Looking forward to your future

Our passion as a team is to help your business to succeed as well as providing peace of mind on all compliance matters, and all built on strong client relationships and providing outstanding service.

It’s always good to get an insight into someone else’s working day, that’s why we like to focus on different members of staff for our ’A Day in the Life feature’. This time, one of our Directors Keith Grover describes a typical working day.

The alarm goes off at the usual time of 6.00am. I’m up straightaway or else I’m struggling! I go downstairs for a shower, breakfast, stroke the cat and read the Bible. Before I leave, I check my emails. I live in St Albans and drive to work, so leave the house at 7.00am, popping into a local newsagent to buy a copy of The Times newspaper en-route. I arrive in the office at 7.30am.

Busy morning

I’m not the first one in; a couple of my colleagues are here already. I switch on my computer, re-review and deal with the straightforward emails and then put the kettle on for a cuppa char! I have a brief discussion with Karen Robbins, one of our managers, about how she’s getting on with her jobs and everything is going well. I go back to my desk and update my time records on our costing system for the last three days.

Next, I do some work on the accounts of a client, a business owned by a wealthy Greek businessman. I have a few questions so I email these over to the company administrator.

I’m responsible for the preparation of our company’s own accounts and so I do some work on the January 2018 books and records.

This year, I’m the Chair for the Ambition 2018 Sales and Marketing Conference. Even though it’s not being held until 14 November, we want to get 10 sponsors on board as soon as possible. I liaise with a member of the committee and email a potential sponsor, as does she.  

There is a little bit of our month-end billing still to do, so I discuss these with my fellow director Karen Chase in order to finalise them.

Signed accounts arrive in the post from a client, a small limited company owned by a guy I met through a local networking group. I sign these as well as our accounts file, then return the file to the manager handling the client and she does the rest.

A local accountant arrives with an audit of a large property company to sign off. We have an excellent arrangement with him whereby he prepares the accounts and we carry out the audit as he is not a registered auditor. We also discuss his exit strategy as he is coming up to retirement and wants to sell some of his portfolio to us. He agrees to prepare further details for me to review with my fellow directors, with a view to this happening in April.

We are having a marketing meeting this afternoon at 2.30pm with our marketing consultant, Kate Adam from Meredith Marketing. I do some preparatory work, scheduling the new clients that we have gained in January. It has been a good month and the results are encouraging.

We are in the process of becoming a Xero Partner – Xero is a very popular cloud-based accounting software that’s increasingly being used by our clients. In order to achieve this partnership, I’m going through Xero’s web-based training modules. I complete three modules. These are fairly time-consuming, but it is important that this is completed sooner rather than later.

Working lunch

Kate Adam arrives at 1.00pm and the two of us pop up the road to a local Italian restaurant for a light lunch. We discuss marketing as well as having a general catch-up. We get back just before 2.30pm and go straight to the boardroom where we are joined by Karen Chase, Amy Armitage and Charlotte Nicholson. It’s a very useful meeting where we discuss what has been successful and what hasn’t been over the past year. We come out with an action plan with a view to a follow up meeting in a month’s time.

It’s now 4.00pm so I go back to my desk to catch up and deal with a number of emails, telephone calls and other admin matters, before leaving at 4.30pm. I’m due to go out with some friends for an Indian meal tonight – we’re meeting there at 6.00pm so I need to get away a bit earlier today.

I like having a job with variety

My day is extremely varied, which makes it really enjoyable and rewarding. Being a director means that I get involved in practice management and marketing matters as well as accounting technical ones. Today has been more of the former rather than the latter, but that’s how it goes and both are important.

I’ve been at HB Accountants for over 31 years. It’s a great place to work and the people are wonderful, as are our clients and contacts. The work-life balance has always been important here so there is not a long-hours culture, which I’m extremely grateful for.

 

Starting your own business is exciting, risky, hard work and scary (especially if you’re giving up a full-time job in order to launch your own company), but at the same time it can be tremendously fulfilling as well as profitable.

According to the latest figures, the number of UK start-ups is booming – in 2016 there were a record-breaking 657,790 new businesses. In East Hertfordshire alone there were nearly 4,500 new businesses, which is terrific news for the local economy.

