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Avoiding Common Accounting Mistakes: Tips for Individuals and Businesses in the UK

Whether you’re managing your personal finances or handling the books for your business, accounting can sometimes feel like navigating a maze. To make your journey a bit easier, we’re here to highlight some common accounting errors and share tips on how to avoid them. Let’s dive in!

1. Mixing Personal and Business Finances

The Error: A common mistake among small business owners is combining personal and business finances. It might seem convenient at first, but it can lead to chaos when it’s time to do your accounts or file taxes.

The Fix: Open a separate bank account for your business transactions. This makes it much easier to track expenses, manage cash flow, and prepare for tax season. Plus, it’s essential for maintaining clarity and professionalism.

2. Neglecting Regular Reconciliation

The Error: Failing to regularly reconcile your accounts can result in discrepancies that are difficult to rectify later. Reconciliation ensures that your financial records match your bank statements.

The Fix: Set a monthly routine to reconcile your accounts. Tools like QuickBooks, Xero, or FreeAgent can automate much of this process, saving you time and reducing errors. Regular reconciliation helps you catch mistakes early and maintain accurate records.

3. Poor Receipt Management

The Error: Misplacing receipts or not keeping them at all. This can be problematic when you need to verify expenses or claim deductions.

The Fix: Develop a system for managing receipts. Use apps like Receipt Bank or Expensify to capture and store receipts digitally. Make it a habit to record and categorise them immediately to avoid a last-minute scramble during tax season.

4. Inaccurate Data Entry

The Error: Human error in data entry can lead to significant inaccuracies in your financial records. A single misplaced digit can create a huge discrepancy.

The Fix: Double-check entries for accuracy. Use accounting software that integrates with your bank to download transactions automatically. Regular reviews of your entries help catch and correct mistakes promptly.

5. Overlooking Small Expenses

The Error: Ignoring minor expenses because they seem insignificant. These small costs can add up over time and affect your overall financial health.

The Fix: Record all expenses, no matter how small. Using accounting software helps ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Remember, even those daily coffees and postage stamps matter!

6. Failing to Backup Data

The Error: Not backing up your financial data. Data loss due to computer failure, theft, or other issues can be disastrous.

The Fix: Implement a robust backup system. Cloud-based accounting software often includes automatic backups. Alternatively, regularly backup your data to an external drive or cloud storage service to safeguard your information.

7. Lack of Professional Help

The Error: Trying to handle everything yourself without seeking professional advice. While DIY approaches can save money upfront, they can lead to costly mistakes in the long run.

The Fix: Don’t hesitate to consult with a professional accountant, especially during tax season or when making significant financial decisions. An accountant can provide valuable insights, help you navigate complex regulations, and ensure compliance.

8. Ignoring Tax Deadlines

The Error: Missing tax deadlines, which can result in penalties and interest charges.

The Fix: Keep a calendar of important tax dates and set reminders. Consider using tax preparation software or hiring a tax professional to ensure you meet all deadlines and take advantage of available deductions. HMRC’s website is a great resource for keeping track of important dates.

9. Misclassifying Employees and Contractors

The Error: Incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors when they should be employees. This can lead to significant tax issues and potential penalties.

The Fix: Understand the criteria set by HMRC for classifying employees and contractors. Ensure you are correctly categorising your workers based on their employment status. When in doubt, seek advice from an accountant to avoid costly mistakes.

10. Not Keeping Up with Changing Regulations

The Error: Failing to stay updated on changing tax laws and regulations. The financial landscape is always evolving, and staying informed is crucial.

The Fix: Subscribe to accounting and finance newsletters, follow relevant industry updates, and consult with your accountant regularly to stay informed about any changes that may impact your business.

Final Thoughts

Accounting doesn’t have to be a headache. By being aware of these common mistakes and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can maintain accurate financial records and keep your finances in good shape. Embrace the tools and resources available to you, and don’t be afraid to seek professional advice when needed.

Remember, good accounting isn’t just about compliance—it’s about making informed decisions that help your business grow and thrive. Happy accounting, and here’s to your financial success!

At Elsby & Co, we’re here to help. Let us take away the strain and financial headache. Drop us an email at help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Find out more about our services here.

Growing accountancy firm boosts its staff benefits offer

A THRIVING firm of chartered accountants has enhanced its comprehensive staff benefits package to attract even more of its industry’s brightest talents.

Rushden-based Elsby & Co celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and is systematically growing its award-winning team.

The firm is already accredited as a Living Wage Employer and by the Good Business Charter which celebrates organisations that are committed to the highest standards in relation to things like wages, fairer hours, employee wellbeing and diversity and inclusion.

It has now also extended its staff benefits package and has delivered a range of initiatives focussed on mindfulness and its staff’s wellbeing this year.

Partner Leona Bateman said: “Growth is only possible if you have the right people to drive it which is why we’ve created a culture and reward structure that enables our staff to thrive.

“In recent months, we’ve enhanced our staff benefits package so we offer significantly more than many of our peers.

“Our extensive package includes support with studying, health, wellbeing and environmental benefits, retail discounts and rewards and recognition for hard work.

“We’re also keen to help our staff with things that are important to them. In the past we have rewarded a team member with extra holiday and the flight cost for long service so they could visit family abroad.

“In addition, we offer flexible working options to enable people like parents who are returning to work the opportunity to have great career prospects.”

Highlights of Elsby & Co’s benefits package include an ACCA gold accredited study support package for trainees which features a range of support for Elsby apprentices, including ringfenced learning time, structured learning, flexible access to courses, support from a mentor and a recognised qualification at the end of the programme.

