Managing a business is a lot of work, whether it’s big or small, and it’s often one of the hardest parts of running a business. It’s also the most important part, too. Doing everything yourself is admirable but sometimes, it’s a good idea to get advice from a certified accountant.
Hiring an accountant might seem like a luxury, especially to small business owners out there who already have set budgets, but it might be the right choice. For you and for your business. More so if you’ve been struggling to stay on top of your books. Having an accountant to seek expertise and help from might be your best option and it might even help you to worry less.
The fees and services of accountants in the UK can vary a lot, many dependent on multiple factors which is why it’s important that as a business owner, you talk to several accountants and compare their quotes and services.
When accountants consider a fee to give to business owners, they’ll take into account:
It’s important to remember that usually, smaller businesses have fewer transactions to manage which can often end up in a lower overall accountancy fee.
When we talk about small businesses, this can be anything from a one-man-show or self-employed contractor to a limited company that has just reached 50 employees. Most small businesses hire accountants to help with the taxes as many tax return accountants have a one-off fee for the year. Of course, unpredictable income revenue can alter the accountant fee because of the complexities of documenting it.
Accountants that are hired by small businesses can often have small business packages that they offer when you want additional services other than just tax returns. Such packages include a multitude of accounting services to the benefit of the businessowner. For instance, bookkeeping, regular day-to-day accounting advice, corporation tax returns, and advice on tax avoidance legislation (IR35) are just a few of the services they might include in such a package.
According to Checkatrade, the usual price range for a tax return accountant is between £150 to £250. The accounting firms that offer packages often do so as monthly fees which, again is dependent on the size of your business, range in price from as little as £60 up to £250.
If you don’t, or perhaps if you can’t, pay accountants per month or annually, you can arrange an alternative. Accountants sometimes have flexible options to be paid. You might want to pay them hourly for whatever service you’re getting for your business, whichever one it needs. That could be one service, or it could be three. It is worth asking when you are considering using an accountant how you can pay for their services.
Some services are higher in fees than others – bookkeeping services often range from £25 to £35 per hour whereas more specialised services like business planning expertise, start from £125 for the hour.
Not necessarily. However, it doesn’t hurt to have one on side. Proactive accountants who just want to help your business grow do genuinely care about the success of your business and the management of it. Maintaining your business, particularly those important financial documents, is tough enough on your own, having an accountant really could be the answer for you.
They can help you tackle any complex financial matters – invoices, tax liabilities, annual reports, tax-deductible expenses. If just seeing that overwhelms you, don’t worry. That’s what your accountant is for!
Rivington Accounts, one of the North West’s leading accountants for business growth, sincerely care about both the financial and growth success of your business. Think of us as a friendly, approachable extension of your team.
The services we provide to our clients are customised, proactive. Developing solutions we know will help to enhance the way you do business. We just want to help your business thrive and in doing so, we collaborate with you to get to know you and your business. The things that are important to you, your goals.
By growing your business, we can offer you something that you might have been missing out on – time. Time with your friends, with your family, time to fulfil those other commitments you have.
We build honest relationships with our clients because it’s our aim to support you and challenge you in achieving your goals. When we give you advice, it is tailored specifically to your unique business wants, all in a friendly environment so you can thoroughly discuss and consider your options.
If you’re uncertain about where to go next or how to develop your business further, just reach out to Rivington Accounts!
Financial freedom is important to many business owners and maintaining a healthy work/life balance can sometimes be challenging. We understand. So if you’re too busy to deal with finances, are struggling, or are just dissatisfied with your current accountant, let us help you.
Send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01257 42 92 52 to speak directly to one of our team.
Navigating the complex world of finance by yourself can be challenging, maybe even daunting, for business owners. Sometimes, however, it’s not quite as simple as just acquiring an accountant – they have to be the right fit for you, for your business, and for your specific needs. There are many aspects that can play a part in finding the right accountant, too, such as the industry you’re in, qualifications, and budgets.
But how exactly do you choose the right accountant for your business? What things should you look into or consider?
Choosing an accountant to hire for your business is a really important decision to make and shouldn’t be made lightly. Taking to do the time to have a thorough process will really help you consider any hinderances or issues you might face. Like the location of the accountant, for instance.
