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How you can reduce your tax by claiming on business expenses

As a sole trader or freelancer, it’s crucial to understand your basic allowable expenses—even if you’re paying an accountant to help with your tax return. You can claim tax back on some of the costs of running your business—what HMRC calls allowable expenses. These appear as costs in your business accounts deducted from the profit you pay tax on.

Expenses can reduce the average sole trader’s tax bill—often significantly.

For example, if your turnover is £80,000 and you claim £20,000 in allowable expenses, you only pay tax on the remaining £60,000—a substantial saving.

You can also use simplified expenses. These flat rates allow you to quickly calculate tax relief on vehicles, working from home and living on your business premises. It can make working your expenses significantly easier.

On the Gov.uk website, you can find the most common expenses you can claim for self-employed and the most common expenses you can claim for if you rent out a property.


Self-employed allowable expenses list

Below, we cover some of the things you can claim for. To reiterate, we assume you’re using cash basis accounting, as the rules for traditional accounting can be slightly different. You can add these figures to your Self Assessment tax return.


Office equipment and tools

You can claim expenses for business equipment such as laptops, PCs, printers, and computer software that your business has used for less than two years. You can’t claim tax back on small tools.

Stationery and communications

As well as the usual paper, envelopes and pens, you can also claim back tax on postage and printing, including the costs of printer ink and cartridges you use as part of your business. With more businesses now trading online, this allowance also applies to electronic communications – so you can claim tax back on your business phone, mobile and internet bills.

Phone and internet

If you use your phone, mobile and internet for personal and business use, you’ll need to demonstrate a realistic way of dividing the costs and can only claim tax back on the part for business use. You can’t claim any tax back if you can’t show this.

Professional and financial services

If you get advice from an accountant, lawyer or other professional as part of your business, you can claim tax back on their fees. You can also claim allowable expenses for hiring surveyors and architects for your business—not for personal home improvements.

If you have a business bank account, you can claim tax relief on bank, overdraft and credit card charges or interest on business loans. You can also claim tax back on hire purchase, lease, or other financial payments for equipment you use in your business.

Staff and employee costs

You can claim tax relief on employee and staff salaries, bonuses, pensions, benefits, staff and employee costs, agency fees, subcontractors, and employer’s National Insurance contributions.

Travel costs

You can claim allowable expenses if you need to travel for business, including train, bus, taxi, airfares, and accommodation costs. But these only apply if the primary reason for your journey or stay was for business.

If you take a trip that combines business and pleasure, you can only claim tax relief on costs you can show are separate from the private part of your journey. If you can’t split up the costs, you can’t claim tax relief on any part.

Car and vehicle costs

If you use a vehicle as part of your business, you can claim tax relief for expenses such as petrol, insurance, and repairs.

Mileage allowance

As a self-employed person, you can add up all your motor expenses for the year and work out the separate business element of the total cost. However, keeping track and working this out takes time and effort.

Instead, you can claim mileage allowance, a simplified expense that lets you calculate the costs of running your vehicle. Other vehicle-related areas you can claim expenses on include:

  • Congestion and low-emission zone charges
  • Parking
  • Breakdown cover
  • Hire charges.

Again, tax relief only applies to these if they are business rather than private expenses. You can’t claim tax back on parking fines or other fines incurred while driving. There’s no tax relief for breaking the law.

Food and clothing

Everybody needs food and clothing, but claiming for them on expenses depends on what you’re using them for.


Generally, you can’t claim for clothing if you’d wear it as part of an everyday wardrobe. So, even if you’ve bought a suit for work, you can’t claim for its cost. But, if you must buy a uniform that identifies what you do or needs special protective clothing to do your job, you can claim for that.

You can’t claim for non-uniform items such as shoes and socks. If you’re an entertainer, and the clothes you’re buying are a costume for a stage, TV or film performance, then you can claim tax relief on those.

Clowns, magicians, acrobats and Elvis impersonators – we bet HMRC enjoys reading your clothing claims!


If you wear a uniform or special protective clothing, you can claim expenses if you wash, repair, or replace it.


You can only claim money back on food and drink if it’s a business expense, meaning it must be outside your usual working routine, such as a business trip.

