• Accountants initiate corporate finance discussion as VAT holiday ends

    Accountants initiate corporate finance discussion as VAT holiday ends
    The VAT holiday period announced by HMRC in March ended today. Businesses will have until March 31, 2021 to pay their VAT bill deferred between March 20 and June 30 this year. As a result, accountants are now advising clients on how to prepare ahead of paying their VAT bill next year – particularly those struggling with cash.
     “In business, your cash flow is negative because you’re probably paying wages before you’re getting paid by your customers. It’s trying
  • Ministers should check their post – Royal Mail's problems are stacking up | Nils Pratley

    Ministers should check their post – Royal Mail's problems are stacking up | Nils Pratley
    Vital restructuring is stalled, it’s at war with the CWU union and the business is losing £1m a dayIt is only two years since Moya Greene departed as chief executive of the Royal Mail, accompanied by a near-£1m golden goodbye and claims that the organisation had been “transformed” since privatisation.The share price in 2018 was close to an all-time high of 600p. Now it is 157.5p, down 12% on Thursday – not quite at an all-time low, but less than half 2013&rsqu
  • Wirecard files for insolvency amid German accounting scandal

    Wirecard files for insolvency amid German accounting scandal
    Move comes after former CEO at payments firm held on suspicion of falsifying accountsGerman payments giant Wirecard has filed for insolvency in the midst of a major accounting scandal linked to a €1.9bn (£1.7bn) hole in its finances.The development comes just days after its former chief executive Markus Braun was arrested on suspicion of falsifying accounts at the company, which processes tens of billions of euros in credit and debit transactions every year. He was arrested after pres
  • New lockdown mindset shows consumers have low trust in businesses over tax paid

    New lockdown mindset shows consumers have low trust in businesses over tax paid
    Fair Tax Mark’s annual polling reveals that consumer behaviour has shifted during lockdown, in which public distrust in businesses paying tax is significantly higher.
    78 percent of respondents believe that all companies, regardless of their size, should publicly reveal the taxes they pay and don’t pay in the UK, with 79 percent saying they would rather shop with a business that proves it’s paying its fair share of tax.
    “One of the biggest crises in the UK right now is tru
  • Advertisement

  • Consumer and business confidence vital to restore British economy, says RSM partner

    Consumer and business confidence vital to restore British economy, says RSM partner
    Following the Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, the Bank of England (BoE) announced yesterday that the base interest will be maintained at 0.1 percent and the existing quantitative easing programme of bond-buying will be expanded with an additional £100bn.
    Simon Hart, partner and head of international at RSM, says the BoE needs to provide further clarity about the UK’s economic recovery.
    “Central banks in the developed economies need to have a bit of reali
  • KPMG to review TfL's finances after £1.6bn government bailout

    KPMG to review TfL's finances after £1.6bn government bailout
    Move forms part of Transport for London’s controversial coronavirus funding deal Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe government is sending in City accountants to scrutinise Transport for London’s finances and business plan, as part of its controversial £1.6bn emergency funding agreement for the capital.The Department for Transport (DfT) hired KPMG, one of the big four accountancy firms, this week. Continue reading...
  • How your accounts reflect coronavirus could affect your business's health | Gene Marks

    How your accounts reflect coronavirus could affect your business's health | Gene Marks
    People reading your financial statements have the power to grant, and take away, crucial financingAccounting is boring. But if you’re running a small business, I suggest you pay attention to this very serious accounting issue.While many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat as the pandemic continues its wave across the US, many others are facing a different dilemma: accounting for the virus. It may not seem like a big deal right now, considering all the other challenges we face. B
  • Office reshuffle and digital transformation top firms’ agenda

    Office reshuffle and digital transformation top firms’ agenda
    “I used to say in my team meetings within the firm that when they were last in the office, they looked around and saw what it looked like. That will probably be the last time they ever see an office look like that again,” says Martin Clapson, managing director at Price Bailey.
    Following government guidelines, health and safety of employees will become top priority for businesses preparing for the new normal, but investment in tech will also boom as firms adapt to post-coronavirus cha
  • Advertisement

  • To pay or not to pay, what are the options for your upcoming tax bill?

