Posts tagged ‘George Hay’

George Hay Chartered Accountants continues to expand its team with the addition of a new senior tax manager.

Heather Irvine will work at all three offices supporting our Tax Partner, Barry Jefferd.

Heather gained her Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualifications in 2000. Prior to that, she spent 10 years working for the Inland Revenue.  She joins the firm from Edwards and Keeping, in Dorchester, Dorset, where she was a tax manager.

Commenting on her new role, Heather said: “I’m looking forward to the diversity of clients and opportunities that working at George Hay will bring.”

Tax Partner Barry Jefferd said: “Following the increase in the amount of tax work we now carry out, we have been looking to strengthen our team and Heather brings with her a wealth of experience that will be of great benefit to our clients. We are delighted to have her on board as a valuable addition.”

From 1st October 2010, workers who earn the national minimum wage will see a difference in their pay packet.

What’s changing?

  • The age threshold and the hourly rate are increasing
  • The hourly rate for young workers is increasing
  • Apprentices are now covered by the minimum wage legislation, albeit at a lower rate
  • Employers will be able to offset the national minimum wage by £4.61 for each day that accommodation is provided.

Planned changes

While these new rules come into effect on 1st October 2010, further changes relating to temporary workers are set to come into force from 1st January 2011.

In particular these regulations focus on “potentially exploitative arrangements” surrounding tips and expenses.

Need more information?

For full details of the changes and rates, please click here

If you are an employer, then George Hay  can advise you on what the new national minimum wage means for your business. We can also help you ensure you comply with the regulations and help you plan around any changes.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

How good are your I.T. skills?

If you have not yet completed your Tax Return for the year ended 5 April 2010 they may need to be fairly good as HM Revenue and Customs  are encouraging taxpayers to file online.  If you continue to use paper Returns, the usual 31 January timeline is substantially reduced to 31 October 2010.

Not filed your Tax Return online before?


If you have not filed Tax Returns online in previous years, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs beforehand.  As this will take at least a week to process immediate action is required to meet the fast approaching deadline.

You will need to visit the website of HM Revenue and Customs on www.hmrc.gov.uk and select ‘Self assessment’ from ‘Do it online’. This will guide you through the process of creating a user name and password.

You will also need to have some personal details, including your Unique Tax Reference and National Insurance number or Post Code to hand.

Once you have done this you will be sent a personal activation Pin through the post, from the Government Gateway. With this you should be able to complete the registration process and to be able to file the Return online.

Need assistance?

Most people find the filing process relatively straightforward and there is help available on the website itself. There is also an online demonstrator showing how the service works and provides various specific examples. To see this go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/demo

Watch out: Not everyone is able to file online…

It must be pointed out that there are a few people who will not be able to use the online service due to some of the supplementary pages not being available on the internet site and, of course, if you do not have access to the internet you also have the problem of what you should do. The only answer is to contact ourselves as soon as possible and we will do our best to submit your Return in time.

Time

As emphasised above, for everyone who still has a Tax Return outstanding, the problem is time.  Can you do everything in time and stay focused on your business?

Why not contact George Hay Chartered Accountants for peace of mind?


Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

In the past few days, with the complete mayhem caused by HMRC’s PAYE coding fiasco , clients of ours have received some very strange calls apparently from HMRC asking for payroll references and other data that we know they already have on their records, so please be wary of all unsolicited emails and phonecalls purporting to be from the Tax Office.

Too good to be true

Of course, no one wants to pay more tax than they should, so being told you are due a refund will come as good news.

In some cases, it may seem too good to be true – and that’s because it is.

If you receive a telephone call or an email from someone at HM Revenue & Customs  (HMRC) informing you of a tax refund then the person on the other end of the line is not the taxman but a criminal “phishing” for your bank account details.

HMRC has reported an alarming increase in the number of people being targeted in this way, with a record 83,000 phishing attempts reported in one month alone.

