Leonherman Blog

Looking on the Brightside…..

Understandably there is a lot of worry and concern around and we wanted to take a moment to focus on some positives. We are delighted to say that we have helped several clients secure critical CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme) over the past couple of weeks. We have also supported many more secure the CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) furlough payments which are integral to supporting businesses in surviving this unprecedented time.

Earlier this week the government also announced the new “bounce back” micro loan scheme to be launched on the 4th May, where small businesses will benefit from loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. The Chancellor announced that businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 through a fast track process allowing access to the cash within days. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. No capital repayments will be required within the first 12 months either.

Whilst we are focusing on the positives, we also wanted to give credit where credit is due to HMRC, and lets face it they don’t often receive much praise, but we have seen first-hand how they were able to get the CJRS portal up and running reliably in under 5 weeks. No mean feat when you consider how much traffic the portal would have received this past week, not only that but they have turned around the payments within the agreed timescales with most clients already receiving payments for their furloughed employees. This is proving to be a lifeline for many clients along with the flexibility of time to pay arrangements where required. We have to take our hats off to HMRC along with a number of local authorities that we have been working with to give clients access to Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sector and Small firm grants.

We will continue to be there for our clients supporting them to get through these difficult times, helping them with business planning, financial forecasts and enabling them to understand their cashflows. We look forward to helping them to face the current challenges and then grow and develop.

If you are still trying to navigate these choppy waters and unsure of what support you are entitled to or how to access the government funding, please email us at partners@leonherman.co.uk or call on 0161 249 5040

Posted in Ask the Expert, News

Coronavirus and My Business: Surviving the Pandemic

This is a shout out to all businesses out there that feel lost in the panic of the Coronavirus pandemic, we’re here and we’re ready to help you – today!

Recently, the Chancellor announced that the government would be providing vast support packages to help businesses of all sizes stay running during these tough times ahead of us – commencing Monday.

Read all the details about this using this link below:


As Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, we’ve set up a support service to aid you in navigating the current climate. If you require access to funding to keep your business afloat, if you’re looking for business/financial advice for the coming months, or if you simply need to get some real answers to your questions, we are ready to jump on a remote call with you and take you through your next steps.

The impact of coronavirus has affected all of us, and with so many businesses feeling the pressure of keeping doors open in these challenging times we’re prepared to make access to our services as available and ‘hands-free’ as you need.

We’ve already had calls from many of our clients regarding their business’ finances and how to successfully move forward amidst the panic of the pandemic; our team members have been working tirelessly to keep both existing and new clients informed of the support that we can offer:

“Michael called me up today and provided some much-needed insight and relief in the face of these new uncertain times. The team members I spoke to were understanding and fully prepared on how they could help me keep my business running going forward.”

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning the bleak outlook for businesses during the current pandemic, but Leonherman are equipped with the latest facts combined with decades of financial expertise and business advisory experience, I feel much more at ease knowing I’m in the right hands”

If you need any advice regarding your business and/or finances, give us a ring for a friendly chat! If you’d find it easier to write down your concerns, do not hesitate to send us an email and we’ll be in touch shortly to discuss your next steps…

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Our insight on the 2020 Spring Budget

Following yesterdays Spring Budget announcements, please see below a summary of what was discussed. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any of these matters further.

More Money for the NHS and Infra-structure in the Budget

Rishi Sunak received a “hospital pass” when he was appointed Chancellor and was required to deliver the first Budget in nearly 18 months within a month of his appointment. He announced extra spending on roads, rail, broadband and other infrastructure projects as well as extra money for the NHS to help cope with the Coronavirus epidemic. But what we were waiting to hear was where the extra money was going to come from? Had he found a “magic money tree”, or would tax and borrowing have to increase? The Office of Budget Responsibility had already down-graded growth forecasts for the UK economy to just 1.1% before the global coronavirus pandemic, which may temporarily plunge the UK into recession.

The Chancellor announced a number of measures that will hopefully protect businesses until the economy recovers.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Relief

The Government are predicting that up to 20% of the workforce may be unable to work due to the virus at any one time. It had already been announced that employees would be entitled to SSP from day 1 not day 4. It was announced in the Budget that the Government will fully reimburse employers with fewer than 250 employees the SSP paid for the first 14 days of absence, equivalent to the self-isolation period.

More Rates Relief for Small Businesses

There has again been much lobbying from the small business sector to reduce business rates to enable traditional retailers in particular to compete with internet traders.

The Chancellor announced a long term review of the future of business rates, but in the meantime there are some very welcome measures to assist small businesses. The 100% business rates retail discount will be extended to the leisure and hospitality sectors where the rate-able value is no more than £51,000. In addition, very small businesses who already pay no business rates at all will be able to claim a £3,000 cash grant.

