Technical and Insight
Spread the word – accountancy is not boring!
The ‘secret accountant’ believes passionately it’s time to burst the myth that accountancy is boring.

The ‘secret accountant’ believes passionately it’s time to burst the myth that accountancy is boring. 

I was recently asked to give a talk entitled ‘my job’ to a local Rotary club. Imagine the excited faces when they knew that they were going to have a talk on accountancy. Sadly the profession has a reputation (partly cultivated by Monty Python) for being dull and uninteresting. This has found its way down through the generations and many youngsters looking at careers seem to view it this way. 

It needs to change – for nearly 30 years I have had a front row seat looking at many businesses and dealing with directors and entrepreneurs in just about every industry that you can think of. They confide in you, they look for guidance from you, and they love to tell you how it all works. The job is the people you deal with, not the numbers. 

For the practitioner who wants to do more than just sign off a set of accounts or a tax return there is a fascinating opportunity to become involved and learn about the way that so many industries function and to make a real contribution to the way that a business progresses. 

In just the last few days I have been involved in instructing counsel for a client who is looking at a forward land deal where the land is held in trust. We advise on the tax but an understanding of how the deal will go together, the likely outcomes and the potential profit is all part of the job. 

I am writing a report which will be used as evidence in the case a client is taking to the European Court of Human Rights to demonstrate the effect certain actions have had on the day to day running and value of the group involved. While it comes back to numbers, the underlying case history and the juicy bits of people’s actions make for great interest - it even involves a private detective. 

This morning I was talking to an employee who is buying out his employer, going through the details of ownership and how the transaction will be structured, how to deal with minority shareholdings and all of that without incurring a huge tax charge. 

My objective has always been to be the person they call about anything (well, most things) business. 

Not only do we see more than most, we have a great network of clients and contacts in all trades and professions. Putting people in touch can be rewarding and make you a trusted adviser rather than just ‘the accountant’. 

Next time you get the opportunity to engage a work experience person, don’t sit them with the receptionist or give them a couple of spreadsheets to do for a fortnight: show them what you really do and make sure they understand that after the studying, the really good bit begins.  I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. 

By the way, they loved the talk.

The Secret Accountant

Boosting retirement income with state pension top up
The DWP outlines a new way of increasing retirement income.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) outlines a new way of increasing retirement income. 

State pension top up offers an opportunity to boost retirement income. In exchange for a lump sum payment, those who have already reached state pension age, or are reaching state pension age before 6 April 2016, can secure an index-linked, increased weekly state pension payment for life. Available from October 2015 to April 2017, the scheme could be an important part of any independent financial adviser’s (IFA) client’s retirement planning. 

Richard Dyson, writing in The Telegraph, has called it a ‘state-backed deal paying 5.8%’, with ‘topping up’ increasing a claimant’s state pension from between £1 to £25 per week, that is, up to around £1300 per year. Guaranteed for life, the scheme provides an index-linked return protected against price inflation, and is also inheritable by a spouse or civil partner.  

Unlike Class 3 ‘additional voluntary contributions’, which are designed to ‘fill the gaps’ in a claimant’s national insurance record, state pension top up (also known as ‘Class 3A’ contributions) provides the opportunity for people to add more pension on top of any existing entitlement. Contribution rates are set on an actuarially fair basis, with the size of the lump sum required determined by the person’s age and the amount they wish to increase their state pension by. Rates reduce as a claimant’s age increases.

In line with rules on inheriting additional state pension under SERPS, a spouse or civil partner may be able to inherit at least 50% of their deceased partner’s state pension top up. If the bereaved partner is under state pension age when they are widowed but is eligible for Widowed Parents Allowance the amount will be paid as part of that benefit; otherwise it will be payable when they receive their own state pension. Caps on maximum inheritable additional state pension will not apply to this scheme.

Before state pension top up launches on 12 October 2015, the government is advising the public to seek independent financial advice. While not suitable for everyone, state pension top up provides another option for state pensioners and advisory professionals to consider.

Like any conversion of capital to income, using capital to make a state pension top up contribution can have the impact of reducing a person’s taxable estate. Couples may wish to consider their tax status when deciding whether one or both partners make the contribution, and also their relative ages on application, as these will impact on payments resulting from state pension top up. In any case, those applying for state pension top up will benefit from a post-application 90 day cooling off period.