Stock and materials

You can claim tax back on the following:

  • Items that you resell, such as stock
  • Raw materials that you use to make goods for sale
  • Direct costs from producing goods.

Marketing and advertising

You can claim tax back on the costs of advertising and marketing your business, including costs for hosting and maintaining your company website.

But beware, you may think that treating a customer or supplier to lunch is ‘marketing’, but HMRC considers it as ‘entertaining’, which you can’t claim tax back for.

If you’re a member of a professional trade body or organisation as part of your business, you can claim tax relief on your membership fees. Subscriptions to trade or professional journals are also allowable expenses, so claim for those.

Pension contributions

Contributions to your pension are not a business expense, so they don’t affect your self-employed profits. However, you are eligible for tax relief on any contributions you make, which you can claim on your tax return.


Find out more about our Personal Tax Account services here – Personal Tax Accountants Northampton | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

If you need help with your Self Assessment and tax return, get in touch today – email help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Growing audit team appoints new senior manager

Award-winning accountancy firm has welcomed a new key member of staff to its growing audit team.

Elsby & Co, which has bases in Sywell and Rushden, has appointed Sue Halsall as its new Audit Senior Manager. Sue brings with her a wealth of experience having worked as an audit manager for 22 years and as a training manager.


Audit Manager – Sue Halsall
Leona Bateman – Partner










She said: “After university I got a job with the Northampton office of a Top 20 firm and did my training there before moving to another firm where I was Audit Manager, working in all sorts of fields but primarily in limited company audits.”

“I was also Training Manager at my previous firm and training is something I’m incredibly passionate about. This is the perfect time for me to join Elsby & Co because the audit side of the business here is growing and I’m excited about playing a part in driving that forward and shaping what happens here next.”

“We have a fantastic team, ranging from trainees at the start of their career to more senior members of staff, and I’m relishing sharing my years of experience with them. It truly is a collaborative team – everyone trains one another and shares their knowledge generously and that’s really nice to see.”

Elsby & Co’s core auditing services include statutory audits, charity audits and other specialist audits. Elsby & Co Partner Leona Bateman added: “Auditing is a growing area for firms of our size and it’s an expanding area for us.

“We may be smaller than the Top 10 firms which also offer audit services, but we follow the same auditing standards. We offer a friendly and personal service. We also recognise that often when companies are audited their perception is this is an expensive process but a necessary evil and they often don’t feel they get any benefit from it.”

“We always seek to add value for our clients so when we carry out an audit, they not only get an audited set of financial statements, but they also receive a management letter and we make suggestions to help them to improve their systems and controls and discuss any risks within their business. We want to be a critical friend to them who is always there to guide them in the right direction.”


For further information contact Leona Bateman at leona.bateman@elsbyandco.co.uk or Sue Halsall at sue.halsall@elsbyandco.co.uk


To find out more about Elsby & Co Audit services, visit Audits | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)


This is an abridged version of the Elsby article featured in the Business Times – Digital Issues Archive – Business Times (business-times.co.uk)

Proud to be a Real Living Wage Accredited Employer

At Elsby & Co, we believe that fair wages are the cornerstone of a just and thriving society. We are thrilled to announce that we have been accredited as a Real Living Wage employer, a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing our employees with a wage that reflects the true cost of living. This achievement aligns perfectly with our core values and our dedication to creating a workplace where everyone can flourish.

What is the Real Living Wage?

The Real Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate set independently, based on the cost of living, and is higher than the government’s minimum wage. It ensures that individuals and families can meet their basic needs, including housing, food, and transportation, without struggling to make ends meet. By becoming a Real Living Wage employer, we are taking a significant step towards reducing income inequality and improving the well-being of our employees.

Our Commitment to Fair Wages

Our decision to pursue Real Living Wage accreditation was driven by our belief that our employees are our most valuable asset. We recognize that their hard work, dedication, and talent are the driving force behind our success. By paying a Real Living Wage, we are not just complying with legal requirements; we are investing in the financial security and overall quality of life of our team members.

