Pierce supports local designer to create D-Day anniversary garden to be seen by the Queen

Pierce is delighted to be sponsoring its designer client John Everiss , to help create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ will be created by the Chorley-based designer to celebrate the lives of the Normandy veterans. It will be seen by the show’s 2.1 billion global media audience and 166,500 show visitors including HM the Queen.

The garden will be on display at the show between May 21-25 before relocating to a permanent site in Normandy in time for the D-Day anniversary on June 6.

This year is particularly poignant as it will be the final year the charity behind the garden, D-Day Revisited, will send veterans on a pilgrimage to Normandy.

Ben Smith from Pierce said: “John is a really talented gardener and as soon as we heard about his latest project, we knew we wanted to get involved. We’re really proud that our donation will go towards supporting a local business creating a lasting tribute to the D-Day veterans.

 “We can’t wait to see the finalised garden and the reactions of the veterans and the Royal family towards this tribute.”


Businesses braced for payrolling changes

With Christmas and New Year celebrations now becoming a distant memory, businesses are settling back into work for 2019.

Without doubt, the main focus for businesses this year is Brexit, but the uncertainty around the deal is making companies feel unprepared for change.

However, there are some payrolling changes that will be introduced from April 6 which businesses can plan for now.

Changes from the new financial year include:

  • Changes to hours on payslips – employers will be required to provide the number of hours being paid on the payslips of employees who are paid according to ‘time worked’.
  • Payslips for all workers – currently all people in full-time employment receive a payslip, but from April it will also become compulsory for non-employees such as freelancers and contractors to receive a payslip.
  • Welsh tax rates – for the first time, a proportion of the income tax paid by 1.34 million taxpayers living in Wales will directly fund Welsh public services.
  • Pension auto-enrolment – presently under auto-enrolment, 5% of qualifying earnings are set aside for the employee’s retirement, of which at least 2% must be paid by the employer. In April, this will increase to 8% of qualifying earnings of which at least 3% must be paid by the employer.


  • National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – the hourly rates will also increase:
  • For 25 year olds and over – an increase from £7.83 to £8.21
  • 21 to 24-year olds – an increase from £7.38 to £7.70
  • 18 to 20-year olds – an increase from £5.90 to £6.15
  • Under 18s – an increase from £4.20 to £4.35
  • Apprentices – an increase from £3.70 to £3.90
  • Termination payments – payments over £30,000 are currently subject to income tax and will also be subject to Employer National Insurance Contributions from April 2019.
  • Student loans – the Department for Education is introducing a new loan type, the Postgraduate Loan (PGL).  The threshold for paying back the loan in 2019/20 is £21,000, earnings above this will be calculated at 6%.

For more information on the changes to payrolling, email l.kennery@pierce.co.uk

HMRC removes Earlier Year Update from payroll processes

Pierce is alerting businesses to a big change to payrolling as from April 2019, the Earlier Year Update (EYU) will no longer be a valid submission for the tax year 2019 /20 onwards.

Currently used to fix any inaccuracies in reporting, HMRC is introducing the change to make the processes simpler for businesses and to allow HMRC systems and employer payroll records to align sooner.

HMRC will extend the use of the Real Time Information (RTI) Full Payment Submission (FPS) from April 20 2019, to allow employers to continue to report revised year-to-date payment data after the deadline of April 19.

Since RTI was rolled out, this decision to cease EYU has been long awaited by businesses. Currently, if an employer notices an inaccuracy in payroll data, they submit an EYU to correct the amount. This involves the employer calculating the difference between the original submission and correct position for each employee by submitting the difference on an EYU.

The use of RTI Full Payment Submission (FPS) will be extended by HMRC to allow employers to continue to report revised Year to Date (YTD) payment data after the current deadline of April 19, however the EYU will be accepted for the 2018-19 tax year.

For further information about EYU and to find out how this will impact your payroll processes, contact Lisa Kennery on 01254 688 100 or email l.kennery@pierce.co.uk.

Planning ahead for extreme weather

As our excitement for Christmas begins to build, so too does the prospect of plummeting temperatures and weather warnings hampering, hindering or halting us as we struggle to work.

If extreme weather hits the UK this winter, school closures, train delays and vehicle breakdowns will make it a struggle for staff to get to the workplace. Last year, the ‘Beast from the East’ created a predicted £1bn loss to the UK economy.

Of course businesses can’t control the weather, but they can prepare for it by putting the correct processes in place. So what rules should businesses follow if their workers can’t make it into the office and what are the rights of employees?

Schools out

If a school is closed, then parents can take ‘dependent leave’. The parent is expected to use this time not to look after their child, but find alternative child care.

However, many employers are flexible in these circumstances and will allow employees to take holiday at short notice, make the time up on another day or, if appropriate, work from home.

Travelling troubles

If the bad weather prevents you getting into work then essentially your employer does not have to pay you as it is your responsibility to make it into your workplace. The only exception to this would be if your employer provides transport for you and this is cancelled.

Employers may allow workers to request time off as part of their annual leave or work from home. Employers should not force or put pressure on employees to attempt the journey if there are safety warnings against travelling.

However, if your boss decides to close your workplace then you will still get paid. If you are on a zero hours contract though, or your employer has a contractual right to decline to offer you work at short notice, they may not have to pay you.

Also, if there is advance notice of bad weather, the employer could give notice to require employees to take their holiday.

Planning is key

Planning ahead of the arrival of adverse weather is essential to ensure disruption is minimised.  Businesses should act now to put processes in place before briefing workers on situation specific procedures. Doing so will help to maximise both staff safety and company productivity until clearer skies return.

Lisa Kennery, Payroll Manager


Exporting is great!

