• A Good Accountant Is The Differenece Between SME Growth Rate

    This month a study at the ACCA found that the difference between a fast-growing SME and slow-growing SME could well be your accountant. The study found a strong connection between the financial functions of a small business and it’s rate of growth.

    Accountants Wirral

    Sounds pretty straight forward to Andrew Keates – accountants wirral, the better the financial function of a company surely the better the company and the better the growth rate anyway? Well no not really, the study found that a company that had key financial functions beyond just an auxiliary role and instead took on roles similar to a strategic partnership massively increased the rate of growth of an SME.

    The study was based around 8 interviews with financial officers and financial controllers at businesses growing by 70% over 3 years. The study ultimately found that financial controllers that were freed of the small stresses of the simple accountancy and given more time to play a central role in the business planning attributed greatly to the large growth rates.

    All the financial controllers in the study had roles that extended beyond the traditional operating day to day tasks associated with a financial controller. Growth was shown to be driven through, cash flow estimates, local tax regimes, and analysing cash flow injections for potential new markets. All tasks that you would expect to promote growth in a company!

    If you’re an SME why not let Andrew Keates – Accountants Wirral, Liverpool and Chester take away some of the day to day accounting stresses and give your team time to inject growth into your company. For more information on the study please see here ACCA.


    Employment Costs Rocket!

    Liverpool accountants take on national minimum wage increase

    Andrew Keates Accountants we are continuing our explanation of July’s Announcements George Osbourne and their effects on Liverpool’s Small businesses,

    In July Chancellor declared a 50% raise to the national insurance employment allowance coming from £2, 000 to £3, 000, which will support small enterprises to decrease their wage bill and may even offset the elevated Living Wage charge.

    The decrease to corporation tax may also aid in relieving the cost demand of the wage increases but a lot depends on the amount of low-paid employees a company has and its particular degree of profitability.

    As outlined by accountancy firm BDO, the Employment Allowance is only going to allow business employers (who are paying minimum wage) to balance out the cost of the Living Wage increases approximately up toTwo Thousand hours. From then on, the company will be a net loser unless of course it is profitable enough to take advantage of the cut in the rate of corporation tax.

    Many small company pundits were not impressed from the announcement.

    Philip Salter, director of the Entrepreneurs Network, explained: “The Government should keep the decision of exactly what level to set any wage floors in the hands of the professionals at the Low Pay Commission, making sure that companies aren’t compelled to sack personnel if payroll costs climb an excessive amount.

    “If the Chancellor wished to help the lower paid workers, he needs decrease Employers’ National Insurance, 70% of which is taken care of by the employees, as opposed to just raise the Employment Allowance from £2, 000 to £3, 000 per year.

    For more information from Liverpool Accountants Andrew Keates and how the employment cost changes will affect your business please call one of our advisor for no obligation chat today!

    £5,000 Tax Fee Pay For Liverpool Business Owners. Good news or Bad?

    George Osbuorne tax changes

    Liverpool Accountants Andrew Keates Explain How To Make The Most Out Of George Osborne’s July Budget Announcements. Few businesses know the pain of small business taxes as well as we do. We have been working with small businesses across Liverpool for over a decade and know from experience that far too often tax changes are bad changes!

    But July’s budget announcement came with a small sweetener for any micro-business owner that is sick of hearing the latest way for their profit margins to be squeezed. From April 2016 the government will scrap its current dividend tax credit and will replace it with a new tax-free dividend allowance of £5,000 a year.

    However as good as this sounds for micro businesses, it may not be good for larger businesses. These changes will inevitably lead to small UK businesses paying 7bn more a year in taxes. Because with this tax break also comes a tax rate increase, only the 1st £5,000 a year will be tax-free! At the moment small business owners have the option of paying themselves dividend income at 30.6% tax rate. From next year this will increase to 38%. But capital gains tax is currently 28% and will not change next year! This places enormous pressure on Liverpool businesses to sell up and to benefit from the capital gains tax.

    So can you make this tax change work in your favour and make sure that you keep more of your hard earned cash and give less away to the government? Well as top Liverpool Accountants of course we have the answer and we are happy to help, it’s important to know there isn’t one simple solution as no one businesses is the same so to get the answer that is right for your business call us on 0151 277 5353 for a now obligation chat with one of our tax advisors.

    Liverpool Accountants Advice Starting a Limited company

    Over the years that we have been open as Liverpool accountants we have helped many people start their own company. When you establish a limited company, your own personal finances are kept completely separate to your company’s (unlike becoming a sole trader) although you are still responsible for your limited company’s tax and accounting issues. Many people who own limited companies opt for hiring an accountant, but even if you choose not to hire an accountant, there are still a number of things you need to take care of.

