We take great pride in knowing our clients, and, over time working closely with our clients, we gain an in-depth knowledge of the each client and their business. We always provide a bespoke service to each of our clients, matched to their needs and requirements.
Whether you are an individual looking for financial dispute resolution or a business in need of support for company house filing, we're here to help!
As a full member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, we offer the following services:
Please click on any of our services below to find out more.
Complying with the law
All businesses have to adhere to certain statutory requirements in the running of the business. Our compliance consultants can assist in a variety of ways depending on your business type.
It is a requirement of the Companies Act hat every company should keep proper accounting records. Similarly, every business registered for VAT has to keep its records according to the guidelines laid down by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC requires every business, no matter what its structure, to keep proper records for the calculation of tax liabilities. In some types of business, there are additional records which have to be kept to satisfy government requirements. If your records are inadequate in any of these areas, you could fall foul of the law.
Every limited company and LLP is required to file annual accounts with Companies House laid out in a certain way and disclosing information specified by the Companies Act. We offer professional accountancy services to make sure you comply.
We can relieve you and your business of a significant burden by taking on all your bookkeeping and accounting needs, using our in-house bookkeeping bureau. Each business is treated individually and we tailor our approach to your requirements. As part of the bookkeeping service, we will complete your VAT returns, prepare payroll and any ad hoc projects.
Running your own payroll can be time consuming, costly and complicated, with substantial penalties being levied for non-compliance with legislation. We can prepare your payroll including payslips, administration of all deductions, and the completion of all statutory forms.
We know that successful businesses are built by complete planning, from inception to exit. For this reason we have introduced our complete business planning system.
A business usually starts with a great idea. Most entrepreneurs however do not put these ideas into practice as the financial, legislative and administrative factors which go hand-in-hand with running a business are daunting. This is where we help with:
- Evaluation of the business idea and the feasibility of the business for the future
- Structuring the business to ensure your tax liabilities are kept to a minimum
- Prepare a business plan and various forecasts to prove the viability of your business
- Assess your financing requirements and assist with the raising of finance for your venture to fund growth and to negotiate with funders for you
- Help you establish relationships with key businesses via our network of contacts
- Register your business to comply with all statutory requirements
Planning for Profit
Here we discuss the past performance of your business compared to your plans by finding out:
- Whether the business will be profitable in the future and generate cash
- Fine-tuning action plans to concentrate on areas that are showing adverse variances to the forecasts
- Reviewing your forecasts and deciding on the need for financing
- Ensuring proper and complete financial controls are in place
- All accounting needs are met
- All risks are fully understood and managed
- Plans are further fine-tuned by comparison to your businesses own trends and your businesses competitors
- Ensure sufficient funds are available to enable growth
This is the most important part of the planning process where we ensure your business is ready to grow in a planned and consistent way by:
The business environment is becoming more competitive and more open, and this is also true of the sources of finance available. We can assist in finding the most suitable types of finance for your needs and the most competitive prices, through bank loans, Government assistance, venture capital, private investors or foundations.
When seeking a bank overdraft or loan, or applying for certain types of government aid, or when you want to attract new investors or partners, you will need to present a convincing picture of your business's financial condition and future prospects. We know what information is required and how it should be presented to have the best chance of success.
Different financing methods may affect your tax position in different ways. We will consider the tax implications of any new financing options.
Buying, selling or merging
Buying a business
Sometimes an entire business is purchased as a going concern or its assets are bought. Even a company's accumulated tax losses can be valuable. The difficulty in purchasing a business is knowing how much to pay since there is rarely a market comparison available. Even where a public company is concerned, the quoted share price may not reflect the real worth of the business. Thus, it is usually necessary to get expert advice on valuation. As chartered accountants we can help to assess the value and can also assist in negotiating the deal.
Disposing of a business
At some stage you may wish to sell part or the whole of your own business. You will have to put a value on the business and, of course, find a suitable buyer. Here again, we can help by assessing the value of goodwill and assets and, perhaps, by introducing potential purchasers. In order to maximise the sales value, it is important to plan a considerable time ahead. We have a vast experience in this area.
Merging with another business can involve complicated financial negotiation. There may be a transfer of shares or a cash adjustment between the parties and there will probably be a lengthy legal agreement which will need examination from a financial viewpoint. The tax and accounting calculations can sometimes be extremely complex and usually require expert knowledge.
Sometimes a company or part of a business is sold to its own workforce, perhaps as a result of divestment by the parent company or to avoid closure. The raising of finance for a 'management buyout' may involve complicated loan arrangements between the company and the new shareholders. The tax implications need careful appraisal too.
Along with increased opportunities, the single European market has also brought more competition and changes in tax, company law and manufacturing standards. Many small and medium-sized companies have realised that they are now in a domestic market which contains 450 million people. Our expert business planning advice will assist in the preparation of a strategy for Europe.
It is not only UK companies which will have increased business opportunities - rival businesses in the rest of Europe will be seeking new customers. Even if a company decides not to expand into Europe, it must be prepared to keep existing customers in the face of increasing competition. We can help with long-term development plans.