    To pay or not to pay, what are the options for your upcoming tax bill?
    To help businesses and self-employed workers manage their cash flow during the pandemic, HMRC are deferring VAT payments that become due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.
    In addition, the second self-assessment payment on account for the tax year 2019/20 due on 31 July can be deferred until January 31, 2021. No interest or penalties will arise and deferral is automatic with no applications required.
    Short-term financial relief with long-term implications?
    Allowing people more time to pay their
  • What on earth is the boss of AstraZeneca up to with his approach to Gilead? | Nils Pratley

    What on earth is the boss of AstraZeneca up to with his approach to Gilead? | Nils Pratley
    Pascal Soriot heroically defended the company against Pfizer, but now he needs to calm his investorsIt’s hard to keep AstraZeneca out of the headlines. A booming share price made the company the biggest in the FTSE 100 index last month, albeit Shell is now marginally in front again. More significantly, the group is in the vanguard of Covid-fighting efforts by helping Oxford University develop a vaccine and then, we hope, produce a successful product in massive volumes.Now, though, comes so
  • Matalan founder suing PwC for 'ineffective tax avoidance advice'

    Matalan founder suing PwC for 'ineffective tax avoidance advice'
    Big four firm denies it was negligent when it advised John Hargreaves on move to Monaco in 2000The multimillionaire founder of Matalan is suing his accountants for allegedly giving him ineffective tax avoidance advice – weeks after his retail empire received tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer support during the Covid-19 pandemic.John Hargreaves claims the big four accounting firm PwC was negligent when it advised him on how his move to Monaco in 2000 would avoid capital gains and incom
  • DST to “blossom” post coronavirus

    DST to “blossom” post coronavirus
    On May 4, the OECD outlined its updated work on the digital services tax (DST) as it announced that its final report addressing the tax challenges of tech giants will be released in October – a leap from its initial July 2020 deadline.
    During the discussion, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD, said the increased use of digital services amid the pandemic had led to the “blossoming” of DST, hinting the need for a common approach to tackle the ongoing challenge.
    Despite the
  • UK to lose top talent if start-up scheme is not amended

    UK to lose top talent if start-up scheme is not amended
    Launched in May, the Future Fund scheme announced by Rishi Sunak currently excludes tech start-ups that have participated in a US accelerator programme – meaning the UK could lose top start-ups as a majority will look to move abroad.
    “Having the intention of being in the UK and coming into the market means they will contribute and therefore, we will lose talent,” says Radeep Mathew, head of consulting at Leyton. “Some of these start-ups will probably move abroad, as they
  • Coronavirus could trigger contract clauses to help businesses through pandemic

    Coronavirus could trigger contract clauses to help businesses through pandemic
    The business community has broken down many barriers by supporting each other to manage the practical and financial issues which have arisen from the coronavirus. However despite best efforts to continue to provide goods and services in the usual timeframes, circumstances such as staff absences due to the virus, combined with supply chain and logistical issues, make it impossible to meet contractual obligations in some instances.
    Business owners are increasingly encountering problems beyond thei
  • ‘Pay now or pay later,’ but don’t forget it’s a debt

    ‘Pay now or pay later,’ but don’t forget it’s a debt
    Accountants are being forced to remind clients that HMRC’s VAT deferral will end and payments will need to be made.
    “The VAT deferral scheme is one of the things that will help some of those businesses stay alive along with several the other government support measures, but it’s just a deferral. It’s a situation that still must be dealt with next year,” says Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor.
    “Businesses need to remember that it helps now, in terms of t
  • Watchdog investigates EY audit of scandal-hit NMC Health

    Watchdog investigates EY audit of scandal-hit NMC Health
    Move piles further pressure on EY, whose audit of Thomas Cook is also being investigatedBritain’s accountancy watchdog has opened an investigation into EY’s audit of the scandal-ridden private hospital operator NMC Health, which collapsed into administration last month.The Financial Reporting Council said on Monday it began its investigation into the audit of NMC’s 2018 accounts in mid-April.Continue reading...
  • UK business confidence at all-time low, Deloitte report reveals