Having a very capable person who is experienced and qualified is often the standard – they are going to be dealing with one of the most important areas of your business, after all. The right accountant will help your business in all the ways they can which is why this isn’t a quick or simple decision.
Not only is it better for your business but for peace of mind, also.
Choosing an accountant that is recognised by the government or regulated by a professional body invites relief to the decision you’ve made. They may hold one of the following titles:
CAs are qualified professionals that have typically completed both an above degree-level study and gained workplace experience. Due to their experience and their knowledge, they know how to add value to your business. You may consider non-chartered accountants for the more basic matters but you’ll likely need a chartered accountant if you want to take loans or are audited.
Accountants are at liberty to offer a diverse range of services due to the nature of finance being so widely encompassing:
Not every business owner needs every single one of these services. You might require only a few, maybe even just one. But understanding the scope of your accountant’s abilities shows you what they can offer you if you do have any other business goals.
You’ll need an accountant who has relevant experience providing services to a company of a either a similar size or revenue to yours. Working with an accountant who has experience with smaller businesses, it will make quite a difference for them to be dealing with the finances of a bigger company and vice versa. If they have the relevant expertise, it also just provides you with the confidence that they know what they’re doing because they can draw on previous experience.
When accountants have worked with companies and other businesses in a similar sector to your own, they will already have some base understanding of what unique needs your business has. They’ll be able to handle the growth of your business much easier and create an effective finance strategy.
LinkedIn is a great online space where many industry professionals and business owners gather. They can share their business expertise and show what services they have to offer. You can usually find out other things from online spaces regarding their previous clients, qualifications, or connections. It’s a great way to learn more about their background, if they’re enthusiastic about their profession, and what clients have had to say or recommend about them.
Having an accountant is often a priority for most businesses as they are skilled professionals when it comes to finances. And sometimes, business owners just have too much going on and that can make way for some very unintentional yet careless mistakes. Such as filing a report wrong or making an error that either costs you revenue or delays supplier payments.
Previously, doing everything face-to-face was pretty much the go-to for most businesses. Then, a global pandemic hit and everyone had to adapt and one of the ways we did that was by going digital. So today, location might be less of a worry for you if you’re using cloud-based technology to manage your business, like cloud accounting.
Chatting about your business’s finances online may not be something that appeals to everyone, though. So even if you use software to help you manage and keep track of your books, you might still want to consider the location of the accountants you’re interested in going to.
There are many technologies available now for multiple purposes – one of those being finance-related. Although trying to find the technology that’s just right for you and one that you can use efficiently can be overwhelming, some accounts can help you with this.
Personally, we are quite tech savvy at Rivington Accounts and can suggest or even set up potential software for your business.
Not to exaggerate but sometimes, having a good accountant for your business really can be your saving grace. A proactive accountant who only wants to help your business grow will genuinely care about your business and the management of it.
They’ll help you when it comes to tackling those complex financial matters; think invoicing, tax liabilities, end of year reports, or tax-deductible expenses. Accountants are professionals and sector specialists for a reason.
Not only are we one of the North West’s leading accountants for business growth but Rivington Accounts also genuinely care about the financial performance and growth of your business – like a friendly and approachable extension of your team!
We provide a proactive and customised service to our clients, developing solutions that will only enhance the way you do business. In fulfilling our mission, which is to help your business thrive, we’ll partner with you and get to know your business and the things that are important to you. By growing your business, we can help you gain back time so that you can focus on your family and your other priorities.
Every relationship we build with our clients is an honest one where our aim is to both challenge and support you in achieving your goals. The advice we give you is tailored to your specific business wants and all done in a friendly environment where you can properly discuss and consider your options.
If your business is successful but you’re not sure where to go next or how to develop your business further, get in touch with Rivington Accounts!
We understand how important financial freedom is to many business owners as well as how challenging it can often be to maintain a healthy work/life balance. The pride of having a successful business and leaving behind a legacy is something personal. So if you’re dissatisfied with your current accountant or too busy to deal with finances, let us help.
You can reach us by emailing email@example.com or you can phone us on 01257 42 92 52 to speak directly with one of our team.
After the shenanigans of last Autumn with 4 chancellors in the matter of weeks and all the disruption and financial heartache that caused, tomorrow is an opportunity to start to put things right.
