An early Breakfast for an early Autumn Budget

On a clear November morning Howard Worth’s clients and professional contacts travelled to Macdonald Portal Hotel on Thursday 8th November for the Howard Worth annual Budget Breakfast Event, a week after Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced an earlier than expected Autumn Budget, to hear tax and financial experts dissect the Chancellors speech. 

A crowded room listened to Partner Andrew Hague’s introduction containing a summary of some of the political and economic changes since the last budget in November 2017 and the affects Brexit has had on businesses so far. Andrew concluded by asking the audience, “If you were given the chance to vote for Brexit again today, would you vote leave or remain?” The room filled with a sea of red cards signalling that an overwhelming number of Businesses would now vote Remain.

The first of the speakers was Tax Partner, Tim Lwin. His presentation explored the Chancellors message of ‘a budget for hard working families’. Tim explained the various Tax reliefs for businesses that are available including changes to the Entrepreneurs relief and Personal Allowance. Tim discussed Research & Development (R&D) tax credit changes, an area that most people associate with scientists and laboratories, however it was highlighted how almost every industry sector should be able to access these tax reliefs with help from Howard Worth specialist sector: R&DCo.

Tim continued by focusing on hard working landlords, who have once again been hit by the Chancellor’s Budget changes. Tim finished by stressing that depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, we could be looking at a simple spring statement or another Spring Budget with new taxes announced.

Mike Atkin, Farming and Rural Business Manager followed next, where he covered the impact of the Digital Services Tax and Making Tax Digital for businesses. He explained that the government wants to reduce the burden for taxpayers and implement an accessible online tax system that reflects the current digital age and has begun by implementing a new system – Making Tax Digital, which will be starting in April 2019 for businesses who have a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000). Reporting tax digitally is then expected to be mandatory for all by 2020*.

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) and Structures & Building allowance (SBA) were also highlighted, in particular a welcomed increase to AIA and the introduction of SBA on qualifying construction costs for new non-residential structures and buildings. 

Our final speaker Independent Financial Adviser Paul Galley, discussed pensions, inflation and a Brexit No Deal. He analysed the performance of the global markets since Brexit and with the current pension freedoms in place it is more important than ever to seek professional financial advice when planning for the future. 

Partner Andrew Hague closed this year’s budget breakfast event by noting expected UK GDP growth & borrowing for 2019 before asking the audience how many times Chancellor Phillip Hammond mentioned Brexit in his 2018 autumn speech, for the chance to win a bottle of Champagne. Congratulations to Terry Murphy from Benx who won the competition by answering: 1.

Further information can be found at www.howardworth.co.uk or by contacting Tim directly timlwin@howardworth.co.uk

Howard Worth Launches R&D Co Website to explain Research & Development

Research and Development is not just for scientific or technological companies but for a range of activities, with many businesses carrying out R&D by simply improving a product or system in-house. The R&D Co – a specialist section of Howard Worth Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors – has launched a new website to demystify R&D for businesses looking to make a claim.

The website offers practical information on Research & Development and how a business can qualify for R&D tax relief with an easy to understand Q&A section that covers:

  • Who can claim
  • How to claim
  • What activities qualify for R&D
  • Costs that can be claimed for
  • Examples of tax savings
  • Any associated costs

The site also includes featured case studies of businesses who successfully submitted and received tax savings with help from the R&D Co.

Tim Lwin, who heads the team at the R&D Co said “The new website allows us to share our knowledge on research and development and how it can be straightforward to make a claim and ultimately receive a tax refund. Hopefully many more businesses will benefit from the clear and jargon-free content on the new website and contact us to find out more about their eligibility to make a claim”.

To find out more about R&D or how your business can benefit, visit https://www.theranddco.co.uk/

Howard Worth achieve Xero Platinum Partner Status

Howard Worth are officially a Xero Platinum Partner after starting their relationship with the software provider in 2009.  

Xero partnership, helping to assist clients with the move to digital accounting.

Through the Platinum Partner status, Howard Worth are able to assist clients with the move to this digital accounting platform as well as ensuring Making Tax Digital compliance.

Xero is a cloud based software which allows users to access their accounts anytime, anywhere, with real time results on a large range of smart devices including tablets and phones. Our in-house Xero certified advisors are available to help clients to set up Xero and offer support and guidance using the software. 

From the 1st April 2019 all businesses who are VAT registered with a turnover over £85k will need to use the government’s new Making Tax Digital system to submit their VAT return on a quarterly basis.

If you have any questions around MTD or the Xero software – please contact us on 01606 369000 or email mtd@howardworth.co.uk

MTD Software – Is your current provider prepared?

