Hammond-Barr Accountants

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Hammond-Barr Accountants's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Hammond-Barr Accountants is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.hammbarr.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | HAMMOND-BARR ACCOUNTANTS
Director Richard Broadbent
As a firm of accountants and finance professionals in
Stevenage, Hammond-Barr is a family-run business
with more than 30 years’ experience. Director Richard
Broadbent tells
The Parliamentary Review
that many clients have
been with the firm for more than 15 years, and that it continues
to work with clients as partners to secure their future prosperity.
Richard explains the challenges he and his clients face and
discusses his hopes for the future.
We are a well-established firm of accountants and professionals with offices
conveniently located near to all transport links in Stevenage. As a family-run business,
with MAAT and AAT qualified technicians, we have provided a professional and
reliable service to business owners for over 30 years and can proudly say that
several clients have been with us since 1986. We offer more than the full range of
accountancy services to SMEs, keeping close contact with our clients and providing
them with a personal service. We work together with our clients as a team for the
benefit of their business and its future prosperity.
Helping clients to grow and develop
Our client base is varied in terms of activity and turnover. We have, for example, a
former childminder who now runs an afterschool club via her own limited company
through to two friends who have established a highly reputable business over the
past 20 years, providing security officials to music tours and events worldwide. The
diverse nature of our client base ensures no day is boring.
Our aim is to help businesses develop, happily bringing our expertise and more than
“just accountancy” to help new businesses grow, in promotion, tax planning or other
areas. We offer all clients an introduction to an associate for all IT matters, including
website development and the all-important cybersecurity. We firmly believe that
small business owners should be able to concentrate their energies on running their
businesses, leaving the professionals to deal with bureaucratic and other non-trading
matters. At the same time, these services must be reasonably priced for both the
client and provider. We operate a monthly payment system for all clients, reviewed
annually. Business start-ups are reviewed after the first six months of trading.
Recent challenges to our practice
The digital revolution has brought several challenges to our practice, notably, costly
but necessary upgrades to our already sophisticated computer systems. As with all
businesses, we are constantly on guard with respect to cybersecurity. As such, our
systems are continually monitored and updated.
Making Tax Digital has changed many processes for accountants, imposing substantial
pressures for both finance and HR. We have now implemented MTD for VAT-registered
clients whose turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold and, at the time of writing,
the returns for the first quarter falling within MTD for VAT have recently beenfiled.
AT A GLANCE
HAMMOND-BARR
ACCOUNTANTS
»Director: Richard Broadbent
»Established in 1985,
rebranded in 2009
»Based in Stevenage
»Services: Accountancy,
including bookkeeping,
business advice, company
secretary, payroll including
CIS, personal taxation
»No. of employees: 6
»An associate company
provides taxation and
accountancy services to
seafarers and offshore workers
Hammond-Barr
Accountants
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | HAMMOND-BARR ACCOUNTANTS
Director Richard Broadbent
As a firm of accountants and finance professionals in
Stevenage, Hammond-Barr is a family-run business
with more than 30 years’ experience. Director Richard
Broadbent tells
The Parliamentary Review
that many clients have
been with the firm for more than 15 years, and that it continues
to work with clients as partners to secure their future prosperity.
Richard explains the challenges he and his clients face and
discusses his hopes for the future.
We are a well-established firm of accountants and professionals with offices
conveniently located near to all transport links in Stevenage. As a family-run business,
with MAAT and AAT qualified technicians, we have provided a professional and
reliable service to business owners for over 30 years and can proudly say that
several clients have been with us since 1986. We offer more than the full range of
accountancy services to SMEs, keeping close contact with our clients and providing
them with a personal service. We work together with our clients as a team for the
benefit of their business and its future prosperity.
Helping clients to grow and develop
Our client base is varied in terms of activity and turnover. We have, for example, a
former childminder who now runs an afterschool club via her own limited company
through to two friends who have established a highly reputable business over the
past 20 years, providing security officials to music tours and events worldwide. The
diverse nature of our client base ensures no day is boring.
Our aim is to help businesses develop, happily bringing our expertise and more than
“just accountancy” to help new businesses grow, in promotion, tax planning or other
areas. We offer all clients an introduction to an associate for all IT matters, including
website development and the all-important cybersecurity. We firmly believe that
small business owners should be able to concentrate their energies on running their
businesses, leaving the professionals to deal with bureaucratic and other non-trading
matters. At the same time, these services must be reasonably priced for both the
client and provider. We operate a monthly payment system for all clients, reviewed
annually. Business start-ups are reviewed after the first six months of trading.