Written Correspondence

In some cases, letters are sent out purporting to be from external companies acting on behalf of HMRC and beginning with a sentence such as “we have reviewed your tax return and our calculations of your last year’s accounts show a tax refund of XXXX is due”. The letter will give a specific figure which the victim is supposedly due.

Phishing  and identity fraud

The thieves ask for bank details in order to pay in the non-existent refund. However, they then use this information to try to take money from the victim’s account.

Victims not only risk having their accounts emptied, but their details could also be sold on to other criminal gangs who may target them further.

Tax office communication policy

HMRC does not contact customers who are due a tax refund by telephone or email. It always writes to them directly, without using any external companies.

Advice

Anyone who receives a telephone call from someone offering them a tax refund should not give out any information to the caller but report it to the police immediately. Likewise, they should not reply to emails but forward them on to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

If you have already responded to a telephone call, email or letter and think you may have been the victim of a scam then you should contact your bank or card issuer as soon as possible.

HMRC Update – September 2010

An email from “HMRC Online Services – test@test.com’ is being issued, stating the recipient has one new alert message and should log in to their Online Account to read it.  The link in the email directs you to a fraudulent website where personal data is requested.  If you receive this notification, please forward it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

Friendly, approachable, reliable professionals

At George Hay, we are experienced in all areas of taxation and can advise you on whether a genuine tax refund is due. If you are in any doubt about any communications you have received regarding a refund, please speak to us.

Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

I am delighted to announce that George Hay are now using revolutionary online accounting software in order to help our clients more easily manage their bookkeeping and keep a better track of their financial position.

Columnar padNew Service

We believe we have future-proofed our bookkeeping offering for clients by moving to an award winning online accounting software package.  The company will now be using KashFlow, which enables accountants and their clients to easily access their own financial records at any time, whenever they have access to the internet. 

Online accounting software is considered by many to be the way that the industry is heading because it enables businesses to keep a constant eye on their company’s financial position without having to install and regularly update costly and bulky software direct onto their computers.  This recent additon to our service portfolio is further evidence that George Hay is a forward thinking and dynamic organisation that puts it’s clients’ needs first.  We are very aware that accountants are generally Sage lovers, and Quickbooks has tried to make bookkeeping more exciting and user friendly, but neither are considered easy or ‘beneficial’ to small business owners who have no bookeeping experience.

Kashflow is extremely easy to use, with continuous functionality development led by user feedback.  We can now talk to clients and update records in real time without having to wait for them to send in reams of paper-work or email back-ups.  This also means we can be even more proactive with our traditional advice and support.

All the records held on the system are stored behind a state of the art encryption system that prevents data from being accessed or passed on without the user’s permission.

The options

I researched the market intently, including taking time to demo Xero and FreeAgent and speaking with representatives from all three.

My brief was clear, I wanted a solution that filled the gap for clients who were outgrowing their spreadsheets but didn’t really have the inclination to learn to use Sage.  I strongly believe Sage is a great package if used properly, but in the hands of an inexperienced, busy business owner, it can be a devil.  Many clients in the past have started using Sage or Quickbooks believing it will save them and us time, thus reducing fees, to be disappointed when I show them the amount of ‘unpicking’ and reconciling we have had to do.

Kashflow won my vote with unprecedented numbers of great testimonials from end users and practicing accountants.  Their helpline and support offering appeared to be excellent and the MD‘s constant involvement with social media platforms such as Twitter gave me confidence that he cares very much about his brand and his customers’ thoughts.

A new beginningNext Dimension

Managing Director of KashFlow, Duane Jackson said, “George Hay Chartered Accountants have shown that they’re forward-thinking by being early adopters of online software. We’re looking forward to working with them the help small business and start ups in Huntingdon and the surrounding areas.” Jackson continues, “Our software is going to help George Hay to deliver on their aims of offering a high-level of service to all of their clients.”

KashFlow launched its flagship product, an online tool specifically designed to help owner-managers in small businesses manage their accounts, in mid 2005.  Since that time it has quickly won a significant share of the valuable accounting software market along with launching a new direct-to-accountant division in late 2006.  In late 2007 KashFlow won a Business Software Satisfaction Award, judged entirely by customer feedback, for the category of web-based accounting, beating the likes of Sage and Netsuite.

