection.

Looking ahead
Lockton has formed a ‘Brexit Committee’, staffed with Lockton Partners, which will identify and explore the issues that could affect clients and the business they transact through Lockton. Lockton is also taking the following actions to support clients: 

  • conducting risk assessments of what our clients’ insurance needs are and how this will be delivered post exit.
  • reviewing our operating model to ensure seamless service to our European clients and UK clients’ European subsidiaries
  • tracking insurer responses and ratings agency action and updating our clients on these where relevant.

Key milestones that Lockton will be watching closely include: 

  • the UK government’s triggering of article 50, after which the insurance market will have two years to plan before the likely date when the UK formally leaves the EU
  • the adoption by the European Council of the guidelines for the EU mandate to negotiate and complete the withdrawal agreement. This timetable is not set and could take more than the original two-year timeframe
  • the UK government’s negotiation and agreement of trade deals
  • announcements from insurance industry including lobbying groups, insurers and the London market on their plans.

Lockton’s Brexit Committee will continue to monitor the actions taken by the UK Government and the European Council and consider any issues affecting our clients. We will contact you if or when we identify any developments that we believe could materially affect the insurance policies we place for you.

Below you will find a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had about Brexit and our answers, which you may find helpful.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss any of these matters in more detail, please speak to your Lockton contact or email

Ian Canham – partner, Lockon and chairman of Brexit Committee

Q. Will the UK government’s triggering of article 50 affect our current insurance arrangements?
The triggering of Article 50 itself should have no direct effect on your insurance arrangements. The two-year period that follows the triggering of Article 50 will involve the trade negotiations but during that period there will be no change to the UK’s membership of the EU. Therefore matters such as the passporting, regulatory requirements or choice of law should not change during this period.

However, along with many other issues that may rise during the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU), the process itself will remain fluid and the eventual outcome may often appear unclear. Your Lockton team will continually monitor activities in the insurance market, and any broader activities, in order to proactively advise you on any potential challenges or benefits this process presents.

Q. Will the UK’s departure from the EU and the use of World Trade Organisation rules or other trade agreements affect UK insurance arrangements?
It would be prudent to expect that there will be changes imposed upon the UK insurance market after the UK has left the EU and forged new trade agreements. Lockton is part of various lobbying efforts (along with other insurance brokers, insurance markets and financial services companies) to reduce the potential impact of any changes on both the availability and cost of insurance.

We will provide our clients with focused advice on their individual accounts, as and when facts, rather than conjecture, emerge.

Q. After the UK has left the EU, can we continue to use Lockton to service our global needs?
Yes. Even before the EU referendum vote on 23 June, Lockton began analysing the service needs of our customers who trade cross-border and require support into and out of the UK.

Having completed this review, Lockton has a clear understanding of the potential challenges our clients and Lockton may face in both placing and administering our clients’ insurance arrangements in future. Lockton has implemented a responsive risk management process that ensures that we will be able to structure our business to work within any of the UK’s possible arrangements following its EU exit.

Q. What should my company do to manage risks relating to the UK’s prospective EU departure?
Companies should seek to identify, understand and manage risks relating to the UK’s departure from the EU in exactly the same way they would with any other risk. While Lockton’s expertise lies in analysing and advising on clients’ insurance exposures and the changes that may occur, we can also support our clients with risk management workshops to identify the risks they face; these risks would now potentially include the UK’s EU departure. 

Q. As a risk manager, what should I do to help my organisation prepare?
Risk managers should manage the risks relating to the UK exiting the EU in exactly the same way they would manage other corporate risks. This would include the identification, quantification and management of the risks (including control and mitigation actions), as well as apportioning ownership of the risks and relevant control and mitigation actions within the company. No additional reporting should be required.

The uncertainty of the last six months has clearly presented a challenge for the risk management community. As with any other risks that are indeterminate in outcome and timing, the risks associated with Brexit need to be kept alive by the risk management function.

