Posts Tagged ‘SMEs’

New accounts filing regulations for smaller companies

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Companies house recently published the following news story.

Changes to UK company law removed the option for small companies to file abbreviated accounts for accounting periods starting on or after 1 January 2016.

Small companies

If you are a small company, you have 4 options for filing your accounts:

1. Micro-entity accounts

  • You must meet at least 2 of the following:
  • turnover is no more than £632,000
  • balance sheet total is no more than £316,000
  • average number of employees is no more than 10

2. Abridged accounts

  • You must meet at least 2 of the following:
  • turnover is no more than £10.2 million
  • balance sheet total is no more than £5.1 million
  • average number of employees is no more than 50

3. Full accounts with us and HMRC

These joint accounts are suitable for small companies who are audit exempt and need to file full accounts to us and HMRC. You can also file your tax return with HMRC at the same time.

4. Dormant company accounts

These accounts are suitable for companies limited by shares or by guarantee that have never traded and can be filed using our WebFiling Service.

How to file your accounts

Micro-entity accounts:

To file micro-entity accounts you need to sign-in to our WebFiling service and choose the micro-entity accounts type.

Abridged accounts:

We’re working on a replacement service that will enable you to file abridged accounts on Companies House Service. We expect to launch it this year.


Currently, there are 2 options for you to consider:

  • Use the Companies House-HMRC joint filing service. You’ll need a Government Gateway account and you can file your tax return to HMRC at the same time.
  • Use third party software. This service benefits those who file regularly.


Clients will be relieved to know that we will choose the appropriate filing method and format for them.

The UK is to get its first Small Business Commissioner

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

A search is underway to recruit the UK’s first Small Business Commissioner.

The commissioner will be a high profile role supporting small businesses in payment disputes with their larger customers.

  • The Commissioner appointment is an important measure in tackling late payment issues
  • Expected to be based in Birmingham, the Commissioner will be a national champion for small businesses.

Comments from government sources include:

Small Business Minister Margot James said:

We all rely on the UK’s 5.5 million small and medium sized businesses for jobs, goods and services, and an unfair payment culture that hurts these firms has no place in an economy that works for all. This is why we are looking for an exceptional individual to help smaller firms resolve payment disputes and champion a culture change in how businesses work together.

Addressing the barriers businesses face when scaling up and growing is an important part of a modern Industrial Strategy, and this appointment will play an integral role in ensuring small businesses have the support they need to thrive and grow.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

I am delighted to be invited by the Secretary of State to be part of the selection process for the Small Business Commissioner. There is simply no excuse for a business culture where supply chain bullying or poor payment practice are acceptable. FSB research shows that poor payment practice is on the rise, causing 50,000 business deaths each year.

Small firms need a Commissioner who will make a meaningful difference to the £26bn currently stuck in bank accounts as payments outstanding to SMEs. He or she must be given the powers and resources to tackle this, to step in to save small firms whose livelihoods are under threat, and to promote a prompt payment culture right across the economy.

The Small Business Commissioner, expected to be based in Birmingham, is just one part of a package of measures designed to tackle this and drive a real change in the UK’s payment culture. Regulations coming into force in April 2017 will require big businesses to publically report on the time taken to pay their suppliers, and guidance to help large businesses comply with these changes was published last month. This will shine a light on poor payment practices and allow suppliers, including small businesses, to make informed decisions about who they do business with.

Who knows, perhaps this will result in a reduction in payment delays by larger companies to cash-vulnerable smaller concerns in the supply line. Fingers crossed.

Small businesses take on more staff

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

According to new government research published recently shows that almost a quarter (24%) of small and medium-sized (SME) employers had more people working for them in 2015 than in 2014.

The Small Business Survey 2015 is based on the views of more than 15,000 SMEs. Starting from this year, the survey will track the same businesses over time to better understand their needs as they grow and develop.

Only 1 in 10 reported a reduction in staff numbers, which is down from around 1 in 5 (21%) in 2010.

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

This survey shines a light on the small businesses that drive our economy and employ millions of people across the country – and its good news that small firms continue to employ more people.

A strong economy underpins the success of our small businesses which is why this government continues to take the difficult decisions needed to keep our economy and businesses strong.

The survey also asked SMEs about their internet usage and found that 95% of employers use the internet for work, 76% have their own website, and 55% have a social media profile.

These results come as the government launches a call for evidence into the barriers businesses face when accessing superfast broadband, which can transform the way modern businesses work together, reach their consumers and target their export markets. This will feed into the wide-ranging business broadband review led jointly by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), announced in February 2016 by the Business Secretary.

The survey also shows 8 out of 10 (81%) smaller businesses which applied for finance secured all or some of what they asked for, echoing other recent studies that show the continuing improvement in the access to finance landscape. Bank overdrafts were the most commonly sought type of finance, while peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding made up 5%.