What This Means for Our Team

For our employees, this accreditation means a fair wage that reflects their dedication and the rising cost of living. It means peace of mind, the ability to provide for their families, and the freedom to focus on their careers and personal growth without the constant worry of financial instability. We want our team members to know that we value their contributions, and this accreditation is a tangible demonstration of that appreciation.

Join Us in Celebrating

We are excited to join the community of Real Living Wage accredited employers and contribute to a more equitable society. Our commitment to fair wages is unwavering, and we invite you to celebrate this achievement with us. Together, we can foster a workplace where employees can thrive, and the future looks brighter for everyone.

Thank you for to our Partners for their ongoing support, and stay tuned for more updates on how we are working to make a positive impact in the lives of our employees and our community.

Read more about our Values here – Corby Accountants : Rushden Accountants : Our Values at Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Can a staff Summer event impact the staff Christmas Party?

With the Christmas party season upon us for many, we are often asked about what can be claimed and what the impact is when an annual summer staff event is added to the mix!

So, here’s the burning question – My client is currently planning their staff Christmas party. This year they have started to hold an annual staff summer event as well. Therefore, will the Christmas party now become a taxable benefit each year and not be able to benefit from the exemption?

ITEPA 2003, s. 264  details an income tax exemption for annual functions. The exemption is not restricted only to a Christmas party, it can used for alternative annual functions during the year. The exemption must be used for annual functions so for functions that can happen again the following year. For example, the exemption cannot be used for a one-off function such as the 10th anniversary of a business.

Another condition of the exemption is that the function must be open to all employees or all employees in one particular location.

The total value for an annual function which is exempt from income tax is £150 per head.  ITEPA 2003, s. 264(3)  explains that if more than one annual function is held within in a tax year, the cost of both functions will remain exempt from income tax as long as the combined cost per person for both functions does not exceed £150 per head.

For example, if the client’s summer party cost was £50 per head, then as long as the cost per head at the Christmas party was £100 or below then both parties would be exempt from income tax as the combined cost of the parties per head is exactly £150.

If the combined cost does exceed £150 per person, then only one function cost will qualify for the exemption. The whole cost of the second function would become a taxable benefit to the employees, not just the excess above £150.

Therefore, if the combined £150 per person limit is breached, the benefit of the second function needs to be reported as such to HMRC. This can be done via payrolling the benefit if the client has registered for this or by submitting a P11D form for each employee that attended. Alternatively, the cost of the second function could be reported on a PAYE settlement agreement with the approval of HMRC so the employee is not impacted by an additional taxable benefit.

When calculating the cost of the function per head, the VAT and the cost of transport and/or overnight accommodation if the employer is providing this must also be included. The total cost of the function can be divided into the total number of attendees including non-employees to arrive at the cost per head.

Further information can be found in  EIM21690  with examples of how the exemption can be used in  EIM21691 .


HMRC clarifies availability of overlap relief calculation

Overlap relief information for basis period accounting can only be provided if the company’s profit and loss figures are recorded in HMRC systems.

HMRC has confirmed that it can only make the calculations based on information submitted by taxpayers as part of previous year tax returns. This follows the launch of the online overlap relief tool last month.

‘If this information has not been submitted in tax returns, HMRC will not be able to provide it. However, in these circumstances, it may be possible to provide historic profit figures, to allow overlap relief to be recalculated,’ HMRC told employers in the latest bulletin.

The correct calculation of overlap relief is a critical element of the changes to basis period reform, which affect tax years from 1 April 2023 and means many taxpayers will have to calculate and report transition profit.

If you are a sole trader, self employed or a partnership, have an accounting date other than 31 March or 5 April, and are affected by the move to the new tax year basis, it is likely that you will have to find out the details of your overlap relief.

It is important to note that you will need to get the overlap relief figure ahead of submitting returns for the 2023 to 2024 transitional tax year.

Businesses that have overlap relief which they should have used in the past but did not, may also use this in the 2023-24 tax year.

The transitional part of the profits will be spread equally over five tax years starting in 2023-24.

Accountants can request an overlap figure for clients and once a submission has been made, HMRC will send a confirmation letter or email with a submission reference.

HMRC said it will take up to three weeks to review the information so it is important to start the process in good time to avoid delays.

