Joe Pickard, 15 September
Xero Launches Tax Solutions for Advisors
Xero has launched a personal tax solution for UK accountants and bookkeepers built to save them time.
Following a comprehensive testing phase with accountants and bookkeepers, personal tax and sole trader accounts production is now available within Xero Tax. This is Xero’s cloud compliance solution which also includes company accounts and tax.
Claire Markham from The Focus Collection who took part in the testing phase commented: “So far, Xero’s personal tax is the easiest tax software I have used in my 15-year career. It has already saved us time, and has made it easier when training new members of staff. We have been using Xero for the past six years and have moved everything over to Xero, as we find it so easy to use and our clients think the same.”
Joe Pickard 9 September
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants appoint vice president – global advocacy
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) have appointed Michelle Mullen to vice president - global advocacy.
In this role, Mullen will focus on building strategic relationships and leading global public policy and contribute to thought leadership, with a primary focus on activities outside of the US.
Mullen will work on expanding the Association’s advocacy programme and engagement with policymakers, regulators and government officials on key accounting and finance issues to serve the public interest on a global scale. She will also work with her team to positively influence critical decision-making at the local, national and international level to facilitate best practice, enhance the reputation of the profession, including recognition of the Chartered Global Management Accounting (CGMA) designation.
Association executive vice president of advocacy Mark Peterson said: “As the world’s largest accounting body, it’s critical that we engage stakeholders on our work to serving the public interest and the role the profession plays in creating trust, opportunity and prosperity. We are pleased to have Michelle join the Association in this senior role to continue that mission. She brings a wealth of experience in public policy, thought leadership and advocacy and is the perfect leader to support our work on driving economic recovery, skills development and promoting the value the profession brings to business and society.”
Commenting on her new role, Mullen said: “As the world’s largest accounting body, it’s critical that we engage stakeholders on our work to serving the public interest and the role the profession plays in creating trust, opportunity and prosperity. We are pleased to have Michelle join the Association in this senior role to continue that mission. She brings a wealth of experience in public policy, thought leadership and advocacy and is the perfect leader to support our work on driving economic recovery, skills development and promoting the value the profession brings to business and society.”
Joe Pickard, 9 September
Flood of fraud enquires expected as furlough ends
Mid-market businesses should prepare for a ‘flood’ of letters from HMRC as the UK furlough scheme comes to a close, according to Grant Thornton UK.
A survey carried out earlier this year for Grant Thornton of 605 mid-market businesses found that, of those surveyed who had made use of the scheme, just under a fifth (16%) had not reviewed their initial Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims to check they were correct.
Over one million UK businesses have used the CJRS during the pandemic. It has safeguarded more than 11.6m jobs at a cost of just under £70bn, according to recent figures.
The CJRS legislation indicates that any inaccuracy can be treated as deliberate and concealed. This is in contrast to penalties in most other tax regimes, whereby investigators will usually only judge something as deliberate in the face of compelling evidence.
Joe Pickard 9 September
AAT encourages people to consider payroll careers
AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has encouraged people to consider pursuing a career in payroll accountancy, and for businesses to recognise the benefits of using licensed payroll accountants.
AAT offers a number of bookkeeping qualifications which can help support those interested in pursuing a career as a payroll accountant. The five short qualifications take six to 12 weeks to complete, providing training for a range of bookkeeping roles and are recognised and respected by employers across the UK and around the world.
Gaining a recognised qualification can also help to improve earning potential for payroll accountants. The latest AAT Salary Survey shows that the average AAT member’s salary starts at £20,000 for Administrator roles, rising to £46,000 at Director/Senior Manager level.
Zoya Malik, 9 September
ICAEW: Net zero leadership needed now
The UK government must bring together the UK’s regions and nations in a new implementation board to achieve net zero by 2050, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
In its submission to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s Net Zero Governance inquiry, ICAEW said that the UK’s net zero ambitions were currently limited because no overall governance structure is in place.