Recent challenges to our practice
The digital revolution has brought several challenges to our practice, notably, costly
but necessary upgrades to our already sophisticated computer systems. As with all
businesses, we are constantly on guard with respect to cybersecurity. As such, our
systems are continually monitored and updated.
Making Tax Digital has changed many processes for accountants, imposing substantial
pressures for both finance and HR. We have now implemented MTD for VAT-registered
clients whose turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold and, at the time of writing,
the returns for the first quarter falling within MTD for VAT have recently beenfiled.
AT A GLANCE
HAMMOND-BARR
ACCOUNTANTS
»Director: Richard Broadbent
»Established in 1985,
rebranded in 2009
»Based in Stevenage
»Services: Accountancy,
including bookkeeping,
business advice, company
secretary, payroll including
CIS, personal taxation
»No. of employees: 6
»An associate company
provides taxation and
accountancy services to
seafarers and offshore workers
Hammond-Barr
Accountants
25HAMMOND-BARR ACCOUNTANTS |
FINANCIAL SERVICES
Having already absorbed the cost
in manpower of implementing and
complying with both the EU’s 2016
General Data Protection Regulation, and
the UK’s own 2017 Money Laundering
Regulations, we regret that we have had
to pass some of the increased financial
burden ontoclients.
The complexity of HMRC
It is a known fact that HMRC’s IT systems
lack cohesion, with VAT, corporation
tax, self-assessment, PAYE and the
Construction Industry Scheme still unable
to interface with each other. Meanwhile,
new procedures are being implemented
with often insufficient testing by end
users. The Real Time Information system
for PAYE, for instance, was rolled out
in 2013, but major problems are still
beingexperienced.
The recent announcement from HMRC
that the proposed domestic reverse
charge system for the recovery of VAT
has been postponed has been met with
relief in all quarters. The forthcoming
implementation of the rules for off-
payroll working from April 2020 will be
the next challenge for a proportion of
our client base. At the time of writing,
this is under review, and we do not
know how each individual situation
could be affected.
The centralising of HMRC functions and
subsequent reduction in knowledgeable
staff numbers has made efficient
interaction impossible in many cases.
The inability to penetrate beyond the
front-desk call handlers, who have little
or no specialist knowledge, to speak
to the officers who actually deal with
individual cases, is extremely frustrating
and time-consuming.
Challenges facing our clients
These days our clients face more
challenges as a direct result of the
increasing bureaucracy impacting small
businesses. Sole traders in particular
struggle to reach newly imposed targets
and procedures that can be more easily
managed by largecorporations.
Even the smallest business has to
comply with some, or all, of the new
regulations, including MTD for HMRC,
Money Laundering Regulations, VAT
and GDPR, not to mention workplace
pensions. The cost in human terms of
complying with these regulations has
been the cause of more than one small
business going under. Others struggle
on, often attempting to tackle issues
they are ill-equipped to deal with, being
unable to afford the cost of professional
assistance to find their way through,
what may seem, an overwhelming tide
of bureaucracy. The attempts of clients
to cut accountancy costs by doing it
themselves often result in headaches for
them and more challenges for us when
presented with their case to untangle.
Our hopes for the future
Accountancy has come a long way since
the days of the abacus and quill pen. We
do not, however, believe in change or
technology for its own sake. There must
be a valid need for each application.
As long ago as 1990, while members
of the parliamentary dining club, we
questioned changes in HMRC legislation
which appeared to treat all businesses
alike, regardless of size. Career politicians
with little or no experience of running
a business continue to seem unable to
understand that smaller entities simply
do not have the same resources for
implementation and compliance as big
businesses. We hope that in the future
there will be more consultation with
small businesses on the ground, taking
a pragmatic view of their circumstances
before imposing increasingly complex
legal requirements on them.
As a business ourselves, we look
forward to expanding our varied client
base and continuing to master the
necessary technology as it develops. The
next generation of our family is already
involved in the business and, with young
grandchildren showing an interest, we
look forward to continuing to provide an
extremely competent and helpful service
to our clients for many years to come.
Clients receive a friendly
welcome
We are based in the
Business and Technology
Centre, Stevenage
Accountancy
has come a
long way since
the days of
the abacus
and quill pen

www.hammbarr.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Hammond-Barr Accountants. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development