So what does this mean for an individual?
For Andrew Cummins, retired, from London, a secure, boosted retirement income is a key consideration. For him the scheme makes good financial sense: ‘If you look at the return, you do the numbers, I think the economics of it look pretty good’. He also noted that the scheme’s index-linked nature made it even more attractive, as ‘You never know what’s going to happen with inflation'. If taken up at 66, an extra £25 per week for life will cost Andrew £21,775; adding £1 per week would have cost him £871. Others may want to add to an existing retirement portfolio, or simply be looking to secure an income for a spouse or partner. 

More information

The DWP is also raising awareness of state pension top up through social media. Get involved by tweeting @dwpgovuk and using the hashtag #StatePensiontopup. 

What do you think about state pension top up? DWP welcomes your thoughts, questions and ideas via email.

CAA and ATOL: client reporting
Advice for those affected by the CAA’s delay in introducing the ATOL reporting scheme.

Advice for those affected by the CAA’s delay in introducing the ATOL reporting scheme. 

ACCA is still awaiting details of the expected Memorandum of Understanding from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), despite pushing CAA for this over recent months. As a result, future reporting requirements – which you would have expected to be in place by now – are far from clear. The related portal has also been delayed. 

As an interim measure we will shortly highlight to members that CAA is introducing a stop gap measure. It will establish a contact email for training for the ATOL Reporting Accountants Scheme, coming into effect on 1 October 2015. Accountants can use this to contact the CAA in order to apply to undertake their training. You will have to submit the following information: 

  • Name
  • Professional accountancy body
  • Member registration number
  • Email address. 

ACCA will update our engagement letters and will be considering whether guidance is required over and above that in CAA Guidance Note 10 and will assess whether additional member CPD is required. 

We will also send additional information to any members who indicate they are involved in this area. To register for this please email your details to us, putting ‘CAA/ATOL register’ in the subject line.



Charities SORP 2015
What does the delayed Charities SORP 2015 mean for accountants?

What does the delayed Charities SORP 2015 mean for accountants?

The 2015 Charity (Account and Reports) Regulations, authorising use of the SORP 2015, have not been issued. The current regulations are those issued in 2008, which stipulate that accounts must be prepared in accordance with the SORP 2005. 

The Charity Commission’s recommended solution to this problem can be found within its guide CC15c. In section 8 it highlights why the new SORP can be used despite the regulations not having yet been issued. 

It is important to note that if the regulations are not issued then reports will need to be amended or reporting delayed until the regulations are available.

Withdrawal of tax relief
There has been considerable discussion on tax relief and the potential impact of its withdrawal in certain areas.

There has been considerable discussion on tax relief and the potential impact of its withdrawal in certain areas. 

Two of the areas being explored and discussed are pensions and gift aid. Generally, the discussions consider if the current methods are appropriate or put higher rate taxpayers in a more advantageous position to basic rate taxpayers. 

They generally look at this from the impact on taxpayer groups. We are also interested in your views on the impact on businesses and charities. For example on areas such as: 

Gift Aid: would gift aid withdrawal have any impact on charity donations? Should charities be able to reclaim all the tax paid by a donor?

The discussion document Simplifying the Gift Aid Donor Benefit Rules: a call for evidence invites comments by 9 October. It recognises that many charities have difficulty understanding the current donor benefit rules and looks for simple options. It contains a useful summary of the current position.

Pensions: would the higher rate withdrawal impact on pension savings? Would the enhanced relief encourage more to save via pensions? Are you concerned that pension rules are continually changed? 

The consultation Strengthening the incentive to save: a consultation on pensions tax relief invites comments by 30 September. The consultation provides a useful background and highlights the possible reform. 

Please respond directly to the consultations. We would also very much like to understand our practitioners' views on these areas and ask you to share your comments with ACCA via email

A guide to the statutory residence test
How to determine a client’s status under the statutory residence test.

How to determine a client’s status under the statutory residence test. 

A Statutory Residence Test (SRT) was introduced with effect from 6 April 2013, the aim of which is to provide more certainty in determining whether a person is regarded as resident or non-resident for UK tax purposes. 

Subject to the split year treatment where there are certain changes of circumstances, an individual who, in accordance with the statutory residence test, is resident (or not resident) in the UK for a tax year is regarded as being UK resident (or not UK resident) at all times in that tax year. 

The SRT considers the amount of time an individual spends in the UK and any other connections they have with the UK and is divided into three parts: 

  1. automatic overseas test
  2. automatic residence test
  3. sufficient ties. 

The tests are applied in strict order; if none of the steps in the automatic overseas test applies, the person is not conclusively non-resident and you need to consider the automatic residence test. 

If none of the steps in the automatic residence test applies, the person is not conclusively resident, so you need to consider the sufficient ties test. 

