#SageSummit – The Moore Accountancy Learnings

Last week I took two days out of Moore Accountancy to head down to London for #SageSummit UK – the first conference held by them in the UK and part of the Sage Tour across the world.

I attended as a Sage Business Expert and Influencer and learnt lots about both Sage products and business development.

 

The Sage staff I met were knowledgeable about the various branches of Sage. The passion with which they had for their various service areas was obvious and created a great vibe at the event.

 

As an accountant, I had only really considered the Sage accounting products as “the thing they did”, but after two days with them I discovered a whole lot more.

  • They are great believers in getting to know a business and offering support to grow them using their accounting, HR solutions and Business Management tools. These include £3 trillion payments processed each year!

 

  • Philanthropy – At the event, the “Big Give” was held where 3 charities pitched to everyone to secure funding from the Sage Foundation. Sage staff can also donate their time each year to worthwhile causes and whilst maybe not every member of staff can go abroad to do this (like Alan Laing), it made me realise that Sage think about developing people and businesses from the inside and are not just about selling product.

 

Key highlights for me were the inspirational talks from entrepreneurs.

There were many comments by the great line-up of key note speakers which gave me food for thought.

Deborah Meaden (Dragons Den), Martha Lane Fox (founder of lastminute.com) and Sahar Hashemi (founder of Coffee Republic) had insights about their own business growth and failures; including:

“focusing on the right user need”,

“enabling diversity and inclusion”,

“delighting your customers by seeing things through their  eyes”

and my favourite from Sahar Hashemi is to be

“100% authentic and be yourself”.

These are all learnings which I will be trying to develop within myself and the team at Moore Accountancy.

 

Diversity and the Gender Gap

As a female business owner hearing these speakers and also Kelly Hoppen talk about diversity in business and the workplace was important. It brought to mind the gender gap issues across the “developed” world and how much further we have to work to minimise it.

One of the stats produced stated that a woman starting university now, would be 81 years old before the pay gap closes – as a mother of 3 girls that is truly shocking and has made me realise that not enough is being done to highlight this #GenderEquality issue and it is something I shall be researching more of from a personal perspective.

 

On a more positive note, I met a really great bunch of people, enjoyed networking with other small business owners, talked the ear off the poor guy from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and had quite a few Sage Mocktails from the bar.

 

Did I benefit from attending Sage Summit? Definitely

Can I bring what I learnt to Moore Accountancy? For sure!

Would I attend if it was held again? Without a doubt….and so should you if you get a chance 🙂

Sage Summit UK – London – April 2017

#SageSummit

As a #SageBusinessExpert I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to London by @SageUK to visit #SageSummit.

2 full on days of speakers, breakouts, insights and networking – I am very excited!

 

Now taking 2 days out of Moore Accountancy client work is a big deal for us, especially as it falls over the tax year end so I am hoping to make the most of this opportunity and focus on three key things.

 

Hearing top speakers

The line-up of speakers includes Martha Lane Fox, Deborah Meaden, Sahar Hashemi and Kelly Hoppen. This bunch of entrepreneurs, ambassadors, Dragons and downright interesting people will kick off each day with their inspiring stories. See here for more information about them.

Moore Accountancy are a micro practice, but hearing these speakers will hopefully give us the motivation and encouragement to look at our business in a new light and come back with new ideas which will help our service provision to clients.

 

Technology

Sage Summit is not just about Sage products such as Sage One or Sage 50, but about the changes in the industry as a whole. I’m really excited about learning more about Sage and what it can do for our small business clients and also about the Cloud in general, Bots and AI Security. There is a whole area dedicated to this which I will be getting to know very well, especially with Making Tax Digital (MTD) happening over the next year.

 

Networking

There will be lots of breakout rooms and communal areas where I can meet other business owners from a variety of industries and both engage and learn from them as well as pass on our small business accounting knowledge to them – win: win!

