Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gender pay gap: a comparison

By 4 April 2018, all UK firms with over 250 employees were required to publish details of their gender pay gap.

Although we don’t fit this description and so were not legally required to submit a report, we decided to conduct our own analysis to help us understand our own pay gap patterns and identify ways in which we could make changes for the better.

We are pleased to report that PM+M has a mean gender pay gap of only 2.9 per cent, comparable to the top 20 accountancy practices in the UK which average a 16.8 per cent gap. When looking at the median gender pay gap, PM+M posted a -14.6 per cent gap, which compares to a 12.1 per cent national average and a Lancashire average of 7.6 per cent.

Our minimal pay gap is reflective of our strong belief in a diverse workplace, inclusive culture and flexibility for our people, and we are really proud to be so far ahead of our peers in this area.

With PM+M having a female managing partner and four of our thirteen partners being female, we truly understand the importance of gender diversity in the workplace and equal opportunities for all. Our focus on gender equality as a priority area confirms our commitment to closing the gender pay gap altogether to ensure that diversity and inclusion is maintained at PM+M in the years to come.

EMI share options lose tax relief

The very generous tax reliefs available to employees who are granted share options under the Enterprise Management Incentives scheme (EMI) are classed as an EU State Aid.

This expired on 6 April and, unexpectedly, has not been renewed. We expect that this will be resolved in due course, but anyone who is currently in the process of setting up new EMI share options should pause because, as it stands, there will be no tax reliefs available for those new options.

Existing options granted before 6 April 2018 are unaffected and will continue to benefit from the generous tax reliefs.

For further advice on this or any other tax matters, please do not hesitate to contact Jane Parry on 01254 679131 or via email at jane.parry@pmm.co.uk.

The ‘who’ and ‘how’ of succession

Helen Clayton, Partner, takes a look at one of the main questions of succession planning, who is going to allow you to retire and how is it going to happen?

To make succession effective, including minimal disruption on your firm, your teams and your clients, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of thinking ahead.  This isn’t reserved for those considering retirement; it’s also for those in the firm (or outside of the firm) who are considering, or champing at the bit, to be the future leaders.

Understanding who might be coming through the ranks and who might be attracted to joining, or indeed who you would like to join the business, is critical in ensuring it is they who are equipped with the appropriate skills to lead and manage in the future. Time investment is important to ensure you really know these people. What drives them? What are their ambitions? What do they need to be able to create a seamless succession plan?

Below are some of the areas that you will need to understand:

  • Age group and corresponding generic attributes
  • Ambitions and goals, including timeframes
  • Strengths and areas for development
  • Experience (and ability) in managing and leading
  • Do they take people with them?
  • Are they open to change and personal development?
  • Attitude to risk
  • Is your firm in the right place for these individuals to take it forward?

Mentoring and coaching will be a key element of developing people into future leaders. In an era of increasing competition, regulatory change and ongoing challenges and opportunities, future leaders will need to be business owners, role models, great with people, business developers, and not to mention great lawyers. It may be that one individual does not need to be first class in all of these areas; it may be that as a partner group these skills are spread across everyone and therefore as a team, it’s as powerful as it can be. In fact, it’s probably preferable that these skills are spread throughout a team, with overlap. After all, we’re not meant to be clones, are we? We’re individuals with our own strengths.

There is a key word in all of this however that I have not yet mentioned: experience. Without experience, how is anyone expected to become the future leader of a business? As my mum has always said: you only learn by your own mistakes. Any mistakes made cannot be catastrophic and with the right role models, mentoring and guidance in place, none should be. Therefore, what is there to lose?

If you’re in the position where you’re considering succession in your firm, make it about the people. If you don’t already really know them as individuals, make that time investment. It’s your business and your success that you’re handing over, so why not make it the best it can be to the best people?

For advice and guidance on succession planning, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team on 01254 679 131.

What could you achieve with cloud accounting?

