Insights, Events and News


Tuesday, 05 December 2017

Relaunch of Stewardship schemes should be welcomed by farmers

When the Entry Level Schemes ended in 2014 the replacement Countryside Stewardship arrangements were disappointing. A new and simplified initiative launched at the end of November is therefore welcome. Read more about this scheme and why this is good news for farmers.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Will your job be replaced by automation?

A recent Law Gazette report stated that artificial intelligence and automation will result in 67,000 jobs being replaced by 2038. How will this affect the legal sector?


Monday, 27 November 2017

The new government apprenticeship levy. Are we already seeing its effects?

Last week the BBC reported on the fall in the number of workers starting apprenticeships and suggested that the Government's apprenticeship levy is to blame for the 59% drop. Read our blog to see how this affected one local business.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Christmas gifts – what are the tax implications for employers?

With Christmas fast approaching, you may be getting caught up in the spirit of giving and considering how best to make a goodwill gesture. To help I’ve provided a brief summary of the types of gifts you may want to give to your employees and the tax implications.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Budget 2017 – the agricultural perspective

Ashley Smith shares a blog from MHA MacIntyre Hudson regarding the impact this week's Budget has had on farms and agriculture.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Making the most of VAT

VAT is a complex area for charities and one which is easy to get wrong. Get it wrong and it could result in project underfunding or missed opportunities to claim reliefs.

As charities grow and develop, activities and income streams change. It’s always important to consider the VAT implications of actual and proposed changes.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Walking the VAT registration plank

The main topic of discussion following publication of the Office of Tax Simplification’s (OTS) report regarding the future of VAT has been the level of the registration threshold. At present a business must register for VAT when its taxable turnover exceeds £85,000 – the highest in the EU.

The report has even prompted rumours that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is due to decrease the limit to as little as £20,000 in tomorrow’s Budget.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Is HMRC’s award of interest sufficient compensation?

When VAT has been overpaid or under-claimed by a taxpayer and the blame lies with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), section 78 of the VAT Act 1994 allows for the payment of interest in order to compensate.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Minimise your risk from fraud

Did you know that a staggering 74% of small and medium businesses have suffered cyber theft or fraud? How well protected are you and your practices?


Friday, 10 November 2017

Do all company directors have to file tax returns?

The stubborn insistence by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that all company directors must file a Self Assessment tax return has been a point of discussion in practices for many years. 

Tina Barton, specialist in personal tax issues, discusses HMRC’s online guidance “Do you need to complete a tax return?” and answers the question of whether a tax return is required.


Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Simple assessment?

Simple Assessment is HMRC’s latest brainchild intended to remove the burden of completing a Self-Assessment tax return.

From September 2017 HMRC will remove the need for some customers to complete a tax return. To find out more about these changes and how this may affect you read our full blog. 


Monday, 16 October 2017

Cyber security – What can you do?

There’s no doubt that cyber security is a significant threat to all charities. Despite this, a typical charity only spends a quarter of what a similar size business would spend on cyber security. A successful cyber-attack can leave a charity open to blackmail and ransom demands and can result in financial losses and reputational damage. However, some of the essential protections that can be put in place are neither expensive nor complicated.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Calculating holiday pay

Calculating holiday pay used to be a fairly simple calculation, based on the hours and rates as set out in the employment contract. However, a recent employment tribunal decision in Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Willetts held that voluntary overtime can amount to ‘normal remuneration’ for the purposes of calculating holiday pay. This will mean an increase in the complexity of the calculation and the payments due.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Casual wages for beaters on shoots

Running a shoot can be very enjoyable, although it does come with a number of pressures. Making sure that there is enough healthy game and praying for the right weather conditions are just a couple of worries faced, and then there are the financial commitments…


Monday, 18 September 2017

Plan to reach your business goals

Summer seems to go by quicker every year, and it’s hard to believe that the children have already been back at school for a couple of weeks. Now they’re rested they can continue their journey to fulfilling their potential, and it could be the same for your business.


Friday, 15 September 2017

Reducing the risk of fraud

The Charity Commission has highlighted concerns over the level of fraud and mismanagement in the charity sector.