 

If you are in #London then pop over to ExCel on Thursday 6th for a day of learning and networking, or if you can’t make it then follow our twitter page @sidmooremanc and look for #SageSummit to get our regular updates and top tips from the speakers.

 

Budget 2017 and the changes for small business

Moore Accountancy were not overly enamoured about “Spreadsheet Phil’s” Budget and it’s effects for our small business clients.

Positives included no negative changes to pensions, £2bn more for social care and a delay in Making Tax Digital (MTD) for small self-employed businesses under the VAT threshold.

Negatives include the increase in Class 4 NICs from 9% to 11% by April 2019 and the reduction of the 0% dividend band from £5k to £2k.

Some of these points are further discussed in our Budget newsletter which can be read here –Tax-Newsletter-UK-March-2017.

If you wish to discuss anything from the budget then please drop us an email at info@mooreaccountancy.co.uk

 

Apprentice Accountant in Practice – Moore Accountancy are hiring!

Moore Accountancy are hiring!

Apprentice Accountant in Practice

This role is to help with clients accounting but to also help with the general running of the small company. The day-to-day activities will be varied and focus on both the finance administration of the company and working with client records.

 

 

Part of a small team and based within the home office of this Altrincham practice, the Apprentice will be responsible for supporting the Practitioner in a variety of tasks.

Programme Duration: 12 – 18 months

Duties/Areas of Responsibility:

The role includes:

  • Filing duties
  • Basic company secretarial work
  • Bookkeeping
  • Monthly payroll
  • VAT returns for clients
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Computerised accounting (over a number of platforms)
  • Data entry
  • Creating sales invoices in word and Xero
  • Chasing debtors
  • Basic business/office admin tasks (including opening post, scanning, telephone answering)
  • Client assistance (including on-site support if required)
  • Maintaining business database and CRM
  • Setting up new clients and all related internal procedures
  • Reviewing internal systems and updating technical notes
  • Any other related ad hoc tasks may be required

As experience and knowledge improves the role will develop into the preparation of accounts and tax for sole traders and individuals.

Note that we are a small home based office and everyone does their turn of answering phone calls, filing, etc. As such the job will vary weekly but encompass all of the above.

Personal qualities and skills required:

  • Punctual, reliable, honest and hard-working
  • Ability to work closely with other team members but also to work under own initiative at times
  • Smart, personable and polite as client service is essential (communicating with them in person, by telephone and by email)
  • Willing to apply themselves and learn
  • Organised with an ability to work well under pressure, prioritise and take instructions
  • Enthusiastic, friendly and helpful
  • Good understanding of confidentiality
  • In addition to the above, you will need to be a quick learner, have high attention to detail and be proactive with your daily tasks
  • Also, you will need to have a genuine passion to work within an accountancy role
  • Computer literate (good working knowledge of Microsoft Office incl. Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Basic understanding of double entry bookkeeping, T accounts and trial balance
  • Effective oral and written communication skills

Qualifications required:

  • 5 GCSEs minimum grade C or above including at least a B in Maths and English.
  • AAT Level 2 or a relevant qualification is desirable

Please contact Sid via hello@mooreaccountancy.co.uk if you are interested and we can direct you to the correct external agency monitoring the recruitment.

Moore Accountancy is an equal opportunities employer.

Autumn Statement Update 2016

Business Matters_Steve Woods via Dreamstime

Business Matters_S Woods (Dreamtime)

It was Phil Hammond’s first Autumn Statement since becoming Chancellor and it will be his last, as the usual spring budget is moving to the autumn from 2017.

There was lots of talk about productivity and where our gross debt is at present, but for you – our small business and individual clients, here are Moore Accountancy’s main highlights:

Increase in Personal Allowance (PA) and Higher Rate Tax (HRT) threshold

For 2016/17, the PA is £11,000 and the HRT is currently for income levels over £43,000.

Next year (2017/18) this shall rise to £11,500 and £45,000 and the eventual aim is to ensure that the PA increases to £12,500 and the HRT to £50,000 by 2020. After this point the PA is planned to rise in line with the Consumer Price Index.

