Author Archives: pmm-blog

Christmas present appeal 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010, we launched the first ever PM+M Christmas present appeal where our team, clients and friends were asked to donate Christmas presents for local vulnerable children. Due to the success and generosity over the past eight years we have decided to run the appeal again.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be collecting gifts for Blackburn, Burnley and Bury Children’s Services and want to make it our biggest year ever!

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
  • Gifts can either be wrapped or unwrapped
  • 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 Thursday 13 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 office addresses are below. Should you require any further information, please get in touch with our marketing team on 01254 679131.

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PM+M wins Professional, Legal and Financial award for the second year running at Made in Bury Business Awards

Today all of us here at PM+M are celebrating after winning the Professional, Legal and Financial award for the second year running at the prestigious Made in Bury Business Awards.

The Made in Bury Business Awards (which took place last night – Thursday 22 November) are held to champion local Bury businesses and celebrate their outstanding achievements. This is the sixth year the awards have been staged, and entries were judged by a high-profile panel which included some of the borough’s leading business professionals.

Along with being crowned as best Professional, Legal and Financial firm in Bury, we are pleased to confirm that PM+M was also highly commended in two other categories – Excellence in Developing People (for our dedication and commitment to supporting and encouraging our team to exceed), and Businesswoman of the Year (in which PM+M partner Helen Clayton was shortlisted).

As the leader of PM+M’s Bury office, Helen has played an integral part in PM+M’s success over the past few years, and under Helen’s direction, PM+M has become a leading figure in Bury’s business scene.

Helen said: “As our Bury office goes from strength to strength, I am so proud of the PM+M team and the success we have had in Bury since setting up the new office just over two years ago. Winning this award for a second year really does demonstrate our commitment to the Bury community which we serve. We will of course continue to develop and will hopefully be back to enter Made in Bury Business Awards next year and fingers crossed we will walk away with a third success story!”

Jim Akrill – corporate finance partner at PM+M discusses why shareholders need to plan for the future

Jim, what is one of the most common questions you ask your corporate clients?
There are many but one of the most important is:  What would you like to achieve and how are you going to do it? It is always surprising to find how many look not much further forward than next week when they need to be thinking longer term.

What is the problem?
Well, we often see a reality gap between the current position of the business and the value aspirations of the shareholders. Not only that, but the thoughts of individual shareholders on matters such as strategy and value realisation also vary. Needless to say, if you have disagreement at the top then the business is more likely to underperform. And some of the changes required might not be overnight fixes. It’s often the “elephant in the room” syndrome.

How do you overcome that?
These things need to be discussed openly and often they are not, especially in family businesses. Shareholders must be encouraged to produce a plan to deliver both business and personal objectives which can only be done through honest dialogue. We work with business owners to resolve various issues, including those relating to growth, exit and succession.

When should the process start?
It’s never too early to start, so now. And it doesn’t just apply to more mature businesses. For example, we are working with a new, high growth software business and already talking about how to realise value for the shareholders.

What does the process involve?
We begin with a strategic review which looks at shareholder aspirations for the business, and ultimately themselves, as well as assessing business performance. Significant issues can be identified and we can start to work with shareholders to agree a shared vision for the future. For some businesses a sale might be the best way forward. For others it might be a question of re-focusing and making changes to create additional value.

How challenging is it?
It depends! Some businesses face more difficult circumstances than others and you can imagine how challenging shareholder dynamics can be. We work in partnership with shareholders to create achievable action plans. Being part of a larger accountancy practice also allows us to tap into other skilled professionals from within the firm. So, for example, we will work closely with our tax and wealth management colleagues to ensure that all angles are considered. This provides reassurance for our clients.

If you would like to discuss how you can plan for the future, please contact our Corporate Finance Partner, Jim Akrill, on 01254 604353 or via email at jim.akrill@pmm.co.uk.

 

“Paving the way to a brighter future” – PM+M partner Jane Parry reviews Autumn Budget announcement

Today’s Budget was described by the Chancellor as one that ‘paved the way to a brighter future’ and that austerity is finally coming to an end. However, as we are still to secure a Brexit deal with our EU partners, I believe that it can only really be described as ‘steady as you go’ until that is actually sorted. We will also have to wait to see if his claim of a post-Brexit ‘double dividend’ comes to fruition. Let’s hope it does.

From a North West point of view things are looking generally good. According to the NatWest North West PMI, IHS 2018 Report, the region is enjoying the strongest growth in the UK along with Wales; new business rose at the fastest pace; whilst the rate of job creation accelerated to make the North West the leading UK region.

