The #economia50 in social media – please nominate us

economia, the magazine for members of the ICAEW, want to gather the top 50 most influential names in social media, as voted for by their readers.

If you would like to vote for the 3CA Blog all you have to do is tweet @economiamag  using the hashtag #economia50 and nominate us.

The final 50 will be unveiled in the New Year on the economia website. Voting closes on December 23.

Tweet using the hashtag #economia50.

Remember if we aren’t nominated, we won’t make the list. So send your tweets now.

Company cars are in their dying days

I didn’t say this, Rebecca Benneyworth, a highly respected tax lecturer said it in an article aimed mainly at accountants, adding

The company car is being taxed out of existence, whether you’re going for a low emissions or high emissions vehicle, and it’s just not worth it anymore

Rather than make you read an article aimed at accountants I’ll add a few quotes:

What’s going to happen is that tax on company cars is set to rise really quite markedly over the next few years. Oddly, it’s perverse, but almost the worst to lose out from it are people who have gone for a low emissions car.

If you’re an occasional business driver, it [the solution] really is give up your company car and charge 45p/25p a mile for your personal car.

It’s an even tougher decision for someone who does a lot of miles.

The answer ………… is probably a van.

Do remember these rules do not apply to sole traders and partnerships and there is no general rule which can be applied to everyone. You and/or your accountant should calculate the best option for you.


Starbucks and tax – here we go again! Or should that be “Starbucks and no tax”?

A couple of years ago Starbucks pledged to pay HMRC £20 million corporation tax even though it hadn’t made any taxable profits in the UK.

At the time a number of people suggested it was a ploy to allow Starbucks to escape the criticism they were facing for not paying tax.

Last week the Financial Times mentioned the European Commission had announced an inquiry into sweetheart deals between the Netherlands and Starbucks.

Don’t forget

Only the little people pay taxes


Sound business advice for microbusinesses from Tony Robinson OBE


Business as usual – one tax rule for us and another for them

Earlier today I sent this tweet

in response to this news story.

The article goes on to say:

deals negotiated by PricewaterhouseCoopers [stet], one of the world’s largest accounting firms, on behalf of hundreds of corporate clients.

which prompted this tweet from a fellow chartered accountant


Stay on top of your cash flow: grow your small business

As Xero becomes the accounting software of choice for more and more of our clients, I am more and more impressed by the way the Xero team help small businesses succeed and grow their businesses by offering “add on” advice, i.e. advice that doesn’t relate directly to the day to day use of Xero software.

Their recent article Stay on top of your cash flow: grow your small business is required reading for all micro, small and medium sized businesses.

I especially like this quote:

UK firms which use online accounting are now getting paid an average of 36 days after invoicing their customers – that’s 23 days faster than they were in 2011.

If you’re interested in using Xero software do phone me on 01539 721002 and I can arrange a 30 day free trial and if you think our firm is based a long way (Kendal) from where you are, it doesn’t matter because Xero is online. We don’t have to be sitting next to you to help you grow your business.

Where the joyride of pension reform may lead

Jonathan Eley, personal finance editor at the Financial Times, while welcoming the huge changes being made to the pensions industry (which will give policyholders far more control over their money) has highlighted the following disadvantages:

  • More people will be subject to the annual ordeal of self assessment
  • Some people will pay too much tax when they receive their money and will then have to face reclaiming it from HMRC
  • The funds, instead of being locked away in an annuity, will be taken into account when assessing contributions to long-term care
  • Too many people will end up investing the money in buy-to-let property, in his words “a singularly bad idea in many respects”
  • HMRC is trying to obtain powers to access our bank accounts to settle outstanding tax liabilities. Will they have the power to raid pension savings once they’re in drawdown?
  • Insolvency is on the rise among over 65s, could pension pots be treated as assets for bankruptcy purposes?

As always sound professional advice is essential.

No good deed goes unpunished by HMRC

This morning and yesterday morning when I came into the office I discovered messages from HMRC on my answerphone. Both quoted a PAYE reference and asked me to phone HMRC urgently.

They were obviously for clients rather than me. HMRC often have the accountant’s phone number listed instead of the client’s for some inexplicable reason. Neither number matched any of our client records so I was left with a couple of choices – ignore the messages or contact HMRC to explain their mistake.

Unfortunately I made the wrong choice – I phoned HMRC! Never again.

HMRC on answering the phone asked me for the Accounts Office Reference which is completely different to the reference in their message. Trying to explain why I was phoning, I was told there was nothing they could do without an Accounts Office Reference!

And then HMRC wonder why there is a blog titled HMRC is Shite.

How to increase sales by 16 per cent

I’ve just read an interesting article by Xero [accounting software] who conducted a survey which showed

  • Employing an accounting professional pays off:  SMEs who use an accounting professional with Xero [software] experienced a 16 percent increase in revenue over businesses that do not work with an accounting professional but use Xero.
  • Using two accounting professionals equals more revenue: When SMEs pair an outside accounting professional with an internal one and use Xero [software], they increase the prior mentioned revenue gains by 50 percent. This means a 24 percent increase in revenue vs. 16 percent when working with only one accountant.

I know there are lies, damned lies and statistics but I have always believed that businesses with access to their up to date financial information are more successful than those who don’t have any financial facts at their fingertips.




Prompt Payment Advisory Board – isn’t there something missing?

Adding Barclays and Fujitsu to the Prompt Payment Advisory Board along with the existing members – Aviva, Bury Council, City of London Corporation, Greggs, Skanska and Stort Chemicals prompts me to ask just one question

Why aren’t there any small businesses on the board?

If the best Business minister Matthew Hancock can say is

Late payment continues to plague businesses, putting a strain on cash flow and preventing plans for growth. We have committed to tackling this problem, but there is no silver bullet. This is about a change in culture, which needs businesses and government to work together

nothing will change.

Mind you it hasn’t for the last 30 years so I don’t think we should expect much.

Change will only come when MPs understand what it means not to be paid on time. I have my own suggestion as to how they can experience this which I will expand on in the next few days.


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