We are pleased to announce that Knight Accountants continue to support local projects by sponsoring the Rugby teams of two local primary schools.

Director Kellie Knight said “We noticed these rugby kits reduced with Macron Store Hastings and at our staff meeting we decided to purchase the tops and asked Clare from Hastings Sport CIC who set about finding schools that would be interested in having a brand new kit for their school rugby teams. We were delighted that the first two schools asked really welcomed the offer”

The kits will be worn by local children who have a number of inter school tournaments coming up.

For further details of Knight Accountants services contact 01424 425113 or [email protected]

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As 2016 draws to a close Knight Accountants Service Charge Division continues to grow at a rapid pace. The value of the properties we financially report on now exceeds £3 billion and there no signs of this growth slowing up.

We have seen the department grow rapidly throughout the year with agents switching to us from London, Bristol and Manchester to name a few. There is a steady increase in self-managed blocks and we have benefitted from Managing Agents reviewing the service they are currently provided. Based on the many conversations we have had with Managing Agents, Freeholders and Leaseholders we have identified the three main reasons below why firms are switching to Knight Accountants.

Compliance

We have seen many changes in the property management industry in the last decade and it is essential that we keep on top of guidance and legislation as many of our clients are ARMA and/or RICS regulated. Our client mix is around 50% service charge so we have to keep on top of latest legislation and the team regularly attend IRPM and ARMA courses with a focus on service charge accounting. Bespoke internal training days are also arranged from accounting to interpretation leases. The block management industry has become a legal minefield and the financial element is a pivotal factor when it comes to recovering service charges.

Timescales

One of the most common reasons for firms to change to us is the turnaround times that accounts are processed. In a fast moving industry, landlords questionnaires arrive daily, balancing adjustments need accounting for and applied ensuring the necessary cash flow for the block. Our aim is to complete accounts within 2-4 weeks and will give plenty of notice if we feel we cannot fall within this timescale. Why do we want accounts sitting around the office? If our lead times increase it is time to grow the Knight Accountants family.

Family run business

More and more people are looking at appointing smaller firms for that personal service in our experience. During uncertain times that we are currently in people are looking for value for money and seem to prefer supporting families rather than investors and shareholders. At Knight Accountants we look after all of our clients irrespective of size. Our primary objective is to help people manage their businesses and homes and this is reflected in our responsive day-to-day service. In 2016 Knight Accountants has invested a substantial percentage of profits to local community projects which clients give us really good feedback about.

To benefit from Knight Accountants specialist department feel free to contact Graham Knight for an informal chat on 01424 869169 or [email protected]

Alternatively you can visit https://knightaccountants.co.uk/service-charge/

Knight Accountants specialist Service Charge Accounts division continues to gather pace as more Managing Agents continue to switch their portfolios to our services.

We have seen rapid rise this year which has seen our service charge division grow 30% in just 5 months. One of the key factors of the growth is the upgrade in IT systems whereby clients can upload all accounting files to a secure area of our server together with our specialist knowledge of block management software across various providers.

The division is headed up by Partner Graham Knight who has over 10 years direct industry experience having previously worked for two ARMA members before forming Knight Accountants in 2006.

Graham said “We have done a great deal of Marketing within the sector as well as the recent launch of Knight Block Accounts. We are also benefitting from blocks passing from different managing agents and the new agent is seeing how we work with regards to transfer of data, complying with legislation and our timescales which are extremely important to agents. We work closely with Managing agents and I can honestly say that each and every agent has a tailored service that suits their exact requirements”.

To see how Knight Accountants can help your Managing Agent contact 01424 869169

Knight Accountants are specialist service charge accountants working with Block Managing Agents across the UK.

Before I begin I just need to briefly explain a little about me and why I devised the “4 Wave Approach” at Knight Accountants….I had previously worked for eight years as a Service Charge Accountant for two managing agents in the South East, both of which were ARMA members. Throughout this time I constantly strived to improve the way in which the accounts department operated. Through trial and error and year on year experience I felt that I had got an approach that worked very well. Ideas I share with my clients today!