    UK business confidence at all-time low, Deloitte report reveals
    Poll finds 90% of CFOs at big firms report high uncertainty with most forecasting a deep and prolonged downturnBusiness confidence at British companies has sunk to an all-time low because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey of finance chiefs at the largest UK firms.The accountancy group Deloitte found that nine out of 10 finance directors believe there is a high or very high level of uncertainty facing their business. Continue reading...
  • Accountants under pressure to process payroll claims

    Accountants under pressure to process payroll claims
    As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal opened last Monday, accountants have encountered a high demand from clients to prepare payroll documents on time.
    “One of the issues, when looking at the job retention scheme itself, is about getting the payrolls and the submissions process in time. A lot of our clients, understandably, wanted to submit their claim as soon as the portal opened on Monday, but there was still a lot of detail in terms of the rules around the system that wa
  • 'UK youth employment prospects crumbling' in coronavirus crisis

    'UK youth employment prospects crumbling' in coronavirus crisis
    Employers warn of grim summer for graduates as firms, big and small, trim recruitmentCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSome of the UK’s biggest employers have cancelled or delayed recruitment schemes and internships, amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic could hit the job prospects of young people the hardest.Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and accountants PwC and BDO are among the large companies that have been forced to make changes to their recruitment p
  • EY ordered to pay whistleblower $11m in Dubai gold audit case

    EY ordered to pay whistleblower $11m in Dubai gold audit case
    Court rules accountancy firm breached code of ethics in its dealings with a refinerA former partner at the accounting firm EY has been awarded $10.8m (£8.6m) in damages after being forced out of his job when he exposed professional misconduct during an audit of a Dubai gold refiner.The high court in London ruled on Friday that EY had repeatedly breached the code of ethics for professional accountants in its dealings with one of its clients, Kaloti Jewellery International. Continue reading.
  • “Businesses have been led to believe that the funds are there”

    “Businesses have been led to believe that the funds are there”
    Kirsty McGregor, founder of the Corporate Finance Network, says the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) set by the Chancellor promises impractical funds to SMEs – leaving many to believe they will receive money that is not available.
    “The cost to the government is one thing, but the time delay of getting this money out to businesses is another. Businesses have been hoping to get the money in for the end of April payroll and they’re just not going to have it and they’v
  • Oasis and Warehouse close to collapsing into administration

    Oasis and Warehouse close to collapsing into administration
    About 2,300 jobs at risk as coronavirus crisis hindered chance of finding a buyerCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse are to collapse into administration as early as Tuesday, putting about 2,300 jobs at risk.The advisory firm Deloitte will handle the insolvency process for the companies, which, until the coronavirus lockdown, operated 90 standalone stores and more than 400 concessions in department stores including Debenhams and
  • Accountancy industry unlikely to return to office

    Accountancy industry unlikely to return to office
    Companies across the accountancy field are currently working more efficiently, with some suggesting they may continue to working from home after the government’s restrictions are lifted.
    “The staff have been listing all of the positive things that they found about working digitally. This ranges from everything – from saving on commuting expenses and having better work life balance, to having better communication,” says Richard Metcalfe, CEO of ARKK. “We have a team
  • Accountants welcome CJRS update

    Accountants welcome CJRS update
    HMRC’s updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been welcomed by accountants as it offers a transparent brief on claimants’ eligibility – particularly furloughed workers and the amount employers can claim to cover.
    “The CJRS is a positive measure allowing businesses to retain talent and reduce costs, while also guaranteeing a level of income for furloughed workers. Some smaller businesses are concerned that the scheme will cost them more than making redundancie
  • Coronavirus: the VAT impact

