Staying up to speed with financial reporting and taxation developments
One of ICAS’ most popular courses updates CAs on the ever-changing legislation and guidance affecting financial reporting and taxation. Fraser Allen talks to the two course leaders
With the UK currently on its fourth Chancellor of the Exchequer in less than a year, a new Finance Act on the way and developments such as the triennial review of FRS 102 in the pipeline, it’s all too easy for busy CAs to be caught out by the changing business accounting landscape. That’s why ICAS' Technical Update for Accountants in Business course, run in partnership with BPP, continues to prove a major attraction for CAs. Available both in person (one day) and online (two mornings), the course’s practical and topical value also attracts non-members and wider business professionals.
“Throughout this course, we pick up on the latest events that people are reading about in the news, and it’s very much up to date in terms of developments in the workplace,” says John Moffat CA, a specialist freelance presenter, and one of the two course leaders. “From ethics to governance, and sustainability to money laundering, it keeps you up to speed on everything you need to know about updates, and the likely direction of future changes in financial reporting, taxation and other issues affecting accountants in business.”
Moffat leads the section on financial reporting, while the course leader for taxation is Michael Steed, Head of Tax at BPP. “Tax is, of course, particularly fast moving and, every time you look out of the window, it's changed again,” says Steed. “The course covers everything from the regular issues that smaller practices tackle each week, to the concerns of big organisations. One much-discussed issue is hybrid and homeworking, and the unrealistic expectations often attached to any tax breaks that might be available. Then, of course, we’ll be looking at corporation tax and the new regime that was introduced on 1 April. Larger companies will clearly have to move to the 25% rate, but if you’re a smaller practice, you'll have lots of clients wanting to know if and how they’ll be affected, and whether they can continue to pay at 19%.
“Then there are the answers to evergreen questions such as, ‘What is the best salary and dividend combination for me?’ and ‘Should I bring my partner into the business as a shareholder?’” adds Steed. “Meanwhile for bigger companies, and as part of the quid pro quo for losing some of the tax breaks they previously enjoyed, there's this new beast called full expensing. So if you’re spending more than £1m per annum on plant and machinery investment, you now have a three-year window to claim full tax relief on costs not covered by your annual investment allowance.”
The course will also cover changes to R&D tax relief introduced to clamp down on the commonplace abuse of the scheme. These changes will make it much harder for SMEs to claim this relief unless they are very R&D intensive. Large companies will do better in the new regime. Another recurring topic is contractor taxation and the different angles to consider around employing John Smith the sole trader, compared with John Smith who has formed a limited company.
Meanwhile, Moffat will be exploring the impact of climate change on financial reporting: “What do we need to report and how? Have our assets got the right carrying value? Do we need to make provisions for impairment?” he says. He’ll also look
at best-practice trends in annual reports.
Then there is the previously mentioned triennial review of FRS 102. “It’s not due to be introduced until 2025,” says Moffat, “but I find people like to hear about these things early so they know the direction we’re heading in, and there’s a lot of interest around how this will bring leases onto the balance sheet. Then there is auditing, which is changing rapidly and people need to know which areas of their business the auditors will want to look at.”
The online course is a great option for those who will struggle to make it to the day of training in Edinburgh. However, Steed and Moffat are keen to encourage as many people as possible to attend in person. “This course is great for audience discussion and interaction,” says Moffat. “We like people to ask questions and share their own experiences – we find that to be a very popular aspect as the audience learn from each other as well as from us. And with summer on the way, it’s good for everyone to get away from their desks for a day and do something that really gets them thinking.”
Book your place for the in-person or online course