However…one problem…the external accountant and timing…In order for the “4 Wave Approach” to work I needed a responsive external accountant who could turn around the service charge certification process quickly to fit into my timing schedule. This unfortunately proved to be difficult over my eight years working in the industry.

Therefore when Knight Accountants was born in 2006, we set out to make this process easy and seamless for agents!

It all comes down to TIMING….

NOTE: I am aware that year-ends are in accordance with the lease for ease I have assumed all year-ends coincide with the quarter dates. An assumption has also been made that the agent manages between 50-150 blocks whereby there might only be one or two members of accounts staff dependant on the size of the blocks.

The 4 wave approach diagram is at the foot of this Blog but I will briefly explain the process as an example;

EXAMPLE

Agent ABC
Working year 2015

Towards the end of 2014 budgets for December 2015 year-ends are prepared and where necessary are sent for approval. These are then sent out in order for leaseholders to arrange payment by the due date in accordance with the lease.

Once you have returned to the office after the Christmas break you are then preparing accounts in readiness for certification. This will typically include entering any final supplier invoices, prepayments and accruals and reconciling the bank account to name a few.

These are then handed over in bulk or drip fed as and when they are ready to the accountant.

This is when problems can arise! Technically the accountant thinks they have until 30th June (assuming a 31st December year-end) to get the accounts back!

Under the “4 Wave Approach” this could not be further from the truth!

In my view the aim should be, whilst working with your accountant to streamline the process, to complete all December year-ends by mid February! This is why…

For a small accounts team the ideal scenario would be that if the December year-ends are not circulated by the end of February the agent is then hit with the next “Wave” to prepare budgets for the March year-ends. So there is a conflict of where time should be spent. Of course in reality you would prioritise the budgets/demands for payment being sent but this decision does not have to be made under the “4 Wave Approach”.

Summary:

In my experience the financial year in the leases are generally run in line with the 4 quarter dates with the majority being in December (25th or 31st) or March (24th or 31st). With less financial years ending in June and September.

The idea of the “4 Wave Approach” is to clear that quarters work before the next quarters “Wave” comes along.

Below in the diagram are the 4 purple blocks where your accountant should be aiming to process all accounts within the time slots, usually lasting approximately one month. Please note this is a generic guide and this does not necessarily works for all types and sizes of agents.

The Knight Accountants team have successfully implemented the “4 Wave Approach” working in conjunction with our clients. In my view it is a great system and it works!

Contact: Any questions or comments please direct them to [email protected] and I will be happy to explain these points any further.

A recent European Court of Justice ruling in connection with the Working Time Directive (WTD) says that where you have an employee with no fixed or habitual workplace, for example they travel from place to place to carry out their job, the journey to their first job and home from their last job should be counted as working time.

Some of the most obviously include sales reps, home carers and travelling trades such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

The UK’s opt out from the WTD only covers the 48 hour working week, so it seems that this is another working time ruling that will affect UK businesses.

How to respond? Our advice would be to assess a) which and how many roles you think this will affect in your business, b) what kind of distances you are talking about when it comes to your employee’s travelling, c) whether your current contract or handbook says anything about how these hours are treated or, in the absence of any rules, how that time is actually treated now, and d) what the impact would be of including these as working hours and whether it would reduce the amount of work done on a day to day basis dramatically.

The potential impact of including these journeys as working hours is that fewer jobs would be completed within the working day. Alternatively, it will mean that the extra hours need to be paid for in addition to the standard working week. In this case however you need to be careful that you don’t exceed the 48 hour week rule – unless of course your employees have signed an opt out!!

Each businesses’ circumstances will dictate the most practical response, but you may need to see if you can minimise the impact by reorganising journey plans or the size of territories to shorten travelling distances and improve productivity to offset the additional costs of hours added onto the working day.

If you are looking for professional advice on any of the issues raised above, then give us a call on 01424 425113. We provide tailored service that is unique to you. First of all you can come in for a FREE consultant where one of our members of staff will speak with you about how exactly we can help you.