Automatic overseas test
A person will be conclusively non-resident if they meet any of the three overseas tests, namely: 

  1. A person is resident in the previous three tax years but present in the UK for fewer than 16 days in the current tax year
  2. A person is non-resident in all of the previous three tax years and present in the UK for fewer than 46 days in the current tax year
  3. A person meets the work abroad condition. The work abroad condition is met where a person works abroad for an average of at least 35 hours per week assessed over the whole tax year and does not have any significant breaks from overseas work. The person must not be present in the UK for 91 days or more in the tax year and must spend fewer than 31 days working in the UK. 

Automatic residence test
A person will be conclusively resident if they meet any of the three automatic residence tests listed below: 

  1. A person is present in the UK for 183 days or more in the current tax year
  2. A person has a home in the UK
  3. A person carries out full-time work in the UK for a period of at least 365 days 

A person will be regarded as having a home in the UK where they are present in that home on at least 30 separate days during the tax year and whilst they have a home in the UK, there is a period of at least 91 consecutive days when either of the following two conditions are met: 

  • Condition A - they do not have an overseas home, or
  • Condition B - they do have an overseas home but are present in that home on fewer than 30 separate days during the tax year. 

Sufficient ties tests
If an individual is not conclusively resident or not resident when applying the above tests, it is necessary to turn to the sufficient ties test. It looks at both the number of days spent in the UK in a tax year and the number of ties an individual has with the UK. The ties are defined in the tax legislation as: 

  1. Family
  2. Available accommodation
  3. Work
  4. Presence (more than 90 days in either of the last two tax years)
  5. Country (only applicable if the individual was resident for one or more of the preceding three tax years). 

The ties are applied differently depending on whether an individual is an ‘arriver’ (not resident for any of the previous three tax years) or a ‘leaver’ (resident for one or more of the previous three tax years). 

  • Family tie exists if an individual’s spouse, civil partner, common law partner or minor child is resident in the UK for the year.
  • Accommodation tie exists if an individual has a place to live in the UK, and that place is available for a continuous period of at least 91 days, and they spend at least one night at that place during the year.  A ‘place to live’ includes a holiday home or even a hotel and may include the home of a close relative.
  • Work tie exists if an individual works in the UK for at least 40 days in the year, whether continuously or intermittently.
  • 90 day tie exists if an individual spends more than 90 days in the UK in one or both of the preceding two tax years.
  • Country tie exists if an individual spends more days in the UK than any other country during the year.
Anti-money laundering: cutting red tape
BIS has launched a review around anti-money laundering and counter terrorist finance.

BIS has launched a review around anti-money laundering and counter terrorist finance.

The BIS review seeks evidence of the impact on business of the current anti-money laundering and terrorist finance regime, and specifically the role of supervisors in that regime. The aim is to examine the potential to improve compliance and efficiency by identifying aspects of the supervisory regime that appear to businesses in the regulated sector to be unclear, unnecessarily cumbersome, conflicting or confusing.

The review states:

‘The government’s domestic objective on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing is to protect the integrity and stability of the financial system, through effective and proportionate anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist and proliferation finance measures.

The government will not abrogate its international commitments and EU obligations as a result of the review. UK legislation generally follows on from EU Directives, the most recent of which was published in June this year, and which the UK now intends to bring into domestic law through updated money laundering regulations by June 2017. EU Directives seek to give effect to the Financial Action Taskforce Global standards on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, and set out that banks, financial institutions and other businesses should carry out appropriate due diligence focused on where risk is greatest. 

The government’s clear policy is that businesses’ approach to money laundering and terrorist financing should be risk-based. This means that businesses are expected to form their own judgment of where the risks fall in a given case and how best to comply with the relevant legislation and sectoral guidance. This is the clear position of the international and EU community and is not open to review. However, the team would be interested to receive evidence on how implementation of this policy in practice might be improved. 

The review will seek evidence in relation to the role of all supervisors in the implementation of the current Money Laundering Regulations (2007). It will seek to identify any aspects of regulatory activity that could be made more efficient - both for those that operate the regime and are subject to it and for enforcing authorities.  In seeking evidence of the impacts on business of meeting their regulatory obligations, this includes impacts on:

  • banks, financial institutions and other businesses that are affected directly by the regime
  • businesses who in their turn are asked to comply with the anti-money laundering requirements of those banks and financial and other businesses. 

The review is seeking evidence of ineffective requirements imposed on business through legislation or its implementation. In respect of the law, the key legislative provisions are listed below. 

