Preparing annual statutory accounts is a requirement for all companies and LLPs for HMRC and for Companies House, but the annual accounts are also a useful business management tool and essential for businesses looking to restructure, change ownership or raise finance.
It’s therefore important that your annual accounts are accurate and compliant. This can be a burden for many small businesses, especially in the face of regular changes to the legislative framework; our experienced team can offer an efficient, cost-effective service so you can rest assured that all requirements have been met.
We see the annual accounts preparation exercise as an excellent opportunity to discuss with you how your business is performing and make sure things are structured as efficiently as possible. We can also offer pre-year-end planning meetings to discuss anticipated results and plan salaries and dividends in advance of the tax year end.
As a firm of general practitioners, we can advise you on all aspects of your annual accounts and tax position without having to refer you to different departments within the firm, which puts us in an excellent position to spot matters to be brought to your attention and offer a more proactive service.
Most sets of company accounts now have to be electronically tagged so that they can be read by HMRC’s software. Tagged accounts can now also be filed online with Companies House.
We can offer electronic tagging as part of the annual accounts preparation service, and we also offer tagging services for businesses who prepare their own accounts, generating the file to be used for onward transmission to HMRC.
Accounting and bookkeeping
A good quality bookkeeping service can considerably reduce the cost of preparing annual statutory accounts. At LFF, our dedicated team can provide either a fully outsourced service or a support service, to free up your time to concentrate on running your business.
We can assist with the selection and implementation of accounting software packages and, whether to decide to go for a desktop or cloud-based package, we can provide training and support to help you to get the most out of it.
Our bookkeeping service can also include the preparation of quarterly VAT returns for your approval before filing online, as well as VAT advice and assistance with registration.
Management accounts are an excellent tool for monitoring the business’s progress and performance and enabling you to take timely action and make decisions, for example reviewing profits so that dividends can be declared.
LFF has extensive expertise in producing management accounts tailored to your specific requirements and setting up automated templates into which the bookkeeping data can be fed. The accounts can also be used to monitor the key performance indicators that are important to your business, and we can provide accompanying narratives to help you to identify key areas and trends.
Finally, we can assist with the preparation of budgets and cash flow forecasts to help you to raise finance or when looking to sell your business.
LFF has a wealth of experience in looking after charities and other not-for-profit organisations, and this has always been one of the firm’s specialisms. Amy Healey heads the firm’s not-for-profit services and holds the ICAEW’s Diploma in Charity Accounting and she is supported by a dedicated and enthusiastic team.
We offer accounting, independent examination and audit services to charities, and we aim to provide a responsive and tailored service to make the process as straightforward as possible while helping you to ensure that your charity complies with the various legislative requirements.
Some charities prefer to prepare their own accounts, and we can offer advice on all aspects of this as well as building bespoke accounts templates to help make the preparation process easier.
The LFF team has expertise in all aspects of charity governance, from starting up a new charity or converting to a CIO, to governance and systems / controls reviews, through to due diligence and advising on charity mergers and structuring such as setting up trading subsidiaries.
Charities and tax
Tax is often dismissed as something charities don’t have to worry about, but this is not always the case. We can offer advice on all aspects of charity taxation, including direct tax and Gift Aid.
VAT in particular is a highly complex and subjective area for charities, and an area of constant change. At LFF we have particular expertise in offering charity VAT reviews and health checks to offer trustees peace of mind that their affairs are in order, as well as advising on possible changes that could be made to minimise the charity’s exposure to VAT.
At LFF we have an excellent reputation for the high quality of our audit work.
An audit is a statutory requirement for limited companies, LLPs and charities that exceed certain size thresholds. The audit report will appear in the statutory financial statements and will provide an opinion as to whether the financial statements show a true and fair view.
However, beyond this, an audit can provide you with comfort as to the accuracy of the accounts and various added value by-products such as commentary on any weaknesses in the business’s systems and controls. We are often asked to carry out voluntary audits for business below the statutory thresholds who want that extra level of assurance and comfort over their accounts.
Our audit approach is based on obtaining a thorough understanding of your business and assessing risk, so that we can focus our audit work to the important areas and provide an efficient service. We work with you to help the audit run smoothly, while maintaining our objective approach and providing appropriate challenge.
