Member Since: 8th Feb 2007
18th Feb 2020
It must be me being old-fashioned but it seems to me some clients want an outcome (get HMRC off their back), some want accounts to see how they have done against how they thought they had done, some want more detailed advice on planning for the future and tax planning and so on.
But surely their wants will be different and surely the first thing accountants do is to find out what the clients want - why else are we there? Is there really anyone who needs to be told to deal with the needs of their clients or do we have to feed them a load of bulls**t so they think we are Gurus manque from the highest regions of the business world?
Saving stress at Christmas/ New Year is largely training clients to take their heads out of the sand and help themselves.
18th Feb 2020
Hitting the pensions relief is an easy target for the Government but it has long term consequences like Blair's and Brown's attacks on pensions by removing the ACT on dividends.
Finance for business comes to a great degree from pension funds who invest in plcs and other companies and land. Without the investments capital would be harder to raise and thus more expensive. Profits would reduce and tax receipts would follow.
Investments into pensions would reduce so at the mid market people level the incentive to do something else for retirement or to rely more on the state would inevitably mean problems in the future, and this at a time when HMG have been pushing people to invest in pensions through AE Wrong message to give I think.
17th Feb 2020
The strange thing about all this is that George Osbourne actually sorted the majority of the problem with dividend tax so that the difference isn't enormous unless profits are left undistributed. So why does HMRC insist on wrecking the contracting economy (they use them themselves) just to save a few pounds here and there.
So less contractors, less accountants doing their accounts, less flexibility in the workforce, less people in work (because some Companies cannot afford the 'workers rights' of an employee), so less productivity, so less profits, so less Corporation Tax collected and are we not back to square one? Not the sign of a thinking administration, but we know that HMRC can't see further than the nose at the end of its face viz the loan charge previously mentioned.
You only have to look at the civil engineering sector to see how incompetent the UK is. Roadworks near my home to improve traffic flow are so slowly done that a couple of blokes with shovels could do better. Plenty of people standing around in groups but nobody actually doing anything. No wonder the Chinese can come in and say they can complete HS2 in 5 years. Perhaps they actually work.
13th Feb 2020
Might be interesting but the detail in the panels is absent - often the case with pictures too. Also find it difficult to load accweb as usually it takes forever and I get a 'cannot find the website' message.
Also find replies often disappear into cyberspace so have to keep a copy to try again. I'm probably not the only one as I see double postings from time to time.
Any cyber specialists who can tell me what I or Accweb are doing wrong?
7th Feb 2020
'conduct likely to bring the institute into disrepute'
I presume therefore that the auditors of Pat Val, Carillion, etc. etc. are all going to be tossed out of the ICAEW on those grounds.
At least he was doing some good or trying to - best publicity accountants have had for years.
31st Jan 2020
As one of your correspondents said GIGO.
That says it all. Clients who have been good bookkeepers for years and made few mistakes get a new program they don't fully understand and press on - but their past knowledge is lost in the fancy footwork of the programs which just don't allow for inexperienced bookkeepers.
Disbursements are a problem where cash accounting is used.
Non Vatable charges are a problem where cash accounting is used.
People claiming Vat on non- vatable inputs is a problem because they tick the wrong box.
Additional cost is a problem.
Training time is a problem.
Reconciliation can be a problem particularly where credit card systems are used.
Ageing clients in particular are finding the largely unnecessarily complex systems difficult to follow and consequently errors creep in which have to be rectified at a later date at a further cost.
Hmmm. I don't seem to have found a positive yet from MTD.
Ah! Maybe HMRC have one - but they get exactly the same information as they did, although probably less accurate.
Perhaps they are saving staff - well judging by the use of help lines to actually register for MTD and implement it - that seems unlikely.
But - it keeps the IT contractors busy and perhaps they get a kick-back from the software companies? But what happens when the IT consultants b*****r off because they are told IR35 applies to them or perhaps HMRC don't have to bother with things like that.
Hey - I'm for Dominic Cummings - let's have a shakeup in the Civil Service and get someone with brains to run HMRC - or is that just too much to hope for?
30th Jan 2020
I hold no brief for auditors but one can see that they might not be able to see a stock difference even of such enormous proportions. When such large numbers are being dealt with it is difficult to see quite how they can be audited. I can recall stock audits in my training days and they were largely a bit of a joke. You couldn't physically check many items and often those that could be checked depended upon product knowledge which we often didn't have. So I suppose it all went technical and we know what that means.
Like MTD - HMRC will believe that the stuff they receive will be more accurate because it is 'digital all the way', but in reality the reverse is the case because where people don't understand the systems they take the easiest option which is often wrong and once done who is going to be dredging through the reams of electronic data to find an error they don't know about. GIGO as they used to say but that is all forgotten nowadays. It is easy to see with HMRC who used to have local people who understood accounts and would look at what came in and actually engage their brains. But now, so they say, stuff is analysed by computer and the Computer screams and shouts where something is amiss. Fantastic but untrue - it just doesn't - at least judging by the few numbers of enquiry cases which all now seem to arise from missing bank interest or something similar.
Does the HMRC function as a tax collector? Not very well as they are too busy sorting out the errors their computers make.
So perhaps one is being harsh with auditors, perhaps it is just a job which can no longer be done efficiently and accurately given the size and spread of the organizations involved.
To my simple mind it requires a more continuous involvement by the audit firms in the nuts and bolts of their clients' accounting structures. The existing system just doesn't work and I don't think it can in very large organisations. Mind you, to be fair, I wouldn't touch an audit like that with a 40ft bargepole so perhaps I'm not the one to judge.
16th Jan 2020
Well errors will happen but they aren't confined to spreadsheets -we have found that the cloud based programs are in places so clever that the simple client isn't aware enough of bookkeeping procedures to get things right so we have found the following:-
VAT claimed on insurance, private items, other non- VATable items due to the automatic click choice.
Disbursements seem to be a problem especially with cash accounting and some programs cannot cope with this.
Duplication of invoices / payments and allocation problems where payments on account are made.
Yes they can be found and corrected but often these clients coped well with manual, spreadsheet and older computer programs.
Perhaps this is the price of progress!
13th Jan 2020
Certainly not surprising as HMRC are the source of no responses and coding errors and telling people they don't have to make returns but do have to pay tax and can't process paper returns because no-one understands how to do it and cannot remember what top slicing relief is so ignore it and................
So are they likely to get tribunals right? I don't think so.
Why can't we penalise them for getting it wrong all the time - they are quick enough to throw penalties at the taxpayer.
10th Jan 2020
Like the ICO letters to property companies demanding £40 for nothing this is just another oblique means of taxation and keeping people employed in worthless jobs.
I cannot remember any report to the NCA etc. ever producing any response at all so it really is a huge waste of time and money.
Idiocracy just about sums it up.