They’re hired! Starters join Pierce

Leading Lancashire-based chartered accountancy and business advisory group, Pierce has added three new members of staff to its team.

Janet Moorhouse, Waqas UrRehman and Adam Zinga join the firm as payroll administrator, semi-senior accountant and accounts assistant respectively.

Thanks to a mix of new client wins and increased business activity, Pierce is performing well and has appointed the trio as part of an ongoing recruitment drive.

John Green, chairman, Pierce said: “With a growing portfolio of accountancy and payroll clients plus a busy pipeline of deals, acquisitions and disposals – Pierce is entering 2018 with a lot of momentum.

“This is fuelling a need to attract bright new staff members, so we’re delighted to welcome Janet, Waqas and Adam to the team. They’re all passionate individuals with a talent for client service so I look forward to working with them at Pierce.”

Pierce specialises in business advice, tax, accounts, auditing, payroll and offers wealth advisory services with chartered financial planner Marcus Pilkington on hand to provide advice to clients.

John continues: “At Pierce our aim is to help clients solve their challenges by delivering a broad range of services underpinned by deep expertise. This absolutely depends on attracting and retaining the very best people.

“Speaking to business owners in our network, the appetite for investment and deals is on the rise in 2018, so we’re keen to gear up for a busy year by increasing our capacity and boosting our knowledge base.”

John concludes: “We would encourage newly and recently qualified accountants and all professionals looking for an exciting career at a friendly firm or graduates looking for a quality training opportunity to get in touch via our website.”

“Recent exam successes, Charles Hopkinson and Fred Green are now fully fledged Chartered Accountants.  It is very rewarding for the whole firm when our home-grown talent makes it through this qualification.”

If you’re interested in a career in accountancy and business advisory, please visit http://www.pierce.co.uk/about/careers/.

For more information about Pierce services, please visit www.pierce.co.uk or call 01254 688 100.

 

Changes to company car benefits – are you ready?

From April 6, 2018 there will be a change to the way company car benefits are payrolled, improving the process for both the employee and employer.

From the new tax year, if you choose to payroll company cars, the car information must be submitted via payroll and tax will be collected in real time through a monthly deduction.

The new streamlined process will reduce the number of tax calculation errors, eliminating the chance that employees will be landed with a big underpayment bill. The changes are easier for employees to understand as the tax code will remain at the personal allowance, presuming the employee has no other adjustments.

There’s benefits for employers too as P11Ds and P46 cars will no longer be required, reducing the amount of paperwork and saving valuable time.

Form P11D(b) is still required to report class 1A National Insurance due and companies need to provide the employee with a summary of the benefits payrolled, the cash equivalent as well as details of any benefits not payrolled, before June 1 every year.

The change means that all benefits apart from beneficial loans and employer provided living accommodation, can be processed through payroll.

If employers wish to payroll benefits in the 2018/19 tax year, they will need to act fast and register prior to the start of the tax year. If you use payroll software, then most platforms are ready for the change.

Although the payrolling of benefits is still voluntary, HMRC are moving to real time, so we predict that this will become mandatory in the near future.

After successfully completing payrolling benefits with a client, we are looking to roll it out to other businesses ahead of the implementation date. If you would like Pierce to help you with the changes, contact Lisa Kennery on 01254 688 110 or email l.kennery@pierce.co.uk.

Lisa Kennery is the payroll manager at Pierce.

Seven clients made finalists for Red Rose Awards

Pierce is celebrating after Seven of their clients have been shortlisted for the upcoming Red Rose Awards.

The finalists for the awards, run by Lancashire Business View, include:

  • Supalite Tiled Roof Systems – Construction Business Award
  • Albert Harrison & Co – Ecommerce Business Award
  • Sagar insurances – Financial Business Award & In-House Training Award
  • Bespoke Healthcare – Health and Care Business Award
  • Vision Techniques – Innovative Business Award
  • Barnfield Construction – Large Business Award and Construction Business Award
  • Smallbone Cars -Family business

John Green, Chairman of Pierce said: “It is fantastic to see so many of our clients shortlisted for the Red Rose Awards. The ceremony is one of the highlights of the Lancashire business calendar and brings together the most talented organisations from across the county.

“We will be supporting our clients and hoping for success on the night. Good luck!”

The winners will be announced at the glittering award ceremony held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Thursday, March 8.

Solicitors could face hefty VAT bill for electronic property search fees

Solicitors are being warned they could face hefty VAT bills for electronic property searches after a landmark ruling deemed they should not be treated as a disbursement.

The caution comes following the case of Brabners LLP Vs HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) which cast doubts over solicitors’ treatment of disbursements.

Brabners conducted searches and used the results as part of its advice to clients. The law firm treated the cost as a disbursement and invoiced the client for this cost, excluding VAT. HMRC assessed the law firm as liable for VAT, a decision that the law firm appealed.

It is standard practice in the sector to treat such costs as disbursements where no VAT has been incurred, this has now changed for electronic search fees.

