Today’s challenges for COFAs and Practice Managers

Published by Rachel Emmerson on 5 April 2022

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Compliance officers for finance and administration, COFAs, and Practice Mangers can find themselves in a lonely position. Whilst they will often share much in common with their colleagues, they also hold responsibility for their colleague’s compliance with regulatory and financial standards. It is not entirely surprising tensions arise.

We have a dedicated team working with a wide range of professional practices, advising on tax, management reporting, succession, and client money examinations. We work closely with COFAs and Practice Managers and understand the pressures and challenges faced.

That is why we are creating a community of experts from across the firm to take part in a live Q&A webinar to address any questions COFAs and Practice Managers may have.

The webinar will take place on 13 April between 9 and 10.30am.

Here, we provide a short insight into some of the issues that we know are areas of concern and our experts who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Rachel Emmerson – funding options open to your firm

Rachel is head of our Funding Team and will discuss the range of funding routes open to professional practices, how best to decide what is right for your firm, and the pros and cons of those funding types.

“Against a backdrop of rising costs and inflation, it is important that firms and their partners take the time to really understand the different impacts the various funding routes will have,” explains Rachel.

Rachel will also provide an update on the Government backed Recovery Loan Scheme and whether now is the right time for professional practices to access this fund before it closes on 30 June 2022.

Emily Baldwin – Making Tax Digital

The Making Tax Digital, MTD, programme has not disappeared. From April 2022, the final phase of the MTD is being extended to all VAT registered business irrespective of turnover. MTD for VAT means more than simply submitting your VAT returns to HMRC electronically, it also requires digital records to be kept and for those all-important digital links to be in place.

From April 2024, MTD will be extended to income tax (MTD for ITSA). Like MTD for VAT, this will be introduced in phases. The first phase impacts landlords and self-employed, followed by partnerships in 2025.

While MTD for ITSA may seem a while off, there is plenty that you need to consider and do as a business to ensure you are ready in time.

Max Masters – SAR rules

Max is head of our client money team and will cover a couple of the key issues that we, as reporting accountants, come across on a regular basis in respect of the SAR rules.

The updated rules have been in effect since November 2019, but there are a number of firms who are yet to implement steps to ensure that they are fully compliant – whether this be implementing formal systems and procedures, regularly maintaining a ‘COFA register of breaches’ or dealing with historic residual balances.

Max will offer some tips and advice on what small steps you can take to ensure the safety and security of client funds and be best prepared should the SRA ever visit.

Dipesh Galaiya – changes to the basis period

To keep pace with the Making Tax Digital programme, the Government has introduced reforms meaning that unincorporated business, including partnerships, will be taxed on the profits arising in a tax year.

“The changes take effect from the 2024-25 tax year, with a transitional year in 2023-24. Whilst this reform would go largely unnoticed by businesses that use an accounting date of 31 March or 5 April, these changes could be very problematic for businesses that use a different accounting date,” explains Dipesh.

Some challenges partnership will face include requiring two sets of tax computations from different accounting periods for each tax year, problems with estimation and possible revisions to tax returns, and the acceleration of tax liabilities in 2023-24 for some businesses who are experiencing an increase in their profitability.

Rachel, Emily, Max and Dipesh will be on hand throughout the webinar to take your questions.

For more information and to register to attend, please visit here.

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