An increase to these allowances is always good news for both individuals and small business owners.

 

National Living Wage

This was introduced last year and is separate to the National Minimum Wage. This will go up from £7.20ph to £7.50p from April 2017. Read our previous article about the differences between the two.

This is a positive thing for the country and should boost the flow of cash in the economy, although it will be an added burden for micro businesses.

Salary Sacrifice Schemes to be removed

From April 2017, any salary sacrifice schemes (aside from schemes relating to pensions, cycle to work, low emission cars and childcare) will be abolished. These include gym memberships, school fees, private health insurance, accommodation, company cars and car parking.

This does not affect many of our owner managed businesses, but if you are an employee of a large organisation, then we suggest you take up salary sacrifice schemes before April 2017 and benefit for a further year of reduced NIC and tax. After April 2018 these will no longer be protected.

 

Savings

Those individuals who have been prudent over the years and saved their pennies have been hit hard over the last couple of years with interest rates at a record low.

The government will be launching a new National Savings & Investment bond which allows savers to save up to £3000 over a 3 year period. It aims to offer a market leading rate. It should be launched in the spring.

In addition to this, those savers who are basic rate with more than £1,000 worth of gross interest, or higher rate with more than £500 worth of interest should continue to look at utilising ISAs. The threshold has been increased to £20,000 per annum effective from 6/4/17.

 

Corporation Tax rates

The chancellor confirmed that he would not change George Osborne’s plans to reduce Corporation Tax from the current rate of 20% to 19% (from 1/4/17) down to 17% (from 1/4/20). This is welcome news for all businesses in the UK as it shows that the Government’s plan to have the lowest tax rate in the G20 is still on the agenda.

 

VAT changes

Many small businesses have been using the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) as a simplified way of accounting for their VAT liabilities each quarter.

Unfortunately from 1/4/17 a new VAT rate of 16.5% will be introduced for many labour only businesses who have limited costs (to be known as a “limited cost trader”) and we understand that this will supercede any existing rates which may have been used by existing VAT registered businesses.

The details have not yet been finalised but we believe that a trader whose VAT inclusive expenses on goods (not services) are < 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover or <£1,000 will fall into this category. Note that the expenses used in the calculation will also exclude: capital expenditure, food and drink consumed by the business and vehicle and fuel expenses.

This will affect many of our smaller VAT registered clients, so please ensure you contact us to discuss this further for your specific situation.

 

Making Tax Digital

This is the Government’s current plans to move all small businesses and Landlords to a quarterly reporting and filing regime and away from the current once a year filing.

Many bodies, including the ICAEW have contributed to the consultations which have taken place over the last few months to discuss what HMRC and the Government want from businesses and how they expect businesses to cope with the onerous requirements.

The Government intend to publish its response to these consultations in January 2017 and we shall of course update our clients as to what it will mean for you at that point.

 

More support for Research and Development (R&D) and finance for growing firms

The Government plan to provide a further £400m boost for venture capital funds.

They may also review the tax position of companies who undertake R&D in order to make the UK more competitive in this area.

Many companies may be eligible for R&D tax relief, and whilst this is not a speciality of Moore Accountancy, we have contacts we can pass you on to for further guidance, so please get in touch if you think you may benefit.

 

Letting agent fees

These have been banned which is a cash flow benefit for many renters as it will reduce any up-front costs required when taking out a tenancy.

For landlords however, agreements with agencies should be reviewed to see whether the costs will now be passed onto landlords instead. It will therefore be necessary for landlords who use agents to review their income and costs to ensure they are not disadvantaged significantly.

If you wish for a more thorough review then please read our newsletter update.

Please contact Sid at Moore Accountancy (info@mooreaccountancy.co.uk) if you think any of the above changes will affect you and we can arrange a call or meeting to discuss any tax implications.