Business Rates

The news that for the next two years up to the next business rates revaluation, for all businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less, the government will cut their rate bills by one third. Whilst £900m worth of immediate relief is coming on stream and town planning laws are being relaxed. Many small high street businesses have been calling for this kind of action for a long time and it couldn’t have come soon enough – especially as there will also be a new fund to improve infrastructure and transport, to re-develop empty shops as homes and offices, and restore and re-use old and historic properties.

Roads

I was also pleased to see that Britain’s roads will get a £420m immediate injection in a bid to improve our network including to help local authorities fix pot holes. Although small projects in themselves, these kinds of essential repairs will make a significant difference to communities and businesses and will ultimately drive efficiency and productivity.

Broadband Infrastructure

Much of the North West is rural and the lack of superfast broadband has been a real problem for both businesses and individuals. The announcement that £250m is being pledged to install superfast broadband in some of the country’s most remote areas is again a positive step. If rural businesses are to compete then they need to have full fibre connectivity. I just hope it will be rolled out quickly and efficiently.

Business Investment Stimulus Measures

The news that the Annual Investment Allowance will rise from £200,000 to £1m is welcome and should stimulate business investment – especially in such an innovative region such as ours. Also, a new allowance for investment in new commercial property is a positive step.

Digital Services Tax

The introduction of a digital tax on global companies with at least £500m in global revenue was a surprise to some. He claims it will come into force in April 2020 and will raise £400m per year. There’s no doubt he’s right that progress on this has been ‘painfully slow’ but it’s step in the right direction as start ups should not shoulder the burden. However, what is really needed is a global agreement. That should be the aim.

Apprenticeships

I think the cutting of the apprentice fee for small businesses – qualifying companies will have to contribute 50% less – will be well received. We know of many firms in the North West which have been deterred from taking on apprentices due to the cost. Anything to combat that reticence must be applauded.

Tax

The Chancellor has announced a tax cut for 32 million people with the increasing of the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. These were the allowance targets for 2020 but are being bought forward to 2019.

The tightening of the rules on the abuse of self-employment status will mean more workers becoming subject to PAYE from 2020.  For some of them that is probably reasonable, for others the wielding of a rather blunt tool by HMRC may result in more costs and confusion.

Finally, Making Tax Digital for VAT continues its inexorable march towards introduction on 1 April for the vast majority of VAT registered businesses.  Whilst modernisation and enhanced efficiency in the tax system is a goal nobody can disagree with, the Government have still seemingly not understood the very real upheaval and cost that this will bring for many, particularly small, businesses.

Conclusion

All in all, this Budget produced no surprises or shocks. Some of the announcements could well be good for business but without a Brexit deal I’m sceptical about what will actually happen. Time, as they say, will tell.

VAT: changes on the horizon for the construction industry with huge potential impact on cashflow

Significant VAT changes for the construction industry are due to come into force on 1 October 2019.

New legislation is designed to combat what HMRC describe as “missing trader fraud”, whereby the suppliers charge and collect VAT, but do not pay it over to HMRC.

In essence, the legislation will require the recipient rather than the supplier to account for the VAT due on certain construction services.

The new regime requires careful planning from all construction businesses in order to avoid a cashflow crisis.

How will the new rules work?

Under the new rules, businesses supplying construction services must not charge VAT where their customer:

  • is registered for VAT; and
  • will use the services to make an onward supply of construction services.

Instead of the supplier charging VAT, the recipient must self-account for VAT on the services received. This is known as ‘reverse charge’ accounting.

With each business transaction, the VAT will be calculated as a paper exercise and registered on the invoice as a ‘reverse charge’. Only client-facing organisations at the top of the construction supply chain will be required to pay the tax.

Who will be affected?

As a general rule of thumb, any company that is registered with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) – HMRC’s construction-specific tax-collecting regime will fall into the reverse charge category.

The new rules will apply to construction services supplied from 1 October 2019, regardless of value, even if construction is not the main business activity.

The definition of ‘construction services’ is extensive and duplicates the definitions used for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). It also includes goods, such as building materials, but only when supplied as a single package within the construction service being provided (e.g. a builder providing bricks).

Exclusions

There are some exclusions, such as the installation of seating, blinds, shutters and security systems. Also excluded are professional services of architects, surveyors and consultants. However, where excluded services are supplied as a package with other services which fall within the new criteria, the whole package will be subject to the reverse charge.

There are further exclusions for construction services which are to be used by the recipient to make an onward supply to a connected party or to make a supply between a landlord and tenant.

Clearly if the construction services qualify to be treated as zero rated then the reverse charge will not apply. For example, a sub-contractor supplying construction services to a main contractor who is building a new residential property would currently charge VAT at 0%. This treatment is unaffected by these new reverse charge rules and the sub-contractor would continue to charge VAT at 0%

In addition, the reverse charge rules will not apply where the recipient of the construction service is not VAT registered. In these circumstances, VAT must be charged in the normal way. However, the non-VAT registered recipient must add the value of construction services received to the value of its sales, when deciding whether it has exceeded the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000). This is likely to mean that many small contractors who are not currently VAT registered will need to be registered in the future.