In respect of supervision, implementation and enforcement by authorities, the review is seeking evidence of the impact on businesses, for example: 

  • the effectiveness and proportionality of the supervisors’ approach to supervision and enforcement, and how could this be improved, specifically in relation to the bodies listed below
  • how and where businesses access information about their compliance, and how effective and proportionate is AML/CTF guidance (for example FCA and JMLSG guidance).
  • evidence of over-implementation (given that due diligence on customers should be proportionate to the risks posed), and on the range of tools to address this and how are they used
  • whether self-regulation supports an effective and proportionate AML/CTF regime
  • good practice examples of activity or approaches taken by supervisors to support business compliance, which could be replicated elsewhere
  • evidence of the supervisory regimes in other countries that we can learn from, or that impacts on businesses in the UK.’

This call for evidence runs until Friday 23 October and you can submit your views via the Cutting Red Tape website, or via email 

Have your say on Twitter
Small business minister Anna Soubry is keen to engage with businesses on the issues they face with regulation. She has launched a new Twitter account @CutRedTapeUK to listen and engage with business on regulation. 

Follow @CutRedTapeUK for mentions/retweets/discussion about red tape and remember to use the hashtag #cutredtape in any tweets you send. You can also search for other tweets using this hashtag.

Helping clients to comply with competition law
As trusted advisers, accountants have a key role to play in helping clients keep on the right side of the law.

As trusted advisers, accountants have a key role to play in helping clients keep on the right side of the law. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published information that will help accountants inform their clients about the importance of complying with competition law. CMA recognises that professionally qualified accountants are trusted advisers for businesses of all sizes working across all sectors, and that they are well placed to guide clients on where to look for legal guidance. 

This 60 second summary provides an introduction to competition law and draws attention to research which shows that 77% of businesses do not understand competition law well. It also outlines the potential penalties for breaking the law which can include fines of up to 10% of global turnover for businesses and a maximum five year jail term for individuals involved in cartels. Directors can also be disqualified for up to 15 years. 

It also provides accountants with useful pointers on how to familiarise themselves with common competition law risks and recommends steps that any business can take to deal with such risks.

Academies - FRS 102 and Charities SORP 2015
Issues academy trusts should consider around FRS 102 and the Charities SORP.

Issues academy trusts should consider around FRS 102 and the Charities SORP. 

Transition to FRS 102 and Charities SORP 2015: For academy trusts incorporated before 1 January 2015 from the Education Funding Agency highlights the transition issues that will be faced by academies and highlights how they have been considered as part of the ‘accounts directive’. 

It highlights that ‘as a minimum established academy trusts should consider: 

  • revisiting and revising their accounting policies as appropriate
  • the need for restating comparatives for the year ended 31 August 2015, together with the opening balance sheet figures at 1 September 2014, within their financial statement for the period ended 31 August 2016
  • revising the format of the statutory accounts, ensuring that the trustees are aware of, and understand, the changes. The Accounts Direction for the period ending 31 August 2016 will provide model financial statements (the Coketown model) based on SORP 2015, covering most situations
  • whether the trust’s accounting systems will be able to accommodate the changes
  • the impact on timetables for preparing, auditing and approving the financial statements. The trust’s management team should plan and discuss this with the trustees, professional advisers and auditors as appropriate
  • whether specialist assistance is needed to identify transitional issues
  • whether finance staff need training on the changes to the SORP’.
Finance using intellectual property
The IPO has developed an intellectual property (IP) finance toolkit.

The IPO has developed an intellectual property (IP) finance toolkit. 

The toolkit includes: 

  • templates and guidance to help businesses accurately identify and describe their IP assets in a way that prepares them for finance applications and supports the decision making of a potential lender
  • guidance on developing an effective IP strategy, commercialisation of IP and effective due diligence processes
  • improved guidance on finance options for IP rich businesses
  • a glossary of accepted definitions to be used when describing and valuing IP. 

Section 5 Funding Available for IP-Rich Businesses describes the type of funding including funds and grants that is available for these assets. 

More information is available on our technical advisory webpages.

Accessing HMRC manuals
How to access HMRC staff manuals as they are moved to GOV.UK

How to access HMRC staff manuals as they are moved to GOV.UK 

HMRC staff manuals are moving to GOV.UK and the old HMRC website no longer has a search facility. The manuals remain searchable only by using external search engines. 

Since the HMRC site closed to new material back in December, it has remained possible to search within the old HMRC website, because the contract under which that search facility was provided remained in effect. That contract ended on 31 August 2015. 