ICAEW Managing Director for Reputation & Influence Iain Wright said: “Achieving net zero will require the whole country to work together; the longer we as a country leave this, the more difficult, disruptive and expensive the transition will be. But there is no clear structure for the UK to reach the target by 2050. There’s no clarity or coordination between government, the devolved nations, local authorities and business, and we need leadership to spearhead this important goal. Failure to put in strong governance will mean the Prime Minister’s vision for the UK to lead the world, creating green jobs and prosperity as well as environmental sustainability, will not be achieved.
Joe Pickard 2 September
Loss of business for mid-market companies who don’t act on ESG matters
Almost one third of mid-market businesses say they face a a high risk of losing business if they do not act on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters’, according to a survey from BDO.
BDO senior partner and chair of the firm’s ESG executive committee Matthew White said: “While the pressure to improve ESG performance has to date focused on the large polluters, big financial institutions and publicly listed companies, we are now seeing a trickle-down effect with ESG now firmly on the board agenda at mid-market level.
“With COP26 just around the corner, the world’s attention will focus on efforts to limit the global temperature rise to below 1.5˚C. In this context, it is encouraging to see so many mid-market firms taking action to reduce their environmental impact, but globally emissions will need to be halved over the next decade so there is still much more to do.”
Joe Pickard, 26 August
Financial support lagging behind small business optimism
Small business owners are feeling optimistic about the prospect of trading getting back to normal but are still struggling with their mental health and finding financial support, according to the latest survey results from ACCA UK and The Corporate Finance Network's (CFN) SME Tracker.
All owners reported that business trading is at the level they expected or slightly higher this month, a jump of 11% over last month.
There was also unanimity from 100% of respondents that their businesses will return to pre-Covid levels of productivity and turnover within two years, with more than half (57%) believing they will achieve that goal within 12 months.
Joe Pickard, 25 August
IRIS: a third of accountants do not trust outsourcing
A third (34%) of UK accountants do not trust that outsourcing is done correctly or to a high enough standard, according to research from IRIS Software Group (IRIS), a UK provider of accountancy software and services.
The research reveals many accountants are reluctant to outsource certain elements of their role due to ‘out-of-date’ assumptions. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, accountants have been their clients’ essential, trusted advisors. Yet with the threat of business survival still at large, accountancy professionals need more support in managing admin-heavy tasks so they can focus on what matters most - helping clients and growing their business.
However, the research further revealed that accountants would gladly use the extra time freed up by outsourcing to dedicate more time to work-life balance (45%), complete higher fee-earning work (33%), build client relationships (27%), and one in five (20%) would use it to focus on business advisory.
The insight guide, Growth and productivity: is outsourcing the answer? can be downloaded here.
Zoya Malik 13 September
National Insurance increase plus end of furlough may trigger redundancies
Andrew Snowdon, Partner and Head of Tax at UHY Hacker Young, says: “With the furlough scheme being withdrawn at the end of the month, the increase in National Insurance will have made the cost of keeping jobs that much more expensive.”
The increase will also see the gap between employment and self-employment widen even further. Employees and employers will both have to pay an extra 1.25% in National Insurance (total increase of 2.5%), whereas dividend and self-employment tax will have a singular, 1.25% increase.
John Sheehan, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: “We expect the rise in National Insurance will increase differences between employment and gig economy taxation. As a result, employers may be encouraged to make more use of self-employed workers, while shifting away from employees.”
Zoya Malik 6 September
FRC lists successful signatories to the UK Stewardship Code
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published a list of successful signatories to the UK Stewardship Code (the Code) which sets high standards of stewardship for those investing money on behalf of UK savers and pensioners. The successful applicants better demonstrated their commitment to stewardship - which is very important as we emerge from the pandemic and address significant environmental and social challenges by investing for a sustainable future.
Following a rigorous review process which considered organisations’ investment styles, sizes and types, two-thirds of all applications (125) made the list. This represents £20 trillion of assets under management. The FRC received 189 applications from 147 asset managers, 28 asset owners, including pension funds and insurers, and 14 service providers, including data and information providers and investment consultants.
The FRC was pleased to see investors better integrating stewardship, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment decision-making, reporting on asset classes other than listed equity and identifying the outcomes of their efforts.