    Coronavirus: the VAT impact
    As the coronavirus crisis continues, there has understandably been a lot of focus on the support available for furloughed employees and the self-employed. However, there have also been a number of announcements of importance to VAT-registered businesses and their advisers.
    VAT payment deferral
    One of the biggest changes came on March 20, when the Government announced that VAT payments could be deferred for a three-month period.
    This deferral:is available to all business with a UK VAT registratio
  • Minimising tax liability ‘key to cash flow’

    Minimising tax liability ‘key to cash flow’
    Tax allowances and reliefs could be key to helping businesses tackle the impact of the coronavirus on their finances.
    “In some ways the planning opportunities presented by the close of one financial year and the opening of another shouldn’t be overshadowed by coronavirus, hard as that may be whilst we are still in the eye of the storm,” says Mike Hodges, partner at Saffery Champness.
    As the HMRC deadline is around the corner, taxpayers can utilise allowances and reliefs to redu
  • UK SMEs on brink of collapse despite CBILS

    UK SMEs on brink of collapse despite CBILS
    Businesses will face liquidity pressures and banks may remain reluctant to offer loans, as questions are raised over the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (CBILS).
    “The focus of the discussions we’ve been having with clients has been very much on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where the worry is that it is still not paying people even as we speak,” says Mike Hodges, partner at Saffery Champness. “The theory is that the CBILS would also provide financing
  • Tax avoidance schemes target workers answering NHS call-up

    Tax avoidance schemes target workers answering NHS call-up
    Recruits to coronavirus appeal may end up owing tax, interest and fees, warns HMRCCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageFormer workers returning to the NHS are being targeted with aggressive tax avoidance schemes – under the guise of umbrella companies – which HMRC warns are unscrupulous and could leave people owing more tax.About 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work to help the fight against coronavirus, Boris Johnson said at the weekend. But tax
  • Lord questions government’s lending relief strategy

    Lord questions government’s lending relief strategy
    Lord Leigh of Hurley suggests the government should have opted for PAYE and NI relief – claiming Bank of England’s lending programme is “fraught with problems.”
    “The new lending programme is fraught with problems, it’s dependent upon the banks taking a risk for 20 percent of the loan, and the banks won’t do them. In fact, they’re not allowed to do that under the rules for responsible management, they’re not allowed to lend money to companies
  • Covid-19 black swan reminds accounting firms to consider crisis planning

    Covid-19 black swan reminds accounting firms to consider crisis planning
    “The crisis resilience of accountancy firms is being tested deeply and unforgivingly in real-time – not least with regard to issues such as tax transparency, gender equality and the future of audit,” says Peter Barrett, director and UK head of crisis and special situations at Infinite Global.
    “It is a stark reminder of the need for every firm to undertake rigorous business continuity and crisis planning around a comprehensive range of risk scenarios, not least the high im
  • Old Lady aiming to dampen concern over gilds, tightening conditions

    Old Lady aiming to dampen concern over gilds, tightening conditions
    “The fact that the Bank of England felt compelled to announce additional stimulative measures today – despite its regular March MPC meeting due to take place next Wednesday – highlights its concern over UK economic situation and outlook,” says Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.
    “It is also concerned over the recent marked rise in UK gilt yields amid tightening financial conditions and the plan to buy £200bn more of gilts and corporate b
  • Sir Michael Lickiss obituary

    Sir Michael Lickiss obituary
    My father, Sir Michael Lickiss, who has died aged 86, was a chartered accountant who held a number of public positions, including as the first chair of the South West of England Regional Development Agency and as chair of the British Tourist Authority.Born in Guernsey to Elaine (nee Le Feuvre), a librarian, and her husband, Frank, a chemist at Boots, he moved with his parents in 1940 to Bournemouth, shortly before the Germans occupied Guernsey during the second world war. Continue reading...
  • Budget 2020: Sticking a plaster on businesses

    Budget 2020: Sticking a plaster on businesses
    Expected to come with a rise in borrowed funds, this year’s Budget pledges significant investment in innovation and technology – a new approach that some suggest lacks focus on SMEs.
    “What the government needs to do is work out whether R&D investment gets value for money from spending that £22bn. SMEs will need to grasp that opportunity, and make sure they’re in a position to be recipients of that money,” says Laurence Field, corporate tax partner at Crowe
  • Bank of England launches lending programmes as SMEs face cash flow strains