It also offers a community support scheme, an electric car company car scheme for managers, a bonus scheme, a long service holiday award and the firm is part of a benefits scheme which provides staff with discounts via an app to a range of supermarkets, department stores, cinemas and popular restaurants and bars.

Its health and wellbeing package includes access to a free GP 24/7 service and a confidential Employee Assistance Programme.

This year it launched Mindful May and gave every employee either the choice of an hour off to do something for themselves – such as an exercise class or a walk with a friend – or up to £100 to spend on a wellness activity.

During the summer it also organised an Employee Team Building Day at The Falcon at Castle Ashby, which included a wellness session, team building activities and the chance to take part in an open water swim, a yoga session or a hike.

Find out what it is like to work at Elsby at www.youtube.com/@elsbyco4874/videos

Anyone interested in finding out about careers at Elsby should go to www.elsbyandco.co.uk  or contact recruitment@elsbyandco.co.uk

Content taken from article in the Business Times – Growing accountancy firm boosts its staff benefits offer – Business Times (business-times.co.uk)

Election results: what’s next?

Labour won a landslide victory in the general election on 4 July 2024 and Rachel Reeves made her first speech as the incoming Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 July 2024, promising a ‘new approach to growth’. But how do Labour expect to achieve this growth and what are the priorities of the incoming government? Here, we look at some of the main pledges from the manifesto and the Chancellor’s speech which impact tax and business.

Britain is a place to do business

Kickstarting economic growth was the first of Labour’s five key manifesto missions and a central tenet of the Chancellor’s speech.

A new National Wealth Fund will be launched to invest (and attract) private sector investment in new and growing industries. The Chancellor stated that the next steps to establish the National Wealth Fund would be announced in short order. An Industrial Strategy Council will also be established to provide expert advice with a view to end short-term economic policy making.

The manifesto states that, for investors, ‘it is not just the rates of tax that matter, but also certainty’. Labour aims to provide this certainty in a number of ways. As well as committing to only one major fiscal event per year, the manifesto pledges to introduce a roadmap for business taxation for the next parliament. Labour have also pledged that the main rate of corporation tax will be capped at 25% for the next parliament. This is expected to keep the UK main rate the lowest in the G7 countries and Labour commits to ‘act if tax changes in other countries pose a risk to UK competitiveness’.

Labour have committed in their manifesto to retain the full expensing regime for companies and annual investment allowance, which also applies to self-employed individuals. Both full expensing and the annual investment allowance give an accelerated rate of deduction for capital investment. Firms will also be given greater clarity on what qualifies to aid investment decisions.

The current business rates system will be replaced in England in order to ‘level the playing field between the high street and online giants, better incentivise investment, tackle empty properties and support entrepreneurship’, though we will have to wait for further details as to how this will be achieved.

Small business will also be supported by Labour taking action on late payments and a reform of the British Business Bank to make it easier for small and medium enterprises to access capital.

Labour will not increase taxes on working people

The manifesto ruled out increases in National Insurance Contributions and the rates of income tax or VAT, and this was confirmed in the Chancellor’s speech. However, not mentioned in the manifesto were any changes to the thresholds for income tax, so we may still see the impacts of fiscal drag in continuing to freeze the thresholds and personal allowance until 2028/29. In March 2024 the Office for Budget Responsibility calculated that the personal allowance and higher rate threshold freezes would raise £33.6 billion per annum by 2028/29.

There was also no mention made on the rates or thresholds of employers’ NIC, nor was there specific mention of Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax rate rises despite rumours in advance of the manifesto. It is possible that the Labour government may look to increase the rates of or reduce the availability of reliefs, particularly if the tax gap measures below don’t generate the required income.

Non-domiciles

Abolishing the non-domicile regime has been part of Labour’s promises for some time and it is likely that they will continue with some of the measures announced by the Conservatives at the Spring Budget 2024. Although not covered specifically in the manifesto, Labour published a paper in April 2024 which included its response to the Conservative announcements. The paper included broad agreement to the four-year time period before an individual becomes subject to UK taxation of overseas income and a ten-year period of residence before worldwide assets become subject to Inheritance Tax.

However, the paper suggested that Labour would remove the 50% reduction in foreign income subject to UK tax in 2025/26 under the transitional rules as well as targeting the Inheritance Tax protection for offshore trusts. On the flipside, Labour will consider incentives to encourage investment in the UK during the first few years of UK residence, although it is noted that this was not strictly covered in the manifesto.

The manifesto additionally pledged an increase in the stamp duty land tax surcharge paid by non-UK residents purchasing residential property of 1%. This would result in a surcharge of 3%.

Tackling the tax gap

One of the key revenue generators of the manifesto was from closing the tax gap through closing non-dom tax loopholes and investment in reducing tax avoidance, contributing £5.23 billion of the £8.54 billion to be raised per annum by 2028/29. The tax gap is the difference between the tax which is thought to be due and that which is collected; latest figures for the tax gap in 2022/23 published by HMRC estimate the total tax gap to be £39.8 billion or 4.8% of total theoretical tax liabilities. This is expected to be achieved partly by a £855 million annual investment in HMRC. Labour states:

‘We will increase registration and reporting requirements, strengthen HMRC’s powers, invest in new technology and build capacity within HMRC. This, combined with a renewed focus on tax avoidance by large businesses and the wealthy, will begin to close the tax gap…’

The manifesto also pledged to close the loophole in the private equity industry where ‘performance related pay is treated as capital gains’. Although there was little additional information in the manifesto we expect to see more detail in the coming months; Labour calculate that this change will raise £565 million per annum by 2028/29.