HMRC to be strict from 1 October 2019

As an anti-fraud measure, it is expected that HMRC will enforce the new rules strictly:

  • If a supplier charges VAT in error, HMRC may not allow the recipient to reclaim it
  • If a supplier applies the reverse charge rules in a situation where it should have charged VAT, HMRC will most likely seek to collect the under declared VAT from the supplier

In both situations, penalties and interest could apply. The main message we are delivering is that businesses within the construction sector need to have a sound understanding of the new rules and have systems in place ahead of the deadline to ensure that VAT is accounted for correctly.

Many subcontractors will find they are in a regular VAT refund position in the future. They will have VAT to claim on materials and overheads but will not charge VAT on sales where the reverse charge rules apply.

Some businesses will suffer a cashflow disadvantage, where VAT collected from customers is currently used as working capital before being paid over to HMRC.

To correctly apply the new rules, the supplier needs to know what its customer intends to do with the services and will need to be able to evidence this to HMRC. HMRC are undertaking a detailed technical consultation on this issue.

How should you prepare?

Final legislation and HMRC guidance is due to be issued in October of this year, giving businesses 12 months to prepare. Affected businesses should ensure they are fully up to date with the changes and when the VAT should be charged and, likewise when a reverse charge is required.

Well in advance of October 2019 construction businesses need to conduct a full review of supplies made to and received from other VAT registered contractors to establish whether these will be subject to a reverse charge from October 2019.

It is of course right that the problem of missing trader fraud within the construction industry be tackled, but if traders have not picked up on the forthcoming changes they may be faced with unwanted penalties and interest as a consequence of failing to implement the reverse charge correctly. We would recommend that in the event of doubt, seek guidance from your professional adviser to ensure there are no such unwelcome surprises.

If you would like to discuss how the above changes could impact on your business, please contact our property tax specialist, Jonathan Cunningham, on 01254 604318 or via email at jonathan.cunningham@pmm.co.uk.

Inheritance tax planning is best when it’s simple

Inheritance tax planning is something that many of us don’t want to think about. Facing your own mortality isn’t easy and can involve some difficult decisions, particularly in complex and extended families.

That said, there can be significant benefits from doing some basic planning at the right time, providing reassurance that your affairs are in order and your family aren’t going to face a huge tax bill.

I always tell my clients to keep it simple. There are some fancy schemes out there, but they usually bring lots of complexity and can reduce future flexibility. More often than not, some sensible advance planning can achieve substantial benefits without the complexity.

That might be a mix of getting your will right, ensuring that ownership of assets between you, your spouse and your family is structured properly, making appropriate lifetime gifts, fully using available allowances and exemptions and getting your investment strategy right. Our experienced tax team works closely with our financial planning specialists on the latter.

Trusts can be a great way of passing on wealth without losing control of it. You may be wary of trusts and think they are too complex, but that really isn’t the case. They can be simple and achieve exactly what the client wants, without significant cost or complexity.

Family investment companies can also be effective under the right circumstances, and they are becoming increasingly popular.

The key to inheritance tax efficiency is to think about it early and be open with your family.  Having conversations now can avoid problems later and pave the way for some effective tax planning.

We would be more than happy to help you begin the planning process. Please do not hesitate to speak to either myself (Jane Parry – jane.parry@pmm.co.uk), or member of our tax team to arrange a discussion on 01254 679131, or via email at tax@pmm.co.uk.

PM+M raises almost £800 for East Lancashire, Pendleside and Bury Hospices at annual professionals quiz

We recently raised almost £800 towards the East Lancashire Hospice, Pendleside Hospice and Bury Hospice corporate challenges at our annual professionals quiz, which took place at Ewood Park on Thursday 20 September.

Over 40 professionals from the region attended our event, with 15 teams from the banking, insolvency, legal and recruitment sectors answering questions on topics such as current affairs, sport and music.

The winning team was Leonard Curtis with 81.5 points. The runners up were Handelsbanken and Lloyds Bank with 66.5 and 64.5 points respectively.

Jane Parry, managing partner at PM+M, said: “Once again we’d like to thank our friends and colleagues for supporting us at our annual professionals quiz and helping us to raise so much for such worthwhile causes. This was the fifth time we’ve staged the quiz and it’s fantastic to see its popularity grow year on year.”

Is ‘Buy and Build’ a winning strategy?

‘Buy and build’ activity within Europe is at its highest level ever recorded with a total of 619 add-on deals recorded in 2017, up from 574 in 2016.