    Company Information

    Professional accountants can help with your tax as well as various other money-related tasks and paper work but you yourself need to make sure that you keep hold of records about the company itself as well as financial and accounting records. You will also need to make sure you keep hold of any details regarding company secretaries, directors and shareholders, including any other money related documentation. This could be anything from loans, mortgages, transactions, unpaid declarations, shares, etc.

    If you store your records somewhere other than the registered address of your company, you are obligated to inform the Companies House.

    Accounting Information

    As well as your company information, you must also keep any accounting records and these could be anything from money received and spent by the company, asset details, debts to be paid by the company or owed, stock the company owns, stocktaking’s, and information on the people and company’s you have had financial dealings with.

    These tie in with what you will need to calculate your Company Tax Return, and it is also crucial that you hold on to any receipts, order and delivery slips. Remember to save any other documents that might potentially be useful.

    In the worst case scenario if you fail to keep your accounting records, you will likely be fined £3,000 by HMRC or even suspended as a company director.

    But when is the right time to let all paper go?

    There will come a time when you can be rid of all those documents and bits of paper, and that is usually six years after the end of the last financial year that they are related to.

    However, there may be some cases where you will need to keep your company’s accounting information. This is usually when there are specific transactions that overlap and extend over one year. This can also be the case if your business has purchased furniture or machinery that has been given a guarantee of over six years. You may have even sent off your Company Tax Return late.

    Either way, HMRC have begun checks into the tax returns of organisations, therefore it is important to make sure you are efficient when it comes to your paperwork.


    Advice from Liverpool Accountants: Tax, VAT and National Insurance with the self-employed business

    Confusion and bewilderment are more than often common ingredients when it comes down to tax issues in the realm of self-employment and it is important to understand what money is going to be deducted and why it is being deducted from your business. There are many areas to tax, however the three that are going to have the most effect on your business are income tax, national insurance and VAT.

    Income Tax

    In order to initially work out whether or not you need to pay income tax, you will be required to fill out a self-employment document in addition to the main tax return, which should be sent to you as a response to you registering as self-employed.

    When you are self-employed, you are the one responsible for your business and its finances; therefore it is down to you to declare and pay the taxes. Unlike corporate businesses, freelancers pay their income tax based on profit, rather than their overall income. You will also be able to claim capital allowances when you are self-employed and remove any losses that occurred from the previous year – your taxable income being the result amount.

    VAT (Value Added Tax)

    Unlike income tax, VAT is quite different from the others as it is tax on the items and services that you buy.

    If your business is making over the set annual amount, you need to register for VAT. Bear in mind that the threshold for this usually raises by a few thousand each year. Even if you are not reaching that amount, you can still register for a VAT code when you don’t need to as this can also give you credibility and allow you to claim back VAT on certain purchases that you make.

    Depending on how much you earn annually, you may have to register for VAT if you are self-employed, however it may be worth doing anyway.

    National Insurance

    National Insurance is used to pay for benefits such as state pensions, statuary sick pay, jobseekers, etc. and this is taken out of your wages if you are an employee aged between 16 and retirement age, however there is still a sure amount that you can earn without having to pay this.

    There are four different categories, namely ‘classes’, within national insurance that determine whether or not you pay and if so, how much. Class one is for the standard employer were they will be charged around 11% on their earnings. Class 2 is a flat rate of pay in which the self-employed must pay weekly, class 4 is also compulsory for those who are self-employed and that is payable on their yearly profits. Class 3 on the other hand is for those who wish to contribute to particular benefits which could include the full state pension. Class 2 and class 4 are most relevant for self-employed and will be compulsory.



    Liverpool Accountants Update to Small Business Act


    The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment act was first drafted and then declared at the Queen’s speech on 4th June 2014. This was then given a Royal Assent on the 26th March 2015, becoming an Act of Parliament. The Act has been constructed with the intention of building the United Kingdom into a more efficient place to start business, grow business and improve finance, thus giving reign to small businesses and entrepreneurs, allowing them to overcome progressive obstacles.

    The Act covers a broad range of topics from the Pubs code, insolvency, public sector procurement and corporate transparency. The main areas of which the Act fixates on are: Public sector procurement, regulatory reform, access to finance, company filing requirements, company transparency, insolvency, director’s disqualification, childcare and schooling, education evaluation, employment, Pubs code adjucator and Pubs code.

