Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Recruiting the staff you need is every successful business’s nightmare because finding the person trained to the standard you want at the exact time you need them is verging on the impossible. Local Chartered Accountancy Practice, Ashdown Hurrey, believe that they have gone a long way to resolving the problem.

Ashdown Hurrey prides itself in being able to say that all the senior employee roles within the practice are now filled by those who trained with the firm.

To give those considering a career in accountancy an insight into what is involved with the work undertaken and the professional qualifications available, Ashdown Hurrey is holding another open day at their Hastings office, following the success of the event last year. They will be providing details to local schools and colleges and full details are available on their website.

Open day organiser, Gemma Steer, says “I first got to know Ashdown Hurrey through a similar initiative about ten years ago and I have experienced first-hand how the training works. I look forward to meeting those interested on Tuesday, 25 April 2017 at our office in Havelock Road, Hastings. Those who cannot make the open day can still apply for a role – an application pack is available on our website and the closing date for applications is 28 April.”

So that we can organise the day for everyone’s benefit, we ask those interested to contact us beforehand to register their interest and full details will be provided for what we expect to be an illuminating and enjoyable day.

Career opportunities await so why not check out the details on the Ashdown Hurrey website here.

Business in Hastings got in touch with digital experts, McPhersons Chartered Accountants to learn more about digital tax and the impact this could have on you and your business. 

What is ‘Making Tax Digital’?

In 2015, HMRC issued a paper, ‘Making Tax Digital’, which proposes that by 2020 they will have moved to a fully digital tax system. This is not just about software, it signals the end of the traditional tax return.

By 2018 businesses, the self-employed and landlords will need to use software or apps to keep business records and to provide financial information to HMRC on a quarterly basis.

Digital accounts will give small businesses greater certainty and control over their tax position. Those who pay more than one type of tax (corporation tax, VAT, PAYE) will be able to take a single view of their total liabilities across all taxes. There will also be the option to pay tax as you go to help manage your cashflow.

Will it apply to everyone? 
  • The gross turnover or property income threshold of £10,000 is currently being discussed and it is likely that only the smallest unincorporated businesses may be exempt. It will not apply to employees or pensioners unless they have additional income of £10,000 through property or through self-employment
  • Deferring may be possible by one year for gross turnover or income of over £10,000 but below a threshold to be determined.
  • A very small minority who genuinely cannot use digital tools will not have to comply. More details on this are promised.
How do I convert my business to digital? 

Digital record keeping will normally mean using a ‘cloud’ or an online accounting package which records income and expenditure as near to real time as possible. McPhersons will be supporting their clients with this transition with software such as Quickbooks Online, live bank feeds and apps such as Receipt Bank as well as assisting with the transition to cloud accounting.

For some clients this will be a huge change. There will be no more handing over a bag of receipts at the end of the year! Even the use of spreadsheets to record transactions will be superseded by cloud accounting. For those who do their own accounts and tax returns, the more involved system could result in them paying more tax than they need to.

What third party information will be included in my digital tax account?

HMRC already has access to third party information and this will be used more effectively and in real time – i.e. not just looking back historically but looking at live data. For example, collating information from employers, pension providers, banks and building societies. Going forward it may also include income from dividends, peer to peer lending and property and savings income.

How will making tax digital work?

HMRC is currently building its own system alongside software providers like Quickbooks, Xero and Sage. Businesses will need to ensure the software they choose is compatible with HMRC.

McPhersons already offer their clients access to licensed software with all these packages with Quickbooks being the preferred choice for many of their clients. Accountants are going to have a key role in helping their clients make the transition and McPhersons have already gone through the move from desktop to cloud with many of their clients.

How can McPhersons help me convert from desktop to the cloud?

McPhersons are cloud accounting specialists and are trained in a variety of cloud accounting software. If you are not yet on the cloud, they will advise the best solution for your business.

What are the benefits of digital accounting?

There are ways to get the most out of on-line/digital accounting and these include:

  1. Utilising ‘bank feeds’ which can automate much of the bookkeeping work – automatically posting entries to avoid you keying them in.
  2. Expense tracking – taking photos of your expenses and sending these direct to your accounts software which then posts it.
  3. Automated invoicing.
  4. Digital payslips for payroll.
  5. Always having up to date information to enable business and tax planning.
What will it cost my business to convert?

The cost to businesses of introducing digital accounting as well as the continuing costs of maintaining digital records and submitting quarterly updates are concerning.