This is reflected within Lancashire with the deals market remaining buoyant, which is good news for all. The market appears especially good for buy and build deals, most notable is the recent acquisition of 762 American convenience stores by Blackburn-based EG Group.

The buy and build strategy is when a company expands its operations by acquiring a platform company with a developed expertise that it can then build out. Buy and build strategies are an increasingly popular way for both trade and financial buyers to achieve additional scale and profitability.

Private Equity firms often use buy and build to speed up growth and improve returns, particularly in a slow economy where, even after improving operational efficiency, organic growth may not deliver the required return on investment. However, over the last few years we have witnessed an increased level of financial buyers also deploying this strategy.

For vendors, this type of acquirer is often more attractive because the buyer will be taking a long-term view and vendors, who are often concerned for the future security of their businesses, are reassured knowing that the company they founded will form part of a larger, growing entity that will receive attention and investment from the acquirer.

For acquirers these strategies can be challenging as it takes longer to acquire several companies and integrate them. This is largely evident for privately owned trade buyers inexperienced in post-deal integration. Buy-and-build strategies give rise to numerous financial, legal and tax considerations that are not necessarily inherent in a one-off transaction. However, this doesn’t need to be a stumbling block; with the correct tactics in place and robust planning on how future acquisitions will be funded, this method of growth can be extremely rewarding.

A successful integration also requires specific skills and experience in areas such as change management, risk management and operational metrics. For this reason, the appointment of a suitably experienced management team is essential.

The rewards of a buy and build strategy can be significant; many of the world’s leading companies have been created through buy and build acquisitions. Transactions of this nature can represent a win-win deal for both vendors and acquirers.

Appetite for buy-and-build activity continues to be extremely strong across the board, with large organisations continuing to target smaller companies to gain market share and additional revenue streams.

Also, more and more private equity firms are focusing on enhancing their portfolio companies’ operating results to create value. With the right strategy in place at the right time, buy-and-build deals can be a proven method of achieving the desired results.

If you are considering engaging in a buy-and-build strategy as a means of growth, make sure you get in touch with us today. With years of experience in advising business owners like yourself, we are ideally placed to guide you down the right path for you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on 01254 679131, or via email at tim.mills@pmm.co.uk.

PM+M payroll shortlisted at The Rewards 2018

We are pleased to announce that for a second year running, our PM+M payroll team have been shortlisted for The Service Provider Team Award at The Rewards 2018.

The popular ceremony, The Rewards, previously the payroll world awards, is returning for its 7th year and is known as the leading independent awards for payroll, HR and reward professionals in the UK.

The ceremony will be taking place at Hilton London Bankside on November 7 and is the most distinguished event on the industry’s calendar. It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate high achievements and excellence in payroll, reward and related sectors.

Entrants must demonstrate outstanding performance and the judges will be looking for evidence of success in one or more of the following criteria;

  • Outstanding effort under testing circumstances
  • Significant improvements in performance
  • Achievement of targets/incentives
  • Achievement of training/qualifications
  • Implementation of new procedures or systems
  • Excellent teamwork within their own team or with other departments
  • Excellent customer service record

Providing outsourced payroll solutions to over 400 clients, our payroll team at PM+M are highly regarded as one of the leading payroll providers in the North West. Over the past year we have seen many changes to our way of working, having implemented several changes that have enhanced both our procedures and our service delivery to clients.

Julie Mason – head of payroll at PM+M – commented: “The PM+M payroll bureau has grown tremendously and seen a digital transformation over the last twelve months. We have introduced new systems and procedures to improve our services for clients and ensure we provide great value for money.  We work really hard to help our clients and are thrilled to be nominated.  We can’t wait to find out the results!!”

Welcoming more members to our growing payroll team

In celebration of National Payroll Week, we are pleased to welcome two members to PM+M’s growing payroll team, our new payroll administrator, Andrea Wellock and payroll apprentice, Mohammed Aamir Patel. The addition of Andrea and Mohammed to PM+M has taken our payroll department to a team of eight, allowing us to dedicate even more time to helping our clients achieve more through their outsourced payroll solutions.

Whilst Andrea joined our team a few months ago, Mohammed joined our team only this week, following our appointment of six other apprentices across the firm. Working across all teams at PM+M, each apprentice will be studying towards a recognised qualification over the next three years, as well as gaining invaluable ‘on the job’ training.

Jane Parry, managing partner of PM+M, commented: “As a firm, we are fully committed to making sure that we invest in young local talent, so the apprenticeship programme is a hugely important part of the business. We are confident that these new recruits will further enhance the level of service that our clients have come to enjoy and we are really pleased to guide them through their studies and watch them develop as professionals.”