If your business is VAT registered and has a turnover above £85k, from April 2019 you will no longer be able to submit your VAT return online – you will need to do this with compliant software that works with HMRC’s new Making Tax Digital system. Do you know if your existing software will work next year when you need to complete your VAT return?

In HMRC’s latest update they have said that over 130 software providers indicated that they are interested in providing software for Making Tax Digital for VAT. Over 35 of these have said their software will be ready during the first phase of the pilot in which HMRC is testing the service with small numbers of invited businesses and agents. The pilot will be opened up to allow more businesses and agents to join later this year.

The following 18 software suppliers have both:

  • tested their products in HMRC’s test environment
  • already demonstrated a prototype of their software to HMRC

If your business is not using one of the above software packages, we are advising that you contact your existing provider to check on their plans for being MTD compliant, the timing, training and costs for the new software.

Howard Worth has been preparing for the implementation of Making Tax Digital for some time now and is working with a number of the software providers above. If you have any questions regarding your current software and its compatibility, please contact Howard Worth for further advice.

Why cash-flow is king when it comes to business survival.

With many national businesses making headlines recently with a variety of financial troubles, is our economy really in the positive position the government leads us to believe? The large companies in question have seemingly fallen on hard times due to their commitment to large retail premises, but what about the SME market place? In the regional press there are also reports of financial difficulties for smaller companies for different reasons.

Whatever the troubles facing businesses at the current time, are there ways to prepare in order to weather potential financial storms ahead? Howard Worth’s Head of Corporate Finance, Christian Goulding explains more.

“What I see more and more at the moment is companies under-estimating the importance of working capital in their business. Without this, a small delay in payment can have a large impact on a business meeting its financial obligations each month. By fully understanding our clients businesses we have been able to offer them practical solutions to increase the amount of working capital they have within their companies”.

Howard Worth’s corporate finance team has been able to help a client refinance some of its older equipment in order to raise money to improve cash flow at a peak trading period. The company was struggling for cash to pay a VAT bill and other invoices at the same time. The management team at the business was not convinced that any significant funds could be generated by financing older equipment, but they were delighted when they were introduced to the right lender to provide the cash they needed.

Sometimes the solution to fundraising can be as simple as producing a set of forecasts. Through the corporate finance team’s work, a technology and engineering business was able to secure a working capital loan to ensure it could trade through a significant upturn in work on its order book.

Both these case studies highlight how, through unforeseen circumstances, businesses can find themselves struggling to trade on a day to day basis. The outcome for both of these companies was positive and with the specialist support and advice, the corporate finance team at Howard Worth were able assist them in securing the funding they needed.

If you have any concerns regarding your business’ cash flow and would like to discuss your options please contact the Corporate Finance Team on 01606 369000 to arrange a confidential, no obligation meeting.

What does Making Tax Digital (MTD) mean for Businesses?

Howard Worth Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors are running a series of events to help prepare businesses for the implementation of the Making Tax digital system in April 2019.

VAT Registered Businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) will be required to maintain their business records digitally, submitting their VAT Return through software that is MTD compliant. Paper records and the current online form will not be suitable methods of providing VAT return information. The new system is mandatory and HMRC will be imposing penalty points and fines for non-compliance.

Howard Worth have been planning for the implementation of Making Tax Digital for some time and want to help to make the move to this new system as straightforward as possible. The practice has a specialist MTD taskforce in place and staff are highly skilled in using various accounting software, some of which are “Super Users” who can help to advise and train businesses to use the software.

To help prepare and inform businesses about MTD Howard Worth are running a number of free seminars, the first of these are being held at their Gadbrook Park office on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 23rd of May. You can book to attend these seminars by visiting the events page of their website www.howardworth.co.uk/events or call the marketing team on 01606 369000.

Tim Lwin, Tax Partner encourages businesses to prepare in advance of the new system becoming live. “Even though there is a year before Making Tax Digital starts, it is vital to understand what the new system involves and what changes you may need to make to adhere to its requirements. You may need to purchase MTD compatible software to submit your tax returns online and this can take time to set up and adjust to using”.

Howard Worth Partner to Present Specialist Course in London

Partner Andrew Hague will be delivering a specialised course in London on Tuesday 27th February 2018 as part of an MBL Seminar. The course ‘Cashflow, Compliance & Profits – How Simple Changes Can Make a Difference’ will look at how simple changes can aid compliance, cash flow and profitability in law firms and will be accredited for CPD purposes by The Institute of Paralegals and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

MBL provides training and professional development to tens of thousands of lawyers and other professionals. They are recognised as one of the leading continuing professional development (CPD) providers in the UK.