From an insurance-purchasing perspective there is always value in ensuring that sum-insured values remain correct, given the post-June currency fluctuations as well as liability limits – particularly for companies with extensive US operations.

Lockton Companies LLP is ACCA’s recommended broker for Professional Indemnity insurance. For information, please contact Lockton on 0117 906 5057.

Innovation, growth and intellectual property
Why intellectual property (IP) is good for business.

Why intellectual property (IP) is good for business.

26 April marked World Intellectual Property Day. This year’s theme will explore how the IP system supports innovation by attracting investment, rewarding creators, encouraging them to develop their ideas and ensuring that new knowledge is freely available so tomorrow’s innovators can build on today’s technology. 

In today’s knowledge-based economy, intangible assets such as brands, innovative products and services, trade secrets, inventions and the look of a product, can in many cases represent the significant assets of a business.

In order for a business to survive and grow in what is a highly competitive market place, IP rights can play a crucial role in protecting and exploiting their competitive market advantage.  For this reason, IP can account for a large proportion of the value of a business and will impact on nearly every business. Quite often however, businesses do not realise they own or use any IP, believing IP only relates to inventions. It is only when they learn that IP can cover names, logos, web sites, photos, brochures and so on, that they begin to understand its importance.     

IP: the facts
In its most basic terms, IP relates to any form of original creation – a new invention, a unique pattern or drawing, a brand. It is an intangible asset which is playing an increasingly significant role in the plans of businesses for their future sustainability and growth.

There are four main types of IP: 

  • Patents – which protect the processes that make things work, what they’re made of and how they’re made
  • Trade Marks – a sign (for example a word, logo or slogan) which distinguishes your goods and services from those of your competitors (your brand)
  • Designs – which protect the visual appearance of a product, including the colour, shape, texture, material and ornamentation
  • Copyright – which protects written or recorded creative and artistic material, including websites, photographs, music, literature and advertising materials

In addition to this, IP also includes trade secrets and protected geographical indications (which protects products with a quality, reputation or another characteristic attributed to a specific area). 

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or stepping into the realms of IP for the first time, it can feel daunting to discuss this important (and often overlooked) area of business with a client. To help, here are some top dos and don’ts to advise clients and prevent them from falling into the most common IP traps.


  1. Encourage your client to consider IP from day one – ensure they research their ideas thoroughly before proceeding
  2. Have your client consult an IP attorney/professional every step of the way
  3. Ensure your client registers their brand as a trade mark
  4. Make sure your client’s employee contracts state that all IP created is owned by the company
  5. Instruct your client to create agreements with commissioned parties to establish the ownership of IP (e.g. transferring the copyright of your website to your business)
  6. Warn your client to keep new and innovative ideas out of the public domain and ensure all employees are aware of the importance of confidentiality


  1. Assume IP isn’t relevant to your client – every business owns or uses some form of IP no matter the industry or area that they trade in
  2. Allow clients to trade off the back of other people’s trade marks as this could result in costly legal proceedings
  3. Permit your client from copying the work of others without gaining the required permissions or licences
  4. Wait until your client’s business is established and successful before advising them to register their IP as it may be too late
  5. Think a behaviour is legal because ‘it’s what others do’ – they may be breaking the law
  6. Mistake the use of something online as proof of ownership

Where to start

A Basic IP audit
An IP audit is review of the intellectual property assets owned or used by a business.  It should also provide information on: 

  • The registered and unregistered rights held by the business
  • Who actually owns the rights
  • How those rights are used
  • Any potential infringements of third party rights
  • Agreements with third parties with implications on the businesses IP
  • What actions need to be taken to best meet the businesses objective’s
  • Any rights which could be exploited or further exploited

Making money from IP
In addition to the significant protection that IP rights offer, businesses can also benefit from exploiting them in a number of ways. This could be through licensing opportunities, adding value in the event of the sale of their business and when approaching venture capitalists for funding.

One of the main obstacles businesses think they face when protecting their IP is the cost. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t necessarily the case and often it’s their limited knowledge of IP which prevents them taking this step. Applying for a registered trade mark costs from as little as £170, while registered design applications start at £60.