Personal Allowance and Higher Rate Limit Frozen

The personal allowance for 2020/21 is frozen at £12,500, the same as in 2019/20. The higher rate tax threshold is also frozen at £50,000.

No Changes to Income Tax Rates

The basic rate of income tax and higher rate remain at 20% and 40% respectively, and the 45% additional rate continues to apply to income over £150,000.

There had again been rumours that the dividend rate might be increased, but dividends continue to be taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and then 38.1%, depending upon whether the divi-dends fall into the basic rate band, higher rate band or the additional rate band. Note that the first £2,000 of dividend income continues to be tax-free. The annual ISA investment limit increased to £20,000 from 6 April 2017 and remains at that level for 2020/21. There will be a significant increase in the Junior ISA limit to £9,000 for 2020/21. Despite a thorough review of all tax reliefs by the Treasury, the much rumoured restrictions in pension tax relief again failed to materialise.

Tapering of Pension Annual Allowance

One welcome change, particularly among hospital consultants and GPs, is the increase in the threshold at which the pension annual allowance starts being tapered. From 2020/21 the adjusted income limit will increase from £150,000 to £240,000 which means that most doctors will not be caught by the restriction.

IR35 “Off-Payroll” Rules to Go Ahead

Despite considerable opposition from businesses, the Government have decided to go ahead with the new rules for workers providing their services through personal service companies from 6 April 2020. This will represent a significant administrative burden on large and medium-sized businesses who will be required to decide whether the rules apply to payments to workers supplying their services through personal service companies. If the new rules apply to the arrangements, then income tax and NIC will need to be deducted from payments to the person-al service company.

NIC Changes

Employees and the self-employed will not pay national insurance contributions (NIC) on the first £9,500 of earnings from 2020/21, a significant increase from the £8,632 limit in 2019/20. Note that employers will be required to pay 13.8% on earnings over £169 per week, £8,788 per annum. The employment allowance that can be set against employers NIC increases to £4,000 from 2020/21 but will not be available to employers with total employer’s NIC liabilities in excess of £100,000 p.a.

State Benefits Increased

Many State Benefits have been frozen, or increases limited, for a number of years. The Government have however decided to increase many State Benefits from 2020/21 including Child Benefit. The amount payable in respect of the oldest child has been increased to £21.05 and £13.95 for each subsequent child. Note however that you may have to pay a tax charge if one of the par-ents has income in excess of £50,000.

Capital Gains, Entrepreneurs’ Relief Restricted

There were many rumours in the run up to the Budget that CGT entrepreneurs’ relief that allows certain business owners to pay just 10% tax on disposal would be abolished. Rather than abolish the relief the Chancellor has announced that from 11 March 2020 onwards the relief will only be available against the first £1 million of lifetime gains instead of the previous £10 million limit. The relief will therefore still benefit most small business owners.

Company Tax Rate Frozen at 19%

As previously announced the corporation tax rate is to remain at 19% for the time being. It was scheduled to reduce to 17% from 1 April 2020.

Structures and Buildings Allowance Increased to 3%

In the October 2018 Budget a new tax relief was introduced for the cost of construction or renovation of commercial buildings and structures. As announced in the Conservative Party manifesto the original 2% straight line allowance is to be increased to 3% from 1 April 2020 for companies, 6 April 2020 for unincorporated businesses.

R&D Tax Credit Changes

The Conservative Party manifesto also included a promise to increase R&D expenditure relief for non-SMEs from 12% to 13% and this was confirmed in the March Budget. However, a measure originally announced in the 2018 Budget and consulted on in 2019 will limit the amount of repayable R&D tax credit for SMEs to three times the company’s total PAYE and NIC payments for the period. This measure will now take effect from 1 April 2021 not 2020.

Diary of Main Tax Events:

01/04  Corporation tax payment for year to 30/6/19 (unless quarterly instalments apply)

06/04  Start of 2020/21 tax year.

19/04  PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/04/20 (due 22/04 if you pay electronically)

01/05  Corporation tax payment for year to 31/7/19 (unless quarterly instalments apply)

19/05  PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/05/20 (due 22/05 if you pay electronically)

Please contact a member of our team if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised by calling 0161 249 5040 or email partners@leonherman.co.uk

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Coronavirus – How will it affect SMEs & what steps can you put in place?

With the growing Coronavirus crisis on our hands, it is predicted that a fifth of the workforce will be off sick at any one time. To combat the imminent challenge facing the UK, the Bank of England and the Chancellor announced yesterday that they will be introducing a package of measures specifically aiding small businesses to manage the impact that the outbreak will likely cause…

“A bridge for businesses”

The Chancellor made clear how important it was to provide a ‘bridge for businesses’ and has put together a £30bn package to combat Coronavirus.

