Member News & Events



Law firms may face retrospective VAT bills, warns Saffery Champness Accountants

Following the recent case of Brabners LLP and HMRC, Brabners have been ordered to pay £68,000 in VAT as HMRC claimed that electronic property searches should not have been treated as disbursements for VAT purposes. Leading accountancy firm Saffery Champness is warning that there may be further repercussions for law firms and their client.

Saffery Partner, Andrew Alder says that there is a risk that HMRC will look at other firms, who would do well to consider the consequences. He said: “There is a risk that not only will HMRC be looking at future disbursements (both search fee and potentially other disbursement), but they may also look at invoices issued in the last 4 years where VAT has not been applied to disbursements. The VAT treatment, both historically and going forward will depend on the facts of the outlays and how they have been contracted for.”

Prior to searches becoming subject to VAT, they were treated as a VAT free disbursement, on the basis that the data was ultimately for the benefit of the end client. However, HMRC argued that the law firms were not passing the data on as it was received, but were using it to advise clients, and therefore should have been recharged to the client with VAT as part of their services.

 

Andrew Alder says that law firms should review their disbursement treatment urgently: “Lawyers should review existing process and seek advice regarding how HMRC rules on disbursements will be applied. We expect that the Law Societies will issue new guidance in this area and will be liaising with HMRC.  However, we would recommend that firms act now to understand whether they have a potential historic issue and/or whether a change in billing process is required.

“The downside for consumers is that the existing process of VAT free outlays may change, making services more expensive for the end user.”

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Property experts review and discuss local and regional market uncertainties

Barclays Wealth and Investments, Savills, Saffery Champness Accountants and Steele Raymond solicitors addressed a packed room of delegates at a seminar dedicated to looking at the outlook of the national and local property market. The popular event took place at the Vitality Stadium at AFC Bournemouth.  Guest speakers opened the event, followed by a panel of experts taking multiple questions from the floor.

Opening the event was John Jones, Head of UK Banking and Credit Origination for Barclays who talked about trends in the market place, gave a summary of property predictor research and of the prosperity index and finished with a brief background to approaching high net worth lending. At Barclays John leads a team of 23 Lending Specialists.

Head of UK Residential Research for Savills, Lucian Cook shared his findings from research in to the market, including overall trends, analysis of emerging growth areas and Savill’s insight into local surrounding areas. Lucian is one of the country’s most authoritative housing market commentators, having been a director in Savills much-respected research team since 2007.  At Savills he leads a team of 25 highly respected researchers who collectively cover everything from social housing to the prime markets of central London and development land to residential investment.

Members of the Panel included;

·       Saffery Champness Partner, Roger Wareham who specialises in property investment, developers, contractors, agents and advisory businesses across the south coast.

·       Chris Twaits, Partner & Head of Commercial Property at Steele Raymond LLP and recognised by The Legal 500 (a key independent guide to the legal profession) as a ‘leading individual’ in commercial property in Dorset and Wiltshire.

·       Phillip Beattie, an Associate Director in the Central Southern Development team of Savills, responsible for providing valuations on a wide range of commercial and residential properties and development sites throughout Dorset Hampshire and the South.

The expert panel took numerous questions from the floor, including questions around stamp duty, inheritance tax planning, whether the Government seeks advice from Savills, potential growth in the ‘build to rent’ sector and whether we will see mortgages being transferred to the next generation.

Roger Wareham from Saffery’s commented, “There were lots of interesting and insightful questions asked and much lively debate followed.  It was really good to see the trends and themes highlighted locally.”

The Seminar was following by refreshments and networking.

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Saffery Champness Accountants to host entrepreneurs’ dinner to debate results of their annual Entrepreneurs Survey

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants have announced that they are to host an entrepreneurs’ dinner to discuss and debate the results of the firm’s annual Entrepreneurs Survey.

The recently published survey results incorporated the views of more than 200 business owners and key decision makers in the UK. The survey was conducted during the second quarter of 2017, before the June general election, reflecting the mood of UK entrepreneurs almost one year after the EU referendum result.

Levels of confidence

In the previous survey conducted by Safferys, 67% of entrepreneurs had said that they would vote to remain in the EU. The decision to leave the EU as a result of the subsequent referendum has, however, not dented the confidence of UK entrepreneurs, it would seem – 82% of respondents in 2017 stated that they were either very or quite confident that they would achieve their business objectives over the next 12 months.  This compares to 78% in the 2015 survey.

The uncertainty caused by the June 2017 general election does, however, seem to have had a slight dampening effect on confidence. The 82% referred to above is made up of only 22% ‘very confident’, with 60% being merely ‘quite confident’. Furthermore, when asked how this compares to their level of confidence last year, only 37% are more confident and exactly half feel the same as they did last year.