The form is available at Get your Overlap Relief figure via the green Start button halfway down the page. As the page states users will ‘need to sign in with your Government Gateway user ID and password for self assessment (if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you first try to sign in)’.

When preparing to fill out the online form for details about overlap relief, make sure that you have the following information:

  • customer name;
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference Number (UTR) or National Insurance number;
  • name or description of business, or both;
  • whether the business is a sole trader or part of a partnership;
  • if the business is part of a partnership, the partnership’s UTR;
  • date of commencement of the self-employed business, or date of commencement as a partner in a partnership (if not known, then the tax year of commencement);
  • the most recent period end date up to which the business used to report its profit or loss; and
  • years the accounting period changed, if applicable.

A tax year is a 12-month period which runs from 6 April in one year to 5 April in the following year, so the 2024-25 tax year runs from 6 April 2024 to 5 April 2025.

If you need advice – get in touch today. Email us help@elsbyandco.co.uk

To find out about how Elsby can support your business – read all about our services here – Accountancy Services Northamptonshire | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Corporate Finance desk boosts accountancy firm’s offering

Elsby & Co promises to be the only accountancy practice its clients will ever need and over the past year it has introduced a range of new resources to extend its offering far beyond the traditional compliance service provided by most accountancy firms.

One of the business’ newest elements is Elsby Corporate Finance which in the past six months has helped clients with acquisitions, succession planning, corporate and commercial finance, business sales and valuations, strategic planning and corporate development.

The team is headed by David Howard, a business broker with more than 10 years of experience, who has a proven track record of delivering acquisitions, disposals and finance to support clients along their journey.

David said: “Most of our business is around small to medium enterprises but whether you’re a sole trader or a small corporate enterprise with a turnover of around £20m we have services that can help. Over the past six months we’ve worked on various projects, including a management buyout for a £1.5m business with 15 employees.”

“We’ve made it feasible for the management to finance an acquisition that will allow them to take the company forward and enable the current owner to retire with a sizeable amount of capital for all his endeavours. It’s given the owner the guarantee that his team will have ongoing employment and his customers will continue to receive the same support that he’s given them for 30 years.”

“Helping clients to plan ahead for their retirement or succession is one of the most important services we offer. We help company owners to understand how to maximise their business’ value, what options they have and how to create an enduring legacy for clients and staff.”

David has also recently worked with an HR firm on its buy, build and then sell strategy. This took the organisation through a series of acquisitions which transformed it from a company with three employees and a turnover of £500,000 to a business with a £5m turnover which then sold for more than £7m.

David explained: “Acquisitions can bring new staff, new products, new services and new opportunities to existing businesses and, generally, finance is quite easily available. It’s a route people should consider more often when they’re trying to find growth in a business and we can help them with this.”

Elsby Corporate Finance is supported by more than 50 accountants and client managers at Elsby & Co. David added: “By introducing extra services liked our corporate finance offering, Elsby & Co has become a single point of contact for an expert team with a wide range of specialisms. “Whatever our clients need help with we have the expertise to support them.”


Read more about Elsby Corporate Finance here – Corporate Finance Northampton | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Get in touch with Elsby Corporate Finance – david.howard@elsbycf.co.uk


This is an abridged version of the Elsby article featured in the Business Times – New corporate finance desk boosts accountancy firm’s offering – Business Times (business-times.co.uk)

Payroll mistakes – how costly could they be to your business?

Payroll mistakes can have a significant impact on your business, both financially and in terms of employee morale. Errors like incorrect pay rates, late payments, and inaccurate tax withholdings can lead to a loss of trust and confidence among your employees.

The result of Payroll mistakes can result in decreased productivity, increased turnover, and damage to your company’s reputation. Additionally, mistakes in payroll can lead to costly penalties and fines from tax authorities.

It’s important to avoid these consequences and so it’s essential to have a reliable payroll system in place and to regularly review and double-check all payroll processes.

Investing in a professional payroll service or software can also help ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations. Or even better, you can outsource your Payroll to experts in this area, and know that your Payroll is being managed properly, helping relieve the stress of what can be an onerous and time-consuming task. By taking these steps, you can help protect your business and keep your employees satisfied and motivated.


So why should you consider outsourcing?