Supportively all those advised to self-isolate will be entitled to statutory sick pay even if they have not had any symptoms and will be able to obtain a sick note via the NHS 111 phone service from day 1. In order to dilute the costs for businesses, companies with less than 250 employees will be refunded in full for any sick pay payments paid in connection with Coronavirus for up to 14 days.

Self-employed workers who are not eligible for SSP will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance, which will be available immediately rather than after 1 week as it currently stands. 

Business rates in England have also been scrapped for businesses within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000, helping businesses navigate the uncertain times that lie ahead.

Are you eligible for the £3,000 grant available? 

Small businesses who are already in receipt of 100% business rates relief will have access to a £3,000 cash grant. With the aim to cushion the blow of COVID19, this will be available to 700,000 of the smallest businesses and worth a total of £2 billion.

Interest rates cut to support firms & Banks offering extended loans 

Small firms will be able to access “business interruption” loans of up to £1.2m and interest rates will be reduced from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking borrowing costs down to the lowest level in history. Along with the promise by the government to free up £100bn of extra lending power to help banks support businesses seeking loans.

Banks are also following in the Governments support to the outbreak by offering extensions to loans with RBS being the first to offer more flexibility on loans to businesses. Barclays have also discussed offering a 12-month capital repayment holiday on existing loans over £25,000, and the offer to extend or provide overdraft facilities to their business customers.

Time to Pay Agreements

The government has also committed to ensure that businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities will receive support with their tax affairs.

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Time to Pay gives businesses a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back.

If you would like any help with loan discussions with your bank, time to pay agreements with HMRC or further advice on any of the other potential benefits available to SMEs mentioned, please contact us on 0161 249 5040 or email partners@leonherman.co.uk

Posted in Ask the Expert, News

Celebrating National Women’s Day

Seeing as most people are enjoying their weekends tomorrow, we’re celebrating National Women’s Day today with a special shout out to a few of our hard-working women working and thriving at Leonherman!:

Oliwia is our youngest team member at Leonherman, she is studying hard towards becoming a chartered accountant. Oliwia is so passionate about her work so much that we sometimes have to remind her to go home at the end of the day. Her commitment to obtaining her qualifications, her work, as well as her additional ability to speak two languages mark Oliwia out as one of our most impressive young team members. This is why we’re celebrating Oliwia on National Women’s Day.

Cheryl is a member of our Practice Administration support and is a proud single mum supporting her son through university as a first-generation scholar. Cheryl has worked at Leonherman for a number of years, starting her career as part of our reception team and then carving a niche for herself in becoming our trusted Operations Support Lead in September 2019. Cheryl’s reliable work ethic and perseverance throughout her career is why we recognise and celebrate her today on National Women’s Day.

Joanna manages multiple disabilities in tandem with the responsibility of her role as Practice Director level, a promotion she more than earned after championing the firm’s HR and People role, as well as her pivotal role in the recent acquisition of the firm. Despite all of her own adversity, Joanna has the upmost patience and understanding with the issues team members come to her with; she has an ‘open door’ policy that makes everyone at the firm feel safe and comfortable. Simply put, Leonherman would not be the great firm that it is without Joanna, which is why we’re celebrating Jo on National Women’s Day.

Grace, our recently promoted Operations Director, is not only a fully qualified accountant, but also boasts a Highly Commended Award from Damar Training in relation to Apprenticeship Mentoring. We also recognise Grace for her instrumental role in the firm’s adapting to using new technologies, training both the team and clients on Xero and other accounting software to ensure they get the most out of it. Grace has set a shining example of what a Leonherman team member can become in the firm, often taking the lead with both our junior team members and with our clients; for all of these reasons we are celebrating Grace on National Women’s Day.

National Women’s Day reminds us of our pride for all of our female team members that contribute so much to what makes our firm successful. We also look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of every single one of our team members in the years to come.

 Thank you for all your hard work everyone!

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Does your accountant “work” for you?

Don’t view your accountant as just an accountant

A good accountant will offer you the services you need to be compliant, but a great accountant will proactively offer you support to develop and grow.  Accountants have a wealth of business experience that businesses should take advantage of.


Get the most out of your accountant by investing in better software…

Poor bookkeeping and internal accounting systems can lead to your accountant charging more because they are required to spend more time correcting mistakes.  There is a wide range of accounting software on the market today, which is user friendly and inexpensive. A great accountancy practice will offer training to support your internal accounting, helping to reduce the time taken to complete your accounts, whilst also enabling you to keep one step ahead and plan for the future.


