Member Since: 24th Jun 2009
Mike Tombs is a Director of TLA Business Services, a firm of Chartered Management Accountants and Business Advisers based in Worcester and covering the West Midlands. Unlike most accountants in practice, he has spent the bulk of his career working in hands-on roles in a range of industries, including engineering, construction, manufacturing, the motor trade and mining. His work has taken him beyond the UK to South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, and he has been involved in businesses of all sizes, from small family firms to large multinational corporations.
Mike is married with two sons, one working with him in the business and the other in the IT industry in Johannesburg.
TLA Business Services
22nd Jun 2020
It would be too easy to row back from supporting the poorer nations as we rebuild our domestic economy, but now more than ever we need to play our role on the global stage. It was a great start hosting the Global Vaccination Summit earlier this month, we are one of the very few countries fulfilling our promise of spending 0.7% of GDP on overseas development and now we can show the World that despite the ravages caused at home with the Covid-19 pandemic we still recognise the critical importance of continuing to support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Margaret Atwood put it perfectly: I hope that people will finally come to realise that there is only one race - the human race - and that we are all members of it.
20th Apr 2018
Didn't HMRC adopt a policy a few years ago where if self-assessment returns weren't required other than for the fact that notices were issued, they would cancel the penalties? That may explain the 400K and in those circumstances I wouldn't hold it against them.
What does bug me is that HMRC insist on rigid deadlines for their customers but can take literally months to respond to routine correspondence.
Regarding automation, that's the only logical option with the inadequate staffing levels they work with. Trouble is that their skills in that field are grossly inadequate. We all have the MTD nightmare waiting in the wings...
22nd Feb 2018
I found it really useful. The most useful enhancements would be splitting out non-state pensions into individual records, showing the state pension (really daft that it's not there when it's already in the online agent portal) and student loan deductions.
It's a bit of a pain not being able to access the information before being registered as the client's agent (clients who have just joined so we haven't got the code yet) but it's totally understandable why it should be like that.
The only other glitches were some old employer records being imported with zeroes, and a couple of pensions coming through as employment income which I doubt is HMRC's fault.
All in all, 8/10.
1st Dec 2017
The whole AML controls are a joke. Because I'm a qualified accountant with a practising certificate issued by CIMA (the other professional bodies are the same) they are my supervisory body and are legally required to check that I have a clean criminal record. There are also regulations covering CPD, ethics etc.
If I was unqualified and therefore 'supervised' by HMRC, for money laundering purposes, not only are there no CPD requirements or ethical guidelines, there is no requirement for a criminal records check.
Guess which of those two types are most likely to ignore AML regulations? Answer: The one with low/no qualifications who is therefore subject to less stringent checks, if indeed there are any checks at all.
3rd Nov 2017
I trialled Go Proposal - liked it but not the price. I didn't see the small practice pricing option, but probably not suitable as I would initially use it with existing clients (starting with the longest periods since the last price review which is genuinely going to be about 8 years).
As far as I remember, it won't let me use Adobe Sign for electronic signatures although that won't be a deal killer if it's linked to another e-sign product at no extra cost. When I trialled a few of them Adobe Sign was the best in my opinion and our clients are now used to it because we use it for accounts, tax returns etc as well as LOE's. I also don't think I could just get a direct debit mandate authorised with GP to use with our DD system.
3rd Nov 2017
Just had a look at Practice Ignition. Their 'Mars' base pricing is £49 not £39. Really irritating that after about 10 seconds on the 'features' page it becomes illegible and a form appears with no obvious 'close' button that makes the page illegible and demands an email address to send reminder to try it letter. Final moan, the next tier (at 101 clients) shoots up to £149, so treble the price. We collect fees through our direct debit system. It looks like Practice Ignition wants to use its own payment system, and we use our own e-sign system but again it looks like PI want to use their own.
I'm surprised that pricingthecloud scores so low given Mark Wickersham's positioning as thepricing expert. I having looked at it so I'm not disputing your score, just surprised. Built in letter of engagement and T&C's are must-haves in any meaningful system system that produces 'ready to sign' proposals.
21st Oct 2017
The voting would be better if it was possible to score more than one product in each category. Many accountants will use more than one cloud-accounting package for example and can useful feedback on more than one.
20th Oct 2017
So near yet so far.
Personally I would change to BTC's cloud solution in a heartbeat - I have masses of trust in them as a service provider. Trouble is, I still need to continue with our remote server platform, because we use other software - not lots, but things like Microsoft Office, VTT+ (we move from VT final accounts a while ago) and a handful of other applications,
If BTC offered a full hosted service, maybe moving us from Office to Office 365 at the same time to save hosting that, I would be first in the queue to change. But even though BTC is our single most critical bit of software, it doesn't make sense to move that to the cloud whilst still paying for a separate hosted server. I would willingly add what we pay to our hosted server provider to what we currently pay BTC to get 'one stop shopping', but unfortunately that's not available. There has to be a solution using My Quick Cloud?
7th Sep 2017
Through BTC our self-assessment returns are linked to HMRC with a nice button that say's "Get Values from HMRC". It doesn't actually provide a lot of info though. Class 2 NIC's is fine, it won't populate employment income but (oddly) will point out differences in employer names e.g. in my case if I enter TLA Business Services and they hold TLA Business Services Ltd I'll be warned. It doesn't provide state pension income although normally (not always) that's in the agent online services portal. It's a great idea but I suggest they start with the easy bits like employment income.
28th Jul 2017
Using DOTAS registration as a basis for APN's was a disgraceful abuse of retrospective actions. The whole point of DOTAS was that HMRC was told in fine detail how any particular scheme worked, thus having the opportunity to challenge the users if they thought it didn't work or change the law if they thought is was within the letter of the law but stretching it. Within the tax avoidance arena DOTAS schemes at least had the advantage of laying all the cards out for HMRC to examine. Instead of changing the law if necessary they just treated the transparency as pointers to low-hanging fruit to bang out APN's. Nobody believed DOTAS registration meant that HMRC approved the scheme, but it did mean that the scheme didn't rely on concealment (which is a sure pointer to evasion) to slip through.