    There are three sections of this Act which are particularly relevant to the majority of ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) members, and they are company transparency, insolvency and access to finance.

    Access to finance incorporates the enforcement of swift payment ability changes, obligating large and established organisations to submit their payment process on to a digital program, twice a year. This includes average payment time, proportion of invoices paid beyond terms, any kind of late payment interest and the proportion of invoices paid within 30 days, over 30 days, over 60 days and over 120 days. To actively harbour these plans into effect, the government aims to set secondary legislation during the beginning of next parliament, and will deliberate with stakeholders and enterprises what best way to report this information.

    Corporate transparency has introduced the need for organisations to register and identify people with notable control over companies in the UK. In addition, they have also introduced:

    • Abolition of bearer shares
    • Restricted use of corporate directors and a broader range of duties for shadow directors
    • Changes to filing requirements and appointment of directors
    • Shorter duration for striking off organisations
    • The option for private companies to use the central register such as Companies House, to retain its own register of members.
    • Changes to the disqualification of director’s regime, introducing a brand new compensation strategy.
    • Methods for improving register in relation to the organisation’s registered office.

    Insolvency has incorporated the ability for the secretary of state to give direction to Recognised Professional Bodies (RPB’s), launch investigations into Individual Insolvency Practitioners (IP’s) and manage enquiries. If you are a small business and need financial advice regarding anything introduced in the act, contact us at Andrew Keates, your local Liverpool accountants.

    Liverpool Accountancy News: Tax Updates from April 6th

    The new tax year beginning on April 6th has seen some new changes affecting individuals and businesses.  Get ready for the new tax year with the following updates:

    The income tax personal allowance has increased to £10,600. This will rise to £10,800 in 2016/17 and further increase to £11,000 in 2017/18. The higher rate threshold on income tax increases to £42,385.

    Marriage allowance has also come into effect, spouses and civil partners will be able to transfer up to £1,060 of their personal allowance to their partner. More than 4 million suitable married couples as well as 15,000 civil partners will be able to save £212 a year.

    The interest rate of savings tax has been revoked and has reduced from 10% to 0% for savings up to £5,000. As a result, anyone earning under £15,600 a year will no longer have to pay the 10% tax.

    Individuals over the age of 55 have flexible access to their defined contribution pension savings. A person who dies before they reach the age of 75 can pass on their unused defined contribution pension savings free of income tax as the 55% tax charge to inherited pensions has been withdrawn. These recipients can now receive any future payments from such policies free of income tax.

    Employers will no longer have to pay employer NIC’s (national insurance contributions) for those they employ who are under the age of 21. Class 2 NIC’s for the self-employed can now be retrieved through self- assessment. The employment allowance also now expands to incorporate people employing care and support workers to look after themselves or family members.

    The capital gains tax annual exemption has increased from £11,000 to £11,100. The capital gains tax charge on disposals of properties liable to ATED expands to cover residential properties worth £1 million – £2 million.

    The annual ISA allowance have raised from £15,000 to £15,240 as well as the threshold for Junior ISA’s and child trust funds increasing from £4,000 to £4,080. Child trust funds can now also be transferred into Junior ISA’s.

    Liverpool Accountants Questions: Do I get Tax Relief on my Childcare Costs?

    Many of the small businesses we work with from our Liverpool accountancy office are unsure of what they should offer their staff in terms of child care assistance. Some hadn't even taken this into consideration, but employees should be aware of how they can obtain tax relief on their childcare costs.

    The current scheme will be replaced this Autumn by the Government's new Tax Free Childcare Scheme. Until then employees and their employer can set up the existing childcare scheme which is out lined below.

    Sole Traders Sorry  there is currently no way of obtaining any tax relief for your child carecosts.

    If you trade via a limited company the situation is different. Employers can pay up to £243 in total(not per child) for each qualifying employee. If both parents earn a wage from the same company they are entitled to claim so long as the child is in qualifying childcare.

    What is QualifyingChildcare?

    To qualify the child carer must be registered. This means ofsted approved or registered with a local authority. It can include after-school clubs.

    The scheme only applies to children until 1st September after their 15th birthday, or 16th birthday is the child has a disability.

    The scheme excludes school fees.

    Employers must offer the scheme to all employees.

    For Employers

    The simplest scheme is to pay the childcare provider directly. If you use a childcare voucher scheme then you will end up paying commission.

    To do this write a letter to the childcare provider to inform them that your company is going to contribute to payments. Then make the payments from the company account in a standing order or direct debit arrangement.