HMRC says: ‘What does this mean for HMRC customers? We’ve advised the tax agent and adviser community via Agent Update that the HMRC staff manuals are moving to GOV.UK over the coming months. So the impact for external users of those manuals will be short-lived. Once a manual is moved to GOV.UK it will become fully searchable again. The impact should be minimal as the contents of HMRC’s manuals can still be searched using external search engines, such as Google or Bing.’

FRC guidance on FRS 102
The FRC has prepared 15 Staff Education Notes for the users of FRS 102 . 
Is an end to late payment on the cards?
Trade credit needs a boost, says ACCA.

Policymakers in the UK involved in SME financing need to rethink how they manage and regulate trade credit and late payment, says ACCA in the final instalment of our three part research into late payment called Ending Late Payment

ACCA believes that governments and their policy makers have a big responsibility to build a financial infrastructure that diminishes late payment, and where trade credit can be boosted. 

This is because late payment is a life-threatening challenge for many businesses around the world and here in the UK, and its impact on the weakest of businesses is acute – those with fewer than 50 employees are typically twice as likely as large corporates to report problems with late payment. 

Rosana Mirkovic, SME policy adviser at ACCA, says: ‘For many, late payment is a fact of business life. At its most basic form, late payment is a form of credit and in an ideal world, where all solvent businesses would have prompt, uninterrupted access to finance from diverse sources, late payment would be very rare. It would present only a manageable risk to businesses. 

‘We need to revisit late payment habits. Policymakers can greatly improve access to trade credit and discourage late payment by improving the efficiency of the courts, and by providing arbitration and alternative redress options for businesses. These are all important objectives, but for trade credit regulation to be more widely effective, the onus cannot be solely on suppliers to report and police late payment.’ 

Ending Late Payment looks at how suppliers and buyers can improve the situation, by working more closely together, and by investing in customer / client relationships. On the supplier side, they can protect themselves through careful due diligence, and by understanding the administration of their operations. 

On the buyer’s side, they can protect themselves by signing up to prompt payment codes and sticking to them. In the interests of their own long term sustainability, they need to monitor the financial health of their supply chains and be vigilant. 

The report also offers nine conditions that need to be met if trade credit is to be sustainable: 

  1. Buyers’ and suppliers’ standard terms of credit should be transparent.
  2. Cash flows to suppliers should be predictable through explicit credit policies and contract terms.
  3. Invoicing, collections, accounts payable and invoice dispute processes should be efficient and transparent, with senior staff taking responsibility.
  4. The status of invoices should be easily monitored throughout their lifetime.
  5. Suppliers should be aware of the cost of providing credit to customers.
  6. Differentiated pricing should reflect the suppliers’ cost of capital, so that neither they nor their prompt-paying customers are forced to subsidise late payers in the long term.
  7. Customers and suppliers should give each other adequate notice before seeking new terms of credit, so that alternative financing can be sought in time.
  8. Suppliers should seek to understand, and customers should be honest about, the causes of late payment and the viability of late paying customers.
  9. Payment plans should be set out explicitly in contract terms and genuinely troubled customers should opt for these rather than resorting to late payment.
Why management liability insurance matters
Business managers may be leaving themselves at the risk of being under-insured. Lockton offer some valuable advice to mitigate this.

Business managers may be leaving themselves at the risk of being under-insured. Lockton offer some valuable advice to mitigate this. 

At Lockton, we are acutely aware that it is never our place to tell our clients how to run their businesses or how to spend their money. However, we strive always to act as trusted advisers and remember that it is our primary role to advise clients as to the risks presented and how to mitigate and/or transfer these risks.

Often purchasing an insurance policy is the best solution but then it is our role to ensure that we can design the right programme and negotiate the right deals for our clients.

Personal liabilities
An area where we are often engaged in debate with clients is in respect to the personal liabilities which management face in their capacity as directors and officers. It may surprise you to know that the liability of an individual director or indeed a manager or supervisor is unlimited if pursued personally for exposures that emanate from their business life. Furthermore a company’s limited liability status does not protect or limit their liability in this regard. 

Individuals (directors/officers/partners/members) can be pursued for a variety of actions most commonly arising from allegations relevant to: 

  • breach of health & safety policy
  • financial mismanagement
  • employment law. 

We must stress that actions can arise from any allegation no matter how spurious and as employment law is a procedure dominated environment, it is possible for a claim to succeed due to the business falling foul of procedure and believing that they have essentially done nothing wrong. 

Despite the relatively low cost of management liability insurances such as directors' and officers' liability and employment practices liability, it is staggering how often we speak with clients and management teams where this has not been arranged or indeed thoroughly explained. 