Free software has been promised by HMRC but seems yet to materialise. However, McPhersons can offer a fixed fee and an affordable monthly payment solution that fits your business model whether you are a sole trader, partnership or limited company. This would cover all the work that is required.

There is a view that reporting online could lead to mistakes and fines.

HMRC is attempting to reassure people that they can report online with confidence and are also being more lenient when mistakes are made. The consultation proposes a graduated model with each non-deliberate failure to submit information on time attracting penalty points. Only once the points reach a set level would a penalty be charged.

They are also willing to share more information with software developers about the triggers of tax investigations. Developers can then adapt their software to warn taxpayers to make amendments before final submission of information.

Tax is a complex issue and most businesses will retain their accountant to ensure they are not paying more tax than they have to.

How will I pay my tax going forward?

You will be able to view your current tax position at any time and can choose whether to pay in a single payment or pay as you go. Voluntary Pay As You Go will apply to those unincorporated businesses, sole traders and landlords, in respect of their Income Tax/National Insurance Contributions/Capital Gain Tax, from 1 April 2018, to VAT from April 2019 and to incorporated businesses, in respect of their corporation tax affairs, from 2020.

Contact McPhersons on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk and we will get you fully prepared for the important changes ahead.

 

 

If you’re thinking about setting up or moving your business to St. Leonards on Sea, Hastings or Eastbourne and are looking for the minimum of hassle in set up and want ongoing management then check out this video to see why having your business in these locations will not only provide a prime location it will also provide you with a great work/life balance.

If you want to know more then visit their site here.

What have McPhersons ever done for us? was filmed as a trailer for the 2016 Sunset Screenings at the De La Warr Pavilion. This is the second year McPhersons have been the main sponsor for the screenings and directors and staff enjoyed filming this trailer based on the Monty Python Romans Scene ‘What did the Romans ever do for us?’

Check out the video here

mcphersons

 

Inheritance tax can cost loved ones hundreds of thousands in the event of your death, yet it’s possible to legally avoid some if not all of it. Here are some ways to reduce your Inheritance Tax Bill. 

What is Inheritance Tax (IHT)? 

When you die, the Government assesses the value of your estate (property, cash etc.) and deducts any debts owing by you. If the remaining amount exceeds the threshold  (£325,000 until 2018), you must pay tax at 40% on the extra amount. This is reduced to 36% if you donate at least 10% to charity. 

What about Assets left to my spouse?

If your spouse is UK domiciled, any assets left to them are exempt from IHT. In addition, your partner’s IHT allowance is increased by the amount you didn’t leave to others. This means a couple can leave £650,000 tax free. Being UK domiciled will mean all overseas assets are subject to IHT. 

How can I reduce my Inheritance Tax bill?

GIFTING – Money you give away before you die is normally counted as part of your estate. However, it is not counted if you live for 7 years after giving the gift.

This is why it is important to plan as early as possible. However, gifts to charities are inheritance tax free.

REDUCED CHARGE ON GIFTS WITHIN 7 YEARS OF DEATH 

Years before death 0-3 3-4 4-5 5-6 6-7
% of death charge 100 80 60 40 20

ANNUAL GIFT EXEMPTION – The first £3,000 gifted each year is ignored. If you don’t use it, it can be carried into the next year (no more than this though).

THE £250 ‘PRESENTS’ – You can give £250 to as many people as you like and this is not counted in the £3,000 referred to above. For example, if you have 10 grandchildren, you can give each of them £250 each year and this would be exempt from inheritance tax.

GIFTS ON CONSIDERATION OF MARRIAGE – Each parent can gift £5,000, grandparents/bride/groom £2,500 and anyone else £1,000. However, it is not a wedding gift, it must be conditional, for example, “If you marry my daughter, I’ll give you £5,000!” 

GIFTS FROM INCOME – This is referring to gifts from pensions or other earnings. You can’t give it all away though, you must show that giving it away does not affect your lifestyle.

GET ADVICE FROM AN ACCOUNTANT/TAX ADVISOR – This is the most effective way of finding the best solution for you. After all, you’ve already paid tax at the time of earning your money, why should you pay more than you have to on what you leave your beneficiaries?

What is the £1 million homes allowance?

This is based on parents or grandparents passing on a home that’s worth up to £1million (or £500,000 for singles). It will be phased in gradually between 2017 and 2020, starting at £100,000 from April 2017, rising by £25,000 each year until it reaches £175,000 in 2020.