    No income tax or NI is payable on the benefit and your company can claim the expense against income.


    For more information on contributing to child care costs for your employees, contact your local Liverpool accountants by emailing 

    Liverpool Accountancy Updates: HMRC Email Campaign Announced.

    HMRC has started a new email promotion inviting volunteer agents to try the ‘Agents online self-serve private beta service’ for PAYE employer accounts. The emails will hold a link to the service yet no personal or financial information will be asked for. These emails are legitimate.

    However, taxpayers need to be conscious of the numerous deceitful emails that are being sent supposedly by HMRC. The sender’s email address can every so often point to a fraudulent email although fraudsters have been known to hoax the ‘from’ address to look like a legitimate HMRC address for example  Fake email messages can appear to be genuine but clicking on a link from within the email can result in personal information being compromised and the likelihood of computer viruses distressing your computer or smartphone.

    Counterfeit emails are being sent from around the world to UK taxpayers looking to trick them into responding with individual or monetary information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details. The phishing emails often consist of a link to a fake website encouraging the receiver to put in their personal details.

    If you are hesitant as to the weight of any email it should not be opened until the dispatcher can be confirmed. HMRC has reiterated many times before that they do not send notifications of tax rebates by email nor do they ask recipients to reveal personal or payment details by email.

    For more information about this new PAYE scheme contact us at Andrew Keates.

    Liverpool Accountants Feedback: How the 2015 Budget Affects Small Businesses

    With the 2015 general election looming closer and closer, this year’s budget was always going to be a major talking point in what the future of this country looks like. As accountants in Liverpool we care and are dedicated to the businesses that we work with, many of whom are small and medium sized businesses. We have devised a guide, cutting through the rhetoric on how the 2015 budget affects small to medium sized businesses (providing the government stays Conservative!)


    As leading Liverpool accountants we have been delighted to see that things aren’t actually awful for the economy at the moment and many of our small business clients have had a successful past few months. The UK has had the fastest annual economic growth amongst the G7 countries in 2014 and the strongest annual growth since 2007. There is a lot to be positive about.

    Leadership organisation Vistage recently reported that from their survey findings, British businesses are generally expecting strong sales and growth in 2015. A huge 75% of you plan to grow your workforce this year and our Liverpool accountancy team can’t wait to work with you.

    The General Election

    The general election is now less than a month away. Nobody knows who is going to be leading parliament come summertime. Policy’s could be about to shift and small businesses are often impacted by this. It is hard to plan confidently until after the election results.

    The budget that was announced by George Osborne last month, is however likely to be implemented to some extent so let’s have a closer look at the specific parts of the budget that will affect our friends and clients who own small or medium sized businesses.

    Corporation Tax Reductions

    Great news for businesses making a profit in excess of £300,000. Corporation tax for you has been reduced to 20%.

    National Insurance Contributions

    The government plans to scrap National Insurance Contributions (NIC) for businesses employing under 21s. This is to encourage businesses to employ young team members, under 21 who we know firsthand can be valuable assets to any small or medium sized business.

    Employment Allowance

     Described by Chancellor George Osborne as ‘cash back on jobs’ employers can reduce their NIC by being exempt from the first £2000 of their National Insurance Contributions.

    Tax Avoidance: Tighter Controls

    As Liverpool accountants; us and tax advisers are now subject to new legislation to fight tax avoidance.

    Invest in the Future Tax Breaks

    Investment allowance has been doubled to £500,000 and extended to the end of 2015. This means that almost every UK business will pay no upfront tax on investment, meaning businesses should take this opportunity to invest!

    Exports Encouraged

    The amount of lending available to businesses that export is being doubled to three billion pounds. Plus interest rates are cut by half. During the budget announcements, Osborne argued that this could lead to the UK going from the least competitive export finance to the most competitive.

    There we have it…

    Lots of exciting and beneficial opportunities there for small to medium businesses. For additional information you can contact us to discuss any way that the budget changes could help your business and to get the highest standard of advice from our team of Liverpool accountants.


    VAT compliance can take time and keep you from focusing on the day to day needs of your business. We at Andrew Keates & Associates can help to take the pressure off by offering services catering to all your VAT requirements.


    If HMRC have raised an inspection into your business we have the skill and staff to help you through this troublesome time.


    In so many ways one of potentially the most complex tax areas. However we look at each case based on its own merits with a view to mitigating any potential tax liability, from the smallest liability to the most significant one.


    We can take some of the pressure off you by offering our services to help you file your Self Assessment Tax Return with HMRC.

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