Outsourcing payroll offers businesses a chance to save time and money while ensuring a risk-free, secure, and compliant payroll function.

Outsourcing payroll has become increasingly important due to the complex and significant legislative burden imposed by HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. Compliance with regulations is essential, making this the perfect time to consider outsourcing.


In a nutshell, outsourcing can have multiple benefits, as our Payroll Manager, Natalie Standen details below…

Saving time and money by avoiding payroll software, errors, and administrative tasks

“There really is much more to payroll than just a push button exercise. From noncompliance with declarations with TPR,  incorrectly claiming Employment Allowance, underpaying NMW, Incorrect NI category, outstanding PAYE. We understand the complexities that surround payroll processing, we know the solution should their be a problem!”

Accessing experts and improving security by relying on a reputable and compliant payroll provider

“Because we have many years’ experience and, in many sectors, its very rare we come across something we haven’t dealt with before. We are here to take the stress out of processing payroll, whether that be a one -off or permanently, we can cater for your business needs.”

Focusing on core business activities and customer service

“You will have our own dedicated officers, who will liaise with you to ensure the smooth running of your payroll, you are always welcome to come in and meet the team. If you’re happy to continue processing your payroll – no problem! We are happy to run a health check on your data to ensure you are compliant.”

Safe and secure storage of data

“We use a secure portal where you can upload instructions for us and likewise, we upload reports for you.  These stay in this secure environment for you to save or print out and will be visible to you for at least 12 months.”


Get in touch

Read more about our Payroll services here – Secure Payroll Services – CIS & Auto-Enrolment Northampton | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

For more information on how outsourcing Payroll can help your business, get in touch with a member of the team. Email – help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Is the Inheritance Tax mortgage loophole real?

The press currently seem to be fixated on the rights and wrongs of inheritance tax (IHT). One of their latest claims is that older people can use a mortgage to make use of a “loophole” in the IHT rules. Is this something you should consider?

What’s a tax loophole?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the inheritance tax (IHT) rules it’s important to understand what a tax loophole is. This is an unintended consequence of the rules either because the legislation was poorly written or a tax expert spots a side effect of the rules that could not reasonably have been foreseen by those who wrote the legislation.

Is there a risk of using loopholes?

Loopholes come in all different shapes and sizes. As a rule of thumb, unless HMRC is making a fuss about one and claiming it doesn’t work, it’s safe to use.

Tip: If you’re thinking of using a tax loophole, do some research first. Read what HMRC has to say about it, if anything, and speak to your accountant or tax advisor to get their take on it.

Can a mortgage be an IHT loophole?

The apparent loophole recently mentioned in the media involves older individuals or couples mortgaging their home and giving the proceeds away. This isn’t a loophole! It’s simply making use of basic IHT rules. It might therefore work to reduce your IHT. However, before charging off to the bank to mortgage your home or other property you should consider all the consequences.

How does the non-loophole work?

You probably know that when you die if your estate is valuable enough it will have to pay IHT on the excess above various thresholds (see The next step). The value of your estate for IHT purposes is the total value of all your assets less the total of any debts you have. A loan, whether or not secured by a mortgage, is a debt that reduces your estate’s value and therefore potentially the IHT. Simply taking a loan won’t save IHT because the cash you borrowed is now in your bank account or invested elsewhere, which means overall your assets are worth the same as before the loan. To save IHT you need to give away some or all of the money you borrowed, presumably to the beneficiaries named in your will.

Trap. After you’ve given the money away, you need to survive seven years for the gift to escape IHT completely.

Example. Ian is a widower. When his partner dies she left all her assets including a share of the marital home to Ian. His estate is worth £1,200,000. This is £200,000 in excess of the IHT nil rate bands his estate is entitled to his children. If he died today, his estate would owe IHT £80,000 (£200,000 x 40%). To reduce this he borrows £200,000 and gives it to his children. If he survives seven years from the date of the gifts their value will be excluded from his estate for IHT purposes which, everything else being equal, will save the £80,000 IHT. However, interest payments on the loan will eat into this saving.