Advancements in technology are constantly changing the world as we know it. One particular software development within the accountancy sector has altered the market completely, succes­sfully streamlining processes for business owners in new ways, allowing them to gain better control of cash flow and increase profitability.

We are of course, talking about cloud accounting, a type of software which enables you to access your finances in the ‘cloud’, from anywhere, at any time. In recent years, cloud accounting has proven to be an increasingly compelling choice for thousands of people looking to manage their finances, but with so many different options available, you might find yourself asking “where do I even start?”

Here at PM+M, we believe that the best way to prepare is to find an adviser who understands your business, your current financial operations and your objectives. From here, your adviser can guide you towards a cloud package based on what you want to achieve, and what will work best for you.

It is also wise to consider the benefits of adopting a cloud accounting package in comparison to your current processes.

Alongside helping you to make better decisions, save time and boost profits, cloud accounting software can also act as a flexible, low maintenance, cost effective alternative to traditional accounting software, putting you in control of your cash management and allowing you to gain real-time insights into your finances.

We understand that the move to the cloud might be daunting at first, so here at PM+M, we stay by your side at all times. Our team of dedicated advisers are always on hand to guide you through the process, and answer any questions you may have about your cloud package.

Whilst we are more than happy to manage the software on your behalf, we can teach you to use the software yourself so that you can better understand what we do, and take control of your software, should you wish to do so.

Our team have a wide range of experience in the operation of various cloud accounting platforms, allowing us to recommend a software package that will work best for you. Our chosen software providers are Xero and QuickBooks, both leaders in the field, and widely regarded to be some of the most technologically advanced cloud accounting software providers in existence.

Whether you are managing a start-up business, a growing SME or a large scale enterprise, we can guide you towards a cloud solution that will give you a clear insight into your cash, drive your profits and change your business for the better.

If you believe that cloud accounting might be for you, or want to learn more about our available software packages, get in touch with Jill Morris today on 01254 679 131, or via email at jill.morris@pmm.co.uk.

Calling all business owners…

When was the last time you took time out to consider where the value lies in your business? What is creating value and where is it being diminished? This is especially important if you are thinking about selling.

It matters little what flattering numbers might have been whispered in your ear, it is unlikely that a buyer will go for it if they can’t see how to create more value or if your business just has too many inherent risks?

Important questions to ask yourself might be:

  • What does my customer base look like? Am I winning customers, if so why am I winning them? Or is my customer base no different to what it was 5 or 10 years ago? What happens if I lose my largest customer?
  • What value do my products or services create for my customers? Are there better or new products on the market that can do the job? How do they compare in price? What is my profit margin per product? What is happening in my end user markets?
  • How do you compare to your competitors? Where are you better than them? Or worse? What are they up to? Are there any new kids on the block?
  • Where does the goodwill lie in my business? Intellectual property? Know how? Customer relationships? Is it secure?
  • What would happen if I wasn’t there? Would I be missed and if so how badly?
  • Where am I in the economic cycle? Is my business growing or declining relative to the sector?

Take a good look at yourself and be honest. Would you buy your business for what you think it is worth (or what someone else is telling you it is worth)?

If you need objective, independent advice on the value of your business, then get in touch and speak with our corporate finance team on 01254 679131.

Christmas Present Appeal 2017

Christmas is just around the corner and we’re once again appealing to you for gift donations.

This year, the PM+M team are collecting gifts for Blackburn, Burnley and Bury Children’s Services. We want to make it our biggest one yet!

If you are able to spare a little time and money, we know your donations will be greatly appreciated. For some children, this could be the only gift they receive this Christmas. Gifts can be for children of any age or gender and we have included a few guidelines below:

  • Gifts should be to the value of around £10
  • Gifts must be new
  • Please either deliver gifts unwrapped or wrapped
  • If wrapped, gifts should be clearly marked with gender and age range
  • Gifts should not contain confectionery or alcohol

Gifts can be dropped off at our any of our offices between 8:30am and 5pm. The last day for drop off is Friday 15 December.