    Bank of England launches lending programmes as SMEs face cash flow strains
    The Bank of England has launched a new Term Funding Scheme and a reduction of the UK countercyclical capital buffer rate in a bid to boost demand and curb low cash flow facing banks and businesses amid Coronavirus.
    “The interest rate cut is just one of the measures the Bank of England has announced today. Possibly more important than the interest rate cuts are the two lending programmes. That’s the reduction of the counter cyclical capital buffer to zero percent – with the imme
  • Digitise or die: Myths about accounts payable software

    Digitise or die: Myths about accounts payable software
    Technology available to accounts payable departments is getting more advanced and has enabled many to employ automation to minimise costs, boost revenues and leapfrog laggards.
    Findings from Research Engine show that markets are investing heavily in automation. Digital transformation is forecast to exceed $650bn (just under £500m) by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 18%.
    But there are still many UK companies who are falling behind. Despite HMRC’s best efforts with its Making
  • India to become latest in Asia’s invoicing system overhaul

    India to become latest in Asia’s invoicing system overhaul
    If effective, India’s new invoice clearance regulation – expected to take effect from April – has had a ripple effect across Asia where a host of countries are looking to similar programmes.
    “India is proposing a local adaptation of these frameworks and reforms that we’ve seen elsewhere. In doing so, India will be the pioneer of the Asian region, meaning the reform have spill over effects on other countries in Asia,” explains Jörnstedt.
    Countries includin
  • Concerns over £155bn non-structural tax relief assessment raised

    Concerns over £155bn non-structural tax relief assessment raised
    Concerns have been raised that UK tax reliefs ran out of control during the 2018/19 period.
    A report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests that non-structural tax reliefs – often referred to as tax expenditures – such as tax credits for companies’ research and development (R&D) costs and income tax relief on pension contributions are not monitored properly, neither is their full economic impact.
    “I think HMRC approaches this from a sort of anti-avoidan
  • “People are being left behind,” says research on digital transformation

    “People are being left behind,” says research on digital transformation
    Challenges imposed by data demands mean the accountancy sector must bridge the digital skills gap, according to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), which includes the American Institute of CPAS (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), in partnership with KPMG.
    “We found that people are being left behind. When we look at the skills needed in the workplace, our 2019 report showed that 10 percent of senior finance
  • Accountants urged to help firms worldwide combat climate crisis

    Accountants urged to help firms worldwide combat climate crisis
    ICAEW and other industry groups want climate risk to be integrated into company auditsThe world’s accountants must put the climate crisis at the forefront of their work to spur global companies to adopt green policies and help prepare them for the risks, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and other industry groups.They have called on a global alliance of accountants, representing more than 2.5 million professionals worldwide, to put their skill
  • England north-south divide set to grow with smaller towns worst hit

    England north-south divide set to grow with smaller towns worst hit
    Biggest English cities expected to benefit as EY urges policies to address regional imbalancesThe economic fortunes of Britain’s smaller towns are set to fall further behind those of the biggest cities over the next three years, according to a report urging radical steps to tackle regional divisions.Economic imbalances between the north and south of England are expected to widen until 2023 unless greater action is taken, forecasts from the accountancy firm EY show. Small towns across the n
  • Audit firms face review by watchdog over climate risk exposure

    Audit firms face review by watchdog over climate risk exposure
    Financial Reporting Council wants to ensure companies are being clear with investorsThe UK’s accounting watchdog has launched a major review into whether companies and their auditors are adequately reflecting the financial risks of the climate crisis in their accounts.The Financial Reporting Council, which sets reporting standards for all listed companies in the UK, plans to use the review to make sure that companies are being clear with investors about their exposure to climate risks. Con
  • IR35 causing “blockage in the market”