Guidance from the relevant regulatory bodies, which sets out how legal disbursements should be treated for VAT purposes, is now under review following the tribunal decision.

HMRC which applies strict criteria to such situations, argued that Brabners’ costs were not VAT disbursements as the recharge of the cost formed part of the onward supply to the client and was therefore subject to VAT.

The First Tier Tribunal was in agreement with the HMRC, meaning Brabners was ordered to pay a £68,000 VAT bill as the results were used as part of their advice to clients, and they were not acting as a middle man to collect the search fee from the client.

At Pierce, we would advise law firms to review their disbursement treatment in light of the outcome of this tribunal, for both previous and future policies.

If your firm is using the same process as Brabners, then contact the Law Society to seek clarification before amending your practices as Brabners may consider taking this appeal further.

For more information regarding VAT for solicitors, please contact Gary Speak on 01254 688 100 or email g.speak@pierce.co.uk

Started a new business? These tips will help you understand your auto-enrolment pension obligations and avoid a £50k fine

The new auto-enrolment pension obligations for UK companies now apply to start-up businesses from day one.

If you’re setting up a new business and want to ensure compliance, here are eight things you need to know.

  1. Employers have a duty to identify a pension provider, ensuring that their chosen payroll solution is compatible with their scheme, so staff receive their pension entitlement on time.
  2. Within five months of taking on staff, employers must complete a declaration of compliance, telling The Pensions Regulator (TPR) how they have met their obligations.
  3. If employers are late meeting their duties or fail to set up a scheme as soon as they employ staff eligible for a pension, contributions will have to be backdated to when they first employed staff.
  4. Automatic enrolment is a continual commitment for employers. They must continue to assess staff and keep records.
  5. Every three years, employers must automatically re-enrol any eligible workers who initially opted out of the workplace pension scheme.
  6. Business owners must complete a redeclaration of compliance within five months of their re-enrolment date.
  7. From April 6 2018, it will be a legal requirement for employers to increase their contributions into their staff’s automatic enrolment pension to at least two per cent. Staff contributions will also rise to make up the shortfall to bring the total minimum contribution up to five per cent.
  8. On April 6 2019, contribution levels will increase further, with employers paying a minimum of three per cent into their pension with staff making up the difference to reach eight per cent contribution.

With TPR securing fines of up to £52,500 from non-compliant companies, it is something that new businesses need to be aware of and be strict with their enforcement.

For more information about pensions, contact Philip Johnson on 01254 688110 or visit http://auto-enrolment.pierce.co.uk/

Holiday pay ruling places Lancashire firms at risk of legal action

Following a landmark legal ruling, Pierce is warning employers that they must be prepared for changes to holiday pay calculations, which must now reflect voluntary overtime worked during the rest of the year.

The warning follows an employment appeal tribunal which set a new legally binding precedent on holiday pay entitlement. Employees who earn overtime pay from voluntary duties when working should also receive those payments when they take holiday. If companies do not adhere to this, workers will have a case for an employment tribunal.

Pierce payroll administrator, Philip Johnson, said: “We are advising our clients that they must have the correct procedures in place to calculate holiday pay, and we are supporting them in implementing the necessary changes.

“This ruling has set an import legal criteria which all employers need to be aware of. Pierce is happy to advise any company that is not sure of their obligations towards employees.”

An employment tribunal appeal hearing by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council ruled that payments for voluntary duties – including voluntary overtime, standby, call-out work and travel time linked to work – should be calculated into holiday pay.

The case involved 56 members of the Unite union and employed by Dudley MBC to work on the town’s housing stock. The workers did regular overtime, worked weekends and were on a standby rota, all on a voluntary basis.

In some cases, employees received around £6,000 a year for the voluntary duties in addition to their basic salary when working, but the overtime wasn’t included in their holiday pay. The underpayments for the 56 employees varied between £350 to £1,500 per year dependent on the amount of overtime accrued.

For more information about holiday pay, contact Philip Johnson on 01254 688110 or payroll@pierce.co.uk

Pierce employees sweat mud and tears for local charities

Eight employees from Pierce Chartered Accountants have raised over £1,500 for local charities after conquering the ultimate obstacle course, Tough Mudder.

The team, who completed the 10 mile course in 4 ½ hours, are still accepting sponsorships for two charities: Legacy Rainbow House in Ormskirk, who increase the level of independence for people with disabilities, and Theo’s Warriors, supporting six-year-old Theo Power from Blackburn who has an aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Jonathan Mackie, Fred Green, Elizabeth Stebbings, Daniel Burrows, Lewis Withnell, Charles Hopkinson, Laura Waddington, and Usama Sarwar successfully finished the course in Skipton, designed by British Special Forces.

Team leader Jonathan Mackie, said: “I’m proud of the whole team, not just for overcoming the tough challenge but for also raising so much money for these two great charities.

“The donated money will really help young people with serious illnesses and their families and we’re hoping that local people and the business community can help increase the amount of funds we can give to our chosen charities.”