Look to the future rather than the past

Most businesses use their accountant for the sole purpose of providing historical accounts with a ‘true and fair’ view.  However, a great accountant will use this information to look forward to the future and focus on where you would like your business to go.


Benefit from value-added services

Countless accountants focus on the basic legal compliances that every business has to adhere too.  Great accountant’s offer added value services, which are much more than mere compliance such as flagging up new business opportunities and informing you of tax breaks that could help your business.


Picking a firm that is RIGHT for you and your business

Be selective when choosing the right firm for you AND your business. Several big-name firms have a presence up and down the country; however they struggle to offer one to one contact, meaning you could deal with a different person every time you contact them.  If your accountant doesn’t understand you and your business, they can’t help you in achieving your business goals.

Similarly, picking a firm too small for you can be just as detrimental. Small firms can be great for start-ups and smaller businesses, but as your business grows and develops it will require more services some of which a small firm won’t be able to offer.  You may require the services of a firm who are experts in your sector or a firm who has a proven track record of helping businesses to change and grow.


Have a clear growth plan

It is essential for every viable business to have a clear financial plan so if your business falls on challenging times you already have a solid financial framework to guide you through.  A great accountant will support you and offer proactive advice to encourage the development of your growth plan.


Here at Leonherman, we believe we tick all of these boxes and work hard to understand what your needs are now and for the future. Please do not hesitate to get in touch partners@leonherman.co.uk or call us on 0161 249 5040  for more information.

Posted in Ask the Expert, News

The 80/20 rule – How can it work for you?

The Pareto principle also known as the 80–20 rule, Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who, while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, he published his first paper “Cours d’économie politique.” Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

In business, it is usually applied as follows: 80% of your company’s profits will come from 20% of your customers. In essence, 80% of whatever outcome you’re expecting will come from 20% of whatever you put into your project.

Why is it so important?

Using the 80/20 rule allows you to focus your business planning in a way that will allow you to maximise profit, production, or any other aspect of your business, with a minimum of effort.

80% of profit comes from 20% of customers

It would make sense to focus on making sure that 20% of your customer base is happy before expending resources on the rest. The same thing can be applied to any situation, it doesn’t always come out to 80/20, but the basic concept still applies.

This same rule can be applied to marketing, profit predictions and many other business aspects can also be applied to time management and other things that you use every single day, whether you realise it or not 80% of your results comes from 20% of your effort.

It’s easy to be pulled into projects around your business that aren’t going to be terribly productive and the 80/20 rule is a great rule of thumb but it isn’t set in stone. It’s a useful guideline and should be used as such.

Don’t try to lock everything you do into that 80/20 ratio or you’ll find yourself striving for something that is impossible to achieve. That said, take a look at the various aspects of your business, and see how you could benefit from implementing the rule. You’ll be surprised at the amount of extra time and productivity you can obtain with a little change of perspective.

If you are looking for support in achieving your business goals, please get in touch.

Posted in Benefits, News

New Year, New Plan

Growing and reviewing your business:

The New Year is a great time to sit down and reflect on the past year and consider your plans for the year ahead, take stock of what has worked and what has not.

You may have a business plan, but when did you last review it? Are you on target to achieve your goals or is it time to set new ones?

Strategy planning:

Strategic planning helps you to put your vision into achievable objectives and milestones, identifying your key objectives, review your budgets and cash flow management. But remember the words of Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible – but not simpler.” Businesses need a strategy to succeed, but it shouldn’t be complicated. The very best strategic plans are 1 page of A4.

Your plan should include the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business, the company’s core values and mission.

Once you have finalised your plan, ensure that you communicate it effectively so that everyone in the business understands what the objectives of the business are and what they need to do to achieve the overall goal of growing the business.

Leonherman offer business planning and financial forecasting services to businesses that are looking towards the future and want to plan how they can grow and develop.

GET IN TOUCH if this could benefit you – partners@leonherman.co.uk


Posted in Ask the Expert, News

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Leonherman

This year we had fun putting together our Christmas message, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it.

May we take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Please note that our office will be closed from 12pm on Tuesday 24th December 2019 for the Christmas holidays reopening
at 9am on Thursday 2nd January 2020

We won’t be sending Christmas cards this year, instead we are proud to continue supporting the Wood Street Mission Christmas Appeal and have been collecting gifts ready to be distributed to local children.

This year marks 150 years since the charity began in 1869, providing toys for local children at Christmas across Manchester and Salford.

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A message from Jerry!

It has been an exciting time here at Leonherman as we have successfully completed the management buyout, but we have even more exciting times ahead as we draw to the end of 2019. We have taken the time to listen to our customers and the Leonherman team and we will continue to build on this great foundation by announcing three beneficial new services.

Watch this space…

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