Author Archives: Peggy Nightingale

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Potential Fraud Alert

We have become aware that some VAT Registered Entities have been victims of fraud whereby fraudsters would contact HMRC pretending to be authorised persons to change the bank details on the accounts.

HMRC would then process those changes and write to the VAT Registered Entities confirming this, but without specifying which details were changed, meaning the Registered Entities would not necessarily think anything was amiss.

If you are expecting a VAT repayment from HMRC, we recommend that you check your VAT account to make sure the bank details are correct. If you find your details have been changed without your authorisation, please contact HMRC straight away.


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Year-end tips!

We wish everyone a Happy Easter, which falls this year on many companies’ accounting year-end of 31st March.

We would just like to remind all our company owners that there is a way of extracting money from your company tax free in your hands but tax deductible for your company.

You are entitled as a director to take up to £300 in each tax year in trivial benefits.

Your employees of course can receive unlimited trivial benefits as long as they don’t exceed £50 a day. An ideal way to do this is vouchers for retail outlets which cannot be redeemable for cash.

Tax on interest

Interest rates have been very low for a number of years and very few of our clients have earned enough interest on their savings to pay any tax until now. That situation has now changed dramatically and interest rates are much higher.

The first £1,000 of interest receivable is tax free, but this reduces to £500 if you are a higher rate taxpayer and all interest received by a top rate taxpayer is taxable from the first penny.

Therefore, if you are in this position, it would be worth considering shifting some of your savings to a tax free product such as an ISA, for which you can put up to £20,000 cash in any given tax year, which of course ends next Friday 5 April.


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Budget Summary

We have pleasure in presenting our summary of Wednesday’s Spring Budget Statement.

Sadly, there is little or nothing in it for small to medium sized business owners although there is a small reduction in Class 4 National Insurance for people who are self-employed or members of partnerships.

If you require any further information relating to changes that have been announced, there is some useful comment in the Statement itself but we would be pleased to receive any queries you may have.


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Budget News

We don’t intend to go into too much detail about the impacts of today’s Budget right now. We are sure that everybody will be aware of the main headlines from media news broadcasts.

We will send a full analysis of the budget changes and how they might impact you on Friday but our editorial comment is that there seems to be very little in this Budget for owners of small and medium size businesses.

The reduction in National Insurance may mean that we require to have fresh look at how business owners extract their profits from their companies, either by remuneration, dividend or interest.

The main headlines are as follows:

  • Employees National Insurance to fall from 10% to 8% in the new tax year, following on a 2% earlier already in this year.
  • National Insurance for the self-employed will reduce from 8% to 6% in the new tax year.
  • The higher rate of Capital Gains Tax on disposal of residential property will reduce from 28% to 24%. This may mean it could be worthwhile delaying exchange of contracts until after 6 April.
  • The VAT registration threshold will rise from £85,000 to £90,000. It is something but given that it has been at £85,000 for the last 7 years, has not kept pace with inflation.
  • The high income Child Benefit charge is to increase from £50,000 to £60,000 and the level at which it is fully repaid will increase from £60,000 to £80,000. It will be administered on a household rather than on an individual basis by April 2026.

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Companies House Changes and Fee Increases :-(

Companies House has announced a series of changes to regulations and also increases to all their fees.

The fee increases will apply from 1 May 2024; amongst others, these are:

Annual Confirmation Statement, increase from £13 to £34

Fee for changing the name of a company, from £8 to £20

Fee for applying to remove a company from the Register, from £10 to £33

The Company Law Regulations which are applicable from 4th March are given below.

The major immediate change that will be seen is on Confirmation Statements where all companies are required to supply a registered email address.

We are proposing that this email address, where we manage the filing of the form on your behalf, should be our generic email address cosec@martletpartnership.com.

• Greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;

• Stronger checks on company names;

• New rules for registered office addresses (all companies must have an appropriate address at all times – they will not be able to use a PO Box as their registered office address);

• A requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;

• A requirement for subscribers to confirm they’re forming a company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and for a company to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on its confirmation statement;

• Greater powers to tackle and remove factually inaccurate information; and

• The ability to share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies

Further changes are planned as Companies House intends to combat Internet fraud and require greater detail and more information regarding every company. There are also changes planned for the format of accounts.

If you have any queries relating to these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Strategies for Business Growth: A Financial Perspective

Growing a business is no small feat. It requires dedication, innovation, and strategic financial planning. As business owners, start-ups, directors, and entrepreneurs seek to scale their operations, several pivotal financial areas must be addressed to ensure sustainable growth.

As an accountancy firm, we understand the importance of financial health and strategic investments in stimulating business growth.

This article brings into focus key financial strategies that small businesses can adopt to foster steady growth while maintaining financial health.

Cultivating a Robust Financial Strategy

A well-defined financial strategy serves as the backbone for any growing business. It begins with setting clear financial goals and outlining the actionable steps needed to reach them. These goals could range from increasing revenue, diversifying income streams, entering new markets, or improving profit margins.

