At Hamlyns, we’ve turned the entire accountancy experience around in order to add value to all the services we offer. Of course, we can deal with your accounts and compliance requirements, and look after your tax and VAT issues. But we do more.
We tap into the knowledge base of our network of colleagues and fellow professionals to find lateral and innovative solutions for your business. We challenge even the strongest-minded of our clients to join us in thinking differently. Even that most dreaded hindrance, the audit, has been reconfigured to turn it into an opportunity to ‘mine’ invaluable strategic insights and opportunities.
Through our comprehensive business service, we work closely with you in developing and steering your organisation’s strategy and goals through the prevailing commercial conditions. After all, if you don’t know where your business is going, how will you know whether you’ve arrived or not?
The most successful people who start up businesses combine the entrepreneurial wisdom to recognise the potential for profit with the flair and drive to turn a dream into reality. But gifted and visionary as they may be, they are unlikely to also have the requisite wide-ranging expertise in the legal, financial and taxation aspects of running a successful business.
That’s why so many ‘start-up entrepreneurs’ rely on Hamlyns to look after those elements of their business. Working together, we can help you decide on the most suitable structure for your business, prepare a business plan, cash flow projections, look at trading forecasts and introduce you to a suitable bank or lender.
And by freeing you up to focus on doing what you do best – setting up a successful and thriving venture – very soon we’ll see our relationship develop into working with ‘a well-established, successful local entrepreneur’.
At Hamlyns, we’ve transformed the perceived hindrance of audit and assurance into a value added service.
As Registered Auditors, we can of course provide the statutory audit services required under corporate, charity and pension legislation. However, we also offer this service to organisations requiring a non-statutory audit, providing a tailored assurance service without incurring the associated cost and disruption of a full audit.
Part of this undertaking involves the assessment and review of your accounting and internal control systems, following which we can then report back to directors on any structural or operational weaknesses and make recommendations for their improvement.
Hamlyns LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk, under reference number C002090983
VAT is often described as a treacherously undulating minefield, over-burdened with complex legislation, fuelled by the ever-increasing demands of HM Revenue & Customs which require practitioners to maintain an ever-greater in-depth level of up-to-the-minute knowledge. And that’s just the positives…
At Hamlyns we provide a truly all-encompassing VAT service, from VAT registration to the VAT implications on property transactions; from partial exemption to VAT on imports and exports and VAT compliance checks. In short, a genuinely invaluable ‘value added service’ for businesses that can’t justify the time to do the job themselves, and can’t afford the consequences of doing the job incorrectly.
The ever-changing landscape of legislation and obligations pertaining to Companies Act compliance are a constant drain on the resources of any busy company director. Our solution is simple – let Hamlyns deal with all your company secretarial requirements while you deal with the much more crucial day-to-day operations of your business.
As the UK tax system has now almost entirely moved over to ‘self assessment’, the onus falls on the taxpayer (and more often their accountant) to navigate the shifting tides of legislation.
With this shift in approach, the Government has been able to increase its investment in compliance checks and investigations, hence broadening the reach of its net over more taxpayers. With HM Revenue & Customs nowadays conducting its enquires in a far more aggressive manner, it’s more important than ever to have Hamlyns on the case, ensuring that your interests are fully protected and that you have paid the right amount of tax.
Coping with a compliance check can be a highly stressful, time consuming and expensive experience. But if you are selected for a tax compliance check (whether randomly or for a specific reason), we’ll support you throughout to bring the enquiry to a prompt, satisfactory and cost-effective conclusion.
Hamlyns also offers Fee Protection Insurance Hamlyns offers great value Fee Protection for both business and private clients. For a small nominal fee paid annually, you can indemnify yourself and your company against the potentially far greater costs incurred in retaining the professional assistance you will need should you be subject to an investigation or dispute with HMRC.
The administration involved with these accounting necessities can be crippling to your resources, driving your energy and attention away from day-to-day operations and placing the burden of an unachievable admin workload on your team. The requirements are further exacerbated by the growing complexity of VAT, PAYE and employment legislation, along with the growing levels of penalties for non-compliance.
Until such a time as you feel your business can justify the cost of investing in an in-house accounting function, Hamlyns can work with you as a seamless extension of your organisation, tailoring our approach to your exact requirements and taking care of all these ‘transactional distractions’, freeing up your time up to focus on the everyday running of your business.
