Category Archives: PM+M

Introducing new Xero Expenses

Expense claims are a part of running any business, from fuel to office supplies and everything in between. However, a what should be simple task of reimbursing employees can quickly turn into a laborious, paper work nightmare.

Well, not anymore. Recently Xero launched their new Xero Expenses to tackle several issues within Xero. The new function will run along aside the existing and gives accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses all the tools needed to process expense claim simply and efficiently.

What’s new?

  • Faster expense capture – Reduces the need to keep paper receipts, a quick picture taken on a smart phone can be automatically scanned in.
  • Push notifications – To keep businesses, employees and advisors up to date with claims from anywhere.
  • More flexible user permissions –  Giving complete control of who can view, submit, and approve an expense claim for or on behalf of someone else.
  • Simple and intuitive workflows – Making it easy to monitor, review and approve any unpaid expenses.
  • Greater insights and powerful analytics – Helping businesses to understand their spending habits and patterns with a detailed and real-time understanding.

If you have been using classic expense claims in the six months prior 10 July 2018, you can continue using it for the foreseeable future. However, you’ll also be able to try out Xero Expenses for free until 28 September 2018.

For any further information, help or advice with Xero, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01254 679131 or email cloudaccounting@pmm.co.uk.

Spring Statement 2018

Jane Parry, Tax Partner, comments on today’s Spring Statement announcements…

As expected, the Spring Statement was a bit of a non event which was refreshing as I know many businesses didn’t want another ‘mini budget’. They’re tired of hearing new policy announcements along with additional tax and spending measures; they simply want to focus their time and effort on growing despite the ever present uncertainty of Brexit and things like the Making Tax Digital regime and the looming shadow of GDPR.

The news around consultations on tackling the issue of single-use plastics and the taxation of the profits of digital giants like Facebook and Google is all well and good, but action is what’s needed not more consultations.

On a positive note, it was good to learn that tax receipts are covering day-to-day government spending for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, that borrowing is £4.7bn lower than expected and that growth is slightly higher than forecast last year. However, we’ve still got one of the slowest growth rates in the G7 and public debt as a percentage of national income remains well above 80%.

The consultations on productivity improvement and tackling late payment are both good news for local businesses, as is the additional funding to help smaller businesses take on apprentices.

What I want to see from the Government over the next few months is simple: more clarity around Brexit and how it plans to help businesses grow by closing the skills gap and helping them to improve productivity. These are the real issues that need to be addressed, everything else comes second.

If you would like to discuss any of today’s announcements with the PM+M team, please call 01254 679131.

Could an MBO be the best exit for you?

Congratulations to all you SME owners out there!

According to Government Statistics, 99% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2017 were SMEs, accounting for 60% of private sector employment and 51% of private sector turnover. SMEs account for 99.5% of businesses in every main industry sector.

But let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that these are all tiny businesses. The definition of a medium sized enterprise is a headcount of up to 250, a turnover of up to 50 million euros and a balance sheet value of up to 43 million euros. In my book, a business at the top end of that range doesn’t feel quite so small.

As regional corporate finance advisers, we are often asked to advise businesses at the lower end of the range, let’s say those with a turnover in the region of £5 million. You know the type – great businesses that make healthy profits and have provided their owners with a comfortable lifestyle. On paper, they look to have a high potential value and quite often, the owner believes that a large trade buyer will sail over the horizon and snap them up. But how often does that really happen?

Whilst each year, we see many success stories involving trade buyers and SMEs, it doesn’t work for everyone. Trade buyers can often say “it’s just too small for us”, “it’s not as scalable as we’d like”, “there is too much reliance on a single product or customer”, or “we are looking for second-tier management”, after looking further into an opportunity. In these circumstances, an MBO deal is often a great alternative for the shareholder.

MBOs are currently very attractive, due to large amounts of available funding at historically low rates of interest. Typically, a successful MBO needs three things: a profitable and cash generative business, a competent and complete management team and a flexible seller confident enough in the new management team to be part of the funding solution.

Let’s take it as read that you have a good business. Your critical task is to develop or find a management team with the ability and experience to run the business such that you feel able to take the risk of part funding the deal.

If you are a business owner or a management team and you think that the MBO route might be the answer for you, don’t put off thinking about it because these things take time. Talk to us, and let us give you the benefit of our experience.

Taxing times deliver opportunities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every industry is being threatened by technological advancements, regulation changes and the challenge of finding and recruiting great staff. The accounting and tax industry isn’t immune, currently we are facing a multitude of problems;

  1.  Information flows that have become automated and confidentiality further restricted.
  2.  Regulations tightened both by government and by our own regulatory bodies.
  3.  Automation is improved within every business in the market and also within our clients
  4.  Recruiting bright and competent people becomes ever harder

In lots of ways it is healthy for the economy as a whole to allow technology to automate tax compliance. Perception suggests, there is little net benefit to the world from a tax return, often the stated opinion of my engineering and nursing friends.