To make a donation to Team Pierce, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PierceToughMudder

Lancashire firms warned about the dangers of preparing for school holidays

As the excitement among children for the six-week summer holiday builds, the enthusiasm may not be shared by parents and employers who are frantically trying to work out the logistics for childcare.

According to research from Direct Line for Business the six-week summer holidays cost home businesses alone £658 million a year. The increase in leave requests creates an annual problem for companies of balancing a happy workforce with meeting the needs of the business.

Simon Diggle, Associate Director at Pierce Chartered Accountants provides his top tips to businesses to efficiently manage staff during the summer.

Length of leave

Employers can allow workers to have three weeks off at any one time, but they will need to ensure enough staff members are available to cover them. If there isn’t, they have the right to refuse the leave-but businesses need to ensure that they are consistent when approving holiday leave. To prevent any disgruntled employees, businesses should have a policy regarding when holidays can be taken and how many people can be off at any one time.

Refusing holiday requests

Although employees have a statutory right to annual leave, the company can dictate when it can be taken. Employers can set the times for when workers take their leave, most commonly at Christmas with some Lancashire businesses still operating a summer shut down. Employers can prevent people taking leave during busy periods.

When childcare arrangements fall through

Sometimes childcare arrangements break down, when they do, employers have a legal right to provide reasonable time off for dependants. This is normally unpaid and would expect to last between one or two days. Employers could suggest the use of annual leave or special leave which the company may allow with pay.

Flexible working

Parents of children aged 16 and under can request flexible working during the summer holidays. This can consist of part-time, flexi-time, compressed hours, staggered hours, working from home or term-time only working.

Employers are obliged to consider this and can only reject the application if there is a good business reason. A new work pattern needs to be agreed, once confirmed, it will permanently change the terms and conditions of the employment.

Does travel delay=pay?

During the busy summer period, travel delays do happen and there are no legal rights for employers to pay for any missed days. The result of this depends on your contract, some businesses may have contractual arrangements in place for this and provide discretionary pay for travel disruption.

Planning is key

Planning ahead during the summer months is the key to business success. If members of your accounts team are off, ensure that invoices are still processed on time to prevent payment delays as this could damage your reputation and credit rating. If the person in charge of payroll is away, organise for someone else to manage it in their absence to guarantee that staff members will be paid on time.

Pierce puts Lancashire mumpreneur in the driving seat with PLUSH business

Pierce chartered accountants has helped to put entrepreneur and working mum Susie Wilson in the driving seat of a new business manufacturing luxury leather car accessories for kids.

The Blackburn-based accountancy and business advisory group provided tax and trademarking advice enabling Susie to launch PLUSH, which designs bespoke children’s car seats for use in exclusive marques, including BMW, Porsche and Mercedes.

Pierce has worked with Susie for a number of years while she was financial director at DH Stainless in Accrington and the partnership continued when she established her own venture.

Based in Clitheroe, Lancashire, PLUSH was launched at The London Motor Show 2017 in May. The company is currently in discussions with BMW Germany, Porsche and a number of luxury car dealerships about becoming stockists.

Susie said: “I have a BMW Z4 and when I was looking for a car seat for my six-year-old daughter, I realised there were no seats to match the interior in my car. I’ve always been car mad and have an eye for fashion and design so when I discovered the gap in the market, the idea for PLUSH was born.

“I use Pierce for my accounts but they have provided me with so much more than that – they are a source of help and a voice of reason. I am a chartered accountant so I have good financial knowledge but Pierce were able to help me beyond my expertise with advice on tax and trademarking.”

Jane Smith, associate director at Pierce, said: “Susie is very entrepreneurial and Pierce is really proud to be supporting her exciting new business venture.

“Our work with PLUSH covers accounts, providing specialist tax advice and trademarking support. Our expert team has a wide range of skills, meaning we can help start-up companies and SMEs with every financial aspect of their business.

“We look forward to seeing the success of PLUSH unfold in the near future as it is such a unique enterprise.”

Start-up businesses alerted to change in pension duties

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) is warning new businesses that start up from October 2017 that they will have immediate auto-enrolment pension duties.

To date, auto-enrolment has been rolled out to existing companies, starting with large companies in 2012 and then small companies in 2015.

However, from October 1, new businesses will also be required to ensure they meet pension obligations from the date they register for PAYE. Those aged between 22 and State Pension Age and earning over £10,000 per year are eligible workers and must be auto enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme.

By law, companies will have to offer a workplace pension for all staff.

Employers must write to their staff to tell them how automatic enrolment applies to them. Employees earning below the threshold of £5876 per annum can request to be put in a pension scheme-the employer must set this up but they are not required to pay into it.

Larger companies who had their staging date in 2014 should now be considering their re-enrolment date. This date is three years after the auto enrolment staging date, however can be three months either side of the original date.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will write to new employers and those reaching re-enrolment to tell them what they need to do and by when.

Pierce is advising new enterprises to ensure that they fully understand their obligations and have pension procedures in place for when they appoint employees.

For more information about pensions, contact Philip Johnson on 01254 688110 or visit http://auto-enrolment.pierce.co.uk/