HMRC have now agreed you can have a Virtual Staff Party tax free
So you could organise a Virtual online event, have a hamper delivered to your staff and that would count.
Where an annual function is provided virtually using IT then the exemption is capable of being met provided all other conditions are also satisfied as the exemption applies to allow for costs of provision which are generally incurred for the purposes of the event itself.
The figure of £150 is not an allowance. For functions that are outside the scope of the exemption (see example at EIM21691) directors and employees, are chargeable on the full cost per head, not just the excess over £150, in respect of:
any members of their family and household who attend as guests.
The cost of the function includes VAT and the cost of transport and/or overnight accommodation if these are provided to enable employees to attend. Divide the total cost of each function by the total number of people (including non-employees) who attend in order to arrive at the cost per head.
If you search the internet you will find that almost every accounting practice now offers to be your Virtual FD. Compliance work on year end accounts and tax returns has become highly competitive and accountants feel they should provide additional services.
Many smaller businesses and SME’s can’t afford a Full Time (or even in some cases a Part Time FD) but they need help with:
Budgeting and Forecasting
Cash Flow Management
Buy or Rent decisions
Capital Investment Appraisal
Accounting Procedures and Systems
Busines Funding and Investment
Virtual FD’s fill this gap because:
You only pay for what you need
There is no employment contract
It provides access to higher level of expertise (in theory)
In May this year the ACCA issued a warning 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.
Although some unqualified accountants may do good work, an unqualified accountant is not answerable to any regulatory body and so cannot be disciplined. They have not passed exams that would have tested their knowledge, they are not subjected to any ongoing inspection of their practices and processes, and, crucially, they are not obliged to participate in any ongoing training to keep them up to date with ever changing legislation. Many may not even have any professional indemnity insurance, which clients can turn to if their qualified accountant makes a mistake.
So what experience does your accountant have to show that they have the skills to be your Virtual FD?
I am sure that in theory they have the technical skills but is that enough?
With the exception of CIMA accountants many accountants in practice have never worked in business let alone been a Finance Director!
I happen to think that time served experience as an FD does make a difference because it greatly improves your insight and skills.
Would you get on a plane with a Pilot who in theory knew how to fly but had never actually piloted a plane before?
When you choose a Virtual FD you are trusting them with the success of your business. Choose wisely!