Are you ready for massive construction growth? Reply

at a construction site

According to the Construction Products Association summer forecasts, output will rise by more than 22% over the next five years. Private housing starts are expected to grow by 18% in 2014 and 10% in 2015. Commercial offices output is also projected to grow 10% this year and 8% in 2015.

The CITB Construction Skills Network predicts that 182,000 new jobs will be created in the UK construction industry between 2014 and 2019 as employment rises for the first time since the start of the recession in 2008.

A Close Brothers survey in May showed that 65% of construction firms admit that access to cash is a major challenge for their business.

So can we keep pace? where will the construction workers come from? and will we be able to fund the projects?

steve@bicknells.net

What are Directors Emoluments? Reply

Businessman With Gold Bar

The reporting requirements are set out in The Large and Medium Sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008, obviously emoluments include:

  1. Salary
  2. Bonuses
  3. Compensation for Loss of Office
  4. Benefits
  5. Share Options
  6. Long Term incentives
  7. Pensions

But it can also include payments made via other companies for ‘Qualifying Services’, these are payments paid in relation to the Directors services as a Director of the reporting company (Section 8, Part4, Paragraph 17).

In many cases this could be obvious for example if the Director used a Personal Service Company (PSC) or if the director invoices the company for management services or for management charges. But often invoices relate to the supply of products and services which don’t fall within qualifying services.

Its worth noting that unquoted companies with less than £200k for Directors Emoluments are not required to report details of the highest paid director.

Its also worth remembering that any related party transactions should be fully disclosed in the related party note, so is further clarification of what should be emoluments needed?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Is your accountant qualified? 1

Accounting Standards

The ACCA issued a warning in May after research from cloud accounting software provider ClearBooks showed just 8 per cent of small businesses considered an accountant’s qualifications when choosing one. There is no law preventing anyone from calling themselves an accountant, and that as a result small businesses could be unknowingly paying someone without the necessary skills to handle their finances and help their business grow, who isn’t regulated or insured against risk.

CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Members in Practice are monitored by CIMA for:

  1. Continuous Professional Development
  2. Anti Money Laundering Compliance
  3. Professional Indemnity Insurance
  4. Continuity Agreements
  5. Letters of engagement
  6. Ethical conduct

CIMA operates a Masters degree standard scheme of qualifying examinations for prospective members. It is active in promoting local education, training and management development operations, the promotion of new techniques through its research foundation and the dissemination of management accounting practices through publications and other media related activities. WIKIPEDIA

You can find out more at www.business-accountant.com and www.cimaglobal.com

Why is it that small businesses do not check that their accountant is qualified?

steve@bicknells.net

4 places loved by Home Based Workers Reply

According to Freelancer.co.uk, the most popular places to work at home are

• 43% work in their home office or study;
• 28% prefer to work in their kitchen;
• 17% work in the garden shed;
• 12% work in the bedroom.

Take at closer look at home based working in this infographic and the blog links

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/01/06/what-are-the-tax-issues-and-advantages-of-a-home-office/

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/08/12/5-reasons-why-freelancers-are-taking-over-the-world/

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/10/16/20-businesses-you-can-run-from-home/

Home Worker

steve@bicknells.net

Would you like to borrow against a single invoice? Reply

Close-up picture of an invoice

In August 2013, the UK Government became a Buyer of invoices on the MarketInvoice Platform, investing directly in UK SMEs looking to access working capital and grow their businesses.

Why is the Government investing funds through MarketInvoice?

The UK Government, via the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (‘BIS’) and as part of the ‘Business Finance Partnership’, has committed to using alternative finance providers to channel much needed growth funding to UK SMEs.  The scheme is investing £1.2 billion into increasing lending to small and medium sized businesses from sources other than banks.

How does it work?

Any company can use MarketInvoice provided its sells goods or services to other large businesses.

Its a ‘pay as you go’ service and you can see the estimated costs by using their calculator

Companies are vetted and the invoice must be to a large corporate not to other SME’s.