Every business needs to retain its natural momentum in order to stay ahead of the competition and nurture profitability. If this momentum stalls, you risk your business going into decline as staff lose their impetus and direction. That’s why you need a clear and structured business strategy that keeps that momentum moving in all the right directions.
Traditionally, it’s the responsibility of the founding entrepreneurs, company directors and business partners to establish that strategy. And although it might ordinarily be considered outside our remit as accountants, at Hamlyns we believe your business strategy is an area where we can help, too.
We actively invite our clients to benefit from our depth and breadth of experience by assisting you in devising a strategy that’s capable of evolving and developing as your business grows, and as our relationship deepens over the years.
We recommend that accurate management accounts be drawn up monthly to enable you to closely monitor business performance and to analyse this performance against your strategic plan. And with our extensive experience, we can also help you benchmark your performance against similar businesses in your sector.
Even if you don’t require accounts to be prepared on a monthly or quarterly basis, you’re still going to need them prepared annually for filing purposes with Government bodies. In doing so, Hamlyns will not only ensure that they comply with accounting standards, disclosure requirements and Companies Act provisions, but we’ll also be able to advise you on the subsequent taxation implications and also on how those accounts might be perceived and interpreted by third parties and competitors.
Whether yours is a fledgling business or a well-established organisation, ensuring that you have the necessary finance is essential for achieving your business objectives. Without suitable finance in place, many businesses founder. Our years of experience have afforded us an extensive pool of finance contacts which we make available to our clients.
Hamlyns can help you to conduct a feasibility study of your projects, identify the most suitable sources of finance, prepare the necessary documentation and present your proposal to your chosen source of finance. At the other end of the business cycle, we can assist you with mergers, acquisitions, management buyouts and the disposal of your business.
Taxes are an unavoidable and often sizeable component of your trading costs. And not just in terms of the monies leaving your bottom line!
Dealing with taxation issues represents a major drain on your time resources, and the problem is further exacerbated the ever-increasing burden of reporting obligations coupled with the threat of ‘robust’ investigation policies and harsher penalties for non-compliance.
At Hamlyns, not only do we ensure full compliance with current tax legislation but we can also help minimise your exposure and ease the administrative burden.
Providing professional services for the legal sector requires specialist knowledge and, at Hamlyns, David Cooper (Partner, Business Services Group), Amy Penstone-Smith (Manager, Business Services Group) and Sam Thomas (Manager, Business Services Group) are responsible for this particular area of expertise, ensuring compliance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules.
With the continued growth of e-commerce and the increasing importance of the EU and the emerging economies, international business is a growing consideration for UK businesses.
Successful international trading requires expert knowledge – from accounting with foreign currencies and reducing your overseas tax burden to repatriating profits at a minimal tax cost – and in these matters, Hamlyns acts not only on behalf of UK incorporated businesses trading outside the UK, but also for UK subsidiaries of foreign companies trading within the UK.
A merger or acquisition is often required in the interest of protecting or building your competitive advantage. However, without the correct support and hands-on assistance, this costly, complex and time-consuming process can often prove more detrimental than beneficial.
At Hamlyns, we can help you in identifying potential targets, screening them for suitability, raising the necessary finance and then optimising the financial and tax position of the new combined enterprise.
Alternatively, you may decide to improve your position with a business disposal, and once again Hamlyns can help, assisting in valuing your assets, identifying a suitable buyer, facilitating the negotiation of the deal and – in the current lingua franca – ‘grooming for sale’…
This process of preparing a business for sale is not a question of ‘window dressing’ a business to show it in the best possible light. That would quickly and easily be revealed by the purchaser’s due diligence process. At Hamlyns, our approach to grooming for sale is more about ensuring that a business has an achievable strategy, robust accounting and reporting systems, sound management and demonstrably well-documented legal and contractual arrangements.
The level of preparation, care and effort that we put into the disposal or succession of your business will have a major influence on the price you receive for it. And for that reason, it’s never too early to involve Hamlyns in grooming for sale and guiding you through the disposal process to maximise your return.
In valuing your business for disposal purposes, our view is that it is not simply a question of applying a standard multiple of earnings or adjusted profits. In fact, we often say that it’s ‘motives, not multiples’ that determine value. Your business is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it, and therefore the issue is more about negotiation than valuation.
Intangible assets are all-too-often overlooked; however, it is precisely your intellectual property, trademarks, brands and domain names that combine to create wealth, so these elements should be considered absolutely central in valuing a business.
