Barrie Kenyon Features on the ACCA Online

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Barrie Kenyon of Green & Co speaks to the ACCA online about how accountants can adjust to working long hours during busy periods.

Deloitte’s global 2016 Millennial Survey shows that when salary and other financial benefits are removed from the equation, good work/life balance stands out as the primary factor when evaluating job opportunities.

But what Millennials want and what they can get is not always the same. Many struggle to find jobs that they would be entirely happy with and have to contend with working long hours.

Read more here…

Automate Your Accountant!

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A new report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has questioned whether the next inevitable step of business is the introduction of robots in the workplace.

Fear not, Hollywood fans! In this case we don’t mean walking, talking robots sent back in time to enslave us, rather software tools that are designed to run in a data centre working through a user interface. The technology has been around for a while, but is mainly limited to communication widgets to ease workflow and e-invoicing.

But what role can robots play in a field like accountancy? After wrestling with that very question, the ACCA has released this paper to try and decipher whether it is a reality or just a ‘clever marketing tool.’

From an accountant’s point of view, my key question is: what are the chances of a robot being clever enough to take over my job? But the report also considers whether there are jobs which can be improved, replaced or even eliminated with the use of robotics.

One of the co-authors, Jamie Lyon, says that ‘there needs to be far more clarity beyond just the headcount reduction’. While the numbers may seem ‘appealing’ and many may be attracted to the shedding of expensive labour, the reality may be entirely different.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Your Business Needs An Accountant

Accountants in the Past

Accountants have  undoubtedly been employed in some form or another since as far back as we can remember.  In the Middle Ages, someone had to calculate how many eggs the chickens could lay  and estimate how much grain to store for the winter, as well as counselling the King on the cost of war and how to replenish the state coffers.

The dawn of the Renaissance in the 12th century fuelled  an explosion in trade, with merchants becoming busier and wealthier. New ways  of maintaining  detailed records of transactions were established,  as well as the notion of creating financial statements to evaluate  success  and plan for the future.

The later  agricultural and industrial revolutions further altered the financial structure of life and the role of the “counting man” evolved into something more significant.  In  post-war 20th Century, with the rise of commercial enterprise, the production of sound  financial information became an essential ingredient in  promoting market confidence, securing investment, and a necessity for good public relations.  The  importance of engaging the services of a proficient accountant became a priority in the world of business.

Accountants Today

Today’s accountant can offer a variety of services to both the small business and the larger enterprise, using a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise as well as a promise of confidentiality and a pledge to  look after your best interests.

It is preferable to choose an accountant who is a member of one of the recognised bodies  – e.g. Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)  – as he is governed by strict guidelines on professional behaviour. He is  obliged to keep up to date with legal requirements and accounting practice, is covered by professional indemnity insurance,  and has  the benefit of being able to draw on the support and knowledge of other  members when needed.

Aside from producing financial reports on the success (or otherwise) of your business activities, your accountant will also offer you support and advice with book-keeping, funding options, capital investment, employing staff and can undertake company secretarial duties on behalf of corporate entities.

Planning is  important for your personal and financial future and your accountant can help you deal with the complexities of issues such as the timing of capital expenditure, minimising inheritance tax and capital gains. He will advise you on ways to streamline or expand your business, depending on how profitable it is.

Most significantly for the majority of people who engage an accountant, he can handle all of your tax affairs.  The British tax system is complex, sometimes ambiguous and a little intimidating to the lay man. There are often special rules affecting different areas of trade, such as Farming and the Construction Industry, and there are accountants who specialise in these fields.

A good professional accountant will have an established relationship with HMRC and a working knowledge of the taxation system  so that he can act as an effective intermediary between you and the tax man.  He will know what reliefs  to claim and when to claim them, what the tax inspector will accept and what he will question,  and how best to utilize any allowances – all of which will help you to avoid  paying unnecessary tax – both now and in the future.

What About The Cost?

Obviously, your accountant will charge you for the service he provides, but it is more than likely that you will recoup the cost of his fee in the amount of tax he saves you.  On average Green and Co have saved their clients almost £2,000 in tax per £1,000 of fees charged, and the saving for farming clients is even higher at around £4,000!

Fees are usually time-based, but Green and Co now offer clients a Fixed Price Agreement before beginning work each year.  The agreement offers  a fixed fee which covers you for all work you expect us to undertake on your behalf, regardless of the time involved.  This means you can call on us at any time without worrying about incurring extra charges.  The fee is graded according to the level of service you require, and is payable in monthly instalments to ease your cash flow and make budgeting simpler.   The agreement can also offer free  insurance cover if exceptional extra work is needed in the event of a tax enquiry by HMRC.

Engaging the services of an accountant is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment and, as a bonus,  it will also free up some of your time – often your most valuable asset.  This  allows you  to focus on working at your trade or business, rather than worrying about deadlines , completing returns or pacifying your bank manager.

For more information about the services we can offer you and our fixed price agreements please visit our website, or call us on  01633 871122.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Chartered Tax Advisor Qualification for Green & Co

Everyone at Green & Co would like to congratulate Jenny Fielding on passing her Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) exams, the highest level of tax qualification in the UK.

After first attaining her ACCA qualifications, Jenny (pictured below) chose to do two years of additional study in order to become a specialist in tax. Passing all her papers at the first attempt (for both ACCA and CTA), she specialised in Individuals and Owner-Managed Businesses.

www.greenandco.com

Seen as the gold standard for tax professionals, this is a significant achievement for both Jenny and Green & Co, and we would like to congratulate her on it.