Saffery Partner Roger Wareham commented, “It will be interesting to see how confidence levels change as Brexit negotiations progress and our formal exit from the EU in 2019 approaches.”

 What support do entrepreneurs wants? 

Almost two-thirds of respondents want the government to reduce bureaucracy and regulations – one of the key arguments promoted by those campaigning to leave the EU. Survey respondents were clear in how they believe the government can best help them meet their longer-term business objectives; 55% want further tax incentives, 63% want less bureaucracy and few regulations, 34% want a skills shortage tackled and 34% want improved infrastructure.

Roger Warehem advised, “Only time will tell if the UK’s break from Brussels will reduce the regulatory burden on UK entrepreneurs. Requests for tax incentives, addressing the skills shortage and improving infrastructure will prove to be challenging for the new government. It will be interesting to see how they respond to these calls.”

Approach to risk

Entrepreneurs are often considered to be risk takers. However, 68% of respondents described their approach to business risk as being ‘medium’ (risk neutral). 26% of the entrepreneurs that were surveyed said that they adopt a high- risk approach, with the remaining 6% adopting a low risk approach.
Roger added, “We are currently talking to colleagues in our international network about their experience of working with entrepreneurs. Some of them will be asking similar questions to their entrepreneur client bases. It will be interesting to see how the UK survey results, including the approach to risk, compare with entrepreneur groups in other countries, so watch this space for further analysis.

“Our Entrepreneurs’ Dinner and debate should prove extremely interesting to discuss the impact of the results of the election on the reported survey results and see if this has changed entrepreneurs’ perception and reality locally in the South.”

Working with Saffery Champness Accountants – Roger Wareham

“The entrepreneurs we work with appreciate the fact that we share their passion and energy for business. We understand their drive to maximise enterprise value and we take time to consider the personal and commercial goals that motivate them.

“A core part of our offering to our entrepreneurial clients is a tax advisory and compliance service that ensures that everything they do, whether in their businesses or when looking at their private and family wealth, is planned and structured to be as tax efficient as possible, without ever losing sight of their immediate or longer term commercial and broader personal objectives.

Our partner-led approach means that one of our partners is always available to offer valuable strategic advice, alongside the everyday work that business owners expect from their accountancy advisers.

“By getting to know our clients well, we can advise them according to their individual aspirations, whether that be to prepare for sale, provide for their families or create an environment that allows them to continue working in the business for many years to come.”

For more information on how Saffery Champness Accountants work with entrepreneurs or to contact one of our expert team, please visit our entrepreneurs page Roger.wareham@saffery.com Tel: 01202 204744

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Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants sponsor Dorset Business Angels Investor Conference

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants are sponsoring the Dorset Business Angels (DBA) Investor conference on Friday 27th October.  Angel investors, potential investors and introducers are being urged to come along and learn more about what they do, be inspired by the exciting investor opportunities available and enjoy listening to the impressive line-up of speakers.

Saffery Partner Roger Wareham advised, “We are delighted to be a sponsor of the DBA conference. Previous conferences have been a huge success and attracted outstanding speakers.  We shall enjoy being a part of the speaker panel too which has always encouraged lively debate and discussion by all. At Safferys we are used to working closely with entrepreneurs, helping them to achieve their ambitions and work through their challenges, offering valuable strategic advice alongside the everyday work that that business owners expect from their accountancy advisers.”

The Conference, which is in its 3rd year, will host a programme of invited, eminent speakers who include, among others; Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK British Angels Association, experienced investor Justin Levine, Business Angel and DBA Chairman Don McQueen, UKBAA former Angel Investor of the Year, Peter Cowley and Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns.

Anyone wishing to attend the Conference is urged to secure their tickets on Event Bright  https://dorsetbusinessangels2017conference.eventbrite.co.uk  In order to find out more about the event visit  http://dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/About.aspx  E: contact@dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk

About Saffery Champness LLP

Saffery Champness LLP is the 12th largest firm of chartered accountants in the UK (by fee income), providing specialist advice to a wide range of professional practices, entrepreneurs, private clients individuals, and not-for-profit organisations.

For 160 years, the firm’s success has been founded upon providing clients with a genuinely partner-led service, and working with them to create bespoke solutions that help them to achieve their personal and business objectives.

Saffery Champness has almost 70 partners and nearly 600 staff in the UK, across nine offices, plus a presence in Guernsey, Geneva and Zurich, with 140 directors and staff based outside the UK.