I’m not going to try and second guess what will be announced in the budget this week, it’s unlikely they are going to change the increase in Corporation Tax which comes into effect next month.
Any other changes are likely to be either short-term thinking with a General Election on the horizon next year or something that might come into effect in future years.
But the corporation tax increase is a really tough one to take, especially for smaller businesses.
For years the rate reduced by 1% a year to its current rate of 19% but from April 1st it goes up to 25% (26.5% for businesses with profits between £50k & £250k).
The millions of people who already run limited companies will just have to take this increase on the chin.
They will actually be paying 39% extra corporation tax on profits over £50,000 which is scandalous!
Where the Government is being short-sighted (as well as letting bigger businesses off the hook) is that it now makes it less attractive to start a small business in the UK.
This in turn means that people are less likely to innovate and keep the country a competitive place to do business.
Alternatively, sole traders will think they may as well ‘stay small’ not only below the VAT threshold, but why should they look to expand, employ people, and become limited when they will pay more tax on the profits?
It wasn’t long ago that there was an extra perk to running a limited company by the way of tax-free dividends, again encouraging growth and the ability to employ people but this has stopped now too.
It is short-sighted and shows the Chancellor’s lack of understanding of how small businesses work.
Many of our clients will keep pushing on and try to improve and grow their businesses – as will I – but I think the uptake of new firms will drop (other than those who must due to redundancy).
In my view, we’ll have problems of living in a country that doesn’t encourage the growth of small businesses and the innovation that is driven by entrepreneurs wanting to grow a business, secure their future and employ more people.
Ultimately people need to focus on what they keep after tax rather than the tax they pay.
However, with the right planning and support there’s no reason why this shouldn’t continually improve but my personal view is that the Chancellor and his advisors are not progressing things in the right direction.
Conclusively, we have to deal with whatever tax regime we work under, it will not make or break your business, as long as you have your operations, sales and marketing and financial support (from your accountant) sorted then you’ll be fine.
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:
Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.
The online service used to reclaim SSP is not available yet. HMRC will announce when the service is available and this guidance will be updated.
You must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:
You’ll have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim.
You can read more on the government business support website where they will be making more information available in the next few days.
If you have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, the scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
No repayments will be due during the first 12 months and the government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
The scheme launches next Monday 4th May and can be submitted through short and standard online forms. Small businesses will be able to access loans worth 25% of turnover, capped at £50,000.
You can’t apply if you are already claiming funding via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
You can read more on the government business support website where they will be making more information available in the next few days.
The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June.
You therefore have until 31 March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.
You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period.
If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.
Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period.
HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.
For more information please go to GOV.UK.
We would like to share our updated thoughts on this subject and why you don’t have to (completely) make your mind up just yet.
Basically, you are asking two questions…
Let’s deal with the first one…
So, if you have found yourself in a position where you have no work and you believe that situation will last for at least 3 weeks, please sign and retain a copy of the letter and furlough yourself. The letter needs to be sent from your limited company to yourself (and the other directors if you need to). We will be asking to see it if we make a claim on your behalf when we can.
If you need a copy of the letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a copy.
Whilst, furloughed you are only allowed to carry out duties of a director. You will find a full list of what you are allowed to do here…
These guidelines were not issued with furloughing in mind so are open to interpretation. However, we believe that maintaining the company’s statutory and financial records are the responsibility of the directors and can therefore be kept up to date.
We also recommend that, if funds allow, you continue to pay yourself your normal salary of between £719 & £1,025 per month. If your normal salary is different to this, we will be in touch to discuss what you should do. Apologies for the impersonal nature of this advice.
This is a question that does not need an answer now. The portal to make the claims will not be live until at least the end of April. When the portal is ready, we will ask you if you have met the conditions to make a claim and, if so, we will assist you to make one. Hopefully, by then we will have some further clarity on what “furloughing” means for directors so you will be clearer on whether you are eligible for a claim or not.
To be clear, any possible claim will only be for 80% of your salary and not include any dividends you pay yourself.
We hope this gives you some clarity on the position we are taking. No doubt you will see all sorts of different opinions on social media and in the press over the coming weeks.
However, as soon as we have definitive guidance from the government on what directors can or can’t do whilst furloughed, we will be able to advise further.