Common challenge
A common challenge we encounter when we cite claims examples or potential scenarios that could lead to allegations and subsequent litigation is ‘that won’t happen to us’ and then the explanation goes on to reference many years of trading, no history of any disputes, loyal staff who feel part of the ‘business family’ and so on. However, we need to remember that it is a very different world today than in years gone by, litigation is far more commonplace and legal advice and the ability to initiate proceedings are far easier to access.

The statistic which highlights this best is that according to the Department for Communities and Local Government there were 17,152 non-residential fires in the UK for 2013-14 whereas according to statistics published by the Ministry of Justice, the number of employment tribunals for the same period topped 20,000. Bearing this in mind it would be inconceivable for a business to fail to insure their buildings and assets against fire.

However, management teams are frequently omitting to protect themselves against litigation from employment disputes. In an age of ever increasing legal costs and frequency of litigation the risk to a business’s P&L is significant. The average award for unfair dismissal and discrimination (various forms) is almost £12,000 and the legal costs which can be significant are in addition to this. It is our belief that businesses and individuals are either naive to the exposure or taking unnecessary risk.

Abigail Breary – Assistant vice president, Lockton Companies LLP

Apprenticeship levy – your views matter
Help shape ACCA’s response to the government’s proposals on the apprenticeship levy.

Help shape ACCA’s response to the government’s proposals on the apprenticeship levy. 

You may be aware that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has recently issued a consultation on the government’s proposed Apprenticeship Levy. ACCA is preparing a response to the consultation. 

Given that the levy is likely to impact on a number of our members we want to ensure your views are included. If you would like to contribute to our response, please provide comments on any – or all – of these consultation questions. 

All responses must be returned to Anthony Walters by 17.00 on Wednesday 30 September. 

ACCA is also working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the design of its accountancy trailblazer scheme. This new framework is employer led and will see trainees working towards their accountancy qualifications at technician and professional level. Final details of the scheme are yet to be decided, but to help inform our conversations with government on your behalf, we ask that you provide your feedback via this short survey.

Help shape our responses to consultations and engagement with government
ACCA regularly consults with members on policy and other matters as we seek to engage with and influence government policy. Would you like to be involved in future consultations and discussions? Please contact Simon Webster for further information.

Find an Accountant on
Have your say on our 'find an accountant' resource.

Our website currently provides two online databases which the general public can use to find an (ACCA) accountant: 

  • Directory of Members
  • Directory of Business Advisers. 

We are considering how to refresh these – and would like your input by considering the following questions: 

  • What changes would you like us to make?
  • What functionality should these directories have?
  • How, where and to whom should we promote these directories? 

Please send any feedback to Simon Webster who will collate feedback and share it with our project team.

Your support is very much appreciated.

Help improve ACCA's website
Test our 'beta' website and share your feedback with us.

ACCA continues to roll out a revised ‘beta’ website for our members. We started this process earlier this year and have been consulting with a wide cross-section of members throughout the process. 

We have made some recent enhancements to the user journey and site structure, making it easier for you to find the content you want. You will now find all content related to CPD and AB magazine on the beta site, together with many of the other pages from the members channel on the homepage.

You can access the beta website at any time.

You can also give us your feedback at any time.

Please do take this opportunity to review the site and help us build a website you can be proud of. 

Chairmen of ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory committees
ACCA’s Appointments Board is seeking applications to become chairmen of ACCA’s Disciplinary and Regulatory Committees.

ACCA’s Appointments Board is seeking applications from those interested in becoming chairmen of ACCA’s Disciplinary and Regulatory Committees. 

The key responsibilities of the role are to: 

  • ensure the smooth running of the hearing
  • ensure the committee considers all of the information presented so that it may make a decision based on the facts and the evidence in accordance with the relevant regulations and legal principles
  • lead discussions, involving all panel members, reaching well-reasoned decisions
  • ensure advice as necessary is obtained from the legal adviser to prevent any procedural irregularity or errors of law
  • ensure clear and robust written reasons for decision are recorded.  

Fees and hearings:

  • when sitting as a chairman, a fee of £650 (including VAT) per hearing day will be paid. This fee includes recording the committee’s decisions, approval of minutes and dealing with any pre-hearing/post-hearing matters
  • when sitting as a panel member, a fee of £400 (including VAT) per hearing day will be paid. This fee includes reading the papers in advance
  • £70 (inclusive of VAT) will be paid for the consideration and determination of adjournment applications. This fee includes the production of reasons for decision
  • £100 (inclusive of VAT) will be paid for the consideration and determination of permission to appeal applications. This fee includes the production of reasons for decision
  • £400 per day (including VAT) will be paid for any other meetings and training days, which chairmen are required to attend. 