National Living Wage (NLW) 2016 Update

NLW Update 2016

National Living Wage

Further to our update in August 2015, here is a reminder about the new National Living Wage (NLW) which is effective from 1st April 2016.

Some employees will see a 50p/hour increase to their wages, which will affect the gross cost to the employer in terms of net wages and employer National Insurance contributions, but also pensions contributions if you are already running an Auto Enrolment scheme.

Rates effective from 01/04/16 are as follows:

£7.50   rate for workers aged 25 and over

£6.70   rate for workers aged 21 and over

£5.30   rate for workers aged 18-20 year old

£3.87   rate for workers above school leaving age (16/17) but under 18

£3.30   rate for apprentices aged under 19, or 19 and over and in the first year of their         apprenticeship

The Government have promised to increase the figure each year, so it is probable that the next increase will be as soon as October 2016 (when the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has historically changed).

It is important for employers to be aware of the new rates, and their employees’ date of birth, as it will help with budgets and forecasts as well as ensuring that no errors are made in calculating the correct rate of pay.

Note that the National Living Wage will not effect directors of a company, who do not have an employment contract.

Moore Accountancy provide payroll services for small businesses who wish to delegate this job; so that they can focus on the running and growing of their companies.

If you would like more information on the payroll services we provide, then please call us on 07542299247, email us at info@mooreaccountancy.co.uk or contact us via our website www.mooreaccountancy.co.uk

Emergency Budget – July 2015 Moore Accountancy Top 10 Points

There have been many changes in George Osborne’s “Emergency Budget” today, 8/7/15, many of which we at Moore Accountancy did not expect.
Below are our top 10 things to consider for small businesses and Individuals:

PERSONAL ALLOWANCE INCREASES
Individual’s personal allowances will increase from £10,600 to £11,000 in April 2016. Moore Accountancy had been expecting a rise of £200 to £10,800. It does bring things in line with the planned £12,500 allowance by 2020.
The level at which higher rate kicks in has also increased more than expected from a current £42,385 to £43,000 next year. Hopes are that £50,000 will be the eventual threshold but no timescales have yet been provided for this.

LIVING WAGE INTRODUCED
From April 2016 a new living wage will be introduced for employees aged 25 and over. This will be at £7.20 (versus current minimum wage of £6.50). By 2020 it is set to reach £9ph. Whilst this is great news for low income earners, small businesses may have to evaluate their costs and it may restrict the ability for SMEs to expand.

MORTGAGE RELIEF FOR BUY TO LET LANDLORDS
Moore Accountancy has numerous clients who have rental property portfolios and this change is bad news for many of them.
At present, finance costs, such as mortgage interest, are fully tax deductible against rental profits. But from tax year 2017/18 this will begin to be limited for higher rate tax payers.
The proposal is that income will be taxed at your marginal rate, but whereas the mortgage expense is currently also expensed at the marginal rate, in the future they will be restricted to the basic rate of 20%.
Our clients will need to evaluate their portfolios and if highly geared, may be less likely to meet mortgage liabilities.
Further changes were made to the wear and tear allowance that landlords of furnished property can claim. From 6/4/16, this will be withdrawn, to be replaced by a tax deduction when the expense is incurred.

PENSIONS FOR ADDITIONAL RATE TAX PAYERS
As expected, George Osborne has put a restriction on pension tax relief for individuals earning over £150,000 of £10,000 compared to the £40,000 currently in place.

TAXES ON DIVIDENDS
At present, dividends is the most tax efficient way of taking funds from a company, especially for many of Moore Accountancy contractors and one person companies. If you are a basic rate taxpayer, then there is no further tax to pay. Even if you are a higher rate, you only pay a marginal rate of 32.5%.
From 6/4/16, the first £5,000 of dividend income is tax free but anything above this will be taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% or 38.1% depending on your tax bracket.
This means shareholders of owner managed companies will be paying a lot more tax going forward and it may be in their best interests to bring forward dividend payments into the current tax year.