If you have a really good business idea and are determined to help break start-up records in 2018, there are a number of organisations you can turn to for support, mentoring and training to enhance your chances of becoming a success. We’ve taken a look at some of their advice:

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In this tax blog, we will discuss the newly introduced (from 6th April 2017 onwards) residence nil rate band and what this will mean for our clients.

What is the Nil Rate Band?

The nil rate band, also known as the inheritance tax threshold, is the amount up to which an estate has no IHT to pay. Each person’s estate can benefit from the nil rate band.

Everyone has their own nil rate band. This means that their estate and taxable gifts are exempt from IHT up to a certain threshold – currently £325,000. Any part of the estate up to the threshold is chargeable to IHT at a rate of 0%. Any part of the estate that exceeds the nil rate band threshold is chargeable to IHT on death at 40%. (more…)

For an SME, a merger can make very good business sense. The combined strength of two companies can provide rewards in terms of economies of scale, market share, a wider reach and improved productivity. A merger could help you get into different markets, allowing both companies to expand into different areas without the need to start from scratch and build up a client base.

However, although mergers and acquisitions can ultimately be good for business, they pose a lot of challenges that you will need to consider if you want to get it right. It could be quite beneficial to seek objective and practical advice from an expert.  (more…)

It’s always interesting to get a little snapshot of other people’s lives which is why, from time to time, we like to feature some of our team in our Day in the Life Of… feature. If you’ve ever wondered what someone who works in the Payroll department gets up to on a daily basis, now’s your chance! We asked our Payroll Manager Jane Dunn to take us through her typical day at work.

6:45 Woken by alarm. Up for breakfast, calling to my daughter Bridie on the way to ensure she is awake and getting ready for 6th Form. I always ensure I have breakfast – I function better that way – then back upstairs to shower and get dressed, shouting a time check to Bridie as I pass her room! (more…)

If you are self-employed or run your own business, you are liable for submitting tax returns. Making sure you’re tax complaint is essential as the fines for not doing so could be hefty.

A recent global analysis undertaken by PwC concluded that the UK has the second most effective tax system of the G20 countries. Whilst this sounds like good news, when compared with all countries, we’re a lot further down the list at number 23. Researchers concluded that Qatar has the simplest system which required a medium-sized company to spend only four hours on completing their tax return. In the UK, the average is 110 hours! (more…)

Auditing is legislation-driven, which means there are very few businesses that voluntarily initiate one without being required to! Companies are required to undertake an audit when they meet certain criteria as regards turnover, gross assets and an average number of employees. If they are a UK subsidiary of a global firm, then these same criteria apply to the worldwide group.

If your company has been asked to set up its first audit, there are two main advantages to coming to a medium-sized company like ours rather than one of the better-known national or multinational firms.

Service and price

It will probably be no surprise that the cost of using a local auditing firm will be less than the fees charged by companies headquartered in London. But because we can do the work cheaper does not mean our service levels will be lower – quite the opposite in fact, and we pride ourselves on our high customer service levels.

The other main advantage for our clients is that we are local. This means that geographically we are easily accessible, enabling us to have quick, ad hoc meetings that answer questions and resolve issues before they have a chance to become a problem. The ease of being able to meet whenever needed ensures a much better level of client support.

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The new procedures under GDPR for businesses will come into effect on 25 May 2018, and there are unlimited fines for failure to comply.  Although this is EU legislation, it will not be affected by Brexit.

The procedures cover how you store and protect customer data, how long you retain such data, and what customers can require you to do in connection with that data.

In general, you will be treated as a data processor or a data controller, or both. (more…)

In this blog we will outline some of the tax implications that individuals who own a buy to let property, or are considering purchasing a buy to let property, should be aware of.

Changes to the level of interest relief available

  • From the 6 April 2017 onwards, the level of interest that can be deducted from rental income received from the let of a residential property will be restricted, this measure will be introduced gradually over three years

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It’s always interesting to have a peek behind the scenes, so we’ve asked members of the team to let us know what a typical day in the office is like for them. It’ll help you to get to know us better and give you a better understanding of the work we do. This time, we’d like to introduce you to one of our Directors, Karen Chase.

As a Director, my job involves: managing, training and helping the audit/accounts team, overseeing and reviewing audits and accounts, dealing with clients, preparation of accounts, personal and corporate tax returns. I also help to run the office and oversee Charlotte, our business administrator, as well as attending networking meetings and seminars.

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