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
We’ve created a 7 minute video to explain the current understanding of the rules.
Whilst we are waiting for more details on the small business funding offered by the Government we thought we would give you more information on Staff and HR…
Homeworking for employees
Employers may want to start considering whether it would be possible for employees to work from home. Some employers will already have a business continuity plan in place and the capacity for their employees to do their job at home which will help to keep business disruption to a minimum.
Employers that haven’t considered home working before should consider carrying out an assessment if home working is expected to take place for an elongated period of time. This will allow employers to review other health and safety considerations and ensure that employees have the necessary equipment for such activities.
Paying employees who have been medically advised to self-isolate
This has been an area of confusion for employers because employees in isolation are often fit for work and have argued that they should receive full pay. However, the health secretary has stated that employees who have been medically advised to self-isolate are staying away from work for ‘medical reasons’ and should receive sick pay, this position has since been confirmed by the Chancellor in his budget speech and Statutory Sick Pay regulations confirm that this should be the case. Periods of self-isolation should be treated as sickness absence and paid accordingly.
The government has announced that Statutory Sick Pay for any COVID-19 related sickness absences will be paid from the first day of sickness absence instead of the fourth day as is usually the case for SSP. Emergency legislation to implement this change is anticipated, it is not yet known whether this change will have retrospective effect to cover sickness absences which started before the legislation is passed. Guidance will be updated when the draft legislation is available.
Employees insisting on coming to work after being advised to self-isolate
You can tell an employee not to come into work if they have been advised to self-isolate as doing so could potentially be putting other employees at risk. Self-isolation absence from work is absence for medical reasons and should be treated as sick leave so the employee should be paid accordingly.
Advising employees who aren’t sure if they should be self-isolating
Employees should be advised to seek clarification from NHS 111 if they are unsure whether self-isolation is necessary. The government has asked that these enquiries are directed to the online service rather than the telephone service. It is important that employees seek this advice before reporting for work.
Can you pay employees full pay if they have been advised to self-isolate?
You can exercise your discretion as an employer to pay full pay in these circumstances which can be helpful in retaining employee engagement during this difficult time. If you decide to exercise your discretion in this way, you should be aware that you must do so consistently and consider that the number of self-isolation cases is likely to increase significantly. This is likely to be further impacted by the Prime Minister’s announcement that anyone with an increased temperature and/or new and continuous cough should enter a 7-day self-isolation period which has been extended to anyone who lives in the same household as someone suffering with these symptoms. The burden on the employer if a policy of full pay were to be consistently applied would need to be carefully considered. If you are not consistent and give full pay to some but not others, this can not only cause resentment among employees but could also lead to discrimination claims.
Employees who have recently returned from an area with confirmed cases of COVID-19 but don’t fall within guidelines to self-isolate
One of your fundamental duties as an employer is to safeguard the health and safety of your employees which should be achieved by following government guidance on COVID-19, this is reviewed regularly and is updated daily at 2:00pm. If the guidance does not require your employee to self-isolate then they should pose no realistic risk to the rest of your workforce. If you are in any doubt then it is reasonable to ask them to check their position by accessing online advice from NHS 111. You could ask them to self-isolate if you wanted to be extra cautious but you would have to pay them full pay as there is no evidence to suggest medical reasons for doing so.
Changes to the Statutory Sick Pay scheme
These are the 3 key changes being introduced to the SSP scheme in relation to COVID-19 periods of sickness absence.
1) When it is payable – Statutory Sick Pay is usually payable from the fourth day of sickness absence but the government has announced that it will be paid from the first day of sickness absence for COVID-19 related sickness absences.
2) Introduction of a rebate system to repay up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay per employee for COVID19 related sickness absences for employers with less than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020.
3) The NHS 111 service will be able to provide an alternative to a GP fit note providing evidence of the reason for sickness absence.
Casual workers on zero hour contracts and SSP
Workers with average weekly earnings of at least £118 (before tax) calculated over a pay reference period of at least 8 weeks may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.
To check whether someone meets this threshold, take the last normal pay date before the first complete day of sickness absence and count back to the last normal payday falling not less than 8 weeks from that date. Calculate all earnings within that period and calculate the weekly average on that basis, if the figure is at least £118 then they will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.
