Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Octave: a review of the first three months

“What a long, strange trip it’s already been!”

In September 2019, I finally decided to take the huge and nerve-wracking step of branching out on my own, something I had been considering for a while.  I agreed a timescale for my departure from the company I had helped form some 17 years before, and which clients I would be taking with me, amongst other things.  I then arranged for my new office premises, software, website, insurance and all the other things that are required.  My start date was set to be March 2020.  I was all prepared.  Octave Accountants Limited was ready……

...And then came a pandemic, the like of which had not been seen for over 100 years. 

I can honestly say that for the first week of lockdown I hardly slept, probably like many others in the country.

Then the Chancellor started announcing ways in which the government was going to help businesses: VAT liabilities could be deferred; Self-Assessment could be delayed; banks were going to lend money; and, most importantly, the Job Retention Scheme was announced.

All of a sudden, my phone was red hot.  Clients wanted to know if they could take advantage of the schemes, and if so, could I assist them in making the claims…….or rather

“You handle everything, Tony.  Is that ok?”

New clients popped up.  So many of them hadn’t filed their 2019 tax returns and these needed submitting if they were to take advantage of the Self Employment Scheme.  Within a few days, my work appeared to have trebled with the additional elements.  That’s ok, I thought.  I had planned for expanding anyway, with additional staff.

“Oh, what?  You live with someone who is vulnerable and is on the 12-week isolation list?” 

… not something I thought to ask at interview!  Several frantic calls to IT Support later, and all staff are suddenly working remotely.

Now, as we enter June, I look back over the first three months or so of Octave Accountants…… with a smile on my face.  Clients have received the support they have needed and are slowly returning to trading.  Claims have been made to the various Covid schemes, overdue tax returns have been filed and clients have been advised on their tax positions now and going forward.

So, we now enter what the media are terming the “new normal.”  

Lots of businesses must adapt to new regulations on how they operate.  Government support will slowly be withdrawn.  And banks will go back to being miserly in their lending!

One constant, though, is that Octave will be on hand to assist and advise.  And, in these different times, which demand different business practices and approaches, it may well be that you will want us to assist you in different ways.

Annual information is probably no longer enough – now, monthly accounts and regular cashflow forecasting can help you to keep a constant eye on costs and profitability – and to help you to plan for the future from a more informed position.

Maybe you want to gain yourself more management time by outsourcing your payroll and/or bookkeeping functions to us.  Is now the right time to harness all the benefits of a cloud-based bookkeeping system like Xero, Quickbooks or Sage?  We can assist you with the transfer, providing training if required.  Away from accountancy, we can offer you the help of our trusted HR contacts and the business turnaround experts with whom we work.

If any of the above sounds interesting to you, please just give me a call – obviously, without obligation and in compete confidence.

I would just like to end this blog with a thank you. 

Firstly, a huge thank you to my clients who have been fantastic.  Yes, it’s been stressful for us all but you have been wonderful, and your kind comments have helped me through these unusual times. Secondly, to my fellow accountants whom I have spoken to during this period: we may work for different companies but the mutual support and the ‘sounding board’ we have provided for each other have been invaluable.  And lastly, thank you to my family and my staff who have been understanding, supportive and conscientious in equal measures.  Thank you all.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Government changes to off-payroll working (AKA IR35) are delayed

The government has announced that it is delaying the reform of off-payroll working rules (also known as IR35) for one year from 6 April 2020 until 6 April 2021. These rules were going to apply to people outside the public sector, contracting their services to medium to large-sized companies.

The decision was taken as one of a number of measures introduced to give support to businesses and individuals in the light of the economic impact of the Corona Virus (COVID-19.)  It means that the existing rules will continue to apply until April 2021.

We would stress that this is a delay and not a cancellation: the government is still determined in the longer term to introduce the new rules to ensure that people who basically work like employees (but through their own limited company) pay roughly the same level of tax as the corresponding individuals who are directly employed by an organisation.

As always, and particularly in these uncertain times, when the Government is liable to change things quickly, if you have any questions at all about this or any other accounting, taxation or general financial matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Octave Accountants: the reliable accompaniment to your continued business performance

Monday, 18 November 2019

Octave Accountants: scaled services, in harmony with you

I am proud to announce the launch of my new company, Octave Accountants, through which I will be working from now on.  Many of you will know me from Thomas Croft Accountants or from SPI, but I now know it is time to deliver the financial services you trust from a new, more eye-catching and more appropriate brand.

More strings to our violin bows!

Octave Accountants also gives me the opportunity to widen my portfolio of services.  Now not only can I offer you accountancy and taxation services, but also the equally vital, complementary services of bookkeeping and outsourced Finance Director support.

  •        Bookkeeping can include functions such as filing your VAT returns, running your payroll and performing your CIS-related administration – freeing your people from these time-consuming administrative tasks to focus on their core roles.
  •        An outsourced Finance Director can analyse your monetary performance from a strategic point of view, recommending changes, helping to plan for growth, and generally providing expert advice on any business matter – at a much more economic rate than employing a full-time FD.

The benefits of my being able to offer you all of these services from one company are many and varied: they all relieve your staff of administrative or strategic tasks that are not their forte; fulfilling all of your financial needs under one roof obviously minimises duplication of effort, eradicates confusion caused by miscommunication, and streamlines the cost of employing different suppliers for different roles.
For my own part, I too look forward to doing more for you and your company, and thereby more comprehensively supporting your financial goals in particular, and your business objectives in general.  Our service is always scaled to the level of your exact needs, remaining sensitive to your precise requirements.

Indeed, your peace of mind and sustained and sustainable business growth are always in the forefront of my mind.

As always, if you have any questions at all about this change, please do not hesitate to contact me – please use the email from now on.

Octave Accountants: let us accompany you on your virtuoso business performance