ADVISORY SERVICES

Business start-up and advise

Starting up or growing a business is an exciting and busy time. Your focus is on developing sales, recruiting the right people and creating the right infrastructure. Time is a precious resource which you need to spend wisely.
Being confronted with the various financial and legal aspects of a business start up can be extremely daunting and this is where we come in.
Our expert business start-up and small business accountants are here to explain every step of the process and guide you through the various stages.

What Our Business Start Up Accountants Can Do For You ?
All you have to do is contact us, do not be worried that you are coming to us with little or no knowledge of the financial and legal implications of starting your own or growing an existing business, that is our job!
We can advise and assist you on:

  • Structure – we will work together to find the most suitable legal structure for your business whether that is as a Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or Limited Company. We can also register your company for you with the necessary regulatory bodies, such as Companies House.
  • Business Plan – if you do not already have one in place, we can draw this up for you or you might want us to look over an existing plan you have created. If you are looking for outside investment, a solid and well written and researched business plan can make a huge difference. We will cover cash flow projections, budgets and more.
  • Finance – we can advise you on what the best source of finance would be for you and create solid relationships between you and your bank.
  • HM Revenue & Customs – you do not need to worry about filling out lengthy forms, we will do all of that for you and send it to you to check over and make sure that everything is correct. We can then go ahead and register you to make sure you are fulfilling all necessary payments.
    Bookkeeping – we can advise you on and maintain all aspects of VAT, payroll, National Insurance contributions and any other requirements.
    Record Keeping & Software – not only will we advise you on the best accounting software for your business start up and your needs, we will ensure that any systems you have in place meet any applicable requirements.
    Financial Forecasting
  • Our accounting team can help you create accurate financial forecasts and budgets
  • Accurate forecasting is the key to financial peace of mind, and our accounts team are very good at it.
  • By liaising with your Commercial Manager, they will be able to provide you with financial forecasting to suit your requirements: either in terms of managing your monthly cash flow forecast, or perhaps preparing a 5 year plan for potential investors.
  • Near the end of their financial year, many of our clients like us to help them put together a budget for the following year, either in aggregate or on a monthly or quarterly basis. Budgeting can be an excellent way of making sure revenue milestones are achieved and costs are kept under control and in line with expectations.

What Our Business Accountants can advise you on incorporation, growth and much more

  • Adrian & Co is not just an accountancy practice that simply records historical information for businesses.  We can do that, but we believe we are here to offer financial business advice and to help support plans for future growth, investment and increased profitability.  We want to help your business be more successful.
  • Advice can come in many forms. For some clients, we provide strategic business and financial advice much like a financial director might.  For others, the advice is requested and offered on an occasional basis.  Some clients prefer to steer their own ship without the full-time commitment of a financial director – and we are readily on hand to assist when required.
  • Recording historical financial information is fine – but regular engagement with Adrian & Co helps clients to avoid the many pitfalls associated with the financial management of running a business.
  • We provide a range of financial business advice services including health checks to review profit optimisation; business planning support; advice on exit strategies and expertise in areas of both business acquisition and disposal.  We can also review financial management software systems to ensure companies are maximising the information to help them run efficiently and profitably.
  • All businesses face the challenges of succession planning – however large or small; then there are the usual priorities of managing cash flow, costs and revenues.
  • People can sometimes be so busy in their business they forget to look up and work on maximising their efforts – and that is where Adrian & Co offers real added value by providing that independent business advice and guidance.

Family Business Advisory
We understand the unique challenges faced by family businesses and, through closely working with them, have helped to address and solve the competing conflicts that often arise between the family and their business.
Adrian & Co have been advising family owned businesses and the families behind them for many years. We have worked with businesses all over the world with diverse cultures, sectors and generations. Our family relationships range from first generation businesses with one shareholder to multi-generational businesses with over a hundred shareholders.
We will act as independent advisers.  Our experience in this specialist field will provide helpful facilitation and guidance when considering succession planning. We help educate and bring knowledge to the family and siblings throughout the steps of our processes. Early planning is critical for a successful transition when introducing the next generation.
No two family businesses are the same – nor are the commercial or competitive pressures that affect them. For that reason, we tailor our approach identifying the specific needs of the family to align these aspirations with the business involved.

Probate & Will Services
We provide expert advice to deal with all aspects of the administration of an Estate following someone’s death.
“What is Probate?”
Probate is essentially a numerical exercise, i.e a balance sheet of the deceased’s assets (property, possessions, personal funds) and liabilities (debts) on death.
As Chartered Certified Accountants, Adrian & Co have extensive experience of accounts, taxation and the administration of an Estate following someone’s death.