Having said this, applying for a patent can be a lengthy and costly process for a business to undertake. Although, while filing a patent may be costly at the outset, it can offer financial gains once granted.

Businesses who own granted patents may be able to benefit from Patent Box. HMRC’s Patent Box scheme began in April 2013 and offers an additional incentive for companies to retain and commercialise existing patents and to develop new, innovative patented products. It allows a business to apply a lower rate of corporation tax to any profits earned from patents. Businesses with patentable technology can also benefit from R&D Tax Credits and there is evidence to suggest that it is under claimed.

Of course, it’s not advisable to insist businesses apply for a patent simply to take advantage of these financial incentives. It should be carefully considered as part of a company’s business plan. If they understand the cost in comparison to the potential income it could generate and can realistically visualise the outcomes of this investment, they should be encouraged to seek advice from a Patent Attorney or IP professional.

Going global
In today’s global economy IP can provide a great way of building an international business.  If your client plans on selling, distributing, manufacturing or commissioning third parties to produce products abroad, protecting those IP rights should be considered beforehand. Information on protecting your IP abroad can be found here  

IP insurance
In order to protect businesses from the potential cost of resolving IP disputes, the insurance industry is now offering a number of affordable ‘before the event’ legal expense insurances (BTE LEI). BTE LEI can help protect your client’s financial assets in the event of litigation, although in the first instance, the insurance can act as an effective deterrent to infringement. Evidence also suggests that BTE LEI is also impacting positively on businesses’ ability to secure financial investment. More information and a database of providers can be found on the websites of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) and the IPO. 

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
IP can play a pivotal role in the legal due diligence process.  More than this, other due diligence may provide the buyer for example with an overall picture of the seller’s IP assets.  This can also indicate how the IP will impact on the seller’s proposed growth strategy.  This in turn can show how the buyer may be able to improve this position going forward.   

IP Equip
The IPO is aware that many professionals aren’t confident in their understanding of IP rights. To address this they have designed IP Equip, an online learning tool to help you understand the basics of IP. The course is free to complete and can be accessed via desktops, tablets and smartphones. It’s also CPD accredited. 

IP Equip is just one of the free online tools available as part of the ‘IP for Business’ support toolkit. More information and access to the tool is available online here and here  

David Hopkins – business engagement manager, Intellectual Property Office

Late payment roadshows
ACCA is hosting seven roadshows across the UK which will provide insights into the effect of late payments on businesses.

Is late payment an issue for you? ACCA is hosting seven roadshows across the UK which will provide insights into the effect of late payments on businesses, together with practical advice on how to deal with late payments and how to speed up collection. 

The main speaker at each roadshow – Ashley Smith FCCA, FD of CADA Design Group – will also participate in a local running race in each location; you are welcome to join him, or just cheer him along the route! Full details below.

Locations and how to book
Click on the location below to secure your place online now. Each event begins at 18:00 and closes at 20:30, is free to attend and provides two CPD units.

Birmingham – Friday 5 May
Shakespeare Marathon & Half

Exeter – Friday 19 May
Exeter City Marathon & 10 mile 

Glasgow – Friday 28 July
Fort William Marathon

Southampton – Friday 8 September
New Forest Marathon, Half, 10k or 5k

Hull – Friday 29 September
Mablethorpe Marathon

Swansea – Monday 13 November
Endurance Life Gower, Ultra, Marathon, Half & 10k

Limited places are available on a first come, first served basis; follow the links above to secure your place now!

World-class speakers at Accountex 2017
Meet the keynote speakers and register your place for free now.

Accountex is the UK’s biggest accountancy exhibition and conference, attractiing over 6,500 attendees each year. It is frequently cited as the key annual event for discovering innovative new ideas and working solutions.  Returning to London ExCeL on 10-11 May, Accountex is already on track for its biggest edition yet – with 200 exhibiting companies and increased capacity theatres for its 180+ CPD accredited keynotes, seminars, panel sessions, and interactive workshops. 

