Month: April 2020 (page 1 of 2)

Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications

On 27 April 2020 the UK’s seven largest small business lenders announced they had relaxed their evidence requirements for applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The lenders will use their own information when processing and approving applications, rather than relying on businesses providing forecasts and business plans.

In a joint statement, the seven lenders and trade association UK Finance stated:

‘The reforms to CBILS announced by the British Business Bank and HM Treasury with the support of the regulators provide welcome changes that should enable banks to provide finance to businesses more quickly alongside other forms of support including capital repayment holidays.

‘Lenders are working hard to ensure we provide support swiftly and responsibly and we will continue to work closely with customers to help them identify the finance that is right for their business and financial circumstances.

‘Following the changes to the scheme announced today lenders will only ask businesses for information and data they might reasonably be able to provide at speed and we will not require the provision of forward-looking financial information or business plans from businesses applying for CBILS-backed lending, relying instead on our own information to assess credit and business viability.’ Continue reading...

Recent SA panic? Get the right client info – fast – with custom forms

Thursday marked the Self Assessment tax return deadline for anyone claiming a coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme grant. HMRC will use data on 2018-19 tax returns submitted by 23 April 2020 to identify those eligible. The Government’s guidance states:

If you have not submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019, you must do this by 23 April 2020 or you will not be able to claim. HMRC will review any late returns in the usual way.

(As if you didn’t have enough to deal with.)

Use custom forms to get client info quickly and in a digital format

Instead of sending your clients a list of questions, a spreadsheet – or building forms from scratch in Word, AccountancyManager lets you build your own online forms. It’s quick and easy to do and you can create different forms depending on your clients’ circumstances. This is particularly useful when you’re preparing Self Assessment tax returns. In fact, we’ve created a default Self A ssessment checklist form to get you started, but you can customise it.

AccountancyManager's default (customisable) self assessment form

You get exactly the information you need, in a digital format, so no dodgy handwriting to decipher. And life is easier for your clients – which always makes you look good! Filling out the forms is like completing an online survey, much easier and quicker than having to edit a document with restrictive formatting or needing to print something out and scan it back in again.

Clients fill in their forms in their portal

AccountancyManager comes with a built-in document portal for each client, where you and your clients can securely share forms and other documents. Instead of emailing forms over – and risk them getting buried in a busy inbox – simply publish them to the client’s portal. Your clients access their portal through your website and you can ‘re-skin’ it to look like part of your site.  Continue reading...

Stats & facts: Accountants’ lives during lockdown

We’re not the first to say it – the last two months will go down in history. Perhaps it’s a comfort right now to think of our present as the past? Nevertheless, we can all agree, the sooner the coronavirus does become history, the better. 

As a nation, we’ve become obsessed with statistics. Mapping our journey to this point, comparing data between countries and keeping an even closer eye on the stock market (again).

At AccountancyManager, we started to spot some massive spikes in our usage data mid-way through March. So we dug a little deeper, asking our users how their lives have changed, what their main challenges have been and what has helped.

88% report an increase in workload 

Over half of respondents reported a significant increase in workload since the beginning of March –  with over a quarter seeing a slight increase. Interestingly, almost 9% have experienced a decreased workload.

How’s your workload been since the start of March?

Chart showing accountants' workload

The main challenge? Understanding and communicating Government support

While The Chancellor’s announcement on Friday 20th March was met by enormous relief (and the odd tear), it certainly raised a lot of questions. Over the subsequent two weeks, Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to support the self-employed. And by the 3rd of April the government had already released early figures on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS) – which has been ‘bolstered’ to reach more businesses. Continue reading...

HMRC delays introduction of off-payroll rules to private sector

HMRC has delayed the introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector as part of its measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reforms will shift the responsibility for assessing employment status to the organisations employing individuals. The rules would have applied to contractors working for medium and large organisations in the private sector, and were due to come into effect on 6 April. Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, stressed that the introduction of the rules has simply been delayed, rather than cancelled. The rules will now take effect on 6 April 2021.

In a statement, HMRC said:

‘This is part of additional support for businesses and individuals to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

‘This means that the different rules that exist for inside and outside the public sector will continue to apply until 6 April 2021.’

The introduction of the off-payroll rules to the private sector, which are known as IR35 and have applied to the public sector since 2017, was reviewed earlier this year. The changes were due to go ahead alongside the implementation of measures to support affected businesses and individuals.

Commenting on the delay, Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), said: Continue reading...

Xero and AccountancyManager launch full, two-way integration

This news will brighten many a day. Thanks to months of tireless work by our development team, we’re about to see what happens when ‘beautiful accounting’ meets ‘automated admin’. 

Although you’ll be glad to know – we have a pretty good idea. 

AccountancyManager joins the Xero app marketplace

At 1.44pm on Wednesday this week, Josh – our Development Team Lead – forwarded us the email we’ve all been waiting for. Having passed the reassuringly meticulous scrutiny of Xero’s partner team, our integration is now live. 

