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Boom Time for Accountants?

13th May 2015
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If a poll was taken of readers today, the outright Conservative victory in the general election would probably be seen as the trigger for great optimism. Only time will determine whether this optimism is well-founded.

If nothing else, it is probably a relief to us all that the election campaign is over and we can now return to normal life. For example, this columnist spent much of the last month buried beneath Shure SE425 earphones to escape the tedium of hearing numerous politicians slagging off their peers.

For many, the delight that they will have felt last Thursday was less a consequence of the expectation of business as usual than relief at the removal of uncertainty.

Not only would there be no Labour/Scottish Nationalist Party governing coalition but the Tories would not need to pander to Liberal Democrats, Unionists in Ireland or even UKIP.

With David Cameron and George Osborne remaining in situ, most will probably see the outcome of the 2015 election as the catalyst for continuity and economic confidence.

That could be great news for accountants, since what we need is clients who are willing to utilise our services and pay good fees for doing so. In turn, this requires those with whom we work, whether they be individuals or companies, to feel good about themselves, their businesses and their prospects.

In that light, with the stock market at an all-time high, low interest rates and the expectation that client confidence will also soar, the profession is likely to be making space its collective pockets for all of the extra fees that should be flowing in.

Without wishing to cast too large a shadow over those who are already popping champagne corks, the next five years might not be quite as rosy as we would all desire.

However good or bad the new government turns out to be, they are to a degree dependent upon the actions and performance of parties over whom they have no control.

One of those is the European Union although there is a distinct possibility that by the time of the 2020 election they will cease to have any influence over the United Kingdom.

The quid pro quo for that is the reluctance that many of those on the mainland may feel about trading with a country that is no longer in the European club.

As for Scotland, all bets must be off since the biggest protest wrote in history could lead to anything from subservience to Westminster at one end of the scale to independence at the other.

While many will laud the austere efforts of George Osborne, they must also recognise that he is largely governed by global economics. While this can help a Chancellor of the Exchequer to look good regardless of his or her policies, it also means that if China, India and America catch a cold, we will get flu, while the Greeks, Irish and others may suffer from pneumonia.

The other issue that will inevitably cause further pain is the fiscal black hole. The Conservative Party manifesto suggested that the government plans to bring in an extra £5 billion of unpaid taxes, which is going to put the squeeze on many, though could be good for tax investigation specialists.

While their focus and that of HMRC is likely to be on those evading tax, Mr Osborne and his team also seem determined to attack that amorphous concept of “abusive tax avoidance” and even more worryingly, tax planning.

We will have to see how things pan out but those who are still hung over from the post-election festivities and cannot get the tune of “Happy Days Are Here Again” out of their heads should probably wait a little while before mortgaging their lives away to buy that new Aston Martin or Knightsbridge penthouse.

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By slipknot08
21st May 2015 13:53

very strange...

Philip, I commented the other day (as requested) but it appears to have disappeared... is that why you asked me to test it? I don't think I said anything worthy of moderation - no racism, sexism, foul language or broad spectrum misanthropy, so presumably it hasn't been deleted? 

(It wasn't that edifying: just that I use head candy 'phones which also appear to work well, since I asked the person sitting next to me on the train whether he could hear anything and the answer was 'no').

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