Its confidential so your customer will not know you have used MarketInvoice, if the customer doesn’t pay you will have to refund the investor.

So far £163m of invoices have been funded by MarketInvoice.

Of course it would be better if customers always paid quickly!

steve@bicknells.net

5 reasons to move business premises into your pension? 2

A donut store, bakery, fish and chips store and a pet shop

Often business premises are owned by the business, this could be for many reasons for example the business has multiple owners or it helps to increase the business net worth.

But in many cases it would be better for the premises to be owned by the business owners pension fund because:

  1. The object of the business is not to own its own property, the objective should be for the business to make profits from trading
  2. The business could use cash tied up in the premises to invest in trading activities
  3. Pensions are a very tax efficient method of ownership – no capital gains, no tax on rental profits
  4. Company Pension Contributions are Tax Deductible and Individual contributions get income tax refunds
  5. You may be able to use 3 year Carry Forward to get funds into your pension scheme

In summary to move your business premises from your business to a SIPP or SSAS pension you would do the following:

  • Find a lender prepared to lend a third of the property value to your pension scheme  (which will be half the value of the fund ie if the property was valued at £300k, your pension could borrow £100k which is 50% of the £200k which will need to be funded by your pension scheme)
  • Have the premises independently valued and rent assessed and appoint solicitors
  • Create a SSAS or SIPP pension (you can include other people in your SSAS or SIPP investments)
  • Transfer into your SSAS or SIPP any funds you have in other pension schemes
  • As you are the business owner and its your pension scheme your business could make a payment into your pension scheme, the maximum for the last 3 years would be £140k (£50k + £50k + £40k) see details of NRE
  • The pension contribution from your company could be an In Specie payment (meaning its in kind not cash)
  • You could make a personal payment to your pension and if you are a higher rate tax payer your will get a tax refund via your self assessment return
  • Then your pension scheme buys the premises from your business and rents it back to the business

steve@bicknells.net

65% of SME’s rejected for a loan want to try alternatives… would you Reply

Bank loan

A government consultation ended last week into whether legislation should force banks to refer rejected loans to alternative sources of finance.

At present the largest four banks account for over 80% of UK SMEs’ main banking relationships. Many SMEs only approach the largest banks when seeking finance. Although a large number of these applications are rejected – in the case of first time SME borrowers the rejection rate is around 50% – a proportion of these are viable and are rejected simply because they don’t meet the risk profiles of the largest banks. There are often challenger banks and alternative finance providers with different business models that may be willing to lend to these SMEs.

Although the largest banks will sometimes refer these SMEs on, in many cases challenger banks and other providers of finance are unable to offer finance as they are not aware of their existence and the SMEs are not aware of the existence of these alternative sources of finance.

SME’s most trusted advisors are Accountants, according to Accountancy Age a fifth of SME’s are more open with their accountant than their bank manager and half believe that their Accountant is the most valuable source of business advice and just under half turn to their Accountant first for advise.

So why aren’t banks working more closely with accountants? I think its because its hard to work with individual accountants and build multiple relationships, its much easier to work with groups of accountants on a national basis such as www.business-accountant.com

Would you ask your accountant if you were looking for finance?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Can you cope with Auto Enrolment? Reply

Retro Drama Woman

A survey by AutoenrolSME found that 6 out 10 businesses can’t cope and hired additional staff to manage the process!

A Poll in April 2014 of 200 businesses with 62 to 249 employees found:

63% of the employers didn’t know when their staging date was.
58% had not set up an auto-enrolment pension scheme.
90.5% of employers without an auto-enrolment pension scheme hadn’t even started researching one.

If you think you can ignore Auto Enrolment, think again, The Pensions Regulator will make you comply……..