On a global scale, Labour also state they support the implementation of the OECD global minimum rate of corporate taxation.

Reforming the planning system

Much of the Chancellor’s speech concerned actions to ‘fix’ the planning system and kickstart economic growth through infrastructure development and housebuilding. Before the end of July, the Chancellor pledged to consult on reforming the National Planning Policy Framework, including the restoration of mandatory housing targets. Further measures will accelerate stalled housing sites, support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers and use governmental intervention in planning applications where ‘the potential gain for the regional and national economies warrant it’. Brownfield and grey belt land will be prioritised for development to meet housing targets where needed.

The ban on new onshore wind in England will be ended and decisions on large developments will be taken nationally and not locally.

Employment and skills

Some legislation which we may see in advance of a budget is around employment rights; the manifesto commits to introducing legislation for consultation within 100 days, including banning zero hours contracts, ending fire and rehire and introducing basic rights such as parental leave and sick pay from day one.

Labour has also committed to ensuring the minimum wage is a ‘genuine living wage’ and removing the age bands so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.

Labour plans to replace the Apprenticeship Levy with a more flexible Growth and Skills Levy and ensure qualifications offer value for money. Labour also pledges to establish a youth guarantee of access to training, and an apprenticeship or support to find work for all 18- to 21-year olds.

VAT on private school fees

Although Labour pledged to not increase VAT, the manifesto did promise to end the VAT exemption on private school fees and business rates relief for private schools. These measures are expected to raise £1.51 billion in 2028/29. We will have to await legislation for full details, but key considerations include how the measures will be implemented to ensure only private school fees are targeted. Any schools required to register for VAT as a result of these changes are expected to also have to comply with the Making Tax Digital rules.

Energy Profits Levy

The manifesto pledged changes will be made to the Energy Profits Levy, which is the windfall tax on oil and gas companies. These include:

  • Extending the sunset clause (when the levy will end) until the end of the Parliament.
  • Increasing the rate of the levy by 3%.
  • Removing ‘unjustifiably generous investment allowances’.

These measures are expected to raise £1.2 billion per annum by 2028/29.

When can we expect a Budget?

Previously an incoming government would often hold an Emergency Budget in order to quickly implement their manifesto pledges. This is not expected with this government; Labour have committed to accompanying any fiscal statement with a full forecast from the OBR, which typically requires ten weeks’ notice, and the Chancellor’s speech stated that a date would be confirmed ‘in due course’.

As a result, we are likely looking at mid-September at the earliest for the Budget but it is possible we will see certain measures introduced sooner such as the roadmap for business taxation or National Wealth Fund and legislation released for consultation on employment rights and the non-domicile regime.

Understanding Tax Deductions for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide

At Elsby & Co, we are dedicated to helping business owners navigate the often confusing world of taxes. Today, we’re diving into a topic that can save you money and stress: tax deductions for small businesses. Grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and let’s demystify tax deductions together!

What Are Tax Deductions?

First things first: what exactly are tax deductions? In simple terms, tax deductions reduce your taxable income, which in turn reduces the amount of tax you owe. They are legitimate expenses that you can subtract from your gross income to arrive at your taxable income. Think of them as the government’s way of acknowledging the costs of running your business and giving you a break for those expenses.

Home Office Deduction – If you run your business from home, you may be eligible for the home office deduction. This deduction allows you to write off a portion of your home expenses, such as mortgage interest, rent, utilities, insurance, and repairs, based on the percentage of your home used for business purposes. Remember, the space must be used exclusively and regularly for your business.

Business Use of Your Car – Do you use your car for business purposes? You can deduct expenses related to its business use. There are two methods to calculate this deduction:

  • Standard Mileage Rate: Deduct a set amount per mile driven for business purposes.
  • Actual Expense Method: Deduct actual expenses such as gas, oil, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation based on the percentage of business use.

Supplies and Equipment – From office supplies like pens and paper to larger equipment like computers and printers, these expenses are deductible. For more significant purchases, consider the Section 179 deduction, which allows you to deduct the entire cost of qualifying equipment in the year it’s purchased rather than depreciating it over time.

Travel Expenses – Business travel can be costly, but many of these expenses are deductible. This includes transportation (flights, trains, car rentals), lodging, and meals (subject to a 50% limit). Keep detailed records and receipts to substantiate your deductions.

Meals and Entertainment – Entertaining clients and having business meals can also be partially deductible. Generally, you can deduct 50% of the cost of business meals if they are ordinary, necessary, and directly related to your business activities.

Employee Salaries and Benefits – If you have employees, you can deduct their salaries, wages, and other forms of compensation, such as bonuses and commissions. Additionally, employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and other fringe benefits are deductible.

Rent – If you rent office space, that expense is fully deductible. This also applies to rented equipment or vehicles used for business purposes.

Utilities – Utility costs such as electricity, water, gas, phone, and internet used for your business are deductible. If you have a home office, only the portion used for business is deductible.

Insurance – Various types of insurance premiums are deductible, including property, liability, malpractice, workers’ compensation, and business interruption insurance.

Professional Services – Fees paid to accountants, lawyers, consultants, and other professionals who help you run your business are deductible. This includes tax preparation fees and fees for financial advice.

Marketing and Advertising – Expenses related to marketing and promoting your business, such as website development, business cards, online ads, and promotional events, are fully deductible.

Education and Training – The cost of courses, workshops, seminars, and other educational resources related to your business is deductible. This includes books and materials required for the training.

How to Maximize Your Deductions

Keep Accurate Records – One of the most crucial steps in maximizing your deductions is keeping detailed and accurate records. Save all receipts, invoices, and proof of payment. Use accounting software to track your expenses and categorize them correctly.