Free, No obligation trial

If you would like to discuss this offering or register for a completely free 30-day trial of the software please email toni.hunter@georgehay.co.uk or call me on 01480 426500 and I will send you a link by return.


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

Along with the England flags and hopes of World Cup success the emergency budget is becoming a distant memory, but if you are in business you shouldn’t be so hasty.

Here at George Hay, we regularly advise on the advantages of incorporation and strongly believe that for the majority of small businesses it is the most tax efficient structure, as remuneration (profit distribution) for the owners/directors can be carefully planned to benefit their personal tax circumstances.  These savings can be particularly advantageous if you are operating as a family business.

Corporation Tax reduction

One of the main headlines of the budget was the reduction in the Corporation Tax rate by 1% making the Small Companies rate 20% from April 2011. This was good news for business owners but of course it only applies to those which are incorporated. Those who operate their business as either a sole trader or partnership are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance on their business profits so will instead be hit by the rise in National Insurance rates from April 2011.

The changes in the Corporation Tax rate and National Insurance rate along with forecast reductions in the basic rate threshold for individuals poses the usual question of should those in business consider incorporating and is it beneficial for everyone to do so?

Indicators do strongly suggest that it is widely beneficial for most owner managed businesses to incorporate and when doing the sums at the new rates from April 2011 the tax savings as a result of incorporation increase even more.

Risky Strategy?

There have been many attempts to try to curb the incorporation trend in the past due to the significant tax savings that can be achieved.  Gordon Brown aired his view that business owners are not paying the ‘right amount of tax’,  and we are sure HMRC will continue their expensive and difficult case in the courts.   But I personally have been advising on incorporation for over 10 years and it continues to be a successful strategy, so why not take advantage whilst the regulations allow it?  It is not something that can not be withdrawn from if circumstances change.

Real life example

In 2007 I was recommended to a small business that was earning very handsome profits due the unique nature of its trading activity.  On engagement I quickly did some sums (good old Excel!) and explained the value of Incorporating.  The owner immediately understood and asked me to incoporate the business without delay.  By involving his wife in the business strategy, she was able to take a ‘very nice’ Company Car and between them they saved and continue to save over £15,000 per annum in Tax and National Insurance.  If only they had sought advice years before…..

It’s not all about tax

Careful consideration should be given to incorporation and expert advice sought. It is not always the right choice for everyone and other factors come into play such as legal liability, increased regulation and therefore costs, disclosure of financial information and future business plans such as sale of the business but it is always worth thinking about.


For further details on the key announcements in the ‘Emergency Budget’ download a copy of our budget summary.

Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

Please see below a message sent from the Executive Director of Charity Services on 23rd October 2009 about the importance of meeting deadlines despite the current postal disruption.

GH_logo_notag compressedAt George Hay we endeavour to file as much as possible online to the Commission, Companies House and H M Revenue & Customs and have done for many years.  We believe this provides a better quality service to our clients as well as mitigating costs by reducing resources.  www.georgehay.co.uk


Dear Sir

Online Service and Postal Disruption

I am contacting to you as a professional advisor of charities.  In light of the postal strike the Commission is reminding all our key customers of the services that can now be carried out on line and to strongly encourage you to use e-mail when contacting us.

The Commission has conducted research which indicates that approximately one-quarter of all its ‘hard copy’ post emanates from a professional adviser. In the majority of instances this post could have been sent to us by e-mail or through our website. We have to arrange for letters and documents to be scanned and this inevitably increases our administration costs and causes delay.

The Commission has been growing its online services in recent years and there has been an increasing uptake by our customers who value the swift service this can guarantee. The following services are offered online as an alternative to submitting hard copy:

  •  Filing of Annual Returns;
  • Filing of accounts and Trustee Annual Reports;
  • Registering changes to the composition of a trustee body;
  • Applying for registration online. It currently takes an average of 12 days to register a charity over the internet, with the same process via postal applications taking around twice as long on average.
  • Online publications. The online versions of our publications are the most current whereas some hard copy may not have been recently revised.