It is however, fundamental to our society that the right type of tax is paid and that people are confident that the accurate amount of tax (and no more) is also paid. Ensuring the first and supporting the second is what we at PM+M do and will continue to do so.

Dealing with the environment we trade in, we see the key challenges to sustaining our business for the future to be:

  1. Building and developing relationships with clients who require human intervention in their tax processes. As automated as we can make it, tax is still a complex requirement
  2. Recruiting and developing a team with a broad range of ages and backgrounds to secure succession and communicate well with the varying cultures of our clients
  3. Retaining technical competence as the volume of legislation grows (and making sure we have all the necessary specialists either in house or reliably available elsewhere)

And most importantly;

4. Maintaining the culture of our firm and our partnership, after all there is no point in     running a firm if you can’t bring everyone on your journey.

One of the great things about a growing tax team that occupies 20% of your headcount, is that you can have your say to directly influence  the journey of the business, ensuring we all grow and succeed in an exciting period of evolution.

Our first and most important step has been to set out, by committing to a vision for our business, not because consultants told us to or because we thought it was trendy, but because asking ourselves and our team to commit to being “the best North West firm of finance professionals” allows us to drive change with integrity throughout the team. Those changes and the reinforcement of great things we have done that haven’t changed allow you to deal with the challenges the world throws at you.

The next key step was to re-emphasise to everyone within our team how important our culture and values are. We are hugely proud of the culture we have built and of our values of quality, achievement, fun and doing the right thing.

Based on our values, we are building a firm of bright and inspiring people who want to make a difference. We have committed to trusting in people and particularly trusting in youth – recruiting apprentices and graduates and investing in professional training, coaching/mentoring and interpersonal training. We have given our people at all levels freedom to express their personality and build fantastic relationships with clients.

The effect of our decisions, commitment, vision and values: A great motivated team; higher sales than ever; strong relationships with clients at all levels; and great quality and technical capacity.

We have now hit the point that our need is not how to manage and deal with individuals challenged by technology and regulation, it’s how to continue to lead them to continued growth and success – we need more leaders and particularly tax partners.

Feel free to call us if you are interested in joining us on our journey, we would love to hear from you.

After the election…

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After what has seemed a long election campaign, we finally have a result. And rather than the anticipated increase in seats for the Conservative Party, the UK woke up to find Theresa May’s party no longer enjoyed a parliamentary majority, and would seek to govern in coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party.

Uncertainty resulting from the vote has seen the value of Sterling drift downwards, and it may require a stabilisation of the political situation before the Pound recovers. Shares haven’t been adversely affected so far, with the FTSE index trading at higher levels than the previous day’s close.

What was seen as an opportunity to strengthen Theresa May’s hand, ahead of Brexit negotiations appears to have backfired, and adds doubt to the process and the timescales involved. The government will also to seek to ensure that any political uncertainty does not carry over into the wider economy. Multinational businesses usually prefer to operate and invest in a stable political environment.

For investors, don’t panic. Make sure you are invested in a sufficiently diversified portfolio. And if you are a little unsure, take advice.

Quarterly Economic Review

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The East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce are giving you the opportunity, once again, to tell the Government what it’s like doing business in East Lancashire in 2017.

The survey is carried out quarterly and is taken very seriously by central Government as it provides an economic snapshot of the area. It’s important that as many businesses as possible complete the survey so that the results provide a true reflection across all sectors and that the Government has the best information on which to make important decisions that may impact our area over the next few months.

To complete the survey, please click the button below.

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A spotlight on our new partners

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I am delighted to announce that Antony Keen and Helen Binns have been promoted to partner in PM+M.

Antony has been with PM+M for 29 years, man and boy.  He is a director of PM+M Wealth Management and continues with that role, giving financial planning, investment and pension advice to a wide range of clients.  Alongside that, his partnership role will see him playing a wider role across the firm and its future development.

Helen Binns heads up our Burnley office, having been with PM+M for 11 years.   She works with various charities and companies with turnovers from £50,000 all the way up to £50m in various sectors with all aspects of accounting, auditing and financial management.  She will continue to head up our Burnley team and will also take on a wider role in the leadership team of the firm.

I firmly believe that Antony and Helen’s promotions are hugely deserved as they are both incredibly talented in their respective fields. They embody what PM+M stands for with their unwavering commitment to both their clients and the success and culture of the firm. To keep PM+M thriving in the future, it’s key that we have a strong succession plan in place. As part of that, it is fantastic to reward and promote talent from within our own ranks.

This is just a small taste of why PM+M placed 3rd in the UK for best accountancy employer at the Accountancy Age awards back in December 2016.

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Jane Parry
Managing Partner
jane.parry@pmm.co.uk
If you are interested in joining the PM+M team, click below.

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PM+M Shortlisted for Red Rose Award – Employer of the Year

Yesterday, Jane Parry (Managing Partner) and Helen Clayton (Head of Corporate Services) headed to Blackburn Rovers Football Club to fly the flag for PM+M at the Red Rose Awards interviews. PM+M will be vying for the Employer of the Year award and even being shortlisted is a huge achievement.