Separate Personal and Business Expenses – Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business and personal finances. This separation simplifies record-keeping and ensures you don’t miss any deductible expenses.

Consult with a Professional – Tax laws can be complex and change frequently. Working with a professional accountant can help you identify all possible deductions and ensure you’re in compliance with tax regulations. Our friendly team is always here to help!

Final Thoughts

Understanding and taking advantage of tax deductions can significantly reduce your tax burden and increase your business’s profitability. By keeping meticulous records, staying informed about deductible expenses, and seeking professional advice, you can navigate the tax landscape with confidence.

At Elsby & Co, we are passionate about helping businesses thrive. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into tax deductions and empowered you to make the most of your business expenses. If you have any questions or need personalized assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Happy deducting!

Feel free to contact us for a consultation or any accounting needs – email us at help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Elsby & Co unveils new study package for aspiring accountants

The next generation of aspiring accountants is being given a huge boost by an established accountancy firm in Northamptonshire.

Elsby & Co, which is based in Rushden, has launched a comprehensive apprenticeship programme to recruit and develop the brightest new talent in its industry.

It guarantees apprentices a structured learning programme, ringfenced learning time, flexible access to courses, support from a dedicated mentor and a recognised qualification at the end of the scheme.

Head of Operations Ann Phillips said: “Everyone’s lives have got busier which means it’s harder to study in our own time than it used to be. Our trainees attend learning and revision courses during work time, to help them prepare for their exams, because we want to protect our teams’ work-life balance.”

“Our approach to study dovetails with our approach to wellbeing and one of our key values – caring for your experience – and for us that starts in the office.”

Elsby & Co works closely with First Intuition, Northampton College and Bedford College to provide AAT apprenticeships for 16 and 18-year-olds, as well as graduate ACCA apprenticeships.

Audit Senior Manager Sue Halsall worked as an audit manager for 22 years and as a training manager before joining Elsby & Co last year where she is a mentor to other staff members.

She said: “We have a fantastic team, ranging from trainees at the start of their career to more senior members of staff, and I relish sharing my years of experience with them. It truly is a collaborative team – everyone trains one another and shares their knowledge generously.”

Elsby apprentice Niamh Standen said: “I didn’t think an apprenticeship was the route I wanted to go down, and had my sights set on university. I now urge anyone thinking about an apprenticeship to apply for work experience because the week I had here changed my mind completely. Everyone wants the best for you at Elsby & Co and I truly feel part of the team.”

Staff also receive regular 1-2-1s with their line managers and soft skills training delivered through lunchtime learning sessions, podcasts and recorded presentations.

In addition, the team benefits from a comprehensive support package, including flexible working options, a community support scheme, an electric car company car scheme for managers, a bonus scheme and a long service holiday award.

It is also part of a benefits scheme which provides staff with discounts via an app to a range of supermarkets, department stores, cinemas and popular restaurants and bars and its health and wellbeing package includes access to a free GP 24/7 service and a confidential Employee Assistance Programme.

To find out more about joining the firm, email elsbyrecruitment@elsbyandco.co.uk

For information about Elsby & Co, visit https://www.elsbyandco.co.uk/

Read a full version of this article here – Firm unveils new study package for aspiring accountants – Northants Life | News | Events | Advertise | Northampton Magazine

Creating a home office tax efficiently

You want to erect a cabin in your garden to use as a home office. You and your family will also use it for private purposes. Will it be more tax efficient for you or your company to pay for it?

No tax exemption

If your company provides you with as asset, e.g. a computer, solely for the purpose of work to use when you’re away from your normal workplace it isn’t a taxable benefit in kind. This exemption applies even if there’s private use as long as it’s not significant. Consequently, if the private use is significant there is a taxable benefit in kind.

How much tax?

The taxable amount depends on two factors: the cost of providing the asset and any additional expenses, e.g. for maintenance of the asset.

Example. Carol is an owner manager of Acom Ltd. She wants to spend less time commuting and so arranges for Acom to pay for a fancy garden office so she can work at home. It pays £25,000 for the installation. The taxable benefit is 20% of this, i.e. £5,000 each year. Assuming the structure is used for 15 years Carol will be taxed on a whopping £75,000. In addition, Acom pays Class 1A NI on the same amount. If Carol is a higher rate taxpayer throughout the 15 years, and assuming the tax and NI rates stay as they are, the tax and NI cost would be £40,350 ((£75,000 x 40%) + (£75,000 x 13.8%)).

Alternative tax charges

If in our example Acom rented or leased the structure, the taxable benefit in kind for any year will not be 20% of its cost but the amount of rent etc. paid by Acom. Carol pays for lighting and heating the office personally. If Acom paid these costs it would increase the taxable benefit. Despite this it could be more tax and NI efficient for Acom to pay them.

Reduction for unused periods?

Some days Carol won’t use the garden office at all. The bad news is that this doesn’t reduce the taxable benefit. The benefit applies to any day where the office is “available” for private use, even if it’s not used. Unless Acom is able to prevent its use, the garden office will always be available.

Reduction for business use?

The tax rules for employment income include various exemptions and deductions relating to benefits in kind where there is business use associated with the benefit. We’ve already mentioned one which applies where private use of a benefit is insignificant. However, in our example, the private use is significant so the exemption cannot apply. Also, while a reduction in the taxable amount is allowed where there’s business use of some types of benefit, this rule doesn’t apply to use of an employer-owned asset.

More tax efficient alternative

The long-term use of employer-owned assets can result in a disproportionate tax and NI bill.

