Benefits of carbon and energy reporting

Quoted companies have been required to report on energy and carbon usage since 2013, but now large unquoted companies are also required to report on their carbon and energy use in the director’s report of their financial statements. The reporting requirements between quoted and unquoted businesses are different, but with the government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050, the expectation is that reporting energy usage will filter down to smaller entities before too long. Smaller companies can voluntarily make the disclosure now if they wish to. Whilst this may seem like yet another disclosure requirement, non-financial reporting can be an opportunity for companies to tell a positive story and make some operational changes.

Performance tracking

This is an opportunity for companies to explain what steps they are taking to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint; where companies are able to report reductions, year on year, this is a positive story to tell.

The increased scrutiny upon energy reporting analyses should also help businesses benefit from a better understanding of their energy usage and where potential cost savings that can be made.

Investor expectations

Investors increasingly expect companies to consider sustainability. Where energy and carbon usage is reported, it provides an indicator of a company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint. This may have an impact upon the valuation of companies, including smaller privately owned businesses, as it could influence an investor’s assessment of where a company might be on their journey to becoming carbon neutral and meeting sustainability targets.

A reputation for reduction

The reporting of a reduced carbon footprint can be taken as a public commitment that a company is focused on mitigating climate change. Increasingly, consumers are considering climate impact when making their purchasing decisions, choosing to interact with companies that have a good reputation for reducing their energy usage and carbon emissions.

Employees will also benefit from being associated with a responsible employer, which may well help with retention of team members.

In short, being a climate change champion could result in a more sustainable and profitable business.

New Coronavirus Lockdown Grants to Support Business

Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced that there will be one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

There will also be a £594 million discretionary fund made available to support other impacted businesses.  This comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and the extension of the furlough scheme.

Today’s statement follows the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (4 Jan 2021) that these business will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the Spring period.

The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the Spring.

“This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.”

A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.

The new one-off grants come in addition to billions of existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

The government has also provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities, the furlough scheme now extended to April and 100% government backed loans, extended until March.

Further information

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Business support is a devolved policy and therefore the responsibility of the devolved administrations, which will receive additional funding as a result of these announcements in the usual manner:

  • the Scottish Government will receive £375 million
  • the Welsh Government will receive £227 million
  • the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127 million

This is on top of the increased funding which has already been guaranteed by the UK Government, to continue to provide the devolved administrations the certainty they need to plan for their COVID-19 response in the months ahead

Small businesses in the devolved administrations should also be able to benefit from other UK-wide measures in the government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including the various business lending schemes (where the repayment terms were made easier as part of the Winter Economy Plan), and the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

Please contact your usual MHA Moore and Smalley representative to discuss this further or email us at info@mooreandsmalley.co.uk.We are here to help and more details will follow as further announcements are expected from the Government and HM Treasury.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Extended

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reacted to the news of a second lockdown by extending the current Government Backed Loan Scheme (CBILS) until the end of January 2021. If your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and you require financial support, you may need to act now to start planning your cash flow in order to capitalise on the CBILS scheme whilst it is still available.

Subject to eligibility, a business can secure up to £5m in CBILS support across various financial products, regardless of whether they have received CBILS funding already or have been declined by their current incumbent bank.

CBILS facilities include:

  • Business Loans
  • Invoice Finance
  • Asset Finance
  • Asset Refinance / Restructuring
  • Acquisitions & MBOs

Features of the scheme include:

  • Borrow £50,001 – £5 million
  • Flexible payment terms up to six years
  • Potentially pay nothing for the first 12 months
  • First year’s interest and all fees paid by the Government
  • No Personal Guarantees up to £250K
  • Borrowers remain 100% liable for the debt

If you need any further information with regards to the financial support you can receive during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit our Now, for tomorrow hub here.

If you have any questions around rising Finance please contact Corporate Finance partner Andy Feeke on 0161 515 5050 or andrew.feeke@mooreandsmalley.co.uk

Covid-19 and the Agricultural Economy

It has now been well over six months since the first wave of Covid-19 brought the country to its knees. As we approach the winter and the second wave it is perhaps an appropriate point to reflect on the impact which it has had on the agricultural and rural sector.

As we all know “farming is different“ and of course it covers a wide range of different sectors within the global descriptor, some of which have been affected far more than others.

On an operational level, most farms are owner occupied or have small workforces who normally operate in open air, rarely use public transport and have limited opportunities for coming into contact with the disease. Self-isolation is pretty much part of their normal lifestyle, and the direct impact on this high acreage commodity producing sector has therefore been relatively mild – certainly by comparison with many other industries. The bulk of the damage here has been caused by disruption to the supply chains in both directions. Fruit and vegetable operators, on the other hand have suffered from both labour shortages and transport difficulties and many will have experienced a very difficult season.

In the livestock sector the position is less clear cut. Initially there were some major problems with surplus milk production resulting in cancelled contracts, delays in food leaving the farm and some cases of milk going to waste. However, meat prices have generally held up and the various support packages will have been a help to some of those worst affected.