    IR35 causing “blockage in the market”
    The IR35 reforms enacted by HMRC have disrupted the market due to the April deadline imposed on businesses, leaving them with limited time to adapt according to the software company’s CEO James Poyser.
    “As a board of directors, IR35 is something we’ve prepared for a long time and modelled it. We have a strategy in place to work with the off-payroll charges,” says Poyser. “Yet, the challenge we have is that the behaviours we are seeing were not predicted by HMRC or t
  • OECD director: Agreement on digital services tax underway

    OECD director: Agreement on digital services tax underway
    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is hopeful that member states will come to a consensus on a cross border tax system reflective of the “digitisation of the economy”, according to Pascal Saint-Amans, the organisation’s director of the centre for tax policy and administration.
    “There is broad recognition that reaching a multilateral solution is the best way to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. Pushed
  • PwC under growing scrutiny as scandal engulfs Isabel dos Santos

    PwC under growing scrutiny as scandal engulfs Isabel dos Santos
    Critics says PwC’s work for Angola’s state oil firm raises conflict of interest concernsPwC, the global accounting firm battling to distance itself from a financial scandal engulfing Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, was auditing the books of Angola’s state oil company during a period that is now under criminal investigation.Critics says PwC’s work for Sonangol, the government-owned oil group that underpins Angola’s economy, raises conflict of interes
  • Over £1bn of alleged frauds hits UK Courts

    Over £1bn of alleged frauds hits UK Courts
    Recording fraud cases of more than £100,000 hitting UK Courts, KPMG’s Fraud Barometer reports a total of £1.1 billion alleged fraud in 2019, the sixth largest value in the report’s history.
    Amongst the main targets were commercial businesses and the general public, with alleged cases of insider fraud against businesses more than doubling in value compared to 2018. Alleged fraud against businesses involving traditional embezzlement against employers, manipulation accounts
  • Over £1bn of alleged fraud hits UK Courts

    Over £1bn of alleged fraud hits UK Courts
    Recording fraud cases of more than £100,000 hitting UK Courts, KPMG’s Fraud Barometer reports a total of £1.1 billion alleged fraud in 2019, the sixth largest value in the report’s history.
    Amongst the main targets were commercial businesses and the general public, with alleged cases of insider fraud against businesses more than doubling in value compared to 2018. Alleged fraud against businesses involving traditional embezzlement against employers, manipulation accounts
  • Deloitte pursues KPMG over audit of Goals Soccer Centres

    Deloitte pursues KPMG over audit of Goals Soccer Centres
    KPMG is being pursued by a rival Big Four firm over its audit of five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres following accounting fraud dating back to 2009, according to The Sunday Times.
    Deloitte, which acted as administrator to the company before it was sold in October 2019, is pursuing KPMG over an alleged misdeclaration of the company’s VAT liabilities, occurring over several years, according to the report.
    The Sunday Times has also reported that HMRC is preparing to prose
  • Heads could roll at PwC over Isabel Dos Santos links, says chairman

    Heads could roll at PwC over Isabel Dos Santos links, says chairman
    At Davos, Bob Moritz says he is ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Luanda Leaks disclosuresThe global chairman of PwC has warned that heads could roll at the professional services firm over its links to Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, who is battling allegations that she obtained her wealth through corruption and nepotism.Bob Moritz, whose firm advised companies belonging to Dos Santos and her husband across multiple jurisdictions, told the Guardian he was “shocked
  • Advising your clients on carbon emissions

    Advising your clients on carbon emissions
    The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has called on its members to be proactive with helping clients and employers understand how they can achieve zero carbon emissions. 
    The association has said that accountancy has a big part to play in the UK achieving its target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, a goal that makes it the first major economy in the world to pass such a law to end its contribution to global warming. 
    Following this, the
  • Government announces review into IR35

    Government announces review into IR35
    The government has today (7 January 2020) launched a review into the new off-payroll working rules, known as IR35, that are due to come into effect on 6 April 2020.
    The review will gather information from affected individuals and businesses, with the government saying it aims to address any concerns about how the IR35 rules will be implemented.
    Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman said: “We recognise that concerns have been raised about the forthcoming reforms to the off-payrol

Follow @accountancy_uk on Twitter!