Tip. Rather than making an asset available to a director or employee for long-term use, the NI cost can be reduced if a dividend is paid. In our example, the tax cost to Carol would be just under £15,300 with no NI for Acom to pay. Even though Acom will lose corporation tax relief on the cost of the asset (up to £7,500), the overall tax bill is far less. When providing use of an asset always consider the tax and NI cost over the expected period for which it will be used.

If private use of the home office is significant, an annual taxable benefit will apply equal to 20% of the cost of the office. Over many years the resulting tax and NI can easily exceed the original cost of the asset. It would be more tax and NI-efficient for your company to pay you a dividend to enable you to purchase it.

 

If you want advice on tax efficiencies, get in touch – help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Read more about how our expert team of tax accountants can advise clients on their personal tax affairs – Personal Tax Accountants Northampton | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Ground-breaking accountancy firm helps clients with recruitment

A Northamptonshire accountancy firm which prides itself on offering far more than the traditional compliance service provided by most accountancy companies is helping its clients to drive forward their recruitment plans. During the past few years, Elsby & Co has nearly doubled its workforce thanks to its relationship with fellow Northamptonshire-based firm, recruitment consultancy Exceda.

Exceda has helped Elsby to grow by finding it good candidates and overhauling its recruitment and retention policies, so it secures and keeps the right people. The relationship has proved so successful for Elsby, its team now signposts clients it identifies as in need of recruitment help to Exceda so they can also benefit from its advice.

Partner Carl Elsby said: “I often feel that traditional recruitment agencies are trying to fill vacancies as quickly as possible to get their fee whether the person is right or wrong. With Exceda it’s not like that. They want to place the right person with you.”

He continued, “Successfully growing our workforce has meant our senior team has more time to focus on business development and our services and the complementary businesses we’ve launched as a result are helping our clients to thrive. This is why we see Exceda as a key part of our own growth plan and we realised they could help our clients to grow too. It’s unusual for accountancy firms of our size to put clients in contact with recruitment experts but knowing our clients can speak to Exceda reassures us they have somebody who has their best interests at heart.”

Carl Elsby and Nikki Sargent discussing Recruitment strategies

 

Exceda is owned by Nikki Sargent who has worked in recruitment for around 20 years, across a range of industries. She works with a variety of clients, including Elsby and its customers, on permanent contract recruitment for roles at all levels.

Nikki said: “The most important thing in a competitive market is candidate experience. From the outset when candidates make an enquiry to their induction and onboarding – the whole process has got to be slick. Candidates will often have two or three job options and the experience they have with a company will be the differentiator. If you make them feel special that can make all the difference.”

Exceda offers a flexible payment model to clients, a retainer contract for firms with regular recruitment needs and can help companies with their recruitment and retention policies.

To find out more about Exceda, visit https://www.exceda.co.uk/

For more information about Elsby & Co email help@elsbyandco.co.uk, call 0330 053 9189 or visit www.elsbyandco.co.uk

Accountancy firm is tearing down stereotypes

An established Northamptonshire accountancy firm is on a mission to smash the stereotypes associated with its profession and inspire the next generation to join its ranks.

Rushden-based Elsby & Co has been taking part in a series of events during the past month to show teenagers that accountancy does not deserve the ‘dull’ reputation it has suffered from in the past.

The firm’s expert team has been spreading the news about its exciting approach to accountancy and apprenticeships at the latest careers fairs at Rushden Academy and Northampton College and held its own Student Open Evening this month.

Managing partner Claire Emery, who regularly challenges the stereotypical idea of an accountant when she takes to the stage in her spare time as one half of ABBA tribute act ‘Honey Honey’, said: “I was recently reading an article that highlighted the stereotypes that continue to persist around accountancy. For many people accountancy is still coming across as stuffy and dull which is a huge shame because it’s putting people off the profession and here at Elsby that stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“We pride ourselves on being a friendly non-traditional firm. We’re not boring accountants – we’ve pushed the boundaries when it comes to what we offer to our clients. We advise and support them and provide a much wider range of services than you would normally expect to receive from a traditional accountancy firm. This is great news for our clients and it also keeps things interesting for our staff.”

“Our recent Student Open Evening was a great opportunity for us to offer students – graduates, school leavers and those still studying – the chance to meet some of our team and learn about the different career paths available into accountancy and ask any burning questions they had.”

“We were very impressed with those that attended and the interest they had in the field of accountancy.”

The Elsby & Co team also benefits from a comprehensive package providing wellbeing support, flexible working options and training opportunities.

For more information about Elsby & Co visit https://www.elsbyandco.co.uk/.

 

This is an abridged copy of an article featured in the Northamptonshire Telegraph – Accountancy firm is tearing down stereotypes (northantstelegraph.co.uk)

Retirement Planning – Prepare to transform your golden years into an era of prosperity and security

Are you contemplating your financial future? Embark on effective retirement planning with Elsby & Co’s expert guidance. Prepare to transform your golden years into an era of prosperity and security by laying down a strategic plan today.

Embarking on the journey of retirement planning is akin to charting a course for a fulfilling and secure future. It’s the strategic process of setting retirement income goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve them. This includes identifying sources of income, sizing up expenses, implementing a savings programme, and managing assets and risk.

Why is retirement planning pivotal? It’s simple: longevity. With life expectancies on the rise, the twilight years can stretch into a few decades. Without a robust plan, the golden years could be tarnished by financial strain. A plan acts as a financial compass, guiding you through market volatility and economic changes, ensuring that your retirement savings last as long as you do.

Moreover, early planning affords you the luxury of time, allowing your investments to grow and compound, potentially leading to a more comfortable retirement. It also prepares you for unforeseen events such as health issues or economic downturns, which could otherwise derail your financial security.