The PM+M team would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness and generosity and we do hope that as many of you as possible will join us in supporting such a worthy cause.

A reminder of our addresses is below but should you require any further information, please get in touch with our Marketing team on 01254 679131.

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Making Tax Digital and VAT

making tax digital and VATFrom April 2019 businesses with turnover above the VAT threshold will be mandated to use the Making Tax Digital for Businesses (MTDfB) system.

As VAT registered businesses already prepare quarterly returns business owners could be mistaken in thinking that there will be little change required to the format of their current record keeping processes. The reality however is that the MTDfB regime requires records to be held digitally meaning business owners who currently maintain manual records will need to change to using an accounting software package.

Whilst migrating accounting systems can be a testing time for many there are numerous opportunities that Cloud accounting packages offer when used to their full potential.

Cloud software gives business owners the flexibility to run a business from work, home or on the go, with multi user access making it easy to collaborate online with an office based team or professional advisors.

Automation is key. Cloud accounting packages offer numerous opportunities to automate time consuming processes with the software, creating a smart accounting system meaning you’ll have far less work to do. Useful features include bank feeds, where transactions from the bank accounts automatically feed into the software, auto-matching transactions and customised online invoicing to name but a few.

Many cloud packages also sync with third party Apps to create a fully functioning accounting package. There are hundreds of Apps available covering inventory control, time tracking, CRM, Point of Sale, Bills and Expenses, Debtor tracking plus many more.

If you would like to discuss any Cloud Accounting requirements, please contact Jill Morris (jill.morris@pmm.co.uk) or Delyth Oxford (delyth.oxford@pmm.co.uk)

Untangling the pensions “Webb”

As we enter a period of pension uncertainty impacted by Brexit negotiations, a coalition government and changes to the Finance Act, what could all of this mean for our pension pots?

PM+M Wealth Management hosted a breakfast session on 25th July with former Pensions Minister Steve Webb.  Steve was Minister of State for Pensions between 2010 and 2015, the longest-serving holder of the post before moving to Royal London as Director of Policy and External Communications.

Steve provided his own unique insight into the possible future structure of pensions, the impact we will face and what we should be doing now to protect our future.  Steve discussed how the Government may look to reduce the annual pension tax relief bill of £40 billion, by further reducing the annual amount you can pay into a pension, or further encouraging saving into ISA’s rather than pensions, and interesting option as we all agreed.

On the upside the 25% tax free cash element of a pension is likely to remain over the long term, to quote Steve, Governments will “pluck the goose with the minimum amount of hissing!”

With a number of bankers in the room the conversation soon turned to the transfer out of Defined Benefits Scheme to Defined Contribution schemes to take advantage of new pension freedoms.   Over the last twelve months 80,000 people have left Defined Benefit schemes, with attractive transfers values being driven by the low interest environment.   We discussed five good reasons to transfer, flexibility, higher tax free cash, inheritance tax, health and concerns over the employer, verses five good reasons to stay, certainty, inflation, investment risk, provision for survivors and taxation.

Other subjects included the ever increasing State Pension age, the new Pensions Dashboard , auto enrolment, and the possible introduction of a form of auto enrolment for the self employed.

To round off we discussed the importance of seeking financial advice.  A recent report by Royal London calculated advised clients are better off by a total of £41,099 in financial assets and pension wealth, compared to those who did not take advice.

The ticketed event raised over £300 for the Pendleside Hospice Challenge, a big thank you to everyone who attended, and helped raise money for such a fantastic cause.

If you are considering transferring out of a Defined Benefits scheme, also known as a final salary scheme or you wish to discuss any aspect of financial planning please contact Antony.keen@pmm.co.uk  

We’re hiring! Marketing and Business Development Vacancy

MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

We are a vibrant and dynamic firm of Chartered Accountants and business advisers, with offices in Blackburn, Burnley and Bury, covering East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and beyond. We have ambitious growth plans and our vision is to be the best North West firm of finance professionals.
We are very proud of our culture and team engagement and were recently placed 3rd in the 2016 Accountancy Age Top 10 UK Employers as well as being awarded Investors in People Gold status.