Aside from the main business of food production, many farms have some element of diversification, and the impact of the disease here will have been far more varied. The holiday lettings business dropped to virtually nothing in the early months of lockdown with widespread cancellation of bookings, but later in the season the difficulties of foreign travel led to a surge in “staycations” and some recovery. The blanket £10,000 small business rate rebate will also have been useful for some, being roughly equivalent to the annual gross profit on a single letting unit. Many of those with farm shops will also have seen a massive increase in trade with “click and collect” services driving up turnover to unprecedented levels – and in the longer terms owners will hope that at least some of that trade will remain as shoppers realise they can buy good quality, reasonably priced, local produce outside the supermarket monopoly.

Looking to the future it seems that one of the results of the pandemic will be a greater recognition of the importance of the countryside, not only as a place to escape to during   lockdown, but also somewhere where it is now possible to live and work from home. For centuries cities have grown, at least partly, as a result of immigration from the countryside but If – as seems entirely possible – Covid 19 is here to stay, perhaps we will see a reversal of that process. The consequences being a greater demand for rural housing and the subsequent establishing of a construction and service sector needed to build and maintain that housing. Perhaps we will see a resurgence of the local economy and a renewed interest in local food, leading to a greater recognition of the importance of our food producers. And who knows, maybe, in the long term, something good might even come out of this national disaster?

Find out more

To discuss this and how we can help your agriculture and rural business, please get in touch.

Public Sector pension consultation – changes to the transitional arrangements to the 2015 pension schemes

You may have become aware of the above consultation document issued on 16 July 2020 and running until 11 October 2020.  This has been issued as a result of two legal cases where younger members of certain public sector pension schemes challenged the Government about their transitional transfer into new schemes from their original arrangements.  They won their case for discrimination and the Government conceded that public sector schemes should compensate these younger members.

It is proposed that the recompense will take the form of an option for members who have moved to the new schemes to elect to go back into their original scheme.  This covers benefits accrued during what is called the ‘remedy period’.  The remedy period runs from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022, which was the latest date any member received some semblance of protection from moving to the new scheme.  Anyone who has transferred to the new scheme in the remedy period may choose to return to the former scheme.  At 1 April 2022, all members who have not drawn their benefits or opted out will move to the 2015 pension scheme.

Two methods are being considered in the consultation document:

  • Make an election shortly after the remedy period comes to an end, or
  • Wait until you are ready to claim your benefits and make an election then.

You will have to sit tight about seeking advice on this.  Each of the methods, although ostensibly producing the same pension benefit outcome, once a decision is made as to which scheme to be a part of in the remedy period, will potentially produce significantly different income tax and pension tax outcomes, sometimes affecting many years.  Until we know which method is to be used, we cannot tell the implications. 

Watch this space.

Contact us

Please get in touch with David Walker, Healthcare Services Senior Tax Manager if you need support, or alternatively contact us here.

Business finance support during the Covid-19 pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have been under extreme pressure to efficiently run some essential financial functions, and this may continue once lockdown restrictions are fully lifted.

The main areas of concern for many businesses focus around cash flow, as well as internal working practices not being as efficient as they once were.

MHA Moore and Smalley can provide temporary support to relieve such pressures and deliver finance functions which may have previously been done in house or with another adviser.

How we can relieve the burden during this time:

Finance function support secondment

The finance function of any business is key, and it is essential to ensure compliance needs are met, and deadlines are adhered to. As such, our specialists can perform duties on a temporary basis on behalf of staff who may be unavailable. Such roles include:

• Management accountant
• Financial accountant
• Bookkeeper

We can assist with a range of duties usually performed by such individuals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Management accounts

Management accounts is an essential business function which allows you to make informed decisions, by providing crucial financial and statistical information, in a regular and timely manner. We can assist you in setting up these processes or preparing the information for you. This is integral to the success of any business.

Cash flow forecasts and projections

As we are all unsure how long the restrictions imposed for the Covid-19 pandemic will continue for, as well as the after effects on the economy, it is essential that all businesses assess cash flow immediately and understand how much is required to survive. Many businesses will require additional funding requirements both in the short-term and longer-term. Our specialist Corporate Finance team can assist with:

• Cash flow forecasts including sensitivity analysis
• Financial modelling
• Grant / funding applications

VAT advice and Time to Pay support

There are several areas which can be assessed immediately in order to minimise business interruption and maximise your working capital, including reclaiming VAT and the newly introduced deferral of VAT payments for 3 months.

Getting Time to Pay can hinge on the presentation of information, gathering suitable evidence and negotiation skills; we can support you when approaching HMRC and help you when considering the
wider impacts and implications of Time to Pay.

Our team can also assist with VAT return preparation and submission.

For further information on the various VAT reliefs that can be used to improve cash flow and working capital, please click here.

Payroll services

We can assist with the changes required in the payroll function regarding furlough leave and flexible furlough, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as assisting you with running your payroll if some of your key staff members are unavailable to do so.