CALCULATION FOR COUPLE

£175,000 x 2 = £350,000 plus £325,000 x 2 = £650,000

£650,000 + £350,000 = £1,000,000

Need more help? This feature aims to give some informal hints and McPhersons are offering free advice so get in touch now to arrange your meeting info@mcphersons.co.uk or call 01424 730000.

 

Are you looking for a new job or a change in your career?

Here are three companies that are currently looking for people now.

Fat Promotions

PHP Developer

Excellent salary and benefits

FAT promotions Ltd are looking for an accomplished PHP Developer keen to work in a bright, busy, deadline-driven environment creating bespoke database and ecommerce solutions for commercial clients who want the best. This role is best suited to someone experienced and seriously codey to create systems such as the following from scratch:

  • Recruitment agency website including signup of candidates, payment from advertisers, matching skill sets and auto emailing both parties
  • Online elearning system with multiple choice questions, weighted scores and outcome online PDF creation online
  • Adapt existing system built in PHP in Zend to increase functionality and create ne bespoke modules

There will be an element of debugging and supporting existing systems to make them slicker and faster, unpicking JavaScript and managing our dedicated Linux server using Plesk and a range of security levels. Experience in the latter is preferred but not essential as full training will be provided.

What we offer:

  • Generous salary with regular bonuses for strong performance
  • Dedicated training budget to continue your professional development
  • Great holiday package
  • Free parking on site
  • Bright, sunny office with outdoor garden area for al fresco meetings and lunches – and two friendly dogs (no allergies please)

To apply send your CV and URL’s to view your work, to info@fatpromotions.co.uk.

Mcphersons

Mcphersons are a modern, high tech, well-established firm based in Bexhill-on-Sea. Our staff benefits package is as good, if not better, than many larger companies. We offer flexitime, 33 days holiday (including bank holidays), funded events twice a year at least, even cakes for your birthday!

We are recruiting for the following position:

Client Accounts and Audit Manager 

We are recruiting for an accounts/audit manager to join our team. The position will involve managing a varied client portfolio including a wide range of jobs from sole traders through to international group audits.

The role will include planning and performing audits as well as accounts preparation and corporation tax compliance. You will be working closely with the directors as well as other managers and will be responsible for overseeing the work of more junior members of staff.

Key attributes:

  •       Experience of planning, performing and completing audits of owner managed business;
  •       Experience of planning, performing and completing audits of charities;
  •       Good knowledge of FRSSE and UK GAAP;
  •       Strong IT knowledge particular of MS suite, Sage and Quickbooks.
  •       Knowledge of CCH products an advantage but not essential;
  •       ACA/ACCA qualification (preferred but not essential) and 5+ years PQE.

Please email info@mcphersons.co.uk with your CV and covering letter.

Rock Financial Advisors

An exciting opportunity has arisen within Rock Financial Advisors Ltd for a Qualified Mortgage Adviser to join us. Due to expansion, we are looking for someone to assist with the mortgage advice for our existing clients. Hours to suit, experience within financial services preferred but not necessary. Please contact me on the office number 01424 858202 or via email emma@rockfinancialadvisors.co.uk.

 

 

What springs to mind when you think of year end? Tax of course and how to minimise the amount HMRC will take from your business! However, it is not just about the previous year, it is an ideal time to start planning for the next year. Here are some simple steps to assist you.

Get your books in order

Whether you manage your own books or use an accountant or bookkeeper, this is the first step in the preparation. There are three main reasons to keep good records; to meet tax requirements, to keep your accountancy fees down and to manage and control your business effectively. Some key transactions you need to record are:

  • Sales
  • Purchases
  • VAT input and output (if VAT registered)
  • PAYE/Payroll records
  • Establishment costs (if you have a business establishment)
  • Bank and cash accounts (many transactions are now paperless e.g. bank transfers)
  • Administration costs such as telephone, stationery, advertising, motor, computer
  • Capital expenditure on equipement, Fixed Assets & Depreciation
  • Stock/Work in progress
  • Petty Cash

How good bookkeeping will help you manage and control your business?

Accurate bookkeeping will help you identify:

  • Your cashflow position in order to help you plan ahead and meet your obligations
  • Whether your expenses are in proportion to your income
  • Which products/clients are most/least profitable
  • Whether your business is growing or shrinking

What different methods are there to keep books?

At McPhersons, we spend time with our clients to set up a robust system. This free service makes our work more efficient and gives our clients peace of mind.