Late payment continues to be a problem for almost a third (30%) of SME employers. The government is taking forward a number of measures to tackle this, by establishing a Small Business Commissioner through the Enterprise Act.

While the proportion of businesses experiencing higher turnover is similar to that found in the 2014 survey, medium-sized businesses are actually 3% more likely to report higher turnover than last year.

Simpler tax system for smaller companies

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

On the 3rd March, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) unveiled a package of recommendations aimed at making the tax system simpler and easier to use for small companies. The press release says:

“These incorporated micro-businesses, employing less than ten people, currently face the same tax system as large companies with hundreds of employees and turnovers of many millions. The OTS believes this is disproportionate and makes recommendations to start overhauling the system to make it work better for small businesses.

John Whiting, OTS Tax Director said:

We have identified a range of ways the tax system can be improved for small companies – ideas for simpler administration including making sure help is a click or call away. We also believe the OTS should be formally involved in HMRC’s important Making Tax Digital’s development to ensure simplification issues from the user’s perspective are considered at every stage.

We also think that there is promise in new ways of carrying on business and different ways of taxing a company. We need to do more work on these radical ideas and want to hear views on the outlines we have put forward in our report.”

The recommended administrative changes include:

  • aligning filing and payment dates e.g. VAT and PAYE, and annual returns and corporation tax
  • HM Revenue and Customs providing extra support at weekends and evenings when more small company owners deal with their tax affairs
  • stopping companies providing the same information to various government departments who instead should share the information
  • looking at the feasibility of having advance clearances for VAT

The report sets out three main areas for further work:

  • testing whether taxing the profits from the smallest companies on the shareholders rather than the company (‘look-through’) could be simpler for some companies as well as addressing distortions in the system
  • developing an outline for an new ‘sole enterprise protected asset’ (SEPA) vehicle which will give some limited liability protection without the need to formally incorporate
  • simplifying the corporation tax computation, eliminating many sundry tax allowances and potentially calculating corporation tax on a cash basis for the smallest companies

The OTS envisages taking forward the first and second of these longer range ideas and calls on the government to initiate the third.

Fingers crossed that these “simplification” measures really do reduce the level of compliance that small companies face and, more importantly, that the measures are not used to create a new stealth tax…

Want a 20% increase in footfall? Then make way for Small Business Saturday

Friday, December 4th, 2015

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing, and while Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now behind us many small businesses are looking forward to Saturday, and what many consider to be the key shopping event in December. Why? Because its the the third year of ‘Small Business Saturday’.

The Federation of Small Businesses across the UK is a big supporter of this annual event, and this year will be no exception, with December 5 shaping up to be the biggest and best Small Business Saturday yet. Events are being held at high streets the length and breadth of the UK to mark the day.

Small Business Saturday started out in the US some years ago, but since coming to the UK it really seems to have captured the public imagination. Last year across the UK 16.5 million people shopped at small independent businesses on the day, representing a 20% increase in footfall on 2013 or 2.7 million more shoppers. With widespread support for the day 64% of UK consumers were aware of Small Business Saturday last year, a 33% increase on 2013.

That sort of recognition is important. While the big multiple retailers can afford bold Christmas advertising campaigns featuring famous faces, the marketing scope of small businesses is far more modest.

There is something a little magical about our town centres at this time of year. With the Christmas lights twinkling in the crisp winter air there is always something evocative of Christmases past that you simply do not get hunched over a keyboard or at the click-and-collect counter. And if you are after a really special present, something that is different, then it is to the small businesses that you really have to look.

Whether it is a beautiful bespoke bouquet from the local florist or a pair of individually designed cufflinks from an independent jeweller, there are small businesses across the UK able to provide gifts that are beyond the norm. This is also a time of year when customer service comes into its own, and specialist small businesses often have staff with a depth of knowledge that you would be unlikely to come across in the big chains.

Get Involved
So let’s all do our bit to make Small Business Saturday 2015 the best yet. Let’s go down to our local high streets and support the independent businesses that make each high street unique, so that they are there to provide us with good services for many Christmases to come.

Do you have a retail business? Then make sure you help to promote the day and let your customers know that you are taking part. There’s still time to spread the good word, through social media or perhaps an e-shot to your database. You may even want to offer special/discounts and incentives to ensure that you maximise your potential return from the day.

Here for you
At Botting & Co Chartered Certified Accountants we are extremely passionate about supporting local businesses and we work with small and medium sized businesses in Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Arundel, Chichester, Rustington, East Preston, Goring by Sea, Worthing and across West Sussex.

So if you are looking for an accountant you can rely on for your accounts, tax return, payroll or any other accounting service, please contact us today for a free initial meeting to discuss your needs on 01903 713508. We look forward to meeting you.

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