The company has the expertise to tie up all Probate matters quickly, efficiently and as painlessly as possible and will advise on ways to minimise the Estate’s liability to taxes as much as possible.
We pride ourselves on acting with discretion and a sympathetic approach at all times; we will ensure you are allocated a senior staff member of the company who is an expert advisor and will oversee your case throughout the process.
The steps involved in probate.
As probate accountants, we will deal with all aspects of Probate and Estate Administration, including:

  • Research and asses the value of the deceased’s Estate
  • Prepare Inheritance Tax accounts
  • Deal with Income and Capital Gains Tax liabilities of the Estate
  • Gather assets and pay creditors
  • Advise beneficiaries and executors of the tax implications connected with selling any assets
  • Prepare tax returns for personal representatives
  • Provide final Estate accounts

Our fees
Our fees are calculated on a time basis dependent on the complexity of the work involved. However the fee will be capped at 1.5% of the gross value of the Estate (2% in the case of foreign assets). This ‘fee capping’ lets you know the absolute maximum that the job will cost and gives us an incentive to ensure that the work is carried out efficiently with Probate obtained and the assets of the Estate distributed as soon as possible.
Stage 1 – Obtaining the grant of Probate
This is an information-gathering exercise to prepare the Inheritance Tax Account and the Executor’s Oath. This stage follows immediately after the death of the testator so it may be a time of stress for the immediate family and the overall picture of the Estate may not yet be clear.  Nevertheless, important decisions may have to be taken and we will advise and guide you through these.
Stage 2 – After Probate is Granted
This is an active period during which the Grant of Probate is registered with all the asset holders, debts are paid and assets may be collected in or sold. There can be queries from the Capital Taxes Office about the value of the Estate.  If the assets are clearly sufficient, the Executors will authorise the payment of legacies, and where possible a payment on account (“Interim Distribution”) is made to each of the beneficiaries. One or more of the beneficiaries may consider altering the Will (or the effect of the intestacy rules) by means of a Deed of Variation.
Stage 3 – Review
This may be the most protracted part of the Administration. There may be lengthy negotiations with the Capital Taxes Office over the valuation of assets in the Estate and the calculation of Inheritance Tax.  If the Beneficiaries have decided to enter into a Deed of Variation it is prepared at this stage.
Stage 4 – Accounting and Final Distribution
The value of all the assets and debts will have finally been settled with the Capital Taxes Office. Inheritance Tax will have been paid and an application for a Clearance Certificate made.   Accounts can then be drawn up to show money received and paid by the Executors and what funds are due to the Beneficiaries.  The Probate Practice will then make final payments and generally tie up all loose ends and finalise all matters to complete the administration.
Additional Services
We can also arrange for professional valuations to be carried out on property, jewellery and works of art. This is an area where Probate is often held up, however, we will ensure that the valuations are carried out quickly and do not hold up the process in any way.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The death of a loved one can be very overwhelming and so we have included some frequently asked questions to help you quickly find the information that you need:

What is Probate?
Probate is the term used in England and Wales for applying for the right to deal with someone who is deceased’s Estate which is often also referred to as administering the Estate. Different terms are used depending on whether or not the person in question left a will.
What do I do when someone dies?

How long does it take to get money from a Will after someone dies?
This can vary according to the complexity of each Estate.  We will endeavour to make this process as quick and efficient as possible.  An average case takes between 3 – 6 months
What happens if I am owed money by someone who has died?
Personal debts can be repaid from the Estate of the deceased if the loan was put in writing. Dealing with business debts can be complicated and it is best to seek advice from us on this matter
What are the legal requirements to ensure that a Will is valid?

  • It must be made by a person who is 18 years old or over
  • It must be made voluntarily and without pressure from any other person
  • It must be made by a person who is of sound mind meaning the person is fully aware of the nature of the document and aware of all the assets stipulated and the identity of the people who will inherit these assets
  • It must be signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the Will (witnesses must not be beneficiaries)

