MAAP Accountants of Christchurch and Bournemouth

Established in 1991, Christchurch based MAAP Accountants deliver a complete book-keeping, accounting and tax service for small to medium sized businesses in Bournemouth, Ringwood and the New Forest region.

Book-keeping       VAT       RTI Payroll       CIS       Year End Accounts       Company Formations       Workplace Pensions

It is true that reporting guidelines for small businesses have been significantly simplified in recent years making it much easier and less expensive for everyone concerned to produce year end accounts and tax returns.

At the same time the HMRC are making much better use of new technology (e.g. RTI payroll reporting) to enforce tax compliance and collection right across the small business sector. No one, and we mean no one, can afford to play outside the rules and not expect to be caught.

As accounting regulations relax, however, the amount of other rules small business has to comply with is increasing. Compliance may seem a waste of time, but it is all there for good reason … even if it does take an accident at work or a prosecution to remind us why.

If you are looking for an accountant who can give you the advice you really need, when you need it, then we look forward to talking to you. Call us for a free, no obligation chat on 01202 482121.

Monthly book-keeping and year end accounts service

New Start-up businesses and company formations

Business development consultants

RTI-Payroll

VAT

self assessment

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Don´t Get Caught out in 2016

It use to be said that we were a nation of shop-keepers. Now-a-days it might be more appropriate to think of ourselves as a nation of personal service companies.

The recent changes to the taxation of dividends in 2016/17 in the 2015 Budget will mean many small company directors will end up paying significantly more in personal tax come January 2017. Although incorporating to reduce your overall tax bill will now be less attractive, it is likely incorporation will still be the only choice for many people who offer their personal services to avoid employment status issues for their clients.

The problem for a small minority of directors, however, is that they won´t leave behind certain (bad) habits such as using their business bank account as an extension of their own personal current account. Reconciling the amount of money a director actually takes out of the Company, with the amount they should have drawn in respect of the payroll and dividend schedules can sometimes be a problem.

If you are one such person, then please take heed of this warning. If you don´t take advice from your accountant in the early part of 2015 and stick religiously to the monthly salary and periodical dividend payments agreed … then come 2016 you are going to regret it when you get hit with penalties and the extra tax assessments both your company and you personally will face.

The introduction of Real Time Information Reporting for Payrolls (RTI-Payroll) removes the questionable option for companies to retrospectively declare a salary earlier in the year to account for any unauthorised withdrawals.

The option for a small business to collect up all their invoices and bank statements in a box and then hand them over to their accountant at the year end to sort out … is no longer a sensible one to make.

If you are in business, you either have to know and comply with all the tax regulations as you go along, or work with a firm like MAAP Accountants who can do it for you. To try to continue operating in blissful ignorance will just bring you quickly to the attention of the HMRC in 2013 and end up costing you far more than the accounting fee you would have paid to keep you on the straight and narrow in the first place.

Monthly Book-keeping, Accounting and Year End Reporting

We offer a complete accounting service that begins with a really low cost solution for small family businesses that includes quarterly book-keeping and year end accounts preparation all the way through to the filing of online financial statements with Companies House and the CT600 Corporation Tax returns to the HMRC.

At the other end of our operational scale, we have been engaged many times to create and run management and accounting systems for companies turning over £20m a year.

MAAP´s principal, Ralph Elliott-King, tanned at KPMG as an auditor and later joined their KPMG Management Consultants Division. He brings ‘Big-Firm’ accounting and management experience, backed up with years of working with businesses of all sizes across the UK and Southern Ireland.

In the last few years we have seen a very significant simplification of the standards small businesses must achieve in their annual results reporting. The online filing systems developed by the HMRC and Companies House have effectively redefined the way we all now need to work.

The simplification has reduced the time we must spend as accountants preparing year end statutory financial statements … a benefit to which has resulted in cost savings for us all.