We are looking for an experienced and enthusiastic marketing manager to join our team and help us shape the future of PM+M.

You will be responsible for:

· Development and implementation of marketing and business development strategy to meet the firm’s goals.
· The creation, delivery and co-ordination of all marketing activity across all departments.
· Co-ordinating and guiding the partners and managers in effective business development activity and targeting using sales and pipeline management.
· Championing the PM+M brand, ensuring all internal and external marketing activities are on brand and in line with our value proposition.
· Control of marketing budget.
· Responsibility for proposal and pitch production and managing follow-up activity.
· Driving and tracking sales pipeline and opportunity management from within the current client portfolio and new clients, including client data management.
· Managing the firm’s websites, ensuring that they and all internal and external facing collateral are brand compliant and in line with the firm’s strategy.
· Help to build the business profile in the market place and augment successful business relationships.
· Optimise the use of digital marketing channels, including social media and effectively use digital platforms for data collection, sales funnel management and customer engagement.
· Day to day management of an outsourced PR resource including identifying opportunities for wider media coverage.
· Event management, including co-ordinating follow-up activity

Ideally, you will also have;

• Have experience of working within marketing and business development – ideally in the professional services sector.
• Have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
• Have good organisational skills as well as the ability to take initiative and manage others.
• Have knowledge of recognised software applications both from a general office perspective and specific marketing and social media applications.

Please apply in the first instance by emailing your CV  to kathryn.rigbye@pmm.co.uk

 

Brexit: Consciously uncoupling from the EU

brexit

Part 1: Using EU workers

The clock is ticking, and British business is facing an uncertain future. We see businesses trying to understand their reliance on a changing EU relationship, whether that be through importing or exporting of goods, potential price sensitivities within that chain and, in certain sectors, a reliance on EU workers.  In some cases, the tax aspects of parent/subsidiary relationships with  European head offices is also a cause of uncertainty, as is the fluid movement of staff between the organisations.

Although many businesses have clarity on which countries they trade directly with, many will not have considered the dependence of their supply chains on the EU or fully understand the impact of Brexit on their workforce.

Recent research from the Social Market Fund (SMF) and Adecco confirms that UK businesses have a significant reliance on EU workers, with an estimated 1.6 million EU workers currently employed in the UK public or private sectors, making up an estimated 6% of all UK employees.

Whilst EU workers support many growing industries across the UK, there is a higher percentage of EU labour in specific sectors such as manufacturing (10% of employees) and accommodation and food services (14% of employees). EU employees represent 14% of those fundamental roles we need in organisations such as labourers, cleaners, and shelf-fillers, and interestingly they also represent 13% of process, plant and machine operatives, all roles that have been hard for employers to fill.  With a heavy manufacturing presence in Lancashire, this could have a huge impact on these businesses and a knock on effect for the wider economy.

Shift in our regional workforce

This reliance of many Lancashire based businesses on EU employees will have to start to shift over the next two years.  In fact, many businesses are already seeing a slow down in EU workers wanting to come to the UK.   In addition, not only will Brexit affect the residence status and right to work of EU nationals working in the UK, but it will also impact those UK nationals working in the EU.

At the moment, we don’t have all the answers to predict the full impact of Brexit, but as the Government battles out trade talks over the next two years, it’s important that UK businesses understand their risk, and use this pre-Brexit period to build resilience and agility.

By using Brexit as a catalyst for change, you can cement your business’s future. We can share our Brexit experience with you, after all we are getting Brexit ready too. If you would like to discuss with us about any issues raised in this article, then please contact Jane Parry on 01254 679131, or email jane.parry@pmm.co.uk