Saffery Champness is also a member of the Nexia International network (Nexia). Nexia is a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms, spanning over 120 countries.

Visit www.saffery.com for more information or see Twitter: @Safferys

 

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​“Saffery Champness Accountants is urging furnished holiday let owners to review estate planning.”

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants is urging owners of furnished holiday lets (FHL) to review their estate and succession planning and to be aware of implications of inheritance tax and subsequent pitfalls that may result in unexpected tax liabilities.

Saffery Senior Manager – Audit, Nikki Forster advised, “With recent tax cases regarding Business Property Relief (BPR) it is becoming increasingly important for owners of FHL to carefully plan their succession strategy and ensure that they are qualifying for what they expect.   Recent changes won by HMRC have made it less clear whether levels of ancillary services that are provided by owners qualify a FHL as a trade as opposed to an investment in the property. It appears that even providing significant additional services and time may be considered irrelevant.

“The implications are that if the FHL is not a trade then it cannot quality for BPR for inheritance tax purposes.  The furnished holiday properties might quality for capital gains tax holdover relief and that lifetime gifts can be made instead.  If these survive the required seven years, they may be passed on free of capital gains tax.”

Concluding Nikki said, “With 70% of visitors to Dorset staying in self-catering accommodation, many including furnished holiday lets, it is essential that local property owners speak to their accountants and understand how their estate would be viewed and ensure that they have implemented a successful strategy in order to limit tax liability.”

About Saffery Champness LLP

Saffery Champness LLP is the 12th largest firm of chartered accountants in the UK (by fee income), providing specialist advice to a wide range of professional practices, entrepreneurs, private clients individuals, and not-for-profit organisations.

For 160 years, the firm’s success has been founded upon providing clients with a genuinely partner-led service, and working with them to create bespoke solutions that help them to achieve their personal and business objectives.

Saffery Champness has almost 70 partners and nearly 600 staff in the UK, across nine offices, plus a presence in Guernsey, Geneva and Zurich, with 140 directors and staff based outside the UK.

Saffery Champness is also a member of the Nexia International network (Nexia). Nexia is a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms, spanning over 120 countries.

Visit www.saffery.com for more information or see Twitter: @Safferys

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Saffery Champness are headline sponsor for Dorset Tourism Awards

Chartered Accountants Saffery Champness have confirmed their support as headline sponsors for the Dorset Tourism Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

The prestigious awards scheme, which is also in its 5th year, held a sponsor’s lunch at the multi award-winning Dorset Burger Company in Weymouth where Saffery Partner, Nick Fernyhough attended and enjoyed chatting with organisers and fellow sponsors.

Robin Barker, organiser and founder of the Dorset Tourism Awards said, “We are delighted to have Safferys back as Headline Sponsors for another year. The Awards have been a fantastic success story for Dorset, providing the opportunity both for tourism businesses to excel as well as for Dorset itself to shine on the national stage.  This would not have been possible without the support of Saffery Champness who have worked closely with us to launch the Awards as well as to see its year-on-year development.  We look forward to working with them again throughout 2017.”

Nick enthused, “Saffery’s have been involved from the launch of the Dorset Tourism Awards back in 2013 and have been delighted to see the impact of their involvement on the quality on offer from Dorset tourism businesses. The awards have helped to not only raise the profile of Dorset but also to raise the quality of the Dorset visitor experience. Entries have risen year on year and so has the standard of nominations.

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor for the fifth consecutive year and celebrating these prestigious Awards which recognise and reward excellence in this essential sector.”

Visit www.saffery.com for more information or see Twitter: @Safferys

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“Saffery Champness host fraud prevention seminar”

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants hosted a fraud prevention seminar at their Bournemouth office which was delivered by a senior manager from the Lloyds Bank Commercial Fraud and Financial Crime Team.

Saffery Partner Nick Fernyhough welcomed attendees to the early morning event and talked about Saffery’s role, as auditors, in helping to protect their clients from the risk of fraud and introduced guest speaker Martyn Rochelle.

Martyn held a captive audience as he advised that UK fraud events are increasingly featuring in news headlines and the hugely adverse and varied impact of this to businesses and their staff.  He talked through the journey of fraud, common areas of vulnerability, social engineering, Vishing and Smishing scams, ransomware, impersonation fraud and fraud prevention and provided invaluable insight and tips and recommendations on how to protect a business.

Interesting facts and information was shared.  Martyn said, “Cyber crime and fraud is constantly evolving and is a constant threat.”  Commenting on the most common form of malware distribution Martyn advised, “This is through phishing emails. From 4,500 phishing emails sent, 400 make it through filters, 100 are opened, 10 links are clicked and 1 person will fall the scam – providing valuable cash for fraudsters.