The UK witnessed a sharp fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit announcement, making goods and services priced in sterling more competitive in the global market.

That makes it a great time for businesses to consider exporting. However, 29% of those SMEs who would like to trade internationally say they lack the knowledge or expertise to do so.  To tackle this issue, Pierce invited industry professionals to our head office to share their knowledge with businesses wanting to export for the first time, or increase their exporting activities.

Statistics show that firms who export are 34%* more productive in the first year and exporters achieve 59%* faster productivity growth. Our event proved that exporting is great and here are some reasons why.

*Statistic taken from PIMS Annual Report, DIT (2013); Harris and Li (2007)

Top tips

Delegates heard that there is essential work that needs to be done before companies begin exporting.

Mandy Lockett, International Business Director at East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce provided us with tips and advice about exporting basics.

  • Conduct market research: the economy and markets are constantly changing – getting the right intelligence and understanding demand is crucial for success.
  • Negotiation: British people are typically shy at negotiating, but every country does it so you need to sharpen your negotiating techniques.
  • Payment methods:  payments for domestic deals are usually 30, 60 or 90 days net (open account), but when exporting, other options are available and need to be understood.
  • Quotation and terms and conditions: exporting can bring risk, so build safety nets within your terms and conditions.
  • Branding and packaging: consider whether your goods/services are suitable for overseas customers and whether they comply with the overseas markets.
  • Commodity code: carefully choose the correct code to be compliant with HMRC regulations.
  • Pricing: quotations need to build on UK selling price and take into consideration any modifications, extra packaging, bank finance charges, pre-shipment inspection, special certificates, offering extra warranty, insurance, freight charges, agent commission and potential negotiation.  

Support available

Whether you’re new to exporting or want to develop your exporting opportunities, there is a wealth of help available. East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is in the top three chambers in the UK for international support.

Stef Heywood, International Trade Advisor at the chamber, shared details of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), an £8.2 million fund to help job creation by supporting 750 enterprises in becoming exporters.

Divia Patel-Smith, International Trade Advisor at the Department for International Trade (DIT) explained how they can provide strategic advice to businesses in the region from their global network. The DIT has a high success rate: for every £1 it spends, £22 is generated for the UK economy. On a daily basis, the DIT website has new exporting opportunities uploaded from businesses looking for specific services and products from the UK.

With 36%* of UK SMEs believing that trading internationally is inherently risky, Simon Watson, Director of International Trade at NatWest, explained how banks can provide support. Banks can help businesses understand and manage risks and provide assistance with foreign exchange, duties, taxes, supplier debt and due diligence.

*Statistic taken from a Natwest and RBS survey of 200 UK SMEs called ‘World Economy Barometer: Into the Groove’.


Concluding the presentations was Michael Hill, Director of Optima Control Solutions, who shared his experience of exporting. Using the help of NatWest Bank and DIT, Michael successfully delivered his first exporting project by supplying a lithographic coating line for a company in Korea and described it as a “game changer for his business”.

Share your exporting stories with us on Twitter using the hashtag #exportingisGREAT

Apprenticeship levy – are you ready?

The government’s apprenticeship levy comes into force this spring and businesses in England should prepare for changes to their wage bill, writes Lisa Kennery.

From April 6 2017, employers with an annual wage bill of over £3m must pay the new levy, which replaces taxpayer funding of apprenticeships. It will generate £2.5bn per year to spend on apprentice training.

The pay bill is made up of the total amount of your employee`s earnings that are subject to class 1 national insurance

Theses earnings are made up of:

  • wages
  • bonuses
  • commissions
  • pension contributions

They exclude benefits in kind, such as company cars, healthcare and childcare.

The levy is set at 0.5% of a company’s total wage bill and is paid to HMRC through PAYE, changing the process for calculating payroll. The levy due will vary dependant on the bill each month.

All eligible companies will be given a £15,000 offset allowance. Therefore, an employer with an annual wage bill of £5m will spend £10,000 a year on the levy:

  • Levy sum: 0.5% x wage bill of £5m = £25,000
  • £25,000- £15,000 allowance = £10,000 annual levy payment

Groups of companies with more than one PAYE scheme will only receive one offset allowance of £15,000. Levy payments are placed into a digital account which employers can access to pay for training for apprentices appointed after April 2017. It will be determined by employers how to split the allowance between those companies.

As an incentive for businesses to start apprenticeship schemes, the government automatically tops up the levy payment by 10% so employers get more out than they put in.   

Levy funds will remain in the account for 24 months before expiring, encouraging businesses who don’t currently offer apprenticeships to establish a training scheme.

Once the levy comes into force, employers will have to inform HMRC if they are eligible. Businesses with a lower but increasing wage bill, should monitor their payroll and alert HMRC once it reaches £3m.

The levy should be paid to HMRC as part of your usual PAYE payment by 19th of the month, or 22nd if paying electronically.

The changes will also help smaller businesses who aren’t eligible to pay the levy. The government will pay 90% of the apprentice training costs through co-investment, leaving them to pay the remaining 10%.

Businesses with fewer than 50 members of staff will receive 100% funding from the government if they recruit a 16 to 18-year-old apprentice. This will run until at least 2018 when the government will issue further advice.

The full technical details of the apprenticeship levy are yet to be finalised and once confirmed it will inevitably raise further questions for employers.

The levy will undoubtedly increase the burden of administration for eligible companies. This is something that Pierce Chartered Accountants can help you with. For more information and for the latest updates on the apprenticeship levy, contact Lisa Kennery.

Festive Drinks and Buffet Photo Gallery

Thanks to all who attended our Christmas drinks last night. Wishing you a merry Christmas and happy new year

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