In essence, retirement planning is not merely about stashing away money; it’s about crafting a vision for your future self and taking control of the financial aspect of your retirement dreams. Elsby & Co understands this vision and stands ready to help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning, ensuring that your golden years shine bright with promise and potential.

 

Planning in your early years

Embarking on the journey of retirement planning in your 20s and 30s may seem premature to some, but it is a strategic move that can set the stage for a comfortable and secure future. During these formative years, time is your most valuable ally, allowing the magic of compound interest to work in your favour. The earlier you start, the more your money grows, thanks to the exponential growth that accrues over the decades.

At this stage, it’s crucial to establish a solid financial foundation. Begin by contributing to a pension plan, whether it’s a workplace pension or a private scheme. Maximising contributions early on can significantly boost your retirement pot, as you benefit from tax relief and employer contributions, where applicable. It’s also the ideal time to start an Individual Savings Account (ISA), which offers a flexible, tax-efficient way to save.

Another key consideration is to diversify your investments. A mix of equities, bonds, and other assets can balance risk and return. Remember, with the luxury of time, you can afford to take on more risk for potentially higher returns, as there’s ample opportunity to ride out market volatility.

Elsby & Co understands that retirement planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. Our experts can guide you through the myriad of options, helping you to create a bespoke retirement strategy that aligns with your long-term financial goals. By taking proactive steps now, you’re paving the way towards a retirement that’s not just financially secure, but also rich in possibilities.

 

Planning in your 40s and 50s

As the hands of time continue to turn, the importance of retirement planning becomes ever more pressing, particularly for those in their 40s and 50s. This is a pivotal time when the horizon of retirement begins to crystallise, and the window for impactful financial preparation narrows. It’s a period characterised by peak earning years, and thus, an opportune moment to bolster your retirement savings.

For individuals navigating this crucial stage, it’s essential to conduct a thorough review of your pension pots. This includes assessing your current workplace pension scheme, personal pensions, and any additional savings earmarked for retirement. It’s a time to maximise contributions, especially since many in this age bracket may find themselves in a more favourable financial position to do so. Consider leveraging catch-up contributions if you’re behind on your savings goals – these can be a powerful tool to amplify your pension pot.

Investment strategy refinement is also key during this phase. It’s advisable to reassess your risk tolerance and ensure your investment portfolio is aligned with your retirement timeline and income needs. Diversification remains a cornerstone of a robust investment approach, mitigating risk while seeking growth.

Elsby & Co can provide invaluable assistance during this critical planning phase. Our expertise in pension review and investment strategies can help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning. We offer tailored advice to ensure your pension is working as hard as you are, setting you on a path towards a comfortable and secure retirement. With Elsby & Co’s guidance, you can approach the golden years with confidence, knowing your retirement plan is robust, tax-efficient, and customised to your unique financial landscape.

 

Retirement time

Embarking on the golden years of your 60s, retirement planning transitions from a distant concept to an imminent reality. It’s a pivotal decade where the fruits of your labour are ripe for harvesting, but careful management is crucial to ensure they last. At this juncture, the focus shifts from accumulation to preservation and distribution of your retirement savings.

In your 60s, reviewing your pension pots becomes a priority. You should have a clear understanding of your state pension entitlements, as well as any personal or workplace pensions you’ve contributed to over the years. It’s also the time to consider the practicality of annuities or drawdown options, weighing the benefits of a steady income against the flexibility of accessing your funds as needed.

Devising a tax-efficient withdrawal strategy is essential to maximise your retirement income. This includes understanding the tax implications of withdrawing from various pension schemes and investment accounts. It’s also prudent to reassess your investment risk tolerance, as a more conservative approach may be advisable to protect your nest egg from market volatility.

Elsby & Co can provide expert guidance in navigating these complex decisions. Our advisors can help you understand the intricacies of pension freedoms and tax implications, ensuring you make informed choices that align with your retirement vision. With our support, you can approach this exciting new chapter with confidence, knowing your financial future is secure and your retirement plan is robust.

As the golden years approach, the significance of a robust retirement plan becomes ever more apparent. A well-crafted plan not only ensures financial security but also affords peace of mind, allowing one to fully embrace and enjoy the retirement phase of life. It’s about building a safety net that supports your lifestyle choices and unforeseen expenses that may arise during your non-working years.

 

How can we help?

When reviewing your retirement strategy, key elements to check include your pension pot size, investment portfolio, and potential income streams. Assessing your expected living costs, healthcare provisions, and inflation impact is crucial. Moreover, it’s wise to consider the tax implications of your savings and the efficiency of your estate planning.

Elsby & Co steps in as a pivotal partner in this journey, offering tailored advice to navigate the complexities of retirement planning. Our expertise lies in crafting personalised plans that align with your aspirations and financial circumstances. We help you optimise your pension schemes, advise on tax-efficient savings, and ensure your investments are working as hard as they can for your future.

With Elsby & Co, retirement planning transcends mere financial preparation; it’s about sculpting a future that resonates with your dreams and goals. Let us guide you towards a retirement filled with confidence and clarity, underpinned by a plan that’s as resilient as it is rewarding.

As we navigate through life’s chapters, the importance of a tailored retirement planning strategy becomes clear. Elsby & Co’s advisory expertise ensures you achieve a comfortable retirement, complemented by a resilient financial foundation. Recapitulating, your golden years deserve the lustre of a well-fed pension pot, a balanced investment portfolio, and a tax-efficient income stream. Craft your future with confidence; consult with Elsby & Co for bespoke retirement solutions that promise peace of mind and financial freedom.

