2017: A Review by Robert Ellis

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Think back a year… Theresa May was settling into Number 10, Brexit negotiations hadn’t begun; and America welcomed a new President.

It’s been a busy 12 months, and it’s been a busy year in the world of accounting too.

Robert Ellis, Director of Ellis & Co, takes us on a whistle stop tour of the year that was 2017.

The year began as usual with personal tax returns successfully submitted before the January 31 deadline.

As a practice we faced a major change in reporting standards, with all company accounts now being prepared under the new Financial Reporting Standards, FRS 102 and FRS 105.

We also increased practice productivity though changing accounting and tax software to Iris.

This will bring a big change for our clients in 2018, who will have access to their own client portal enabling documents to be viewed, checked and signed with a click of a button.

Our clients have been affected by a number of changes including the increase of the National Minimum/Living Wage, the reduction in the Corporation Tax rate and changes to Dividend Tax; and of course auto-enrolment.

However, the biggest change on the horizon for both the team and our clients is Making Tax Digital.

From 2019 interaction with HMRC will become increasingly digital, and businesses will be required to use accountancy software packages to record business activity.

Cloud accountancy software is revolutionising the way in which business owners deal with their day to day accounting.

Whilst many accountants are slow to react to changes such as these, here at Ellis & Co we feel that it is important that clients understand the new system and are prepared for its introduction.

With this in mind we have held a number Making Tax Digital seminars throughout the year (with more planned for 2018), and welcomed a software specialist to the team.

Anna Rowson-Smith will help our clients move over to the cloud, offering impartial advice, set up and training.

We have also welcomed a new payroll manager to our Chester office, Zoe Horswill.

Both Zoe and Anna have settled in quickly and become valued members of the team.

We have continued to support and work well with the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, attending numerous networking events throughout the year including Ask the Expert and the Chamber’s Annual Ball.

As Strategic Members of the Chamber; John Farrell as a member of the Focus Group and I serving as a Board Director; we look forward to seeing what the Chamber has in store for 2018.

Ellis & Co has also supported a number of events organised by the University of Chester throughout the year, including: presenting a cheque to the highest performing accounting student; judging at the Dragon’s Den style ‘Pitch’ and welcoming a work placement student into the office for five weeks. 

Our accountants John Farrell and John Moorhouse have been taking time out of their busy schedules to hold weekly Q&A drop in sessions at two of the Universities sites: Thornton Science Park and The Riverside Innovation Centre.

The West Cheshire Women’s Network continues to go from strength to strength, however our luck of ‘year on year’ sun for our annual Ellis & Co golf day ran out... here’s hoping we won’t need our umbrellas next year!

The very first Hoole Beer Festival was less of a wash out however, and we look set to be sponsoring the 2018 event following the success of this year’s event.

We have continued to support and work well with all our partners throughout the year and aim to maintain and enhance these relationships in 2018.

On a personal note I wish to thank all of our clients for their continued support throughout 2017 and hope you have a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

We now look forward to 2018, which looks set to be another busy year.

Robert Ellis.