Hearings take place throughout the week. The dates on which each chairman will attend will be agreed provisionally, well in advance, and confirmed as cases are listed. Chairmen will be expected to sit approximately 15 to 20 days per year.

Person specification

  • able to consider and analyse large amounts of written and oral evidence
  • a team player with the confidence to think and act clearly under pressure
  • experience of chairing. 

Further information and details of how to apply is available online, via email or telephone 020 7059 5673. 

The closing date for receipt of applications is 12:00 on Thursday 1 October 2015. Interviews will take place week commencing 9 November 2015.

Professional Courses events for practitioners
Complete your 2015 CPD requirements now.

Keep up to date with latest developments within the accountancy profession and ensure that you are equipped with right set of skills and knowledge to best support your practice. 

Saturday CPD Conference Three

10 October, Glasgow

17 October, Birmingham

24 October, Manchester

31 October, Swansea

07 November, Bristol

28 November, Sheffield

05 December, London C


Autumn Update for Practitioners Conferences

Business Advice Conference, 17 October, London

Accounting Conference, 14 November, London

Taxation Conference, 5 December, London 

Residential Conference for Practitioners

20-21 November 2015, Radisson Blu, Derby 

Guide to Practical Audit Compliance for Partners and Managers

02-03 December, London

08-09 December, Manchester


Practical Guide to ISQC 1 for Partners and Managers

04 December, London


Money Laundering Workshop

18 November, London


Companies Act 2006

08 October, Isle of Man


Financial Crime Risk - Focus Managing Fraud Threats through Controls and Forensics

19 October, Isle of Man


International Tax Planning

04 November, Isle of Man 

Accounting Standards – Changes, Choices and Challenges

13 October, Norwich

14 October, Newcastle Upon Tyne

25 November, Nottingham

26 November, Leeds

08 December, Bristol


General Tax Update

15 October, Leeds

16 October, Birmingham

29 October, Bristol

20 November, Norwich

27 November, Newcastle Upon Tyne

15 December, London 

Accounting Standards for Accountants in Industry and Practice

17 November, Isle of Man

Current Tax Issues on the Isle of Man

03 December, Isle of Man

Charity Finance Conference

08 October, Birmingham

Special offers on alternative finance events
Opportunities to join two events focusing on alternative finance.

Receivables finance masterclass 
Are you up to speed on the latest in receivables finance structures? Do you know how to manage cash flow to keep up with operating needs?

13 October 2015, Reed Smith, London
ACCA members: 15% discount
B2B SMEs attend free of charge

This interactive one-day workshop will guide you through the complexities of receivables finance including: 

  • the different variations of receivables finance
  • legal considerations in creating receivables
  • how the value of future receivables can be realised
  • risk management structures and approaches
  • supply chain financing, factoring and forfaiting.

This masterclass is designed for people who have a basic knowledge of receivables. It is important that delegates come armed with questions and an enthusiasm to engage and share experiences. 

Speakers confirmed:

  • Gary Davies, Chief Risk Officer - Europe, Bibby Financial Services
  • Nick Stainthorpe, Partner, Structured Finance, Reed Smith  
  • Robert Parson, Partner Structured & Trade Finance, Reed Smith
  • Alastair Malcolm, CEO, XS Reserve. 

To secure your place and take advantage of your free pass or 15% discount register here quoting discount code RFM15

Transforming factoring and invoice finance
Make sure you understand the latest trends reshaping the market at BCR’s one day conference Transforming factoring & invoice finance – taking the alternative finance challenge head on  held 17 November in London. 

ACCA practitioners/accountants/introducers: attend free
Other ACCA members: 15% discount

Meeting the alternative finance challenge head on: 

  • Are you interested in how new P2P lenders and Fintech platforms are impacting invoice finance and factoring? 
  • What new solutions and partnerships are taking shape in the fast changing receivables finance environment?

Confirmed speakers include Aldermore, Metro Bank, Atom Bank, Barclays, BBA, ABFA, MarketInvoice, Platform Black, Interface Financial Group, GapCap and many more. 

To secure your place and take advantage of your FREE PASS OR 15% discount register here quoting discount code TFIF15*

For more information, contact Leigh Richards or call 020 8466 6987.


BPP practice learning bundles
Learning bundles for small and medium sized practices from BPP.

Take advantage of these new learning bundles for small and medium sized practices from BPP: 

5 course pack – £99 *
10 course pack – £195 *
20 course pack  – £295* 

(*prices inclusive of VAT)

2for1 offer from
There’s still time to benefit from September’s offer from

There’s still time to benefit from September’s offer from which lets you select any two four-hour courses that are relevant to your specific learning needs for the price of one.