 

If you want to arrange a chat about your financial future, get in touch. Give us a call on 01933 312950 or send us an email – help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Read more about our Estate Planning Services here – Estate Planning Services Northampton | Elsby & So (elsbyandco.co.uk)

The start of an exciting new phase of development at Elsby’s!

The beginning of April marks the start of an exciting new phase of development at Elsby’s!

The two offices (Rushden and Sywell) have become independent businesses and Carl Elsby has retired from his role with the Sywell office, allowing him to put all efforts into the Rushden office.This simplifies the Elsby business significantly, as it will now be a single office based in Rushden. As a further development, Claire Emery has continued her progression by stepping into the role of Managing Director, so is responsible for determining the future direction of the business. Carl and Leona Bateman will continue to make up the Partner team. Leona takes on the important role of Finance Partner whilst Carl looks forward to a slightly less pressurised role supporting the Partner team and client services.

Claire’s plans for the forthcoming year are actually to keep things really simple. She wants to build on the business strengths and invest further in promoting staff loyalty and togetherness, which in turns allows for such a strong, supportive client service.

“There is huge consolidation in the accountancy industry where most firms of a certain size are being acquired by Private Equity investors, generally for a further sale in a few years. We are already starting to see the effect on new clients, where they have lost their point of contact due to such sales having taken place. We don’t see this as beneficial to either staff or clients, and instead see the future as long-standing, loyal, warm relationships. This is the direction I want to take Elsby’s, which is really what we’ve always been about, but I want to super-charge it”, said Claire.

For our clients here in Rushden, it is business as usual, and little will change in terms of the fantastic service that you receive, other than we’ll be looking to continually improve it! We’re excited for this new chapter for Elsby, where we continue to grow and support our wonderful clients with their business and personal aspirations.

Elsby’s really are the only accountants you’ll ever need or wish to consult, throughout the lifetime of your business and beyond. 🙌

Visit our website here to find out more about us – Accountants in Northampton & Rushden | Elsby & Co (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Find out more about the Elsby team here – Meet the Elsby & Co Team (elsbyandco.co.uk)

Maximizing Your Wealth: Personal Tax Planning

In the dynamic landscape of personal finance, strategic tax planning plays a pivotal role in maximizing wealth and securing a prosperous future.

As we start the new tax year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your financial situation and take proactive steps to minimize your tax liability. Personal tax planning is a crucial aspect of managing your finances, and with careful consideration, you can optimize your tax strategy to keep more of your hard-earned money. At Elsby & Co, we understand the intricacies of the UK tax system and are committed to empowering individuals with the knowledge needed for effective personal tax planning. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into key strategies to help optimise your financial health.

 

Understanding Your Tax Obligations

To embark on a successful tax planning journey, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your tax obligations. Our expert team at Elsby & Co recommends starting with a thorough review of your income sources, investments, and potential deductions. By assessing your financial landscape, you lay the foundation for a tailored tax strategy that aligns with your unique circumstances. Take note of any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or changes in employment status. These events can significantly impact your tax situation and may warrant adjustments in your tax strategy.

Utilizing Tax-Advantaged Accounts

One effective way to reduce your taxable income is by contributing to tax-advantaged accounts. The term tax-advantaged refers to any type of investment, financial account or savings that is exempt from taxation, tax deferred or that offers other types of tax benefits. An example of this would be to maximise the amounts paid into your pension, these contributions not only help secure your financial future but also provide immediate tax benefits. Elsby & Co can assist you in navigating pension contributions, tax relief, and other retirement-focused tax strategies.

Implementing Investment Strategies

It is key that you regularly review and consider the tax implications of your investment portfolio. A crucial element of investing is managing how much tax you will owe on your gains. The timing of disposals and the taxes are sometimes overlooked or considered after the event, deferring a disposal to the following tax year could have a big impact on the overall investment results. Before investing, it’s important to understand the type of investment you are making, how long you plan to hold it, and its tax implications.

Capitalising on Deductions and Credits

Identifying potential deductions and credits available to you. Common deductions include mortgage interest, student loan interest, and medical expenses. Additionally, taking advantage of any tax credits for which, you qualify, such as the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, or education-related credits.

Charitable Giving

If you are inclined to give back to your community or support charitable causes, consider making strategic charitable contributions. If you pay Income Tax at the basic rate no additional relief is due on your gifts. However, Higher Rate and Additional Rate Relief is given by increasing your basic rate band and higher rate band by the grossed-up amount of your charitable gifts. Not only will you contribute to a worthy cause, but you may also qualify for a charitable deduction, lowering your taxable income.

Timing Matters

The timing of your financial transactions can significantly impact your tax liability. Consider deferring income or accelerating deductions when it makes sense for your specific situation. This could involve delaying the receipt of a year-end bonus which may have pushed a portion of your income into a higher tax bracket or making early payments for deductible expenses.

Stay Informed

Tax laws and regulations are subject to change, and staying informed is crucial for effective tax planning. Elsby & Co can help you regularly review updates from tax authorities and inform you on potential changes that may affect your tax strategy.

 

Personal tax planning is an ongoing process that requires attention to detail and strategic decision-making. By proactively managing your finances and taking advantage of available tax incentives, you can minimize your tax liability and keep more of your money working for you.

Elsby & Co stands as your trusted partner in navigating the complexities of tax planning. By embracing a client-centric approach, staying at the forefront of technological advancements, and upholding the highest ethical standards, we empower you to maximize your wealth through strategic tax planning.

