Whitfield Accounting & Integrated Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Whitfield Accounting & Integrated Services'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 Whitfield Accounting & Integrated Services 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.whitfieldaccounting.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | WHITFIELD ACCOUNTING & INTEGRATED SERVICES
Director Cheryl P Agorom
Whitfield Accounting & Integrated Services pride
themselves on the multiculturalism of their client base.
Based in Liverpool, they provide a range of accountancy
and bookkeeping services. Director Cheryl Agorom spotted a
niche in the market when the audit level was lowered. Since the
incorporation of the business in 2011, they have gone from strength
to strength. Cheryl tells
The Parliamentary Review
about how the
firm managed to grow and how HMRC can become more effective.
Our motto is “Keeping the wheels of business turning in your favour.” This is our intention
and defines our approach to clients. Before starting my own practice, I gained experience
working at a senior level within various accountancy firms in Liverpool. This provided me with
the ability to identify a fruitful area of the market and utilise cost-effective methods to fill this
gap. These firms ranged from small practices in the local area to internationally recognised
accountancy firms such as KPMG, and I specialised in accounting and forensic auditing.
Our services are wide ranging, and we go beyond financial accounting. It is these additional
services that set us apart from other competitors. We cover the entire country, from
Dartford to Sunderland, with some clients in Europe, operating in Denmark and Croatia.
Supporting a multicultural client base
Our client base is diverse and multicultural. We have been able to expand this group
through client referral and word of mouth. We have never spent money on advertising
and it is the quality of our service and the satisfaction of our clients that allow us to grow.
Our clients value our services as we are highly personable and listen to their needs. This
goes beyond accounts advice and we help with many issues that could ultimately have
an impact on the success of their businesses and their personal lives.
We have five staff members, all of whom are highly qualified and skilled in their
respective areas. We have supported a work experience programme involving local
schools in the Liverpool area for over seven years. We have also engaged with various
apprenticeship schemes, leading to success both for us and the individuals involved.
The inefficiency of HMRC communication channels
One of the main challenges we face is the slow bureaucracy and sometimes restrictive
policies of HMRC. The impact of hard legislation on small businesses is deeply negative.
In the North West, many of our clients are facing difficult times with virtually no
financial help for start-up businesses.
Communication channels across HMRC departments also need improvement. The transfer
of information can be inefficient and this can lead to the duplication of effort as one has to
repeat a query several times before it is addressed and resolved. Waiting times for phone
calls can often range from 30 to 40 minutes. The inconvenience of this is compounded
by the impersonal nature of the recordings they employ, which often leads to frustration.
The use of a best-judgment approach when assessing tax liability during an HMRC review
also requires change. This system creates a perception of guilt before the true facts
are presented. Similarly, the use of “deliberate behaviour” to impose high penalties
AT A GLANCE
WHITFIELD ACCOUNTING
&INTEGRATED SERVICES
»Director: Cheryl P Agorom
»Based in Liverpool
»Founded in 2011
»Services: Accountancy and
financial advice
»No. of staff: 5
»No. of clients: 2,000
Whitfield Accounting
& Integrated Services
35WHITFIELD ACCOUNTING & INTEGRATED SERVICES |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
is a draconian measure. Although lack
of knowledge is not an excuse, it does
not constitute “deliberate” action. In my
experience, clients are not always involved
in the financial aspects of their business,
focusing instead on day-to-day operations.
To meet this challenge, we are attempting
to enhance our advisory capacity.
Treating takeaways the same
as manufacturers
It needs to be recognised that SMEs
are the backbone of our economy
and require support. Currently, a lot
of takeaway shops are being hit with
substantial tax bills, which are calculated
on a four-year basis when VAT reviews
are conducted by HMRC. Although these
reviews are necessary, the results are
significantly impacting these businesses.
Many have been forced to close or are
filing for bankruptcy.
The eventual lack of these small shops and
businesses would have a dramatic effect
on the public purse, which could create
adverse social behaviour. The working
population would be faced with increased
taxation to service this cost and high
streets would change beyond recognition,
as is already evident in some towns.
This system requires further development
to ensure a better way can be found to
assess VAT. Manufacturing companies
have direct costs deducted from their
income as these costs are incurred during
the production of finished products. In
my view, this should also be applied to
takeaway shops, which are essentially
also producing finished goods.
Looking forward, we are developing
a more “hands-on” approach, visiting
the premises of our clients to ensure
the daily recording of income is done
correctly. A lack of focus in processing
this information can often lead to errors
that are not properly corrected.
Helping to prepare for
Making Tax Digital
We are also preparing for the introduction
of the Making Tax Digital scheme. Initially,
this will likely be a tedious transition
for small businesses and it will certainly
create a larger workload for accountants.
This will entail greater financial costs,
including greater accountancy bills and
increased time pressure for clients.
This change in terms of how clients
interact with HMRC, particularly for
self-assessment and VAT, brings varying
attitudes as some clients would find
it difficult to meet the obligations
under the roll-out. Businesses who
are constrained by time pressure may
find it difficult to use software or apps
to maintain their digital records and
provide quarterly updates. Our firm will
be providing all the necessary guidance,
advice and support with reference to the
HMRC website and helplines.
Although MTD is an ambitious approach,
once familiarisation has been achieved it
will lead to greater efficiency, effectiveness
and ease of compliance. It would go very
far to stamp out tax avoidance, which is
a significant issue that needs action. To
help our clients prepare for this, we have
divided our business and have set up a
concentrated bookkeeping service to
assist our clients with the daily recording
of their business activities. We are also
planning to conduct quarterly or biannual
seminars to keep our clients abreast of
any policy changes that may affect them.
Our business will continue to grow
in order to meet the requirements of
our current and future clients. Our
ambition and ultimate aim is to invest in
high-quality staff and we are currently
undertaking a recruitment campaign
to achieve this objective. With the right
staff in place, we are confident that we
will be able to continue to provide our
high level of service.
The Whitfield
Accounting team
Although MTD
is an ambitious
approach, once
familiarisation
has been
achieved it will
lead to greater
efficiency

www.whitfieldaccounting.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Whitfield Accounting & Integrated Services. 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister