How many months fees are tied up in debtors?


Direct debits are probably the best way to collect fees from clients as you can vary the amount and timing of payments, you are in charge.

Standing orders were a preferred method as the set-up was passed over to the client, but complications arose as and when it was necessary to revise the amount of payments due.

For firms that charge fees on a fixed or variable basis, and that are discomforted by the delay in their present collection processes, can I suggest that they take a look at the online service GoCardless. It is a much more accessible method to collect payments than the alternatives offered by the major clearing banks.


I use GoCardless to collect recurring and non-recurring fees from customers and can heartily recommend the service. Set-up is straight-forward as is day to day admin.

Getting approval from clients to use direct debit is another challenge. A strategy that seems to work is to offer a discount for DD settlement. The service is cloud based so your clients will need to go online to provide their permission for the process.

If you are concerned by the level of your debtors, this might be a solution.

How I reduced my tax software costs

accountant software

Just before the Christmas break I received an unwelcome email reminder from TaxCalc, who I used for accounts production and tax filing purposes, that my tax software license was about to expire. I should explain that I am a part-timer practitioner these days, I have less than fifty clients.

I was about to renew, January is not a good time to consider changing  tax software, when a recurring issue with Tax Calc resurfaced, the cost. For my poultry few clients I seemed to be paying quite a fee.


I remembered a conversation with a practitioner earlier that month about a cloud based product, Taxfiler, so I took a look. I must admit that my initial wander round their website was not filled with much enthusiasm until I realised that I could probably satisfy my client needs for accounts production and tax filing for just £10 per month! Even the unlimited version would only cost £15 per month per user.

Exiting the site, I Googled “Taxfiler” looking for reviews and I have to admit that they were all positive. I signed up.


Taxfiler does not have the flexibility of the “majors” in the market, it processes trial balances, so once you have entered a TB you can’t adjust with journal entries. However, most of my clients use Xero, and keeping the Xero nominal up to date is no great chore. Transferring the TB is a piece of cake, although the chart of accounts in TaxFiler is fixed, I have had no problem thus far in finding a home for account balances.

A couple of minor gripes. LLP accounts formats are only just being beta tested and for company accounts it is necessary to post a TB before tax is calculated, transfer this data to the tax module, calculate the tax, and then update the accounts for the CT reserve before updating the accounts appended to the tax return.

The first company that I processed took no more than 30 minutes to transfer the final TB and create accounts and CT return. The filing of accounts and the tax return is slick and worked a dream.

For practitioners who have an eye on cost, TaxFiler is a no-brainer. I can see problems for practices who are used to using their software as a nominal ledger, but if you can produce a final TB from the client’s bookkeeping software, TaxFiler might be worth considering when you get your next software renewal bill.

Just in case you were wondering… This is an unsolicited testimonial. I was not invited to comment on this software and I will receive no kick-backs from your response.

BiKs can you answer this conundrum?

benefits in kind

I’m sure that most of you will have the provisions of Sch 2, Finance Act 2017 safely under your belts. The year’s grace that allows most existing BiKs (acquired before April 2017) to apply for 2017-18, comes to an end 6 April 2018.

But what if there was no agreement?

However, I can find nothing in the legislation, or professional commentary, that clarifies if the new rules apply if there was no formal salary sacrifice agreement (contract) created when the BiK was granted. Do we assume that if there is no formal salary sacrifice agreement, then Sch 2 Finance Act 2017 does not apply? Readers that have a definitive answer to this conundrum please post a comment to this blog post or email me at

Most of my director shareholder clients that have BiKs do not have contracts of employment – otherwise there would be NLW considerations – and very definitely were not party to formal salary sacrifice agreements when they acquired mobile phones or purchased a company car.

Tax planning tips video 2018

Good luck with 2017 returns, and if you have a moment to turn your attention to tax planning for clients before 6 April 2018, our latest TaxBox video “Tax planning tips” will be available this month. To register your interest complete reservation form.

Best regards,

Bob Edwards