On the other hand, the HMRC is making far better use of information technology to collect in data to better detect tax reporting anomalies and even tax evasion. If your reported results step outside the expected normal parameters for your industry sector, the HMRC are likely to open a discovery enquiry to find out why.

We believe the next decade is going to see a very dramatic increase in the emphasis the HMRC place on making sure all small businesses improve their tax compliance reporting at the book-keeping level.

It is both unreasonable and wholly unrealistic to expect small business owners to have the requisite tax compliance knowledge to meet the HMRC drive for better tax compliance. Even if you have the knowledge, are you prepared to spend more time book-keeping rather than running your business?

For this reason, MAAP Accountants has been adapting the way it operates so that we can offer a much more efficient and sophisticated book-keeping service. We have developed and refined a method of working with our clients that:

  • Delivers a very high standard of clean, understandable book-keeping records;
  • Helps you avoid accidentally falling foul of the finer details of tax regulation;
  • Minimises the amount of time you spend on mundane record keeping so you can concentrate on what matters … running your business at the sharp-end; and
  • Provides an affordable service you will be pleased to pay for.

RTI-Payroll: The ‘little’ change with a sting in the tail

The conditions under which a business is given a licence to operate by the authorities is changing, and you have to be prepared to change to meet the higher standards of compliance required of you.

As an example of this, consider the impact of RTI-Payroll in 2013 for small companies.

The actual operation of the scheme is straight forward and although it requires more discipline in meeting reporting deadlines each month, there is nothing to worry about in the day-to-day operation of the system.

Most large businesses welcomed the change as it will reduce the amount of administration they have to carry out at each payroll year end.

Most small employers already out-source their payroll function to their accountants or specialist payroll agencies already. So once again the change is hardly going to present many problems.

The sting in the tail will only apply to those directors who continue to use their company´s bank account as an extension of their own. The regulations require companies to report each month the amount the payroll indicates should be paid to each director … and the amount actually paid to them … each month.

If they don´t match, then that is where problems begin. The company can expect to face penalties and extra tax.

So a little planning each year are certainly indicated for some … and that is where MAAP Accountants can really help you head off a tax disaster before it becomes a problem.

New business advisory service

The last thing you need when you´re getting your new business off the ground is to be distracted with all the legal and regulatory compliance issues you need to address.

You must focus all your energies on building the core business and have the time to develop new opportunities when they come along.

On the other hand, ignoring the paperwork leads to all sorts of unnecessary complications that can become very costly to resolve 12-18 months down the line when you start paying penalties for non-compliance and missing filing deadlines.

Let MAAP Accountants take care of the basic book keeping work, and advise you on what you have to do, and what you should be doing in the first year of trading. We will help you register with the HMRC tax authorities and Companies House if applicable.

We can also give you sound and practical advice about a surprisingly wide range of core business management functions, including Human Resources (HR), Internet and traditional marketing, business software development, database design, as well as developing management systems to run anything from stock control to credit control.

Starting a new business is a very exciting time for you. Allowing MAAP to help and guide you will make the whole exercise a little less stressful.

Call Ralph Elliott-King on 01202 482121 for a completely free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your new start-up enterprise.

Personal taxation and making tax returns

It is a common misconception that individuals only have to submit a self assessment tax return if they are asked to do so by the Inland Revenue.

The reverse is actually true. All individuals have a legal obligation to notify the Inland Revenue about any taxable income they receive during each fiscal tax year ending 5 April.

We offer a quick and inexpensive service (from 65) to prepare tax returns and calculate the tax you should be paying under self assessment. If completing your tax return is one task you really dread, then let us do it for you.

Business tax and cash flow planning

If there is one thing businesses fail to do on a regular basis is budget for the payment of their tax liabilities.

Most of us have experienced the mild degree of panic that sets in once you learn the real magnitude of the tax bill you face. How much better it would be if you were kept informed of your potential tax liability throughout the year so you could better budget for the payments as and when they fall due.