  • Manual bookeeping – This is the way many small businesses start.  It is cheap and generally easy to maintain.  With a little help, you can save time and keep excellent manual records.
  • Spreadsheets –   We can show you how to set up and manage your records using a spreedsheet.  This way, data can be extracted and we can set up some key reports to allow you to keep a close eye on your business.
  • Accountancy software such as Sage, Xero or Quickbooks – Your accountant can advise which program is best for you.
  • Outsource it – An accountant or freelance bookeeper can do it for you.  Make sure you choose carefully and are getting a good value, prompt, efficient service.

What can you do to cut down on the work your accountant  does in preparation for the year end?  It is obvious that the less time it takes your accountant to decipher your books, the less your accountancy fees will be.  General housekeeping tips are:

  • Rather than hand your accountant a carrier bag full of receipts, keep your receipts and purchases in date order.
  • Reconcile the bank balance to the bank statements – If you can ensure your recorded bank balance ties up with what is actually in the back after adjustments, this saves significant time.
  • If you hold stock, have a professional stock-taker record the value of stock at year end. This may be food, drink, packaging etc and can be quite significant if you operate a licensed premises.
  • Make sure your accountant has everything including paying in books, cheque books, bank statements, credit card statements, PAYE/Payroll records, VAT records and copy returns if VAT registered, stock records.

Determine your Position

You are finally ready to determine the position of your business. Your accountant will prepare the following documents for you that will assist you in making decisions:

  • Profit and Loss Account – in simple terms, this lists all your income and expenses and tells you at year end whether your business is making a profit or a loss. This is a useful tool to analyse your expenses compared to last year. Are your wages higher? Have your utility bills increased? Both things that have an impact on your bottom line. Is your gross margin less than last year? If so, you need to evaluate your cost of sales and review your suppliers.
  • Balance Sheet – this shows what your business is worth at year end. It shows your business’s assets, liabilities and equity/capital of your business.
  •  Cash Flow Statement – this complements the balance sheet and Profit and Loss. It is only necessary for companies that meet the criteria of a medium sized company. As an analytical tool, it determines the short term viability of the company, particularly its ability to pay bills.

So, how will you use these documents to help improve your business next year?

  • Compare your results against your business plan. If you had a business plan and set goals, compare these to what was actually achieved and determine what worked and what didn’t.  This will assist with your planning for the following year.
  • Consider ways to not only increase your revenue but also to increase your profitability. This could be reviewing your suppliers and buying better or investing in marketing.
  • Evaluate your tax strategies – for example, could you have maximised your capital allowance claim? Would you benefit from changing the structure of your business? Your accountant/tax advisor can help you identify all the areas where you can minimise your tax liabilities.

We hope you have found this article interesting. Tax can be a complex issue and we are here to help. Simply email Ainsley Gill info@mcphersons.co.uk or call our Head Office on 01424 730000 for a free consultation at McPhersons’ Hastings, Bexhill or London offices.

You may have heard about storing data in the cloud but did you know that the cloud is not just for that, it is for many other things as well. One of the things it can be used for is accounting. We sat down with the guys at McPherson’s who gave us an overview of what it is and how it can benefit businesses of all sizes, so read on and see if it is for you.

What is cloud accounting and why should I have it?

Whatever the size of your business, small or large, there are many advantages to cloud accounting. It will allow you to work faster, smarter, view your financial information in real time (rather than just when your accounts are prepared) and will allow your accountant to provide more relevant, up to date advice.

How do we know this? Because we are already in it, alongside many of our clients.

What does working ‘in the cloud’ actually mean?

The cloud basically means you have your own space on the internet for all your accounting data. This makes your data and software available anywhere, at any time. All you have to do is log on and you can see everything that is normally currently available on your own hard drive.

The cloud is not just about accounting, it’s everything that allows you to continue working normally wherever you are. As long as you have internet access, you can view your normal desktop from any device, anywhere.

Consider the advantages of this if you implement a more modern, hot-desking, home working culture?

Even better, our clients can see their own information in real time, at any time during the year. Gone are the days that you have to wait until months after the year end to see how your business is doing.

Cloud accounting solutions have great reporting facilities and you can access this not just from your PC but your mobile devices too. Now, together, you can assess performance throughout the year and recommend solutions to improve profits or reduce costs and provide timely tax planning.

I’ve got accounting software – what’s wrong with this?