Non-statutory action
We can issue guidance and instruction by telephone, email, letter and in person. Or we can send a warning letter confirming a set time frame for compliance with the duties.
Statutory notices
Statutory notices can direct you to comply with your duties and / or pay any contributions you have missed or are late in paying. We have further discretionary powers which allow us to estimate and charge interest on unpaid contributions and direct you to calculate and / or pay unpaid contributions.
Penalty notices
We can issue penalty notices to punish persistent and deliberate non-compliance.
A fixed penalty notice will be issued if you don’t comply with statutory notices, or if there’s sufficient evidence of a breach of the law. This is fixed at £400 and payable within a specific period.
We can also issue an escalating penalty notice for failure to comply with a statutory notice. This penalty has a prescribed daily rate of £50 to £10,000 depending on the number of staff you have.
We can issue a civil penalty for cases where you fail to pay contributions due. This is a financial penalty of up to £5,000 for individuals and up to £50,000 for organisations.
Where employers fail to comply with a compliance notice or there is evidence of a breach, we can issue a prohibited recruitment conduct penalty notice. This is currently set at a maximum fixed daily rate of £5,000 for organisations with over 250 staff. We aim to fully recover all the penalties that we issue.
Court action
We can take civil action through the court to recover penalties.
Employers who deliberately and wilfully fail to comply with their duties may be prosecuted.
We can also confiscate goods where there is a criminal conviction and restrain assets during criminal investigations.

The first case was Dunelm http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/section-89-dunelm.pdf

Research shows that Accountants are most likely to be asked to help SME’s and Business Accountant (a service provided by CIMA Members in Practice) have created a booking service to assist SME’s in getting help http://business-accountant.com/auto-enrolment/

So don’t be scared by Auto Enrolment, don’t delay drawing up a project plan, take action now to avoid problems with the Pension Regulator later!

steve@bicknells.net

 

What is the 10% Crowdfunding Rule? Reply

Crowd and piggy bank

Crowdfunding is a way in which people and businesses (including start-ups) can try to raise money from the public, to support a business, project, campaign or individual.

The term ‘crowdfunding’ applies to several internet-based business models, only some of which we regulate.

The Financial Conduct Authority don’t regulate:

  • Donation-based crowdfunding: people give money to enterprises or organisations whose activities they want to support.
  • Pre-payment or rewards-based crowdfunding: people give money in return for a reward, service or product (such as concert tickets, an innovative product, or a computer game).

The FCA do regulate:

  • Loan-based crowdfunding: also known as ‘peer-to-peer lending’, this is where consumers lend money in return for interest payments and a repayment of capital over time.
  • Investment-based crowdfunding: consumers invest directly or indirectly in new or established businesses by buying investments such as shares or debentures.

Further details on their website

The Financial Conduct Authority is proposing that starting from this year inexperienced investors in equity schemes will have to certify that they will not invest more than 10% of their portfolio in unlisted businesses.

Firms that run the website platforms say the rules are too tight and will put off potential investors.

Barry James, founder of The Crowdfunding Centre, says: “Make no mistake, the infamous 10% rule – however it’s dressed up – does just that: it takes the crowd out of equity crowdfunding.”

Despite the crackdown, investors who lend to small companies will not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which protects investors if they are mis-sold an investment or if the company they invest in goes into liquidation.

The FCA believe there is high risk that consumers could suffer losses from peer-to-peer lending.

Is the risk too high? would you invest?

steve@bicknells.net

5 top reasons why you need to use an MVL Reply

Pot of gold coins isolated on white

Members Voluntary Liquidations have been increasing in popularity

According to the official statistics from The Insolvency Service, over the last few (financial) years the number of MVLs has been:

 

 

 

2008/2009

3,727

2009/2010

3,266

2010/2011

3,270

2011/2012

3,644

 

 

 

Since the ESC C16 change came into effect on 1st March 2012, the number increased to:

 

 

 

2012/2013

4,695

Here are my top 5 reasons why an MVL might be a good choice:

  1. The change in 2012 capped capital distributions on striking off at £25,000 but this cap does not apply to liquidations
  2. You want to retire and close your business and extract the net worth
  3. You created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for a specific project and the company is no longer needed
  4. Companies that are stuck off can be re-instated but that’s not the case with liquidated companies
  5. Entrepreneurs Tax Relief may be applicable meaning the capital distribution is taxed at 10%

steve@bicknells.net