(*offer expires on 30 September; please use discount code ACCA241)

IPO and Companies House briefings
The Intellectual Property Office and Companies House are holding three briefings across the country for accountants.

The Intellectual Property Office and Companies House are holding three briefings across the country for accountants. 

These briefings will take place in: 

The aim is help accountants: 

  • understand the importance of protecting your own and your clients’ livelihoods by recognising the impact of IP such as website ownership, logos and brands
  • recognise that the value of IP can often far outweigh the value of the physical assets within a business
  • find out and ask questions about how to help your and your clients’ businesses benefit from recognising IP
  • find out and ask questions about how you can use the latest developments in electronic services, freely available company information and accounts data to benefit your practice and your clients’ businesses
  • listen to forthcoming developments that will impact on how you advise clients on such aspects as company formation, company names and new filing requirements.

Click on the location (above) to register your place now.

Queen's Awards for Enterprise
Have you got what it takes to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise?

Have you got what it takes to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise? 

ACCA is a past winner of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which are the most prestigious business awards in the UK, driving growth and innovation and promoting exports. They recognise outstanding achievement by UK companies and raise a business profile above and beyond the competition. Winning businesses have already enjoyed immediate and long-term benefits from the respected Royal endorsement - such as worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale.  

There are many winners from different sized businesses who use the awards to differentiate themselves in the marketplace in which they operate (the award is valid for five years). The awards are open to UK organisations in the categories of: 

  • innovation – for commercial success as a result of innovation
  • international trade – for growth and commercial success in international trade
  • sustainable development – for commercially successful products, services and management that benefit the environment, society and the economy.

To enter any of the categories, the organisation (business or non-profit) must: 

  • be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
  • 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.

Each of the organisation categories has additional entry criteria. 


  • 30 September – application period closes
  • December – shortlisted organisations receive notification of selection
  • March 2016 – winning organisations informed
  • 21 April 2016 – winners officially announced

Find out more
You can read more about the Queen's Awards for Enterprise at GOV.UK. 

Futhermore, you can join the LinkedIn group, follow the Twitter feed and keep up to date with the blog and YouTube channels.

Finally, a question: is there a barrier that stops you entering awards that we could assist you with? Please let us know

New report asks the world’s smallest businesses 'are you ready for growth?'
ACCA talked to SMEs from across the globe to create a guide for CFOs of fast-growing small businesses.

ACCA talked to SMEs from across the globe to create a guide for CFOs of fast-growing small businesses. 

A new report from ACCA has collated evidence from across the world of the key role the finance function performs in fast-growing SMEs, extending far beyond its traditionally perceived auxiliary role to one of a strategic business partner that drives growth as well as enabling it. 

Rosana Mirkovic, head of SME policy at ACCA and author of the report, spoke to a range of SMEs worldwide that had experienced over 70% growth during a period of three consecutive years. Commenting on the findings Mirkovic said: 'Growth of this rapidity is almost always driven by one of three factors. Strategic internal decisions to enter new markets, acquiring technical expertise that enabled the development of new products or as a response to external stimuli such as consumer demand.

'Taking advantage of the opportunities for expansion brought about by these factors almost always entails certain risks for an SME. For example, the rapid nature associated with this type of growth can lead to issues such as insufficient staff capacity, increased business ‘traffic’ such as simultaneous deals or entering new, very competitive or politically unstable markets.' 

According to Mirkovic, the finance function plays an integral part in ensuring the business takes full advantage of these opportunities for growth, without compromising the future of the organisation: 'CFOs have a responsibility to ensure financial health and discipline so that the company can continue growing in a sustainable fashion in the future. Being forced to adopt a more reactive approach operationally, often at high speed, means that processes are often not as smooth as they might have been previously and this task can often become extremely taxing. 

'To combat this change in environment, the finance function must become integrated across the key business development departments in order to prepare carefully for, and plan, new growth. SMEs experiencing fast growth require a CFO willing and able to take a key role in monitoring and controlling high growth as it unfolds, as well as forecasting future trends and possible new directions for the business.' 

By holding these key responsibilities, the finance function extends well beyond the traditional accountancy and processing role, becoming a central rather than auxiliary presence, says Mirkovic. 'CFOs are undoubtedly an essential element in the strategic decision-making of any high-growth business. For SMEs, however, their importance to not only exploiting periods of accelerated growth, but also protecting the business from the stresses and strains associated with it, cannot be overstated.'