Tip: If there’s little or no chance that your estate will exceed the total IHT nil rate bands and exemptions you’re entitled to, which could be up to £1 million, there’s no point in considering reducing the value of your estate with a mortgage to avoid IHT. You’ll be incurring mortgage costs for no tax advantage.


While the arrangement is just the normal IHT rules in action rather than a loophole, borrowing and giving away the proceeds might save IHT. However, this isn’t worth considering if there’s little or no chance that your estate will exceed the point at which IHT is payable. Often this can be as much as £1 million.


If you need advice or support, get in touch – email help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Find out how Elsby Estate Planning could help you – Estate Planning Services Northampton | Elsby & So (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Credit – Indicator – FL Memo Ltd 

Elsby Business Hub helps firms make informed growth decisions

Six months ago, Elsby & Co officially launched its Business Hub to offer businesses far more than the normal compliance service provided by most accountancy firms and it is already attracting clients with turnovers of over £1 million.

The Business Hub takes care of clients’ back-office finance functions and provides real-time management accounts information and regular strategy meetings with Elsby & Co’s expert team.

Partner Kupesh Patel, who heads up the Business Hub alongside Senior Manager Jack Emmerson, said: “The majority of accountants will just do year-end compliance work, being annual accounts and tax returns and meet with their client once a year but our ethos has always been to help our clients throughout their journey and the Business Hub is an extension of that.”

 “It’s a complete outsourced finance function right from bookkeeping through to non-executive director level support. It gives the businesses we’re working with clarity on their financial position so they can make informed decisions on their business strategy, such as securing outside investment or recruitment needs to enable them to grow.”

 “We get involved at an operational level, to understand their business and markets, as well as helping our clients understand the financials better.”

 The Business Hub provides regular bespoke real time key performance indicators (KPI) and offers a back-office support function, including bookkeeping, credit control, payroll and payment processing.

 One of the big advantages of the Business Hub is that clients also benefit from advice from Elsby & Co’s four partners and senior management team.

 Jack explained: “Growing businesses get to the stage where they’ll need higher level finance support, such as employing an in-house Financial Controller or Finance Manager or Finance Director, who in turn would need support staff to carry out the lower level work, such as bookkeeping and credit control.

 “This would come at a big cost to the business and this is where the Business Hub can really benefit them.

 “The Business Hub provides the expertise of multiple people from within our business – we have a wealth of experience and we all bring something different to the table for our clients.”

 “This isn’t something you would necessarily get if you had an internal person doing the job.”

 “The Business Hub is also filling an important gap for smaller growing businesses who aren’t in a position to recruit a bookkeeper, a finance director and a credit controller – we can offer all of those things and the feedback we’ve received so far has been very positive.”


Read more about the Elsby Business Hub here – Business Hub | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

This is an abridged version of the Elsby article featured in the Business Times – The new Business Hub helping firms to make informed growth decisions – Business Times (business-times.co.uk)

My week of work experience – Take 2!

Another week, another fabulous Work Experience Student spending time with us here at Elsby Chartered Accountants!

In the third part of our Career focused blogs – we’ve got another guest blog from our second work experience placement. Laura, a student from Wollaston School, joined us in the Sywell office for another jam-packed week of learning about all the areas of the business, from admin to accounts!

Just to prove that everyone learns differently, Laura had the same programme as Maya, our previous work experience student, but the things that gave her a buzz were very different! Laura was totally in her element when she got to spend time with Fabia Bruce AATQB, completing personal tax returns and HMRC submissions! What a whizz-kid!

Here, in Laura’s own words, is how she got on during here work experience placement.

Laura’s Story

I’m a year 12 student from Wollaston School who was advised to find work experience for w/c 10th July, so I took it upon myself to figure out what would be the most useful and engaging experience in a work force to help me discover my interests for a career after my A-levels next summer. After thoughts about lots of different routes I was most interested in economics and finance which has led from studying economics as an a-level. I also study geography and sociology which I enjoy as well but not as much!

I researched different businesses around Northamptonshire like banks, financial advisors, and accountants until I came across Elsby and Co.

In March, I sent a short email containing a bit about me and my interests in accountancy and then briefly asking if they offered any work experience. After emailing several different businesses in the area, Elsby and Co were the only place not only to respond but respond with a positive outcome.