Using the Commission’s online services speeds processes up for our customers, and even where the enquiry does not relate to an online service we are generally able to act upon an e-mail more quickly than with ‘hard copy’. We can reply to most e-mail enquiries inside 5 days. This means that you can provide a quicker service to your clients.

Finally the Commission also offers template forms for a variety of actions your clients might take. These include amending their governing document; applying for authority to pay trustees; vesting land in the Official Custodian and dissolving a charity. Because the information requested is standardised we can consider applications on these forms more quickly than when they are contained in a letter alone.

The following link will take you to the landing page where these forms are housed: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/common/applyforit.asp

If you have documentation to send the Commission, you can attach this to your e-mail and send to the Commission at:   enquiries@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

I hope that this information is of help to you

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely  

David Locke

Executive Director of Charity Services

Charity Commission for England and Wales

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

j0433925There are statistics everywhere confirming that building business with current clients is far cheaper than acquiring new clients. I know this first hand being one who invests an inordinate amount of time networking both online and in ‘the real world’.  Here at George Hay we are regularly agonising over how to best spend our marketing budget, but at the end of the day the cheapest and the best business is that done via a qualified referral.  Also, although winning new business is exhilarating, doing business with clients who like you and appreciate what you do for them is very satisfying.

So what do I do to try and maintain client loyalty and hopefully enthuse them to tell their business associates about my good work?

Stay in touch
First and formost, I have found that clients like to be communicated with and want to “belong” to our organisation.  When clients feel that they are ‘out on a limb’ they are more likely to listen to gossip, be more receptive to your competitors or simply undervalue what you are doing.

Keeping in touch could be as simple as sending a regular newsletter or  involving them in your social media circles.  Of course, your top twenty clients (you do know who they are don’t you?) need more personal and regular attention, but that does not necessarily mean expensive wining and dining.  A simple ‘phone call to find out how things are going is all that it required.

Tell your client as soon as you can if an issue does arise and make sure it is clear how you will be dealing with it.

j0433028If my top clients prepare management information (which of course I encourage) or minutes of board meetings I ask to receive a copy by email so that next time we speak I have a subject matter to discuss that makes them feel good – their business!  This keeps the service personal and hopefully tailored to their needs.  Newsletters, blogs and emails are great ways to communicate messages but they are unlikely to be 100% relevant to your entire client base.  Also in a service environment, clients are buying personalities and a perception of knowledge, not something generated by your marketing team.

 

Remember if clients don’t know what you are doing, they wont want to pay for it.

So keep your clients informed.

You could also use this regular communication to survey clients opinions, if they are valued clients they will be honest with you and help you to appraise your operation, just as you help them with their business, but be warned if you have not made regular contact they may question your motives.

Take responsibility
If an issue does raise it’s ugly head or a mistake happens, correct it at the highest level.  Clients appreciate it when a manager/partner who can and will take action calls, rather than a junior person or an administrator.  Don’t forget an apology is what they are looking for, so make sure you eat humble pie whilst trying to convince them that the problem wont happen again! 

Never try and assign or delegate blame.  As a business person you are responsible for making sure your team are working to look after your clients.  Don’t let one department or staff member criticise another; it is unprofessional and clients will not be reassured.   Remember you have to work with these people, there are enough challenges in business dealing with external factors with out allowing conflict with in the organisation.  If there is a problem, everyone in the business needs to work together to resolve it and implement procedures to prevent it from recurring.

One of the biggest bug-bears of most people in business, I believe, is service professionals that over promise and under deliver, particularly in the early stages of a business relationship when they are trying hard to please or trying to win your business.  This is a major faux pas that most of us, if we are honest, have fallen foul of, so keep clients expectations manageable – and the easiest way to do this? – COMMUNICATE!

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.