Ask yourself are you getting the most out of it. Is it cloud based? Does it have good reporting? Is your bookkeeping always up to date? Does your accountant talk to you during the year about your business or does he/she have no idea how your business has performed until the year end accounts are prepared (probably many months after the year end)?

To find out more about how you can get ‘in the cloud’ get in touch with McPhersons on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk

HSBC said that after two days of disruption for customers its online banking system is operating at full capacity.

Monday and Tuesday showed that business accounts were not running at its usual speed and some customers were unable to log onto the personal banking site but customers were able to log on since yesterday evening.

The disturbance which affected many customers was followed by John Hackett, HSBC’s chief operating officer, posting a video to Twitter apologising to customers for the hassle it has caused.

HSBC have said that the problem was due to a complex technical issue within its banking and mobile systems but has not given its 17 million customers a specific explanation.

All customers would be compensated for any losses caused by the issue and there was no personal data at risk during the disruption, Mr Hackett said.

This is not the first time HSBC has had a technical glitch as back in August 2015, 275,000 payments were prevented from going through.

Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, stated that he would question HSBC’s chief executive about why problems keep occurring.

George Osborne fulfilled an election promise in the recent Budget to lift main family homes worth up to £1million out of inheritance tax if they are left to children or grandchildren.

However, the way it works is more complicated than it sounds so people are understandably thinking about where this leaves them in terms of inheritance planning.

In line with these changes, the Government is also still working out the details of an ‘inheritance tax credit’, so people who own an expensive home and want to sell it before they die can still benefit from the changes.

This is to avoid elderly people skewing the housing market by staying put rather than moving to a smaller property or into a care home.

The tax overhaul of last April produced the pension freedom reforms giving over-55s greater control over how they save, spend and invest their retirement pots.

People are stashing more into their pensions and trying hard to preserve what is already in there, according to recent research among over-50s by Investec Wealth & Investment.  

How to make the best use of these changes

The good news is that you may not need to move house to benefit from the full inheritance allowance. The bad news is that the full allowance may not be £1 million depending on your circumstances.

If we look at what we know so far about the new ‘Main Residence Nil Rate Band’, the Chancellor was eager to stress that £1 million could now be passed onto your children tax free, but in practice a number of conditions must be met for that to happen.

Firstly, the £1million is made up of the £325,000 standard nil rate band for both husband and wife or civil partners, plus an additional Main Residence Nil Rate Band of £175,000 for both husband and wife.

The total of those allowances, assuming all are fully available, is £1 million. However, the MRNRB will be introduced in April 2017 at only £100,000 and increase in stages to £175,000 by April 2020. It will also be means-tested, with estates above £2 million losing £1 of their MRNRB for every £2 their estate exceeds £2 million. In practice, this means that to pass down £1 million to your children you must:

a) Be married or in a civil partnership
b) Own a house worth £350,000 or more
c) Have a total estate of less than £2million
d) Die after April 2020, or your spouse must die after that, because on first death any unused nil rate band is transferred to the surviving spouse.

The key point to all of this is that your property only needs to be worth £350,000 to fully utilise the MRNRB, so you may not need to move house after all. You could waste your MRNRB if the property is left to someone other than your children or spouse on death. With pensions as the alternative, it used to be the case that you had to die before age 75 having not touched your pension, in order to receive the fund tax free, any funds remaining on death were taxed at 55 per cent.

The new changes now mean that if you die before 75 any remaining pension funds, whether they have been used to provide benefits or not, can be passed tax free to nominated beneficiaries. If you die after 75, the pension fund will be exempt from inheritance tax, but your nominated beneficiaries will pay income tax at their own tax rate as they withdraw the funds. If you are a higher rate income tax payer and you believe your children to likely be basic rate when they take the funds, then living on other assets and leaving your pension to your children will probably be the most tax efficient way of passing on your estate. If you are a basic rate taxpayer and they are higher rate, then it will probably be better for you to take your pension at basic rate to fund your retirement and leave the other assets in your estate to your children. You can also take more than you need and gift the excess to your children over a number of years. Before making any life changing financial decisions, it is recommended that you should always consult your professional financial adviser. 

Need more help?

This feature aims to give some informal hints and tips. McPhersons Financial Solutions are offering businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your meeting. Simply email Peter Watters p.watters@mcphersons.co.uk or call our Head Office on 01424 730000 for a free consultation at McPhersons’ London, Bexhill or Hastings offices. www.mcphersonsfs.co.uk