For more information or to book a place on the course visit: http://www.mblseminars.com/Outline/Cashflow,-Compliance-_-Profits—How-Simple-Changes-Can-Make-a-Difference/8336

Preparation is key to protect business cash flow.

The liquidation of Carillion has made headline news this week, potentially putting thousands of jobs at risk. Unfortunately the executive team were unable to secure the financial support required to action its revised business plan. 

Carillion’s demise may also cause a domino effect for many other companies, sub-contractors and individuals that are linked to suppliers of this first tier contractor.

How would the liquidation of a supplier or contractor affect your companies’ cash flow? Many businesses are un-prepared for these circumstances, however this does not need to be the case as Howard Worth’s Head of Corporate Finance, Christian Goulding explains.

“We would advise clients to be prepared for the impact that a supplier entering liquidation or administration could have on their business before it happens. There are various options that can be put in place to safeguard your company’s cash-flow. Specialist credit insurance can be taken out to cover any non payment by companies that have ceased trading; invoice factoring could be put in place or restructuring company debts. However one of the most effective ways to ensure your business can continue to trade in difficult periods is to produce a cash flow forecast.

Clients we work with find 13 week cash flow forecasting extremely useful as it give an accurate analysis of trading performance over a full business cycle and enables them to plan and manage their business finances effectively”

If your business has been directly affected by Carillion’s liquidation or you have any concerns regarding your business’ cash flow and would like to discuss your options please contact the Corporate Finance Team on 01606 369000 to arrange a confidential, no obligation meeting. 

Double Partner promotion strengthens the Howard Worth Business Services offering

Howard Worth is pleased to announce the promotion of Gary Makin & Martin Webb to Partners with effect from 1st January 2018.   Howard Worth are committed to investing in the business and recognise that people are a key resource, the partner team now stands at 9.

Gary, joined the company in 2005 and became a Certified Accountant with the practice in 2010.  He has also recently qualified as Financial Adviser enabling him to offer advice to clients around Tax planning, Pensions and Investments. Gary is based at the Northwich office.

Since joining the practice in 2010, Martin has been instrumental in generating new clients for our South Cheshire office.  He has also recently implemented Howard Worth’s Cyber Crime policy and is available to advise clients around this complex area.  Martin is based at the Nantwich office.

Commenting on the promotions, Managing Partner Richard Barnett said:  “We are delighted that both Gary and Martin are strengthening the Partner team at Howard Worth, it is enormously pleasing to see talented people succeed and progress and we look forward to them being instrumental in the success of the future of the firm.”

     

For further information please contact

Gary Makin, 01606 369000 garymakin@howardworth.co.uk

Martin Webb, 01270 626162 martinwebb@howardworth.co.uk

Autumn Budget Breakfast – Helping businesses become Fit for the Future.

A dark and cold November morning didn’t deter Howard Worth’s clients and professional contacts from attending a budget breakfast event at the Macdonald Portal Hotel on Wednesday 29th November, a week after the first Autumn Budget took place, to hear tax and financial experts dissect the Chancellors speech. 

A crowded room listened to Managing Partner Richard Barnett’s introduction containing a summary of some of the political and economic changes since the last budget in March and the two main themes that ran through Philip Hammond’s speech, Property & Technology.

The first of the speakers was Independent Financial Adviser Catrina Walker-Jones, who discussed the positives and negatives of the budget. She analysed the performance of the global markets since Brexit and with the current pension freedoms in place it is more important than ever to seek professional financial advice when planning for the future. 

Suzanne Preston, Farming and Rural Business Partner followed next, she covered the changes to the complex area of partnership taxation and its impact on business. Housing and Development was highlighted, in particular the potential intervention measures local authorities may obtain to progress housing developments. 

Tim Lwin, Tax Partner was the final speaker. His presentation echoed the Chancellors message of “Building a Britain fit for the future”. Tim explained the various Tax reliefs for businesses that are available. Research & Development (R&D) is an area that most people associate with scientists and laboratories, however, this was demystified and various examples were discussed which highlighted how almost every industry sector should be able to access the tax reliefs, even a company producing pies!

To mirror the Chancellor, Tim saved the best till last in the form of an early Christmas present for businesses – Tim’s Top Ten Tax Tips, featuring ten tax savings opportunities currently available to companies enabling them to reward their employees and at the same time take advantage of tax reliefs.  His favourite tip was the Trivial Benefit tax exemption – ideal at this time of year to use for Xmas gifts for staff!