Merry RIFTmas to All

Friday December 14, 2018

As the UK’s most thrill-seeking accounting firm, we’re never short of adventure at RIFT. 2018 has had its fair share of financial fireworks, so it’s time for a quick look back over the year to see what it tells us about the future of your business.

The first thing to say is that the British business landscape is bigger and busier than ever. We’ve welcomed lots of new adventurers into the RIFT fold this year, and it’s both amazing and inspiring to see so many new journeys starting so strongly. At the same time, our existing customers are going from strength to strength. It’s always exciting to be able to help people plan for the next levels of success. That passion we see in you as you make your business dreams a reality is the exact same energy that drives us to keep growing and improving as well!

We were delighted to be back on Channel Radio again this year, along with some of our clients and partners. It’s always fantastic to join Paul in the studio, chatting with people like Ryan Grist from Angle Studios and Ecosan’s Sonja Wilson. These shows are a tremendous opportunity to meet and talk with some of the brightest sparks in the business world, and we’re looking forward to more.

We also had a chance to deliver a talk to business students and budding entrepreneurs at the annual Greenwich University event. We covered the basics of setting up and running a business, the differences between a Sole Trader and a Limited Company, insurance and employer requirements and a lot more besides. It was a great event and, from what we saw, the Business Battlefield of tomorrow’s in good hands.

Obviously, there are bumps in every business road, and the new General Data Protection Regulation rules have been a concern for many. The nuts and bolts of GDPR are that businesses now have to take much more detailed, specific care over how they collect and handle people’s personal data. That can mean anything from names and contact details right up to medical and banking information. Of course, RIFT is always ready to help with GDPR questions or worries, and we’ll keep providing guidance and advice to make sure we’re all colouring inside the legal lines.

A particularly gristly issue a lot of you have been chewing over in 2018 is financing. For instance, we’ve been helping many of our customers tackle the requirements for the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme this year. Funding options like these are incredibly valuable to smaller businesses – particularly the high-risk adrenaline fiends we love most at RIFT. If you’re intrigued about the possibilities of some of the most attractive tax breaks the UK has to offer, get in touch and we’ll show you the ropes.

Another of 2018’s big news topics was HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative, which has been lurching forward in fits and starts for a while now. We’ve been kept pretty busy helping RIFT clients get themselves prepared. Crucially, though, we’ve also got the taxman’s ear as part of the pilot scheme. We’ve been able to give your feedback directly to HMRC, making sure they understand the impact they’re having and can hear your concerns. It’s a potentially huge issue for a lot of businesses, so getting it right will depend very much on making your voices heard.

The chances of an HMRC enquiry are solidly on the rise, as the taxman cracks down on everything from employment status to tax avoidance. New investigatory powers are coming into play, giving HMRC the right to literally knock on your door to inspect your financial records. Tax enquiries are getting larger, more complex and more common all the time now. In turn, that makes them costlier to deal with, both in time and money. That initial VAT or NIC check might just be the taxman’s foot in your door. You could quickly find him sniffing around your company accounts, Corporation Tax and CIS paperwork. Accounting fees can escalate quickly, taking critical resources away from where they’re needed the most.

We saw this coming a while back, and we took action with a new Fee Protection service. Basically, Fee Protection cover softens the hammer-blow of a large range of HMRC enquiries, disputes or check-ups, covering you for the cost of our time up to £3,000 per 12 months. Contact us for more information, and make sure you’re protected when the taxman tightens his noose.

So that was 2018 in a nutshell. As for 2019 and beyond, there’s a lot we can learn from the last 12 months. For one thing, HMRC is going to need to do a much better job of supporting small businesses over Making Tax Digital for VAT. Despite assurances that a million businesses will be ready for the scheme by April 2019, so far no free software is available to help small businesses make the change. What’s more, the impact assessments HMRC published are starting to look pretty optimistic. There have been calls from leading accounting bodies, not to mention the House of Lords itself, for a delay of at least a year. As Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Committee, puts it:

“Small businesses will not be ready for this significant change to their practices, especially with Brexit taking place three days earlier.”

Whatever 2019 may have in store, of course, you’re in safe hands with RIFT Accounting. Whatever problems, questions or worries you have, we’re always here and ready to help. Have a very merry Christmas, keep in touch and remember that you’re better off with RIFT.

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