To accomplish this, you need to:

  • Understand your market: Perform comprehensive market research to identify trends, opportunities, and potential challenges.
  • Plan for the long-term: Establish one-year, three-year, and five-year financial plans that include revenue forecasts and investment strategies.
  • Define financial KPIs: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as profit margin, cash flow and working capital, amongst others, can help track progress and make informed decisions.

Efficient Tax Planning

Efficient tax planning is vital for businesses to retain more earnings and invest in growth opportunities. It involves understanding and applying tax reliefs, preparing in advance for tax obligations, and ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

Key tax planning strategies include:

  • Utilise available tax reliefs and credits: Research reliefs such as R&D tax credits, which can significantly reduce your tax bill.
  • Understand your obligations: Stay informed about changes in tax laws and deadlines to avoid penalties.

Business Performance Analysis

Routine analysis of business performance sheds light on the company’s financial health and highlights areas that require attention or improvement. It encompasses reviewing sales figures, cost management, profitability, and comparing actual performance against set targets.

For a comprehensive analysis, you should:

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis: Assess your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
  • Analyse financial statements: Regularly review balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
  • Monitor customer and client relationships: Consistent feedback can help identify strengths and areas needing improvement.

Maintaining Financial Hygiene

Financial hygiene refers to the habits and practices that keep a business’s finances in order and facilitate smooth operations. This includes maintaining accurate records, adhering to budgets, and managing debt effectively.

Key practices for maintaining financial hygiene are:

  • Keep meticulous financial records: Updated records help in making informed decisions and are necessary for compliance.
  • Implement strict budgeting: Plan your expenditures within your means and review your budgets frequently.
  • Manage debt wisely: Understand the cost of borrowing and ensure you have a solid plan for debt repayment.

Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is the lifeline of any small business. Positive cash flow ensures that you have enough funds to pay expenses, purchase inventory, and invest in growth initiatives.

Here’s some examples of how you can manage your cash flow effectively:

  • Reduce trade debtors: Use strategies like prompt invoicing and incentives for early payment to get cash quickly.
  • Negotiate better payment terms: Without compromising supplier relationships, negotiate longer payment terms to retain cash for longer.
  • Manage inventory: Overstocking ties up cash and increases storage costs, so balance your inventory levels to meet demand without excess.

Investing in Growth

For any business looking to invest in growth or looking at funding for growth, an accountancy firm can help to prepare the business plan, financial valuations and documents needed to help a business apply for funding for growth.

M&A

An accountant will help with due diligence, preparing the business for sale or helping with the acquisition alongside a reputable law firm (such as a fellow UK200 member firm).

Conclusion

In conclusion, sustained business growth is an attainable goal with the right financial strategies in place. By focusing on financial strategy, tax planning, business performance analysis, financial hygiene, and cash flow management, businesses can build a solid foundation for success.

Consistent assessment and adaptation are key to remaining agile in an ever-changing business landscape.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice – as an experienced accountancy firm, we at The Martlet Partnership can provide you with the expertise required to make informed financial decisions that propel your business forward.


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Retirement

Diane Rees, our office administrator for over 20 years, has now retired. We wish her a long and happy retirement

We are pleased to advise that we have engaged Paul Bainbridge as our in-house accountant and he started with us four weeks ago so as to assure a smooth handover.

Paul worked for 16 years at Carpenter Box, a large local firm, where he obtained his ACCA qualification.

He then spent many years as an independent accountant looking after a number of Independent Financial Advisors.


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Exam Success

We are delighted to advise that our George Moyle passed his AAT Level 3 Business Awareness Exam with a resounding 78%.


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Fuel Rates

Please find below the latest advisory fuel rates for the company cars published by HMRC.

This is the amount that can be paid where an employee has a company car but the employer does not provide fuel as part of the package.

HMRC adjust this table regularly but unfortunately, if you use your own vehicle for business, the rate is still 45p a mile and has been for very many years.


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Autumn Budget Statement

The Chancellor gave his Autumn Statement on Wednesday and you can find a summary of the major points below.

From a personal point of view, I think the Chancellor has evoked the usual Shakespearean theme of “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Our staff will be very pleased to receive a 2% tax cut through the form of the National Insurance reduction but for most people that will only go so far as to offset their increased fuel bills from January.

From a small business owner’s point of view, there has been absolutely nothing done to alleviate the extremely high tax rates that owners of successful small to medium sized companies now face, and yet the Chancellor says he wishes to encourage growth!

If you have any queries relating to the new provisions, and the impact they may have on you, although in my view these will be minimal, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Martlet Partnership.


Contactez nous

The Martlet Partnership LLP
Martlet House
E1 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
Worthing
West Sussex
BN13 3QZ
UK

Tel.: +44 (0) 1903 600555
Fax.: +44 (0) 1903 600828
E-mail: info@martletpartnership.com