Paying employees who have been off ill with COVID-19 but haven’t provided a fit note
Employees can self-certify sickness absence for the first 7 days, after that period an employer can require them to produce a fit note from their doctor confirming they are unable to work. However, government advice in respect of COVID-19 is that employees should self-isolate for 14 days and not attend their doctor’s surgery during that time which makes it impossible for them to obtain a fit note. Guidance states that employers should exercise their discretion and not require a fit note to cover this period. Sick pay should not be withheld in the absence of a fit note as this would seem unreasonable in these particular circumstances. If employers require proof for the reason of sickness absence, the Chancellor has announced that employees can obtain this from the NHS 111 service and that this will be acceptable as an alternative to a fit note.
Someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has recently been in the workplace, what do you do?
The closure of the workplace in these circumstances is not recommended following government guidance. Public Health England’s local protection team will be in contact with the employer to discuss the case, find out who has been in contact with the individual and advise on actions which should be taken. This may include any necessary quarantine arrangements and cleaning of communal areas.
If you have been advised to close your business
You should close your business if you have been advised to do so. If an employer is unable to provide work, they must usually pay their employees in full. However, if you have a contractual right to lay off without pay, you could rely on this meaning that your employees would only be entitled to payment of statutory guarantee pay for the first 5 workless days which will be their normal rate of pay subject to a statutory maximum of £29 per day. This is pro-rated for part-time employees.
If you do not have a lay off provision in your contract, you could ask your employees to agree to a temporary variation of contract to allow this.
Employees that can’t come to work because their school/nursery is closed
Employees have a legal right to take time off to deal with emergencies relating to their dependents and this includes the unexpected disruption of arrangements for the care of a dependent. In this particular context, a dependent could be the employee’s:
Usually this time off is unpaid unless your business provides additional contractual benefits to employees in these situations.
Keeping employees safe
Employers should be taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of people spreading illness at work. It is sensible to review current hygiene practices and remind your employees of the following:
Employees living in the same house as someone who is self-isolating
If someone in the same house is self-isolating because they’re suspected to be infected or are infected with the virus then it’s likely that your employee will have been medically advised to self-isolate by NHS 111 or the local public health team which would be classed as coming into close contact with an infected person. The employee should not come to work if this is the case and the period of self-isolation would be treated as sickness absence.
Recovering SSP for COVID-19 related sickness absence
The Chancellor announced in his Budget speech that businesses with less than 250 employees will be refunded for the cost of providing SSP to employees who are off work for up to 2 weeks because of the virus. The briefing notes for the Budget reveal the following details for the rebate scheme:
Self-employed people working for your business, self-isolating and SSP
Those who are genuinely self-employed have no entitlement to SSP. In the Chancellors budget speech he announced that those individuals could obtain financial relief by applying for benefits such as Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit.
Relief to businesses struggling with the impact of COVID-19
There are several measures being offered to help businesses to cope with the impact of COVID-19 including:
Employment Allowance Changes
From April 2020 you’ll need to make extra checks to find out if you’re eligible to claim employment allowance. This includes checking de minimis state aid. You’ll continue to claim EA through your Employer Payment Summary but claims will not automatically renew and you’ll need to make a new claim each year.
HMRC are in the process of drafting legislation to change the Employment Allowance for employers. The main change would be that to focus the Employment Allowance on small to medium businesses in the case that employers with a liability of Class 1 secondary National Insurance of £100,000 or more in the preceding tax year will not be able to claim the Employment Allowance. In order for an employer to be able to claim the Employment Allowance for the tax year, they must have space for the full Employment Allowance within their relevant de minimis state aid threshold.
HMRC intend for this legislation to come into effect from 6th April 2020, once the regulations are published under powers in section 5 of the National Insurance Contributions Act 2014.
The Employment Allowance was introduced on 6th April 2014 by HMRC as an allowance to reduce businesses’ and charities employers’ national insurance liability for the tax year.
The employer Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) would be reduced up to the maximum of the allowance in the tax year. The allowance was introduced at £2,000 in the tax year 2014-15 but it was increased to £3,000 from 6th April 2016 to the current tax year.
We offer a range of different services, please click on any of the below links to find out more.