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Chancellor Philip Hammond Builds For Brexit

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Philip Hammond “builds for Brexit” with a £27bn “shock absorber”, but the papers also raised major concerns about higher borrowing.

financial times autumn statementThe Financial Times stated that the chancellor created a £27bn fiscal “shock absorber”, in terms of investment to protect the economy against Brexit uncertainty. It also pointed out the borrowing over the next five years was going to be “about £122bn more than expected”, and that the reference to “just about managing” (JAMS) may apply to the entire economy.times autumn statement

The headline used by The Times, “Hammond builds for Brexit”, showed the key issue that Hammond needed to address, namely to “help weather Brexit negotiations” and emerge in a “better shape to cope outside the EU”. The paper also mentioned that the chancellor will use higher borrowing in an “investment spree” and looser rules to get the country back into surplus, as Brexit has already blown a £58bn “hole” in public finances.

According to The Guardian, even though cautioning that economic forecasting was not an exact science, Hammond said the Treasury was preparing for “very challenging fiscal circumstances”. The paper explained how a weaker economy, and not just the Brexit vote, had hit the Exchequer hard.

guardian autumn statement“With the Treasury now expecting public finances to be deep in the red until the next parliament, Hammond repeatedly used the mantra of ‘building an economy that works for everyone’,” said The Guardian.telegraph autumn statement

The Daily Telegraph said that Hammond denies that the borrowing is “out of control”. Additionally, the paper flagged up the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) warning that the Treasury would not balance the books, which caused an attack by “Eurosceptic” ministers. The chancellor’s statement was “one of the most conservative” in recent history, it said, with minimal changes to tax and spending policies, he has “missed an opportunity to join some of the dots” about the future.

“Hammond was alert to the importance of sending out a positive message – of a ‘Britain open for business’ and able to control its own destiny,” said The Telegraph.

The Daily Mail claimed that Hammond’s announcements confounded those who predicted “doom and gloom” daily mailand, pictured the chancellor, grinning.

Overall, the papers had the same general view that although Hammond wanted to show that we will be prepared for economic uncertainty regarding Brexit, financial issues are a serious concern. Many have pointed out the increased borrowing to invest in infrastructure, research and development may become very “challenging” to recover from and it is debatable whether or not it will benefit the economy.

This will be, surprisingly, the last Autumn Statement, with a declaration of building an economy that “works for everyone” and “building for Brexit” the nation has their fingers crossed that the economy will pull through Brexit, without a devastating bill.

Photo and article credits to AccountancyAge

Rise in Accountancy Mergers Report

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Accountancy Practices For Sale In the UK Increases.

Continued consolidation has driven down the number of accountancy firms in the UK from 6,962 to 6,622, new research has revealed.

The rate of consolidation – down 41% since 2002 – is now beginning to accelerate again following a slowdown since 2010, says LDF, an independent finance provider. A key driver of the renewed fall is the rising number of mergers among accountancy firms, as they attempt to benefit from economies of scale.

According to LDF,  small and mid-sized accountancy firms appear to be merging in order to compete with larger firms by reducing administrative costs and increasing their profit margins. 

January 2016 Changes for Accouting Practice Mergers

LDF said some firms are merging to diversify their portfolios away from certain kinds of audit or tax planning work. January 2016 sees the introduction of higher thresholds for businesses requiring an audit, while government is putting greater pressure on what it sees as ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance.

Peter Alderson, managing director at LDF, said: “Mergers have been the catalyst for many accountancy firms to start the next stage of their growth, as it gives them the wherewithal to invest in better marketing and IT systems. As the market recovers, more firms are looking to take advantage of that.”

“Merging with another firm that has a different geographical, sector or service line focus can strengthen both practices if the fit is right. Especially for smaller businesses, merging with a larger firm can expand your client base and increase revenue streams.”

Several notable mergers of accountancy firms in the past year include top-ten firm Moore Stephens with top-25 firm Chantrey Vellacott, Menzies with Harris Lipman, and Yorkshire outfits BHP and Clough, creating a new top-40 firm.

There was a 6% drop in the number of sole practitioner accountants in the last year, from 3,625 to 3,421.

Retiring Accountants Looking To Sell

Alderson added: “There is also a consideration for any accountants nearing retirement who may also be looking to sell their books of businesses to firms who may be looking to diversify their client base.”

Accountancy Practices For Sale in the UK

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The figures – sourced from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) – relate to the year December 31 2014. Read the original article here.