Take the proactive step towards financial success – consult with Elsby & Co today and embark on a journey to optimise your personal tax planning for the year ahead. Your wealth deserves nothing less than the expertise and innovation we bring to the table.

 

Call us on 01933 312950 or email us at help@elsbyandco.co.uk

Click here to find out more about how Elsby & Co can help you.

The Power of Networking Events

Networking events are an essential tool for SME growth, providing a rich soil for cultivating relationships and unearthing market insights.

In the bustling business landscape, networking events stand as pivotal junctions where professionals and entrepreneurs converge to share ideas, forge partnerships, and cultivate invaluable contacts. These events come in various formats, each tailored to different objectives and industries. From casual meet-and-greets, industry-specific conferences, to structured speed networking sessions, the opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to expand their horizons are abundant.

For SMEs, attending these gatherings is not just beneficial; it’s a strategic imperative. In a world where who you know can be as crucial as what you know, networking events offer a platform to connect with potential clients, suppliers, and even future employees. They serve as a melting pot of insights where the latest industry trends are discussed, and innovative ideas are exchanged. By engaging with peers and thought leaders, SMEs can gain a competitive edge, staying ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving market.

Moreover, such events can act as a catalyst for growth. They provide a stage for SMEs to showcase their offerings, garner feedback, and even secure investment or mentorship opportunities. The informal setting of networking events often leads to more candid conversations and the chance to build authentic relationships that go beyond mere transactions.

Recognising the importance of these interactions, here at Elsby & Co, we run our own networking events. These are specifically designed to cater to the needs of SMEs, offering them a local platform to connect, learn, and thrive within a supportive ecosystem.

Putting your business out there

Networking events serve as a platform for visibility. In a sea of competitors, standing out is vital. By attending these events, SMEs can put a face to their business, making their operations more personable and memorable. It’s a chance to share your brand’s story, ethos, and values, not just in passing conversations, but through the more lasting impressions that come from genuine connections.

Knowledge exchange is an invaluable aspect of networking events. They provide a space for SMEs to stay abreast of industry trends, learn from peers, and even gain competitor insights. This information can be pivotal in steering the business towards innovation and staying ahead of the curve.

Moreover, networking events are fertile ground for cultivating partnerships and client leads. The informal yet professional setting allows SMEs to identify potential collaborators, suppliers, or even new customers. These events can often lead to mutually beneficial relationships that might not have been forged in the confines of a traditional office setting.

Networking can bolster an SME’s support network. Running a business can be isolating, but through these events, entrepreneurs connect with mentors, advisors, and fellow business owners who can offer support, advice, and encouragement.

You’ve booked, what next?

Elsby & Co understands the power of networking and runs bespoke events in Northamptonshire, tailored to the needs and interests of SMEs. These events are designed to maximise the benefits outlined above, ensuring that SMEs leave not just with a handful of business cards, but with valuable connections that could shape the future of their business.

Navigating the bustling landscape of networking events can be a game-changer for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These gatherings are more than mere social mixers; they are fertile grounds for cultivating business relationships, exchanging industry insights, and unlocking growth opportunities. To truly reap the benefits, SMEs must approach these events with a strategic mindset. Here’s how to get the best out of networking events and ensure your time is well-invested.

Preparation is Key

Before stepping into the networking arena, arm yourself with knowledge. Research the event, the attendees, and the industries represented. This intel will help you identify who you want to connect with and tailor your conversations accordingly. Prepare an elevator pitch that succinctly conveys your business’s value proposition, making it memorable and engaging.

Set Clear Objectives

Define what success looks like for you at the event. Are you aiming to find potential clients, collaborators, or to gain market insights? Setting specific goals will guide your interactions and help you measure the event’s effectiveness post-attendance.

Quality Over Quantity

While it may be tempting to meet as many people as possible, quality connections often trump quantity. Engage in meaningful conversations where you can genuinely offer and receive value. Listen attentively and show genuine interest in others’ businesses and challenges.

Follow Up Promptly

The magic of networking often happens after the event. Follow up with new contacts within 48 hours while the conversation is still fresh. Personalise your communication, referencing specific discussion points from your encounter, and propose a clear next step, such as a meeting or a call.

Leverage Social Media

Use social media platforms to connect with attendees before, during, and after the event. Join event-related groups or discussions, share your insights, and contribute to the conversation. This digital networking can amplify your presence and keep you top of mind.

Be a Connector

Position yourself as a valuable resource by connecting people who could benefit from knowing each other. This not only helps others but also establishes you as a well-connected and generous professional, which can pay dividends in the long run.

Evaluate and Adapt

After the event, take the time to evaluate your experiences against your objectives. What worked well, and what could be improved? Use these insights to refine your approach for future events.

Elsby Networking Opportunities

For SMEs in Northamptonshire, Elsby & Co is not just an accountancy firm but also a hub for networking. We run our own events designed to bring together local businesses, offering a platform to share knowledge, foster collaborations, and drive mutual growth. By attending Elsby & Co’s networking events, you can tap into a community of like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs who are keen to connect and support each other.

Networking events can be a powerful tool for SMEs to expand their horizons and forge meaningful business relationships. By preparing thoroughly, setting clear goals, focusing on quality interactions, following up effectively, leveraging social media, being a connector, and continuously evaluating your approach, you can maximise the value of these opportunities. Remember, Elsby & Co not only provides expert financial guidance but also creates spaces for SMEs to thrive through networking. Make these events an integral part of your growth strategy and watch your business flourish.

Remember, each handshake, each conversation, could be the seedling of your next business milestone.

Join us at our next Networking event on Wednesday 24th March at Pizzeria Venezia, Rushden – www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/elsby-networking-lunch-tickets-852835212077