CORPORATION TAX RATES
These have come down over recent years to 20% for all companies. Surprisingly, further cuts in the tax rate will take place from 1/4/17 with the rate dropping to 19%. From 1/4/20 the rate will drop further to 18%.
This is good for UK businesses and also for encouraging overseas investment in the UK

ANNUAL INVESTMENT ALLOWANCE (AIA)
This allowance allows businesses to claim 100% of the cost of qualifying plant and machinery in the year of purchase.
It had been indicated that it would reduce from the current rate of £500,000 to £25,000 but George Osborne announced today it would be set at a new level of £200,000 from 1/1/16.

EMPLOYERS’ ALLOWANCE
Currently all employers running a PAYE scheme receive a £2,000 allowance to offset their employer Class 1 NIC liabilities.
This is increasing by 50% to £3,000 from 6/4/16. However this will be withdrawn from companies with one director/employee. This is not good news for many of Moore Accountancy owner managed businesses. Further information as to how this will be recorded is still to come.

INHERITANCE TAX – MAIN RESIDENCE
This had been publicised already by the Conservative government.
Currently everyone has a £325,000 nil rate band after which Inheritance tax (IHT) is payable. The new relief adds a further £100,000 (from 6/4/17) up to £175,000 by (6/4/20) to the IHT exemption level to be used against a residential property.
By 2020, everyone will have £500,000 or £1 million for couples.
There are further tweaks in place, such as if someone downsizes and a reduction in relief for estates exceeding £2million but for the majority of people, this is a welcome relief.

BENEFITS
Proposals will affect many people in the UK.
Tax credit (and the new Universal credit) will be restricted for families with more than 2 children; only affecting those born after April 2017.
Many benefits will be frozen for the next four years, but maternity pay and disability benefits should be exempt from this.
Local Authority/Housing Association tenants who earn more than £30,000 will lose their subsidised housing. They will have to start paying the market rate for their property. The income level will be £40,000 for those in London.
Young people will no longer be able to automatically claim housing benefit. There will be a new “earn to learn” scheme put in place.

This budget had lots to give, but lots to take away too.
Many of the changes have different implications depending on your personal and business situation and if you would like further advice to discuss any of these with Moore Accountancy, then please contact us at info@mooreaccountancy.co.uk , on 07542 299 247 or via twitter at @sidmooremanc

UK Budget 2015 – Moore Accountancy’s Top 10 Highlights

Today’s Budget was always going to have significant political influences with the General Election a couple of months away; but despite that, there were some useful changes brought in by George Osbourne.

Budget 2015 Scrabble image

Photo by LendingMemo.com

Here are Moore Accountancy’s Top 10 Highlights (in no particular order!)

  1. Basic rate savers will receive the first £1,000 interest earned tax free. This is up to £500 for higher rate tax payers – effective April 2016.
  2. Creation of a new “Help to Buy” ISA for first time buyers. You can save up to £200 pcm towards your first home. The government will boost it by 25%, so if you save £200, the government will top up by £50, up to a maximum of £3,000.
  3. New Flexible ISA – This will enable individuals to withdraw money out of their ISA and put it back (in the same tax year) without losing tax free status.The current ISA limit is £15,240 pa in 2015/16.
  4. Personal Tax free allowance for individuals will be £10,600 for 2015/16, rises to £10,800 in 2016/17 and up to £11,000 by 2017/18. This is combined with increases to the higher rate threshold, which will start at £42,385 in April 2015, increase to £42,700 in 2016/17 and up to £43,300 in 2017/18.
  5. Minimum wage will rise to £6.70 in October 2015 for adults with the biggest increase for apprentices who will be earning £3.30 (up from current rate of £2.73)
  6. Fuel duty increase has been cancelled, which means that it has been frozen for 5 years. This will help motorists, but it is important to ensure that the government is still focusing on UK public transport too. The Budget did announce a new transport strategy for the North to help create a “Northern Powerhouse”.
  7. Pensions lifetime allowance will be cut from £1.25m to £1m from April 2016, but from 2018 this level will be index linked to protect existing pension pots.
  8. From April 2016, annuity owners will be able to sell on their annuity and pay their usual rate of income tax instead of the current 55%. This will enable more flexibility for pensioners and follows both last year’s Budget and the Autumn Statement 2014 which began the process of “giving more freedom to pensioners to spend their pension cash as they please”.
  9. Annual paper tax returns to be abolished. Details will be uploaded automatically online. The devil will be in the detail, as we are not sure yet if this will mean more work for small businesses who may have to file monthly or quarterly instead of annually.
  10. Business rates receipts devolved to Manchester, meaning the area will retain 100% of business rates raised.