Elsby offered fast and excellent communication with me via email which shortly led to us arranging a 30-minute teams call with Clare Elsby to allow to me to get to know the company better and find out what they could offer to me. I finished the call already feeling welcomed into the company and excited to start my week in July.

Nearer to to my start date, I received a welcome pack with a letter, a notepad, post-it notes, wireless charger and a timetable for the week which was a really lovely touch!

My Week

Although I came to Elsby and Co with the interest in accountancy, the whole week was set up to give me an insight into the fundamental areas involved in the company with a day in admin, payroll and bookkeeping, marketing and two days spent with the accounts team.

I was shown how different software like Xero, IRIS and SAGE was used and how to use them for things like raising invoices on their software and sending them to clients to bill them, checking and publishing invoices, learning about VAT, completing bank reconciliation and many more.

I really enjoyed my two days in accounts on Thursday and Friday with Fabia working with the numbers. We drafted personal tax accounts and returns for several clients which were then overviewed by a manager who then sent them back to be finalised and sent off to the clients.

The week has given me an insight into this type of work and what a day-to-day routine is like for many people across the company, something I could possible see myself doing in the future.

My Thoughts

Coming into Elsby and Co to start my week I was slightly nervous to come into a different environment with unfamiliar faces but from the moment I came in I was warmly welcomed by the admin team at the reception desk.

Throughout my week, everyone at Elsby has been very welcoming and kind, offering me drinks and asking how I am getting on which is one reason I have enjoyed it. On Friday I even joined the accounts team for lunch at the pub!

I had daily overviews with Ann at the end of each day where I was asked how I had got on, what I learnt and what I enjoyed. This shows that they have interest in what I was doing, and she even asked what could be improved to make the experience even better for the next.

Overall I have had a great week and I would definitely  recommend Elsby and Co to anyone who is wanting to gain some work experience, looking for a job or even wanting to become a client of theirs. They truly see value and interest in every part of the company and provide a wonderful experience for their employees and clients.

Laura – Year 12 Student


At Elsby, we try really hard to make sure that Training & Development is tailored to the individual, so if it sounds like your kind of place, drop us a message. We’re recruiting at all levels, and we want to talk to you!

Email – help@elsbyandco.co.uk

What’s the best route to becoming an Accountant?

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about accountancy – it’s boring, you have to be a math genius, all they do is sit at a desk… the list goes on.

The truth is – Accounting is a well-respected and in-demand profession, where no day is the same and you are an integral part of your client’s business. Yes, having an interest in numbers and and being good at math has its advantages in a career in accounting, but so does a keen interest in problem solving and thinking outside the box! Like the sound of that? Read on!

With a new school year fast approaching, you might be at a point of considering your future and your career choice. If that is you, a career in Accounting is something you should seriously consider and the good news – there is not just one path to take!


Exploring your options


If you enjoy studying and have your heart set on going to University to gain a degree, this might be the right path for you. As we said earlier, an interest in math’s is good but it doesn’t mean you have to study this or indeed accounting or economics (though advantageous), any degree can be useful and gives you good experience in taking exams. Once you’ve graduated, you can then pursue professional qualifications like the ACA, ACCA or CIMA to become a fully-qualified accountant.

You can also take an undergraduate course – there are many universities in the UK that offer undergraduate programs. These are typically courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation. You’ll learn about different types of businesses and how they operate. You’ll also learn to develop skills in financial analysis and reporting.



Some people learn best by taking on a more practical, hands-on approach. If this sounds like you, then an apprenticeship might be the best path for you! Apprenticeships offer an excellent way to gain practical experience whilst working towards a professional qualification. You’ll typically work for a company or organisation that offers accounting services. You’ll learn about the different aspects of accounting by working on real-world projects, and you’ll also receive formal training from your employer.


Professional Qualifications

Maybe you don’t want to study accounting at university or take an apprenticeship, and yet accountancy still attracts you. In this case, you can become an accountant by taking professional qualifications. There are many available, some of which are recognised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

If you opt for this route, you’ll study at home or through a distance learning program. You’ll learn about the different aspects of accounting by taking courses and exams. You’ll also be able to gain practical experience by working on real-world projects.