“Vishing is a telephone scam and is a significant threat to all industry sectors.  Payment clerks and teams are targeted and tricked into taking action under the misapprehension that they are protecting the business’s money.  Fraudsters will invariably be very well prepared, have clear objectives and established techniques to enable them to find the money.

“Social Engineering refers to the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. This clever manipulation relies on the natural human tendency to trust!

“Smishing involves an SMS scam and is a more recent fraud whereby the fraudster’s objective is to harvest credentials to be able to access the victim’s bank account.  Mobile malware is likely to increase as users tend to be less vigilant of risks and click more readily and regularly on to links on their phone.”

Martyn talked of the effective collaboration between the banking industry and police in a bid to combat the fraudsters and urged businesses to be aware of the practical steps that they can take and implement.

“Raise awareness with all staff and have clear procedures for staff to follow. Well trained staff significantly increase the chances of an attack being detected and prevented.  Independently authenticate calls, don’t assume it is the bank, regardless of what they know, set up dual authorisation to authorise payments and remind your staff that the Bank will never ask for full password or full memorable information log on details or card and reader authentication codes. Protect your data and check your screens for unusual pop-ups or requests.”

Saffery Partner Nick Fernyhough commented, “We have learnt so much today.  The threat is continually evolving and it is essential to keep up to date with changes and have people with much insight and knowledge, such as the Lloyds Bank fraud team, come along to seminars and educate businesses.”

Martyn concluded, “It’s good to be talking to businesses about the risk of fraud and to be able to help them with practical guidance in order to reduce the chances of them becoming the next victims.”

About Saffery Champness LLP

Saffery Champness LLP is the 12th largest firm of chartered accountants in the UK (by fee income), providing specialist advice to a wide range of professional practices, entrepreneurs, private clients individuals, and not-for-profit organisations.

For 160 years, the firm’s success has been founded upon providing clients with a genuinely partner-led service, and working with them to create bespoke solutions that help them to achieve their personal and business objectives.

Saffery Champness has almost 70 partners and nearly 600 staff in the UK, across nine offices, plus a presence in Guernsey, Geneva and Zurich, with 140 directors and staff based outside the UK.

Saffery Champness is also a member of the Nexia International network (Nexia). Nexia is a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms, spanning over 120 countries.

Visit www.saffery.com for more information or see Twitter: @Safferys

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Dorset Business Angels to host conference in Bournemouth – tickets available to book

Dorset Business Angels (DBA) is hosting an Angel Investor conference on Friday 27th October and is urging existing Angel investors, potential investors and introducers to come along and learn more about what they do and be inspired by the exciting investor opportunities available.

The Conference, which is in its 3rd year, will host a programme of invited, eminent speakers who include, among others; Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK British Angels Association, experienced investor Justin Levine, Business Angel and DBA Chairman Don McQueen, UKBAA former Angel Investor of the Year, Peter Cowley and Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns.

Anyone wishing to attend the Conference is urged to secure their tickets on Event Bright  https://dorsetbusinessangels2017conference.eventbrite.co.uk  In order to find out more about the event visit http://dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/About.aspx  E: contact@dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk

The DBA conference is being sponsored by Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants, Investec, Bright Blue Day and Bournemouth Borough Council.

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim of being a catalyst in Dorset to bring together entrepreneurs and investors to help accelerate the growth of start-up businesses. Their vision is to turn Dorset into one of the UK’s best regions for setting up high growth and start-up businesses by providing quality private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth and sophisticated investors.

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.

http://www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk

 

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Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants sponsor Dorset Legal Awards and urge for nominations to be made

The Bournemouth office of national chartered accountancy firm, Saffery Champness is sponsoring the recently launched Dorset Legal Awards.

Partner Andrew Alder, who heads up Safferys legal sector group advised, “We are thrilled to be sponsoring the inaugural Dorset Legal Awards which have gained much interest in Dorset since their launch in May. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the talent and leadership within the sector. There are 20 different award categories of which Safferys are sponsoring the ‘Partner of the Year’ Award. We would urge people to nominate for our award those who are actively involved in the management of a law firm by visiting www.dorsetlegalawards.co.uk

Dorset has over 200 SRA regulated practices and over 1,000 qualified solicitors, legal executives and licensed conveyancers – in addition to the thousands of legal and practice support individuals working in the region.

The official awards ceremony will take place on the evening of Friday 23rd February 2018 at The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC). The prestigious black- tie ceremony will include a champagne reception and a sumptuous three course dinner, with the announcement of the finalists and winners.

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