There are a number of other changes including gift aid for Charities and corporation tax for companies, but these were our favourites. Get in touch with Moore Accountancy at info@mooreaccountancy.co.uk or on 07542 299 247 if you want to find out more information as to how the Budget 2015 will affect you or your business.

And for those who wish to have some bedtime reading with the details of the above then please find the official link to the 124 page Budget 2015 document here.

Guide to VAT changes for digital services in the EU #VATMoss

If your business supplies digital services to customers in EU countries you will have started the New Year with a new place of supply rule for VAT and a new online tool to avoid having to register in all your EU business places.

Who is affected by this change in VAT?

Broadcasting, telecoms and e-service are concerned with the change which means the sale of apps, e-books or streaming services as well as dating services, online journals, newspapers and magazines. This only affects B2C (business to consumer) services, in other words supply of digital services to non-business customers in the EU. Some of the digital services are not affected by the EU VAT change.

What do the new rules mean for the UK?

As of the 1st of January 2015 supplies of digital services are subject to VAT in the EU member state where the customers is located. This means that customers from EU countries will pay UK VAT no matter where they live. But also it means that UK supply will have to comply with the VAT regulations in each EU country where they provide services. Fortunately your company will not have to register in each EU states members where it does business. The VAT MOSS will make the process simpler.

What you need to do?

You can either:

  • Register for VAT in each EU member state where you have customer
  • Register your business to use VAT MOSS which was available to use from the 1st January 2015.

What is the VAT MOSS?

The VAT Mini Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) is an online tool introduced so that digital services suppliers will not have to pay tax separately in each country in which they have customers. You will only have to submit one quarterly return and payment to HMRC. This will account for the VAT due on sales in other EU countries. Although you need to register your business yourself, once registered, you can authorise an agent to act on your behalf.

Will the changes affect you?

Businesses selling under £81,000 worth of products a year are still exempted from paying VAT in the UK. So if you are trading with UK customers and are under the threshold, you will not have to pay VAT.

However if you make a sale in another EU country you will be required to pay VAT in your customer’s country. Also once you are registered, the £81,000 does not apply to your business anymore so you will be required to charge UK VAT on all your sales.

Contact us if you have any question on VAT MOSS.

A new way of receiving client money

One of the key issues that Moore Accountancy clients have is cashflow and ensuring client money is received quickly.

© Melissa King

Cash flow (Bills and a piggy bank © Melissa King )

But there is a new scheme starting at the end of April which may help . . . . . payments to your mobile phone!

From the 29th April 2014 you can pay people using just their mobile number, which means that you can also receive money by providing your mobile number to a client. The excuses of not having time to go to the bank, or being unable to set you up as a new payment on their online banking, will be reduced as they will no longer need your sort code and account number.

You need to register/link your mobile phone with your current account and ensure that you have access to online banking before you are able to receive and make payments.

Don’t worry about mistyping a phone number, as before any payments are made the sender will be asked to check the recipient’s name and confirm it is who you want to send money to.

9 banks have already joined the service which launches on 29th April 2014 with many more to join later this year.

Registration began on 2nd April 2014, and T&Cs may apply, so make sure you read your banking small print.

Look at the webite PAYM for more information and for participating banks.

Moore Accountancy use online banking and we have signed up early to the scheme – let us know if you do too.