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Farming life in 2018

Following another volatile year and with the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and what lies ahead, it isn’t surprising that a recent survey conducted by the NFU shows the three year outlook for British agriculture has hit an all-time low and confidence for the next 12 months has also taken a knock.

Diversification

Creating a sustainable agricultural business model has never been more important and as the farming landscape underpins many rural communities, farmers need to have the confidence to invest in their businesses.  As well as increased income and future sustainability, diversifying your farming business can bring a whole range of other benefits including adaptability, security and the development of new skills.  If you have an idea, why not run it past us for our professional opinion, it may be the best investment you make.

Future proof your business bookkeeping

Making Tax Digital (MTD) becomes compulsory next year and many businesses are choosing to implement software and bookkeeping packages now that will assist this.  Our team are here to help and will recommend the most suitable software for your farming enterprise  while also ensuring you are fully trained and able to use it.  Make it your New Year’s goal to get ready for MTD and escape the inevitable last minute rush!

Make a plan

Bookkeeping is often one of those tasks that is put off, and before you know it you have a box full of receipts that you can’t imagine getting to the bottom of.  Make a plan, set time aside and stick to it.  Whether it is an hour a week, or one day a month, you are much less likely to forget about smaller purchases and you will have a better idea of how your farm is performing on an ongoing basis.  If you simply don’t have the time then why not leave it to the experts, our Farm Secretaries will produce, maintain and complete all the financial records for your business, not only making life easier but also offering a stress free year end.

Use your plan to look ahead

Now that you are keeping your records up to date, looking at how your business is performing before the year end has many benefits.  For many businesses we already prepare a nine month set of accounts and then project the final three months of the year.  This helps us to understand the estimated year-end position and the potential tax liability, as well as identifying capital investments made during the year, which will reduce the final tax bill.  With our proactive approach 2018 can be the year with no more unnecessary surprises.

Succession planning

Talking of looking ahead, with an average age of 59, the population of British farmers is growing old.  We understand that handing over the reins is not straightforward and a lack of planning can create problems and prevent clear decisions being made.  While the issue of succession is a sensitive topic to discuss, planning in advance will help avoid unnecessary stress, expenses and animosity for those involved.

Keep an eye on the VAT threshold

Another benefit of keeping records up to date is that you will be able to fully keep track of income to date.  The VAT registration threshold remains the same from 1 April 2018, at £85,000, therefore you must register for VAT if your taxable turnover exceeds this amount in any 12 month rolling basis period, or if you expect to exceed the threshold in the following 30 days.

Stay Pay As You Earn (PAYE) compliant

From April, the National Living Wage is increasing again, meaning employees aged 25 and over will be entitled to a minimum of £7.83 per hour.  The penalty for not paying employees correctly has been increased to 200% of the amount owed and this can escalate to a company director being banned from the position for up to 15 years.

Payroll is a time consuming but necessary task, let our dedicated team take away the headache of changing PAYE legislation.  No matter what size of payroll you have or what sector your business is in for peace of mind for all your payroll and employment law requirements contact a member of our team.

We’re passionate about what we do and firmly believe that agriculture is fundamental to Britain’s future prosperity.  So make us your natural partner of choice in 2018 and see your business flourish.

Posted: December 31st, 2017

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