Trustees have overall responsibility for governance and for safeguarding the charity’s assets. Trustees should therefore be alert to fraud, understand what it is and how it may affect the organisation.


Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Does your charity regularly review its internal controls?

What are internal controls and why are they important?

Trustees have a duty to safeguard charity assets and to make sure resources are used wisely. A good system of internal controls is key to this. Sound internal controls can reduce the risk of loss through theft, fraud, bad decisions or error.


Tuesday, 05 September 2017

Wellbeing in the workplace

At Larking Gowen we have over 300 employees across nine locations and ensuring their mental wellbeing is a very important part of our core values.

We are training managers to support staff and identify any issues that may arise in their day- to-day lives that affect their wellbeing. All of our staff have access to a confidential, free, 24 hour support helpline covering many different services including mental health issues, family issues, gambling, financial pressures, stress, and housing, to mention just a few.


Monday, 21 August 2017

National Minimum Wage in the Hospitality Sector

The recent report carried out on Modern Working Practices has seen the Hospitality sector identified as one where a significant proportion of the workforce are on, or close to, the minimum wage.

It is all too easy to inadvertently fall foul of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates and with the repercussions for doing so quite severe, including naming and shaming, it is important to review this on a regular basis.


Monday, 07 August 2017

Making Tax Digital – Government delays plans

We have seen some unusual political times over the last few years and these have produced uncertainties for the many small businesses that are the lifeblood of the UK economy. I have written recently about Making Tax Digital (MTD) and how this would have a significant impact for these small businesses, including those with rented properties.


Monday, 07 August 2017

What is the right price for farmland?

Land, of any sort, is difficult to value. As accountants we are often required to value assets of one sort or another, and various tools have been developed to do so. However, none of these tools is particularly helpful when we look at agricultural land. Rental yield, when you take out some management costs, is miniscule, and there are many uncertainties, of which Brexit is only one.


Friday, 28 July 2017

The Taylor Report’s impact on the Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality sector

On 11 July, the Taylor report, an independent review of modern working practices, was released. This review considers the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations. It sets out seven principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Making Tax Digital – an update

You may have heard that the Government recently announced a new timetable for Making Tax Digital (MTD).

Originally, the start date for many businesses was April 2018, however, they will now not be asked to keep digital records, or update HMRC quarterly, until at least 2020. This applies to all taxes except VAT. Businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will still have to keep digital records for VAT purposes from April 2019.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Corporate criminal offences

The Criminal Finances Act has introduced a new corporate criminal offence of ‘failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion’. The offence is expected to be enforceable from September 2017.

Although this new offence doesn’t change the existing laws on tax evasion or the facilitation of tax evasion, it does make it easier to prosecute companies or partnerships (relevant bodies).


Friday, 21 July 2017

How to create impactful reports for your charity

Communication with the outside world has never been more important. Making sure you successfully communicate what you are doing and the difference you make to your beneficiaries can mean the difference between future funding being awarded or not. You should communicate not just how funds are spent, but the impact it has, that is, the public benefit you deliver.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Accounting changes for Academies – 2017

Following the end of election purdah restrictions, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has issued its annual revision to the Academies Accounts Direction (AAD) 2016 to 2017, which will determine the format of accounts prepared by Academy Trusts for the year to 31 August 2017.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Who owns what?

Most landowners know exactly what the family owns, including the finer details of boundaries, tenancies and history. However, they may be less clear about exactly who owns which property and what’s on the business balance sheet. It’s not uncommon for someone to think they own land when in fact it’s still held in the names of grandparents’ executors, or for them to think it’s owned jointly with a spouse when that’s not the case.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The state of UK agriculture

The annual government report on agriculture has recently been issued. At 110 pages it is not easy reading, but it certainly sheds light on an industry which we, as accountants, normally only observe on a piecemeal basis.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The new rules are coming…

Recently the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) released a consultation on the new rule book and code of conduct, which currently sit at over 430 pages combined. The consultation closed on 30 September 2016.

In June 2017, the SRA released the outcome of the consultation together with their take on the comments received. They highlight that the result showed overall support of the changes that had been included, although there had been differing opinion on some of the detail.


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