AccountancyManager joins Xero's app marketplace

A quick thank you

The Xero integration exists because our users wanted it. That’s been the case – and will continue to be the case – for many AccountancyManager functions and features. James and Alex originally built AM with accountants literally by their side. Likewise, the future of AM lies in the needs of our existing and prospective users.

We’d just like to thank all the people that have requested the AccountancyManager-Xero integration, those that took part in our beta testing stage and – of course, Xero. 

We hope it’s worth the wait – do let us know what you think.

Xero & AccountancyManager - more powerful together

Recurring invoices (invoices, invoices)

By far the most hotly anticipated feature among users that invoice through AccountancyManager is recurring invoices. Now, you can simply set them up as usual in Xero and they’ll be sent from AM.  Continue reading...

Job Retention Scheme goes live

On 20 April 2020 the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live for applications.

The scheme allows businesses to furlough their employees, with the government paying 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for four months and was backdated from 1 March 2020 to the end of June. Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated that the scheme would be kept under review and extended if necessary.

There were applications from over 430,000 employers covering over three million employees in the first week of the scheme’s operation.

The Chancellor said:

‘We’ve taken unprecedented action to support jobs and businesses through this period of uncertainty, including the UK-wide Job Retention Scheme. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures… it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.

‘It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so.’

Regulators request delay in corporate reporting

Financial regulators have requested a moratorium on corporate financial reports for at least two weeks. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been communicating with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) about a package of measures to ‘reinforce trust in the reporting system’.

These will be aimed at ensuring companies and their auditors take the necessary time to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges. The FCA says that it is vital that investors can rely on trustworthy information from companies.

However, the FCA added that recent unprecedented events mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing rapidly. Consequently, the regulators say companies must give due consideration to the fast-moving coronavirus crisis, and previous timetables may not give them necessary time to do this.

In a statement on 26 March, the FRC said it ‘encourages listed companies and their auditors to consider carefully whether they should delay other corporate reports for the next two weeks, such as interim financial statements and final audited financial statements, except where necessary to meet a legal or regulatory requirement’.

Time tracking: 4 ways to get invaluable, practice-wide visibility

Being able to see what your team is working on when you’re all based at home (or when you’re back at the office) gives you a lot more than just ‘peace of mind’. 

Keep an eye on productivity, track profitability, identify bottlenecks, easily cover absences – and create instant invoices from work in progress.

This is the second in our spotlight series – taking a closer look at the features our customers are finding most helpful while working from home. Read the first – on sending bulk and segmented emails – here.

1. Keep track of who’s working – and on what

See who’s logged into AccountancyManager and what tasks they’re working on in real-time. 

Though time tracking has obvious benefits for management, it’s useful data for the team too.  We’ve found at AccountancyManager that working from home and juggling things like childcare has meant that our hours have changed a bit. Some of us are splitting our working days with partners for example. Time tracking helps to plan our own time better and make sure we’re spending it on the right things – and in the best way.

Live Team View in AccountancyManager

Recording your time is easy and soon becomes second nature. Often, your tasks will already be in AccountancyManager – automatically generated according to your clients’ accounting deadlines. 

2. Turn logged time into invoices – instantly

See the value of uninvoiced time in your work-in-progress (WIP) log – and generate invoices in a couple of clicks. You can send these invoices to your clients by email, share them through the client’s portal, or send them over to Xero through our integration. AccountancyManager can then chase for payment.  Continue reading...

Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers

On 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to help self-employed workers who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the scheme, the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. The grant will cover up to 80% of earnings, up to a limit of £2,500 a month.

To be eligible, self-employed workers must have filed a tax return for the 2018/19 tax year and have average trading profits under £50,000 for the past three years. Directors of their own companies who are paid through Pay as You Earn (PAYE) are able to get support using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The self-employed scheme will be available from June this year and will run for three months, but may be extended if necessary. In the meantime, the Chancellor said people can access Universal Credit, business loans or keep on working. HMRC will contact self-employed workers if eligible for the scheme and invite them to apply online.

Chancellor’s business support packages for coronavirus pandemic

On 17 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £330 billion package of support for the UK economy as it combats the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures dwarf the £12 billion made available in the 2020 Budget. The package includes an increase in government-backed loans, higher cash grants, widened business rates relief for some sectors and mortgage holidays for struggling homeowners. The government has extended the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced in the Budget from £1.2 million to £5 million, with no interest due for the first 12 months. On 3 April, the Chancellor announced changes to the loan scheme in order to make it easier for small businesses to access loans. The current Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been extended so more small businesses benefit. Lenders will be banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000. Additionally, a new scheme has been announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans.

Changes to business rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been put into place as well as some grants. The latest information for businesses located in England can be found here. Information for businesses in the devolved nations can be found here: Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the measures, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: Continue reading...

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