Not every accountant is the same, despite what some stereotypes would have you believe. From the very first day of opening our door, we have always focused on the people and not just the figures.
This was the basis of the idea of us being financial therapists. We want people to know that we care, not only about our bottom line, but about them and their business. As such we are always on the lookout for different ways to provide support to our clients, often going outside the expectations of a ‘regular’ accountant.
To see how we care about people and put them at the heart of what we do, please enjoy the latest edition.
We don’t accept excuses
The other day, I was informed that according to HM Revenue & Customs, there are still around 4.2 million tax returns yet to be filed, out of 11.5 million expected. This is an astonishingly low submission level.
Having worked for as long as I have in the profession, I have heard almost every excuse under the sun.
Here are my top 12 of all time:
- My pet goat ate all my receipts – can’t you simply estimate my income and expenses?
- I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency, so I can’t send you anything as they will then be able to trace me.
- My ex-wife left me, and took my tax return papers with her, and the microwave (not sure of the correlation).
- I lent my books and records to a work colleague so he could copy them, but he didn’t give them back to me.
- I’ve joined the circus and I’m not coming back – ever!
- My tax papers were left in the shed, and were used by a family of rats to make a nest – should I send remains directly to the Revenue?
- I’m not a paperwork orientated person – ask the Revenue if they will excuse me this year and I will do two next year!
- My partner ran over my laptop and we are waiting for it to be fixed, along with the dishwasher! (again – I have no idea as to the correlation).
- I had an argument with my wife six months ago, and she won’t give me the computer password until I apologise to her (this return is still outstanding, some two years later).
- I’ve had haemorrhoids for the past year, and can’t concentrate on my tax affairs.
- I’ve been cruising around the world on my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land.
- I can’t file my tax return on time as my husband thinks I’m an alien, and won’t let me back into the house.
Rest assured, that only one of the above has been said to me directly by a (former) client. I leave it to you to guess which it is. Whilst some of these reasons for not providing the information to complete a return may be amusing, failing to file your return on time is not.
Those who do not submit their online return by 31 January will be automatically fined £100 and anecdotal evidence suggests that those returns submitted late may be more likely to undergo an investigation by HMRC.
If you still haven’t provided the required information to us, whatever the excuse may be, it is imperative that you speak to us right away and provide the necessary details.
If you aren’t sure what is needed or require additional help, the team and I are always standing by to help, so just pick up the phone and call us.
Scammers, Trickster and Fraudsters
Every week I receive an email from some organisation warning me of a new scam. As an example, there has been a recent surge in reports of people being asked to pay huge sums for a TV license, or alleged fines relating to them.
The scammers out there are constantly becoming more sophisticated, to the point where they are now creating convincing emails from various Government organisations, including HM Revenue & Customs.
Often, they will claim that you have a fee or a fine to pay, or claim that you have an outstanding invoice. However, follow my simple rules to minimise your chance of being caught out:
- Never provide bank details via email or over the phone
- Look at the source of the email and check it against the official organisation (these will sometimes be near identical, but may have a space added in, or an additional letter/number)
- If you suspect that a communication is fraudulent, report it
- Do not click on any attachments or links in suspicious emails, as these could lead to viruses and/or malware
- HMRC and many other organisations will NEVER ask you to pay via a gift card, such as an Amazon voucher or cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin (this is increasingly common)
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for fraudsters to use “money mules”, such as vulnerable students, who have genuine UK accounts, in order to provide some legitimacy to their operations.
If in doubt, the best option is to call us for advice. If you get a query from HMRC or an unexpected invoice, then we can help determine whether it is genuine or not.
Don’t miss out, join our workshops
By now, I am sure you are aware that the deadline for the implementation of Making Tax Digital is just weeks away.
This landmark shift in UK taxation has left many businesses unsure where to turn next, but thanks to our ongoing series of workshops, many of our contacts are now better prepared for what the future holds.
So far, we have held several successful workshops in our office in Colindale – each of which has been well attended.
However, there is still an opportunity to join us for these free and informative sessions, which will focus on the requirements of MTD and the actions that businesses can take to prepare, including the adoption of the necessary online accounting software.
We will be holding further seminars at our head office in Colindale, and at our city office in Moorgate, on 14th February 2019, 15th March 2019, 18th April 2019, 17th May 2019 and 14th June 2019.
The timings for the workshops are as follows:
- 10.00 am – 10.30 am – Registration
- 10.30 am – 11.30 am – Presentation
- 11.30 am – 12.00 pm – Q&A session
We are also holding two Xero presentations at our Colindale office on 14th February, at 12pm and 3pm.
So, to get the answers you require, I would recommend that you “book now to avoid
Places at each event are limited, so to confirm your attendance please click here.
Grant funding – Are you missing a trick?
We are regularly asked about various forms of alternative funding that businesses can use to take them to the next stage of growth, but rarely are we asked about the availability of grants.
Whilst we often recommend that businesses explore the possibility of grants, few people realise that there are well over 150 grants available to a wide range of businesses via the Government, local enterprise partnerships, not for profit funders and other organisations.
Grant funding often requires that a business submits an application and meets certain criteria, which can seem time-consuming and complex, but with the right financial and business advice it can be quite straightforward.
Unlike other forms of finance, grants typically do not require a business to pay back the money provided, which can free up cashflow and reduce overall debt within a business.
If you would like to explore what grant funding might be available for your business then why not give us a call or visit www.entrepreneurhandbook.co.uk.
This website regularly lists the latest grants on offer and provides advice on how businesses can apply.
Looking for a Non-Executive Director?
Since deciding to enter into semi-retirement I have been asked by a number of clients and professional contacts to join them as a Non-Executive Director.
This is a service that I and many of my colleagues are happy to provide. Having an experienced Chartered Accountant on your board can provide several benefits to you and your business/organisation, including advice on key financial issues, procurement, recruitment and much more.
We can also stand in should an existing Director be unavailable or pass away, ensuring that you can enjoy continuity of trading, while you find a replacement.
If you feel that your business could benefit from having a member of Grunberg & Co acting as a Non-Executive Director, why not contact me to find out how we can help.
Did you spot any errors?
We are fairly good at spotting errors in text at Grunberg & Co, but we are by no means perfect. Having an error on your website could affect your ability to attract new customers, however, no one is perfect.
That’s why you and your business may be able to benefit from The Typo Lab. This innovative new service scans your website or any other communications to identify spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and much more.
We recently trialled it on our own site and were delighted with the support we received, even though we had minimal errors.
To find out more about how The Typo Lab could help you improve your outward communications, please visit www.thetypolab.com
Finally - BREXIT
I couldn’t pass this opportunity of making comment about what is or isn’t happening with Brexit.