Member Since: 6th Dec 2001
23rd Jun 2021
What's wrong with keeping 5th April? we have a rich history of quirky British eccentricities so lets try keeping hold of this one.
I am sure that HMRC are happy to treat 31 March as a substitute for 5th April. why not add in a clause that taxpayers can choose to use 31 March or go to 5th April ... so we can solve the IT hassles by using whole months for reports but keeping our quirky Britishness!
Very usefully, it wouldn't need a huge amount of change and redrafting of legislation.
15th Nov 2017
governments need tax, this government could do with more. but hitting entrepreneurs is often counterproductive. entrepreneurs build businesses and employ people which is needed and should be looked after. Also corporation tax isn't a big hitter. Around 75% of all tax comes from income tax, nic and VAT. Therefore it makes sense to make changes where it makes the biggest difference. Increase the basic rate of tax or NIC and that will do it. Similarly drop the VAT threshold to say £10k and he will get a nice little earner. it was originally made high as complying with VAT was an administrative burden. Modern bookkeeping software means VAT isn't that much of a burden and therefore there is no reason to have a high threshold.
17th Aug 2016
Smartphone, tablet, laptop or pc, taking photos or scanned in receipts ... whatever! It is immaterial and pretty trivial to whinge about using a recognised software platform. Surely a part of the point is to ensure that the taxpayer has a 'proper' system of record keeping...and that the system collates and provides information in a simple and easy manner.
So what is a proper system? From experience I know the number of errors found in both manual record keeping and spreadsheet record keeping is far higher than in bookkeeping software. So three cheers for HMRC insisting that if you run a business you take it seriously and have proper software. And the £10k turnover limit means 'hobby' businesses don't need to comply.
Of course the issue with accounting software is that it is just as easy to enter rubbish as it is to enter good solid data after all garbage in=garbage out. Which leads me to a point- HMRC are clearly assuming the data is entered correctly! Which is of course the issue when the client does their own record keeping and it is not checked by an accountant before submission.
I am heartened by one comment that there would be an opportunity to add in other details on an annual basis - but so far it seems like HMRC have rose tinted spectacles about the quality of the record keeping of the average micro (ie less than 10 employees!) business...you know the 4m odd of sole traders and very small businesses. Whilst some will be excellent, others will be atrocious. How will that be reflected in the ability to file updated information?
Personally I can forsee tears, arguments and toys being thrown out of the pram before it is all sorted. One of those is clearly data security. I am happy with the encryption and security of the various cloud softwares, but the client's data is only as secure as the password they choose - storms ahead and icebergs lie in the path of the unwary here!
Plans to raise the threshold for cash accounting so that their system can actually work are afoot. What happens if the client wants to work with accruals and prepayments and do proper true and fair accounts?
Also, there will be some mechanism to review and amend the figures before they are submitted. Obviously this is needed, but what does this mean for time limits, penalties, etc. Can you mark a quarter as provisional when you report it? Will all quarterly reporting be treated as provisional and to be confirmed with an annual 'final' statement.
Then you look at accountant's workloads. Essentially the system as planned seems to require a quarterly set of accounts prepared to pretty much the same standard as annual accounts are prepared now. What are the workload implications for accountants? Is there enough resource in the UK accounting profession to deal with this? What are the cost implications for the individual businesses?
Wouldn't it be easier to have quarterly reporting that is informational, but is not used to calculate tax bills. Stick with the system of annual accounts for the final calculation of tax, but need a reconciliation back to the quarterly reporting. To have a system of quarterly (or even monthly) payments on account instead of six-monthly payments as at present.
I think HMRC might have bitten off more than the business community can chew - I am willing to go along with it but if we are doing 4 tax returns a year I can see my client base reducing when I say their bills are going up by 400% come 2018!
17th Jun 2016
whilst we will never know if this happened or not, presumably a SOCA report would have achieved a better outcome for the accountant and the same outcome for the client?
19th Jan 2016
all interesting stuff but
All interesting stuff, but I don't compete on price. I compete on what we do. I am unlikely to ever be the cheapest in absolute terms, but I believe that we provide excellent value for money when the quality, range and level of service is considered.
But how can the client understand or appreciate quality, range and level of service unless there is some process to do that? Very importantly, how do we evaluate the client and decide if the 'fit' is right and we want to work with them. Equally importantly, how do you start the process of evaluating the risk that comes with each client or potential. Currently this is why we meet potential clients and discuss their circumstances and needs.
I am never going to be the Aldi or Lidl of the accounting world and I don't want clients who are looking only on price...and good luck to those accountants who do work in that market. I think that if this means I get a few less clients because I'm not advertising prices then I'm not worried.
At the same time I appreciate that potential clients want lots of information and finding a good balance and making it easy for potential clients is important.
16th Nov 2015
Reduce the VAT registration threshold
Reducing the VAT registration threshold to be the equivalent of France, ie £10k, would also shake up the finances a bit! As well as leveling the playing field for small and slightly bigger traders.
1st Oct 2015
where is the institute/accounting web when you want them
I think the core idea of reviews is excellent - however what is wanted is a way of bringing all the firms and all the reviews into a central portal that lists everybody rather than just a few who are prepared to risk their advertising budget on a membership site. I think the general public can tell that firms pay to be listed and that therefore whilst the reviews might be genuine the site as a whole only shows those who pay to be shown....and are sceptical for that reason.
Business reviews aren't new - Trip Advisor/Best of/CheckaTrade/ etc., etc.and why else do we have testimonials on our website, Google Plus or linked in profiles. There are several search sites for accountants that come up on a google search and potentially all could add a review section.
So a central portal with reviews and links to reviews on other sites like linked in, etc., would be a useful thing if it had broad coverage. The issue is creating a central portal with trusted authority ... perhaps this a role for the Institutes or a commercial organisation like Accounting Web?
11th Jun 2014
good for him or bad for everyone else?
Part of my problem CNE333 is that actually he was struck off after doing time for VAT fraud - at this point I have to say according to news reports at the time and it was some years ago and I have never met him or know if he is a brilliant accountant or a bad apple. So for him scraping the name off his window and still trading is fine because that is how he still earns a living as an accountant - but what if the leopard hasn't changed his spots and he remains a dodgy accountant? And more importantly what about all the customers who might have misplaced faith and trust in him - and if he was struck off shouldn't that actually mean something more than just changing the letterhead?
11th Jun 2014
to qualify or not to qualify
Quite right Nicola, but part of my point is that if you are going to have a system of regulating accountants then it has to mean something when they identify a bad un and try to get rid of them!
11th Jun 2014
is the ICAEW toothless?
I wonder a) what do his clients know about this? and b) is he is still trading? and c) will he bother to pay the fine?
There are several stuck off accountants near me who are still trading, including one who simply scraped the words 'chartered' off his sign-written office window and kept on going.
So how toothless is the ICAEW (or ACCA, ICAS, etc.) if a struck off accountant can still advertise themselves to the general public and work as a public practice accountant? And apart from the catchet of being a chartered or certified accountant why bother being a member if it doesn't really matter?
Perhaps we need to get legal protection for the word 'accountant' in much the same way as Doctors and Solicitors do. At least this way those who spent the time and took the trouble to be a professionally qualified and registered (and regulated!) accountant would know there was a a good reason it.