Working With Our Clients – No Matter The Distance

Category: Amber AccountingHealthcareMaking Tax Digital - Posted On: May 14 2019


South Uist Medical Practice

As well as professionalism, expertise and trust, your accountant should work around you – making your business run more efficiently, rather than eating into too much of your valuable time. Time is something that South Uist Medical Practice, based in the Outer Hebrides, does not have to waste. With their priority being their 1000+ patients, the business side has to be meticulously handled to ensure that objectives are met both effectively and efficiently. This is where our EQ Healthcare team come in.

It may be remote but, thanks to modern-day technologies, the hours and hundreds of miles between Daliburgh and our Dundee office is irrelevant. As a dispensing practice comprising both a GP surgery and pharmacy, GP Dr Stephen Bird and his wife Fiona, Business Practice Manager, have worked with Louise Grant since 2016 and in the early days, Louise assisted with the restructuring of the practice, including the creation of remuneration plans which formed part of their business and personal tax planning.

Louise commented, “The GP sector, like any other, has its own specific challenges and requirements. In order to ensure that we are giving our clients the very best and most relevant advice, we make it our business to understand the intricacies of these challenges and the fast-moving legislative changes affecting GPs. We are also committed to building and maintaining our relationships with other professional healthcare advisors, including bankers and solicitors, and attend many conferences and events to build on our knowledge and expertise of the sector.”

Following Louise’s initial involvement, our Amber Accounting division, with its dedicated Virtual Finance Office (VFO), stepped in with day-to-day support, offering expertise and support to the practice’s financial controls, allowing them to focus on their key business objectives. Specifically, Amber handles their book-keeping, through one of Britain’s leading online accounting packages Xero, feeding into the monthly VAT returns.

Lynne Vaughan, Manager of Amber said, “We fully appreciate that our clients are busy people, focusing on their core business objectives and, often, the precise challenges of that particular working day. We therefore aim to provide a service which saves them time and disruption, rather than giving them extra work. We also feel that it’s important to give our clients a role to play when it comes to understanding the intricacies of their finances, rather than handing everything over to us and being detached from their finances. Good accounting really is based on a two-way relationship, instead of us simply providing a service.”

Technology has a greater role to play within the finances of all businesses, large and small, since the introduction of stringent HMRC legislation, ‘Making Tax Digital’. Under the MTD guidelines, all businesses, including sole traders and landlords, will require to keep their accounting records using accounting software. Such systems will then automatically update HMRC on a monthly/quarterly basis, with relevant data on their business income and expenses. From April 2019, businesses and landlords with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will require to comply, with other businesses likely to follow from 2020.

In preparation, Amber provided Fiona with Xero training, which the firm can provide remotely if required, with Fiona now a self-proclaimed convert! Through Amber’s portal, Fiona can also upload information such as receipts, sales and purchase invoices and bank statements, more securely than by email, ticking boxes when it comes to both security and GDPR legislation. Amber then process all of this information to create a monthly VAT return, taking account of the specific VAT complications affecting GPs, including the different NHS income streams linked to the two distinct parts of the business, the pharmaceutical companies involved in the pharmacy side, and the GP practice.

Fiona said, “Initially, I planned to handle the VAT myself but, as a dispensing practice, our accounting systems are not standard. With 11 staff and two distinct sides to our business, we have precise requirements and rules to comply with. It’s very complex, especially in relation to VAT, so it’s reassuring to hand this responsibility over to Amber Accounting. In terms of my own involvement, I use Xero and the Amber portal on a day-to-day basis, regardless of where I am. It’s also good to know that EQ is available on the end of the phone if any issues arise. They’re very approachable, taking the pressure off me. They also have the know-how when it comes to the fast changing nature of our specific sector, especially in relation to the new GP contracts. It’s been a huge learning curve for me but Louise and her colleagues always have the answers or know where to get them.”

For more information on how our EQ Healthcare specialists could help your business not only comply but work more efficiently, please contact Head of EQ Healthcare, Louise Grant, on 01382 312100. Alternatively, if you are looking for support with your day-to-day financial controls, please get in touch with our Amber Accounting team on 01382 312140.