We are an award winning family run firm, specialising in small business and service charge accounts. We are based in Hastings, East Sussex offering affordable fixed fees to all.

A range of measures to ensure that businesses comply with their wage obligations have been announced by the Business Secretary.

The national minimum wage is due to increase form £6.50 to £6.70 for people 21 and over from 1 October 2015. This will be followed by the introduction of the mandatory national living wage for people 25 and above, initially set at £7.20, in April 2016.

The measures announced include:

  • doubling penalties for non-payment
  • a new team to handle criminal prosecutions will be set up at HMRC
  • ensuring that those found guilty will be considered for disqualification from being a company director for anything up to 15 years.
  • increasing the enforcement budget
  • The increased penalties will be applied to companies who fail to pay their staff at least the minimum wage, will now be 200% of arrears. The penalty will be halved if the company pays the penalty within 14 days, and the maximum penalty for individual workers will remain at £20,000.

The new HMRC team of compliance officers will have a number of powers at their disposal to investigate and prosecute cases of non-compliance.

John Allan, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“As well as focusing on enforcement, the government must clearly and proactively communicate the charge to employers – ensuring businesses fully understand what they need to do and when.

“This support and guidance is necessary so small businesses avoid inadvertently falling foul of the changes to the law. In addition, ministers should review the Employment Allowance, which must be set at the right level to help businesses meet the new requirements.”

If you are looking for professional advice on any of the issues raised above, then give us a call on 01424 425113. We provide tailored service that is unique to you. First of all you can come in for a FREE consultant where one of our members of staff will speak with you about how exactly we can help you to get your company set up.

We are an award winning family run firm, specialising in small business and service charge accounts. We are based in Hastings, East Sussex offering affordable fixed fees to all.

You do actually get plenty of time between when your financial year comes to a close and when the tax is due, If you are self-employed you get 10 months and for all limited companies you get 9 months – if you don’t think this is enough, This is almost triple the amount of time compared to other EU countries and the US, who get 3 months and a half.

This means that you want to be projecting the estimated amount of tax you may be paying every month. But it also means that you can confirm the tax amounts if you get your accounts info to your accountant early. Then the accountant can complete your accounts and confirm what the tax amount actually is, making the job a lot smoother for you and us.

At Knight Accountants, we ask clients to get their information to us within 3 months of the financial year end. It is bad enough having a conversation with a client when the tax bill is surprisingly high six months before the tax due but it is ten times worse having the same conversation a few days before it has to be paid.

Don’t let this happen to you, start estimating your tax and have an idea of what tax you may have to pay as you go along and then get your estimate confirmed by your accountant way before the tax deadline.

With the Christmas Parties just around the corner, we thought it is a good time to clarify the rules on tax free staff entertaining.

What is counted as tax free staff entertaining and things to be aware of?

Your Staff Christmas Party is a Deductible Expense

The good news is that your staff Christmas party is an allowable expense for the purposes of reducing your corporation tax bill. This is because entertainment for the benefit of employees.

Benefit in Kind

There is an exemption of £150 per person, per annum for staff entertaining. This means that provided your Christmas party and any other staff function cost less than this, your employees will not have to pay tax and you will not have to pay Employer National Insurance Contributions on the cost. There are rules that apply to multiple events of which you should seek the necessary advice.

Treatment of VAT

Did you know that you can claim input VAT on staff entertaining? If all the attendees are staff, all the input VAT can be recovered. If guests or partners are invited the input VAT must be apportioned based on the number of people. For example, if each member of staff is allowed to bring one guest, 50% of the VAT can be recovered. This is not just for the Christmas party and can apply to events throughout the year.

If you are looking for professional advice on any of the issues raised above, then give us a call on 01424 425113. We provide tailored service that is unique to you. First of all you can come in for a FREE consultant where one of our members of staff will speak with you about how exactly we can help you.

We are an award winning family run firm, specialising in small business and service charge accounts. We are based in Hastings, East Sussex offering affordable fixed fees to all.