The programme for the Keynote Theatre has been revealed. And the speaker line-up includes some of the most inspiring thought-leaders in the accountancy world. Hear from big names in the industry including Justin Urquhart Stewart, Head of Corporate Development & Co-Founder of Seven Investment Management and Gary Turner, Managing Director of Xero.

Innovation, growth, profitability, marketing, networking, tech trends, automation, cloud accounting, auto-enrolment, effective pricing, making tax digital, the implications of Brexit, and future predictions are just some of the topics under discussion in the show’s 14 free business theatres. 

Register for FREE for Accountex 2017 now  or for more information visit and book using priority code ACCA103.

Saturday CPD Conferences
Limited places available for these popular CPD courses across the UK.


These conferences are the ideal way to keep your professional knowledge up-to-date and get your CPD without disrupting your working week. The conferences consist of four sessions which makes it a cost-effective way of staying informed of the latest technical issues. 

These events are always in demand from practitioners; click on the conference title to find the location closest to you and book your next conference(s) now.

Saturday CPD Conference Two

  • 6 May - Bristol
  • 13 May - Swansea
  • 20 May - Manchester
  • 3 June - Glasgow
  • 17 June - Birmingham
  • 24 June - Sheffield
  • 1 July - London

Saturday CPD Conference Three

  • 30 September - Glasgow
  • 14 October - Bristol
  • 21 October - Birmingham
  • 28 October - Swansea
  • 4 November - Manchester
  • 25 November - Sheffield
  • 2 December - London.
Autumn Update for Practitioners
Book now for sessions on accounting, auditing and tax.

Autumn Update for Practitioners: Accounting and Auditing Conference

4 November, London

Autumn Update for Practitioners: Taxation Conference

9 December, London

CPD units: 7 CPD units per conference 

1 conference                 £155
2 conferences               £143 per conference/delegate
3 or more conferences   £129 per conference/delegate

Discounts apply to any number of delegates from one firm. To qualify the bookings must be made together. Please note the prices quoted are per person, per conference. For flexibility, delegates booking two or more conferences can mix and match from the Saturday CPD Conferences and the Autumn Update Conferences.

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – enter your or your client’s business
Invest now for five years of recognition and other benefits.

Invest now for five years of recognition and other benefits. 

Nominations for The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2018 are now open! Entries are encouraged from businesses of all sizes, especially SMEs. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise awards are valid for five years with materials being available to use during the period. The awards are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of:

  • innovation
  • international trade
  • sustainable development
  • promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Many previous winners also report increased sales. The government states that ‘according to research by the University of Strathclyde, 73% of International Trade winners between 2012 and 2015 directly attributed increased international sales to winning a Queen's Award for Enterprise.’ 

The basic requirements:
To apply for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise your organisation – which can be business or non-profit – must: 

  • be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
  • file its Company Tax Returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management
  • have at least two full-time UK employees or part-time equivalents
  • demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility.

For more information – or to apply before entries close on 1 September 2017 – visit the dedicated website

Improve your engagement letters
Have you used our updated ACCA Engagement Letters Tool product yet?.

Purchase your copy of our updated product now. 

There are times when problems can arise in practitioner-client relationships. By setting out terms of engagement which clearly state the exact terms of agreement, you can avoid legal disputes later. 

ACCA in partnership with VS Consultancy has produced engagement letter templates which can form the basis of a contract between practitioner and client for a variety of different scenarios. These are available for ACCA members to purchase for £30 + VAT. 

This time-saving tool consists of self-loading Microsoft Word engagement letter files, which you can then tailor to your needs. The product consists of standard letters of engagement for a series of different business types and services. 

It also offers guidance on the following: 

  • what an engagement letter should cover to clarify the scope of your services
  • how to confirm the agreement with the client
  • writing a framework for how the work will be performed
  • establishing an appropriate working relationship
  • how the engagement letter should address fee arrangements.

This product will run on systems using Windows XP and subsequent versions. 

The product can be purchased online