Although a Will is legally valid even if it is not dated, it is advisable to ensure that the will also includes the date on which it is signed. As soon as the Will is signed and witnessed, it is complete.
Why should I use Adrian & Co to deal with Probate?
The Probate Practice is managed by a experienced Chartered Certified Accountants who understand probate requirements well.
Glossary of Probate Terms
The language of Probate can often be confusing, so in order to assist with this, we have outlined some common terms to help better understand what the various terms mean:
Assets passing by survivorship
Where assets are held in joint names they will pass to the survivor automatically rather than through the Will and are excluded from the value of assets for Probate purposes.
Beneficiary or Beneficiaries
The person who is the recipient of money or other assets as assigned in a person’s Will.
Codicil
This is a legal document that amends (rather than replaces) a previousl Will.  These may add or replace small provisions (e.g. a change in Executor) or may completely change the majority of the Will. It must conform to the same legal requirements as the original Will (such as the signature of the testator) and have two witnesses who do not benefit from the Will in any way.
Deed of Variation
This is a legal document that allows the Beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will, even after the person’s death
Grant of Probate
This is the legal process of administering the  Estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid Will
Executor’s Oath
A written statement sworn by Executors or Administrators of an Estate which accompanies an application for a Grant of Representation
Estate
All of one’s property and possessions including stocks and shares etc
Executor / Executrix (f)
The person appointed in the Will to administer the Estate of a person who has died
Estate Administration
This refers to the process through which a person’s assets (property, bank accounts, stocks and shares for example) are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes
Grant of Representation
This is a document issued by the Court which enables the person or people named in it to deal with all assets of a deceased person (ie their Estate). It allows money to be collected from any bank or building society accounts, property to be sold or transferred and for debts to be paid. There are three types of Grant of Representation and the Probate Practice can advise on these.
Gross Value of Estate
The total value of the deceased’s property before deducting liabilities.
Intestate
A person who has died and not left a legally valid will (see our blog piece on this)
Intestacy
The situation whereby someone has died without leaving a legally valid Will
Legacy
An amount of money or property left to someone in a Will
Letter of Administration
This is the documentation given by the Registrar to appoint people to handle a person’s Estate in cases where there are no Executors appointed, still living or willing to carry out the Executor’s duties. It should be noted that it is courteous to ask a person if they are happy to be an Executor, before naming them in a Will.
Liabilities
Debts
Net Value of Estate
The value after deducting liabilities.
Probate
The term used in England and Wales for applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s Estate which is often also referred to as administering the Estate. Different terms are used depending on whether or not the person in question left a will
Testator / testatrix (f)
A testator is a person who has written and executed a last will and testament that is in effect at the time of his/her death
Will
The legal documentation that allows a person to make decisions on how his / her Estate will be managed and distributed after his death.
In-house training
Are you concerned about keeping your finance/management team up-to-date with the latest developments in accounting and reporting?
Our team of expert trainers can complement your own internal development programmes, providing information to those who require it, when they require it. Our training will be designed to suit your unique circumstances; training individuals, or small or large groups through on-line or more traditional classroom methods.

Examples of how we can help
We provide training that is:

  • Tailored to suit your needs;
  • Delivered by specialist accounting presenters with robust technical skills who are used to dealing with the practical application of accounting requirements;
  • Truly engaging for participants through the use of worked examples and case studies;
  • Delivered in different formats including web based training for geographically spread finance teams, classroom based training and one-on-one sessions.

Trusts
Preserve family wealth
Do you wish to pass wealth onto your children, but have some reservations about their money handling skills? Perhaps you would like to set some savings aside to pay for your grandchildren’s education? Are you worried about family members or a former partner making an unwanted claim on your estate?
Trusts offer many practical uses. For example, you can use it to ring-fence assets that will pay for your care later in life.  You might also use it to maintain the financial security of vulnerable people, such as a child with additional health needs or an infirm or elderly relative.
Although the rules governing trusts are complex, the actual concept is relatively straightforward. You create a trust, you place your money or property into the control of a third party, who then manages and controls those assets for the benefit of others.
Respecting your wishes
Our experts have extensive experience in planning, setting up and management of trusts – both onshore and offshore. By listening to your requirements, we can select and talk through different trust arrangement options and find a solution to suit your circumstances.
We can help you with:
Estate planning – organising your affairs to minimise the impact of inheritance tax (IHT) on your estate
Establishment and ongoing financial management and compliance – including preparation of accounts, filing of annual self assessment returns
Executorship – administering your legacy and dealing with distributions to beneficiaries, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled
Trustee service – taking responsibility for the management and oversight of your trust, including winding up trust arrangements once their purpose is served
Mortgage/Finance Health Check

We work with many clients to review and guide them on their options in terms of re-financing and looking for ways to lower their interest costs/charges.

CIS– Construction Industry Scheme

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sets out the rules for how payments to subcontractors for construction work must be handled by contractors in the construction industry.

Employing subcontractors
For clients in the construction industry we act as agent and deal with CIS submissions monthly throughout the year and complete the annual submission at the end of the year Quite simply, you give us the task and we give you more time.

Self employed sub-contractors
If you are a self employed sub-contractor we can also deal with CIS on your behalf to ensure that the right deductions have been made. Read more in Self Assessment Returns.