There is a great deal of information coming from the European Commission and from our own Government about the single market and it can be difficult to keep up with it all. We can advise on existing and prospective legislation affecting a business. We can also find out about assistance available from the UK Government and the Commission.
Personal and family finances
Insurance and retirement planning
Accident insurance, life assurance and occasionally a pension are essential parts of the financial protection every family should have. Through our links with Independent Financial Advisors, you will get advice on a suitable financial package which meets the needs of your pocket, your family and your personal tax position.
The way money is invested (e.g., in equity shares, fixed interest stocks, a home) can have a major impact on an individual's tax liability and general financial position. When considering major changes in investments, it is a good idea to consult us as well as a stockbroker or other investment adviser.
It is often an advantage to have expert tax and accountancy guidance when drawing up a will, especially if large sums are involved. Carrying out the terms of a will may also need professional help. We will assist you with this.
Whether a trusteeship involves a family settlement, a charity, a pension fund or some other financial trust, the professional knowledge and integrity of chartered accountants make them obvious choices as trustees.
Our forensic accountants in Leeds will help reviewing your accounts, audit and investigate to assist in legal matters. There are three broad categories of forensic accounting.
Chartered accountants are often called upon to factually present financial issues in a dispute which may result in a court case. The chartered accountant quantifies the damages sustained by a party to a dispute. If the dispute reaches court, he or she may act as an expert witness.
Many chartered accountants can carry out investigations to determine whether criminal acts such as theft or fraud have occurred or to search for hidden assets in a divorce or bankruptcy proceedings. We are also called upon to make recommendations to minimise future losses.
The UK legal system now recognises the value in resolving disputes without recourse to the courts. Many chartered accountants can act as mediators, arbitrators or in expert determinations whereby the parties agree to accept the decision of independent third parties in the event of disputes. Before signing shareholder agreements, business sale agreements or partnership agreements it is advisable to ensure they contain a dispute resolution clause.
We have had over 40 years experience in legally reducing taxation liabilities of both small and large businesses and have an enviable reputation in this field. Invariably you will be paying too much tax and national insurance and the savings to be made by legitimate planning and use of the legislation will save you substantial sums over your lifetime. A discussion to assess this will cost you nothing.
Importance of timing
The dates chosen for starting or ending a business and for its accounting year end can make an important difference to the tax position and cash flow. Similarly, the timing of important transactions or purchases of capital equipment can have a significant effect.
What is tax deductible?
Most expenses of running a business are tax deductible but there are exceptions. The capital cost of most business assets is allowable, although in this case the deductions are spread over a period of years.
Purchase or lease?
The tax implications should always be considered when investing in new equipment, buying a new car or undertaking any other major expenditure. Depending on circumstances, the best approach might be outright purchase, loan finance, hire purchase or leasing contract.
Deciding whether to trade as a sole trader or limited company will have tax implications which should be considered before a decision is taken. Dividing a company's operations into subsidiary companies or branches may provide tax advantages, as may the formation of a company by a sole trader whose business is expanding rapidly.
Agreeing tax due
Preparing tax returns
Filling in tax forms can be complicated unless you know how to go about it. Whatever the tax assessment involved - Income tax, corporation tax, VAT or some other tax – we can help.
Negotiating with the tax authorities
Where there is a dispute over a tax liability, we can handle the negotiations with HMRC on your behalf.
Some businesses have trouble sorting out transactions which are VATable and those which are exempt or zero-rated. There may be problems of definition which have to be agreed with HMRC.
A tax liability may depend on the taxable value of a benefit received or an asset transferred. In such cases, our professional opinion can help you to agree a value with the tax authorities.
If too much tax has been paid in the past, it may be reclaimed in certain circumstances. Examples of overpayments include incorrect PAYE coding, the omission of allowable expenses from a tax return, or refunds because of the higher personal allowance available to pensioners.
Since April 1997 HMRC has issued self-assessment tax returns for taxpayers to report their income and allowances for the previous tax year. Personal taxation is no longer driven by an assessment raised by the Revenue. Instead, it is the individual who must make their own assessment. We can help you to understand these income tax rules and make sure you are fully aware of the timing of payments due. We will prepare the necessary computations and submit these for you.
Personal tax planning
There are many different ways of reducing income tax liability, apart from the obvious one of claiming all allowable expenses. For example, you may consider choosing different forms of borrowing or investment to suit your tax position better, taking advantage of the tax relief available on personal pension plans, changing the timing of visits abroad or even moving abroad to achieve non-resident status.
Most transfers of assets are now free from inheritance tax provided the donor survives for seven years after the transfer. However, this tax is extremely complex and needs careful planning.
Capital gains tax
If a profit results from selling an asset which is not part of the trading stock of a business, there may be a capital gains tax liability. If a business is run from home, the exemption from CGT which private houses normally have could be prejudiced if you seek income tax relief on part of the running cost of the house. It is important to get advice.
You can also get in touch today and see how ACT Finance can help you.