Statutory accounts

We are also able to prepare your statutory accounts and other pre-year end related services, including:

• Preparing statutory accounts
• Corporation tax computations
• iXBRL tagging
• R&D claims

Business Healthcheck

We have devised a useful Business Healthcheck Questionnaire to help you identify areas where short term planning and changes may be required due to the impact of Covid-19. This looks at various areas including cashflow management and tax issues.

For further information about how our specialists teams can assist you, please contact us on 08081683464 or email info@mooreandsmalley.co.uk


New December Annual Benefit Statement (ABS)/Total Reward Statement (TRS) available

The second GP Pension Total Reward Statement of the year was released on 18 December and is available for GPs to view via www.totalrewardstatements.nhs.uk. Any certificates and pensions information that was submitted to PCSE by 11 October 2019 should be reflected in the December TRS. If submissions were made after 11 October 2019 then the information will be reflected in their updated TRS in the August 2020 release.

Pension records can only be updated sequentially, if certificates from previous years are missing, the most recent years cannot be updated. For instance, if certificates have only been received and processed for the years 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2017/18 then the ABS will only reflect the pension figures up until 2012.

Members are advised to contact the NHS Pensions TRS team using the contact details below if they are unable to see their December TRS but had submitted their certificates in time by 11 October.

It is important to check your records are up to date and that there are no missing periods in order that your future pension is maximised.

If you need any assistance or information, please contact one of your Healthcare Services team members at MHA Moore and Smalley

Useful links and contacts:

NHS Pensions TRS team – 0300 3301 351 or email nhsbsa.trs@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

PCSE Customer Support Centre – 0333 014 2884

Changes to submission of pension certificates

For the most recent financial year, 2018/2019, NHS Pensions have now released the Type 1 Annual Certificate of Pensionable Profits and the Type 2 Self-Assessment of Tiered contributions form. PCSE will process certificates submitted by the deadline on 28 February 2020.

For the 2018/19 certificates, submissions will still be made via the current processing of the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page on the PCSE website.

PCSE have announced that an automated, efficient and easy to use online payments and pensions service for GP practices will be introduced from May 2020.

Regarding the process of submitting superannuation certificates, this new online system should help GP practices to access pension information, manage their submissions and check their progress.

Electronic processes and online validation will improve the quality of information provided and accuracy of payments.

If you need any assistance or information, please contact one of your Healthcare Services team members at MHA Moore and Smalley

Useful links and contacts:

Superannuation certificates – Type 1 https://pcse.england.nhs.uk/help/gp-pensions/annual-certificates-of-pensionable-profits-type-1/

Superannuation certificates – Type 2 – https://pcse.england.nhs.uk/help/gp-pensions/type-2-medical-practitioner-self-assessment-of-tiered-contributions/

PCSE Customer Support Centre – 0333 014 2884

The importance of organisation in the workplace

For any business to grow and run smoothly organisation is a key skill. Here are a few tips on how to stay organised in the workplace;

Manage your working area

An organised work space helps avoid misplacing documents and items getting mixed up or lost, it also avoids the scramble and stress of having to root through papers to find a specific document if a client or customer calls unexpectedly. As well as looking tidier for unexpected visits it creates a calmer atmosphere which can help with productivity. To help with this consider going paperless which avoids having physical documents to deal with altogether.

Keep your computer organised

If you decide to go paperless, you then must compete with the filing of digital documents. A system will need to be implemented for naming files and saving them to specific locations that everyone in the business is aware of. While this can initially be a timely process, once set up and running smoothly you will reap the benefits of not having paper documents lying around everywhere. Going paperless also helps to comply with GDPR and as the documents can be accessed remotely, flexible working is also a possibility.

Expenses

Keeping your expenses organised and recorded in a timely manner helps so you can focus on your business itself. It is easy to leave it till your businesses year end and then have to find all those receipts, often in various pockets and glove compartments to get your expenses claim in. Consider using an app that links to your accounting software so expenses can be posted immediately, receipt scanned and then it can be lost with no worry.

Keep track of your debtors and creditors

Paying suppliers, invoicing customers and chasing payments is a key part in every business. Disorganisation can lead to late payments, missed debts or even missed opportunities for raising bills. Keeping your accounting software up to date can help flag up important dates for when payments are due or if a payment needs chasing. Many software’s, such as quickbooks, have built in reminders and flag up these areas every time you login. If chasing debts is taking up a lot of your time and you don’t have someone employed to do this job consider an automated service such as Chaser (www.chaserhq.com/), which links to your accounting software and deals with the chasing of debts automatically.

Archive and delete emails

It can be frustrating to login to your inbox and see hundreds of emails. Reducing and clearing out your inbox regularly can help flag up the emails that still require attention and avoid important emails getting missed.

Keep track of deadlines

Be aware of deadlines such as the following to stay on track and avoid any unnecessary penalties;

  • Companies House, accounts are due nine months after year end
  • Corporation tax return, due for filing twelve months after year end
  • Corporation tax payment, due nine months and one day after year end
  • VAT returns, due for filing and payment one month and seven days after the period end