Changes For 2012 And Beyond!

Ray Stewart Tax Matters Leave a Comment

With 2011 drawing to a close, I have spent a few minutes setting out my plans and intentions for 2012.  I know I have let you down by not continuing the flow of informational posts that have been the hallmark of this site over the last 3 years in recent months.  There have been many reasons for this and anyone who has spoken to me lately will have been subjected to in-depth explanations of issues and problems that have been battled and overcome.

Those issues are now (hopefully) firmly in the past and 2012 will start with the plans I have been putting into place firing on all cylinders.

Gone is the catch-up form of accountancy that has been the standard in the last few years.  My clients deserve more.  They deserve a pro-active approach to accounts and tax.  Some will have recently felt the new systems starting to work.  The reminders starting to come out before the year end; the reminders about VAT returns; the fax-back forms arriving before the year-end hinting at tax-planning opportunities; chasing letters coming out after the year end for business records; fixed-price agreements; direct-debits – and the pearl of my new service – bench-marking!

I understand that these changes will not suit everyone.  There are still the die-hards that want to leave everything until the last minute.  From the 1st January 2012 these clients – yes – you know who you are- will have a choice.  I would prefer that you fall into the new system and allow me to deliver the highest possible service – or we part company.  I will talk to each of these clients personally in the new year. 

I have put these changes into force because in the past I often felt pulled in different directions and sometimes, felt completely out of control.  That is no way to help businesses pull out of the deepest recession in living memory and not good for my mental health! 

I have found an excellent partner in AVN Venus LLP to handle all tax investigations that come our way from now on, all paid for by the practice wide professional fee insurance that I put into place last year.  Only one client has objected to the compulsory insurance premium in all that time and now it is coupled with the hugely experienced tax team at AVN Venus LLP all clients have a serious set of allies on hand if HMRC come to call.

Now that the direct debit system is almost ready for use I will be contacting everyone with a view to setting these up for each client to work hand in hand with the new fixed fee agreements.  I have had enough arguments in the past about the old “surprise” method of invoicing to realize that change is long overdue.  So fixed price agreements are the way forward.  I have a clever piece of software that I can sit down with a client to go through exactly what services are needed/wanted and effectively allow the client to choose the fee they are happy with for the following year.  This is then divided by 10 and a monthly payment scheme set up using direct debits.  No more surprise bills arriving after the accounts have been finished, but everything agreed before any work starts and we can review it each year at a tax planning meeting for the following year.  For those clients already on the new system it has proved really popular.  Now there are no extra charges likely to jump out the woodwork for phone calls, bookkeeping and business issues.  Complete peace of mind for both of us.

The bench-marking service is a new offering I am including as part of the fixed fee agreement.  This extensive anonymous comparison of your business with others in your sector allows you to see exactly how you are performing in comparison with your peers and includes considerable detailed analysis of where you are doing well and ideas for picking up the areas where you are under-performing.  The reports can be up to 40 pages long and if chosen separately are billed at £750+VAT for each business examined. 

My clients are being given this for FREE as a thank you for changing to the fixed fee/monthly billing system.

If you are not a client and would like to see a sample report to find out what you are missing, please get in touch and I will send you one to review.

I have also made extensive contacts in the tax planning arena so now I can recommend a vast number of tax planning opportunities that can make a huge difference to your effective rate of tax.  Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any of these opportunities in the future.

I realize this brief blog only really hints at the huge changes we have recently made for the client’s long term interests.  If you would like to chat more about any of these things please get in touch anytime on 0800 047 0731 or by SMS, email or dropping in!

Happy New Year to you all!


Ray Stewart
I am a qualified Certified Practising Accountant having passed my final exams way back in 1981. I actually can’t believe that was 37 years ago!! Anyway, I am now in my 60’s and I have been running my own business since May 1983. And before you ask, no, I have never regretted a moment of it! Part of the membership requirements of my professional body now dictate that I spend quite a lot of time on “CPD” - continuing professional education (one of their better ideas) - and over the last two years I decided to study business growth and marketing. I have learnt such a lot and that knowledge has radically changed my old “accountants” approach to business. It has made such a difference to the way I work and operate I feel that I just have to pass on this knowledge. It is simply too powerful to hold back!! - but I will try and do it in simple terms rather than expecting you to spend hours, as I had to, working through the difficult language that trainers seem to use to pass on their concepts. I hope you find the blog a useful resource and interesting place to visit as the months pass. I will do my best to keep up the flow - but if there are any topics you would like me to cover, then please let me know. Ray Stewart
Ray Stewart
Ray Stewart

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