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During the interview, Jane and Helen talked with the panel about how PM+M has evolved over recent years and how the firm truly believes in bringing out the best in its people.  Our values underpin everything that we do and we believe in investing in people throughout their careers. Quality, Achievement and Fun relate to all interactions at PM+M, whether that be with clients, team or members of the wider community. Winning the award would be an honour, given the calibre of businesses shortlisted this year. But whether we win or not, the team will continue to ensure that PM+M is a fantastic place to work, achieve and grow.

Speaking about life at PM+M, Neil Welsh (PM+M’s newest financial adviser) said: “Having joined PM+M almost a year ago I can endorse fully the values which see them nominated for a Red Rose Award. Not only have I been made to feel very welcome, the culture and dynamic within the team is both energising and liberating. More recently, following the loss of my father (and the resultant absence that was required to deal with hospital/hospice visiting, funeral and other family commitments) the support given across the breadth of the firm gave me strength at a very difficult time. The genuine and heartfelt words of comfort and reassurance from the partners downwards that the team were there to help reduced some of the mental and emotional strain. Moreover, upon my return to work the actions within the team of helping me prioritise, taking work off me and getting me back to operational speed is testament to a great team of people and firm.”

Now we just have to wait until March 9 to find out if we’ve won. Watch this space!

If you’d like to know more about life and PM+M, or would like to check out our latest vacancies, visit www.pmm.co.uk/careers.

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Looking forward to ATED

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If you own residential property in a company and its worth more than £500,000, then you may need to comply with the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) rules.

The rules require an annual tax return to be submitted by 30 April covering the forthcoming year.  The ATED charge for the forthcoming year must also be paid on that date.

Who needs to file an ATED return?

ATED returns must be filed and an ATED charge paid every year by non-natural owners of residential properties located in the UK, where the property is worth more than £500,000, and one of the reliefs or exemptions has not been claimed for the property.

A non-natural person can be defined as one of the following:

–       Any company wherever it is registered;
–       A partnership where one or more of the partners is a company;
–       A collective investment scheme.

There are exemptions from the charge, for example for properties which are commercially let, but there is still a requirement to submit the annual ATED return and claim the exemption, even if you have nothing to pay.

The rates

The new rates have recently been revealed for the chargeable year beginning 1 April 2017. The charge for the period will need to be paid by 30 April 2017.

Property value £ 2016/17 £ 2017/18 £
500,001 – 1,000,000 3,500 3,500
1,000,001 – 2,000,000 7,000 7,050
2,000,001 – 5,000,000 23,350 23,550
5,000,001 – 10,000,000 54,450 54,950
10,000,001 – 20,000,000 109,050 110,100
Over 20,000,000 218,200 220,350

The valuation band is determined by the properties’ market value as at 1 April 2012. If the owner acquired the property since that date, the value to use is the open market value at the date of acquisition.

If the property falls within 10% of a valuation band, the owner can apply to HMRC for a pre-return banding check. These checks can take at least 30 days to process, so it is best to apply as soon as possible.

For more information on ATED or if you’re worried about the above rates, please get in touch with our tax team by emailing tax@pmm.co.uk or by calling 01254 679131.

 

The Chancellor’s first (and last) Autumn Statement delivered little by way of surprises

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The main tax changes were already known about – the planned increase in the personal allowance and income tax higher rate threshold and the reduction in the rate of corporation tax and reform of corporation tax loss and interest relief rules being the key ones.

The confirmation that the planned reduction in corporation tax rates to 17% in 2020 (19% next April)  is to go ahead is good news.  Interestingly, there was no mention of the “15% and beyond” spoken of by Theresa May on Monday.

Only time will tell how the North West will benefit from the £1.1bn extra investment in England’s local transport network; the more than £1bn for digital infrastructure; the £2.3bn to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas; the £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 extra affordable homes; and the £400m for venture capital funds through the British Business Bank to unlock £1bn in finance for growing firms.  However, all are potentially positive announcements for the region.

It is to be hoped that a reasonable amount of the new £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund will find its way to the North West to support innovation by North West businesses and improve connectivity.

Given the advance publicity about R&D and innovation, it was a little surprising not to see any changes to R&D tax credits.  However, this is already a very generous relief.  The issue is more with the low take up of the scheme, rather than the nature of the tax reliefs on offer.  It is to be hoped that some of the new funding might be directed at improving accessibility of R&D reliefs.

The announcement of consultation on incorporation, which now seems to be seen as tax avoidance, was a little concerning and could cause uncertainty for many businesses who might be considering incorporation for perfectly legitimate commercial reasons.

There were a few targeted tax avoidance announcements, from a government which has already made significant strides in tackling avoidance and levelling the tax playing field.  None of them should have widespread impact.

Overall a relatively low key statement but some optimistic signs of a strong commitment to improving UK productivity and maintaining the UK’s attractiveness as a home for global businesses whilst helping UK businesses to compete in world markets.

Our full commentary will be emailed out tomorrow following our Autumn Statement seminar. If you’d like to receive a copy, please sign up to our mailing list here.