The decision is yours!

If accountancy appeals to you, then there are many different routes that you can take. Which is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. No matter which route you choose, you’ll need to be prepared to work hard and to be committed to your career.

At Elsby, our team have different experiences and career paths – no journey is ever the same.

We have several of the team who went to University, with degrees ranging from Oceanography, Criminology to Business Studies and Business Economics. More than half of the team didn’t take the University route and instead did an AAT Apprenticeship. A few of the team are even career changers – going from careers in Marketing or in Adult Social Care before switching to Accounting!

Watch our career videos on our website to see that not all journeys into accountancy are the same and each member of our team has their own story.


If you were interested to learn more, you can also drop us a line to find out more about what’s involved – we can offer valuable insights and advice based on our own experiences. Email help@elsbyandco.co.uk

My week of work experience at Elsby & Co

This week at Elsby, we have had the pleasure of welcoming a work experience student from local school, Rushden Academy.  Maya joined us in the Rushden office after contacting us and organising her own placement, having an interest in Accounting as a future career choice. Ann Phillips, Training and Development Manager, organised a jam-packed week of learning for Maya, where she would get the opportunity to work in various different departments, in order to get a true understanding of what life is like working at a thriving and busy firm.

Here, in Maya’s own words, is how she got on during here work experience placement.

My Story

I was informed by my school in February 2023, to find work experience for the week commencing 3rd of July. Following this, as a year 10 student, I had to create a CV to show to our desired company we had chosen, with a cover letter too. Knowing that we had to find a few companies to email / contact to see if they offered work experience to students, I started to have a think about what I wanted to do. The following evening, I spoke to family and friends about what I want to be when I am older, I was quite set on the idea of being an Accountant. A family friend told me to contact Elsby and Co (their office in Rushden) as she had used them previously so I created my CV and sent a cover letter with it on an email to Elsby.

Elsby were the only company I had heard about at the time, I looked at other accountancy firms in the area, and then sent out emails to them too. However, Elsby and Co were the only company to email me back and were very quick with their response. They told me that they would be very happy to take me on for work experience. I was very pleased with the response given and how quickly I had got it back. Close to my starting date, Elsby and Co sent me a welcome pack containing a notepad and pen, post-it notes, wireless charger, a letter with information on dress code and timings to arrive and when I finish. Another thing in the pack was a laminated sheet with information on where I would be on each day with who I’ll be working with and timings for my daily overviews.

My week

Although I originally said in my email to Elsby that I would like to gain experience in accounting, they then set up for me to go in different departments of the services they offer to see what they do and how their work then benefits other departments within the company. The departments I worked in were – Admin on Monday, Payroll and Bookkeeping on Tuesday, Marketing on Wednesday, and Accounts on Thursday and Friday.

During the days, I was talked through on how to use Elsby’s different software and were able to use them for things like agent authorisation, billing decisions (raising invoices on their software and sending them to clients to bill them), booking in meetings for staff to meet clients, checking and publishing invoices, learning about the different types of accounting (cash and standard), learning about VAT, completing bank reconciliation and many other sectors.

What I like about Elsby & Co

From my time at Elsby & Co, I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the week as I always had something to learn or to do which thoroughly interests me. During my week, everyone was very polite by holding doors open for others, saying hello and asking how people are, and even just smiling at each other when walking past – it seems like a great place to work.

With my daily overviews at the end of each day, I was asked everyday how I found things and how the team I worked with that day showed me information and if they went through things in detail for me to understand. At the end of the day, I was also asked about what I had learnt which to me, showed that they have a genuine interest in what I had learnt that day and how I felt by also asking me for a rating on how I felt about that sector to see if it was something I was really interested in and if it is something that would suit me in the future.

All of these small touches made me feel really welcomed at Elsby’s and made me feel very comfortable when asking questions and going through things. With these touches, I was very pleased by the end of the day, and this made me very motivated into learning what was to come throughout the week.

Overall, I would highly recommend Elsby & Co to family and friends or anyone that needed help with accounts, bookkeeping and management accounts, tax returns and planning and the many other services they offer!

Maya – Year 10, Rushden Academy