We will agree with you at the outset an audit timetable and provide you with a list of the information we are likely to need, to help minimise disruption to your business.
For those wanting more assurance than an accountant’s report without going so far as an audit, we can offer assurance reports and reviews based on procedures specifically agreed with you. We also have experience in carrying out special purposes audits, e.g. in support of grant claims.
Two of our partners, Amy Healey and Sam Wells, are Chartered Tax Advisers, and we have students studying towards this qualification. This expertise, backed up with our wealth of experience in general practice, enables us to offer a well-rounded and technically strong compliance and advisory service.
Personal tax compliance
The UK has one of the most complex tax systems in the world, with thousands of pages of primary legislation and many hundreds more added each year. The Office of Tax Simplification has a long road ahead of it!
At LFF, we deal with a large number of personal tax returns from very simple returns for directors of limited companies up to complex returns for high net worth individuals. Even the simplest of tax affairs can benefit from a professional review to ensure compliance with the legislation.
We aim to provide an efficient and proactive service, reviewing your tax affairs and ensuring that you pay the correct amount of tax, while also advising you as to any tax efficiency savings that could be made.
Corporation tax compliance
As a general practice firm, the same team responsible for preparing your company’s accounts will also prepare the Corporation Tax return. This enables us to apply joined-up thinking and consider your company as a whole, rather than relying on different departments for each task.
We can assist with corporation tax planning, including advising on the best use of group relief, maximising capital allowances claims and assisting you with other reliefs such as Research and Development.
Tax advice and planning
We can offer advice on all aspects of tax and VAT, to enable you to achieve the best tax result by arranging your affairs appropriately and taking advantage of relevant reliefs.
We can also advise on the tax implications of various business decisions, such as new business start-ups, asset financing, profit extraction, succession planning, business acquisitions and sales and reconstructions.
Increasingly, tax avoidance appears in the media and HMRC are under constant pressure to clamp down on tax avoiders. Our tax advice is geared to finding the best solution for you while bearing in mind the commercial requirements of the situation and making use of tax reliefs as intended by the tax legislation. We don’t recommend or advise on artificial tax avoidance schemes.
Fee protection insurance
We can offer insurance to cover the cost of our fees in liaising with HMRC should you or your company be selected for a tax enquiry. Please contact your usual LFF adviser for more details should you be interested in joining the scheme.
Payroll and pensions auto-enrolment
Our payroll department works on the simple principles of reliability, accuracy and efficiency.
Our small and friendly team provides much more than just a processing service and is on hand to help you to deal with all aspects of running your payroll.
We will deal with HMRC’s “Real Time Information” requirements and we can provide a portal service for secure document exchange as well as the option of e-payslips for your staff to save on postage and distribution costs.
Auto-enrolment is a significant administrative burden for small businesses and our fully outsourced service will provide you with peace of mind that all statutory requirements are being met. This includes making declarations of compliance, monthly workforce assessments and provision of notices, upload of monthly feeds to your pension provider and re-enrolment services as required.
Benefits in kind
HMRC have reduced the reporting requirements for reimbursed expenses, but most benefits in kind still have to be reported annually. These commonly include company vehicles, private medical insurance and gym membership but almost anything can be provided to employees as a benefit.
We offer a full compliance service and can advise on the tax implications of all employee benefits. We can also assist with agreeing PAYE settlement agreements with HMRC for benefits where the business will be covering the tax and NIC charge.
Company secretarial services
Every company and LLP has obligations to keep statutory records and to file information about certain events in the its life with Companies House, sometimes with short filing deadlines.
Although there is no longer a requirement for a Company Secretary these tasks still need to be performed, and we can offer a full compliance service for maintenance of statutory records and timely submission of Annual Confirmation Statements.
We also offer a registered office service, this enables us to deal with official post from Companies House and HMRC on your behalf and also offers a degree of privacy, for example for small business which operate from a home address.
Copyright © 2018 Lindeyer Francis Ferguson Limited - Registered to carry out audit work in the UK and Ireland by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
Lindeyer Francis Ferguson Limited is registered in England & Wales (Registered number 08959423), whose registered office is North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1BE.
Lindeyer Francis Ferguson is a trading name of Lindeyer Francis Ferguson Limited