In you're a sole-trader or in partnership then it will be the payment of your self assessment tax in July and January of each year that you need to plan for.

Then there are other tax considerations such as National Insurance, and the notorious IR35 regime. The Settlement Rules are another area that can lead the unwary into unexpected back duty assessments if you have been a little too generous distributing your income to your spouse the wrong way to avoid paying so much higher rate tax.

MAAP can work with you to make sure you keep track of the tax liability as it arises so you can better plan to pay the demands as they fall due.

VAT and Payroll

Although the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise offer free training sessions, telephone support lines and informative websites, the operation of some aspects of VAT and payroll can be confusing ... even to accountants.

So if you do happen to get it all wrong, it will of course cost you more to put it right.

There is no substitute for having professional and qualified experts like MAAP to carry out the work for you, and ensure you comply with new regulations as they come into force.

Talk to us about out-sourcing your quarterly VAT book-keeping and weekly/monthly payroll runs. We will surprise you how cost effective we are.

Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax planning

The rules surrounding CGT and IHT are very complex and as fast as the accountancy and legal professions think of ways of mitigating your tax liability, the Inland Revenue move to introduce legislation to plug the gaps.

If you are disposing of a business, an investment, or planning for the passing on of your estate after your death, then the sooner you take proper professional advice the better.

Company formation service

Forming a company is actually an easy and inexpensive task to perform.

We offer a comprehensive and professional company formation service that is tailored to your specific needs.

We will be happy to explain the various steps involved not only to form the new company, but what you need to do after the corporation. There are various tax authorities you must inform if you are to avoid the penalties that can arise for failing to do so.

Business acquisitions and disposals

Are you thinking of buying or selling a business in the near future?

Then you really do need to talk to us before you go anywhere near a selling agent, vendor or purchaser.

There are many pitfalls for both the buyer and seller to fall into. It is always worth remembering that what is good news for one side, is always bad news for the other. So make sure you get it right for you by talking to us first.

Accounting Software and IT consultancy

Over the years we have written software packages that, without exaggeration, have revolutionised the way accountancy firms prepare financial statements. We have been retained as software training consultants to hundreds of accounting firms and other clients up and down the country. We have also designed software and acted as marketing consultants to Sage, TAS, Pegasus and KPMG in our time. The largest accounting system we have advised on implementing was for a courier company in London turning over 20m a year.

We mention these facts simply because we want to impress you with the simple truth that what we have to say on accounting software is worth listening to.

MAAP has also been particularly vocal in criticising accounting software houses that mislead purchasers into believing all of their accounting problems will go away the moment they buy their off-the-shelf, accounting software product. Often the converse is true.

Our issue is not with the quality of the software itself. Most packages available today represent extraordinary good value. If deployed properly, products produced by Sage, TAS, Pegasus and Quickbooks to name but a few, can make a real difference to the success and profitability of a business using their products.

The problem we find is when well-intentioned, but nonetheless, inexperienced individuals install and run a computerised accounting system without putting into place the controls you need to make sure you are posting accurate information in, so you get worthwhile and reliable reports out. More often than not, it is unfortunately a case of rubbish in, rubbish out.

For every software installation we see that does work, we find two where the information contained therein is so unreliable, it is quicker to bin the whole lot and start again rather than try and untangle the mess the operators have created.

If you are thinking of computerising or upgrading your accounting system, talk to us first. We give the first consultation free of charge and without obligation and it won´t take you long to conclude that calling us in was the second best decision you have made … the first being to computerise in the first place.

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Client Case Studies

It is important to match your needs with an accounting firm that has experience of dealing professionally with your sector.

Match one of the client profiles below, and you will know we can deliver the service you need at the fee level stated.

Call 01202 482121 for a free consultation.

MAAP Accountants
Sigma House, 44 Willow Way
Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1LA
Tel: 01202 482121
info@maap.co.uk