In providing an accurate and realisable valuation, our experienced team will also advise and assist with the potential impact of shareholder disputes, wills, estates and divorce settlements on the planned disposal of your business.
When problems arise, getting the right advice at the right time is vital for the sustained success of any business. And failing to heed that good advice in the face of adverse conditions can prove to be its downfall.
At Hamlyns, we know through hard-earned experience that bad debts, falling demand, excessive borrowing and poor budgetary control – all too often the cause of an otherwise thriving business failing – can successfully be dealt with head-on through sound financial control and due attention to financial reporting.
It’s precisely by maintaining a close and open relationship with you that we can help identify any problem areas before they become a problem, and recommend solutions to regain your financial control, safeguard your cash flow and, ultimately, protect your profitability.
How often does the taxman give tax relief on more than you have actually spent or buy your losses from you? Many companies are missing out on generous Research and Development tax relief under the small and medium sized enterprises (SME) scheme at 230% on allowable R&D costs or the large company scheme at 130% relief. This means that for each £100 of qualifying costs, an SME company could have the income on which Corporation Tax is paid reduced by an additional £130 on top of the £100 spent. It also includes a payable credit in some circumstances. The average annual claim for an SME is £46K.
“We have worked together over the past four years on these claims and received a nice five figure sum which went straight to the bottom line to invest in staff costs and further R&D”
Tom Arundel, Director
Introversion Software Limited
Precision Microdrives Limited
The thought of Research and Development conjures up the image of scientists in white coats scratching their heads while staring into the blue sky seeking inspiration. Perhaps it is this image that has led to the misconception that R&D claims may only be made for cutting edge and brand new products with the result that opportunities to save substantial amounts of tax have been lost.
The Government is determined to encourage and support innovative and pioneering companies, and is using the tax system to bring this about. The scheme is structured in such a way that the tax advantages can accrue and companies should not be put off making a claim believing their products do not qualify, or because the claim process is too onerous – it’s not.
So what is R&D for this purpose? It either has to involve the resolution of a technological uncertainty or use an existing technology in an unusual or innovative way. The point here is that existing technology can be utilised, which puts paid to the notion that only new inventions qualify. That said, routine cosmetic improvements do not count. Examples of the types of industry sectors companies we have helped to claim operate in include cosmetics, video games, computer software, web design, engineering and transport.
When offering our initial advice to our clients, we ask them the following four questions:
- What is the scientific or technical advance?
- What were the uncertainties in the project?
- How and when were the uncertainties overcome?
- Why was the knowledge being sought not readily deducible by a competent professional?
If these questions can be answered in a positive way then a claim should be considered.
The claim can cover a wide range of costs, to include staff costs and subcontracted costs as well as the more obvious and specific costs ‘consumed’ in the R&D process.
The tax credit is made available as a significantly enhanced tax deduction based on R&D expenditure which can be used to reduce the company’s tax liability, or, in the case of an SME making losses it’s possible to surrender tax losses for a cash payment from HMRC thus boosting cash flow which can be invested in growth. Just what’s needed when R&D costs are draining the company bank account. The large company scheme is less generous and there is no cash credit available. However, this is being replaced by a new scheme, the RDEC scheme, which does allow a loss making company to receive a repayable tax credit. At present a large company can elect which scheme to use, but after 1 April 2016 only the RDEC scheme will be available.
A claim must be made with two years after the end of the relevant accounting period. If a company has already filed its tax return it is worth reviewing its activities to see if any of them qualify as R&D. If they do, an amended return encompassing a claim should be filed. Just make sure the review takes place in sufficient time to allow for the claim to be quantified and submitted within the time limited.
Don’t think an R&D claim only applies in rarefied circumstances – this isn’t the case.
Don’t think an R&D claim is a one off – again, this isn’t the case. A claim can be made for each year your company has qualifying expenditure.
Many specialist companies have set up shop to advice on these claims charging a percentage of the claim. Hamlyns believe their clients should utilise this extra cash flow to further their businesses and we only charge our normal rates. Hamlyns has detailed practical knowledge of R&D claims and deal with them on a regular basis. We are able to put forward both the numbers (ensuring all eligible costs are included) and most importantly, to assist you to construct a narrative that tells HMRC what they need to hear in the best format to advance the claims process. We have helped our clients claim thousands of pounds worth of R&D credits and have a good working relationship with HMRC.
Please contact Nicky Keeble, Partner Business Services Group at Hamlyns for further information.
01483 755399 [email protected]