Debt, tax and Brexit discussed at finance professionals event

Finance professionals from across the North West gathered recently to learn about debt recovery, taxation and other hot topics at the latest Finance Director Network event.

Experts from the region’s leading companies, accountancy and law firms gave talks and hosted workshops on critical themes at the half-day event held at Farington Lodge in Leyland.

Tom Smith, Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution and Forbes Solicitors, began the day with a discussion about bad debt and debt policy.

He reported that more than half of SMEs suffer from late payments, and that one-in-five businesses writes off an average of £31,000 per year in bad debt.

“In business, cash is king and getting paid is completely essential,” he said.

His top tips included researching and credit checking clients before giving credit, making their terms clear in advance of a deal, and ensuring it’s easy and straightforward for clients to pay. The talk then covered the legal path of chasing late payment.

Rachel Marsdin, Tax Partner at Moore and Smalley, delivered a workshop explaining the new Making Tax Digital regulations, which will see tax returns abolished and all tax affairs handled online by 2020.

She said: “Making Tax Digital will allow HMRC real-time access to information, and will give tax-payers a single place to update and access their tax details.”

Simon Speak, Director at AFR Consulting, managed workshops on making the most of the R&D tax credits opportunity, Brexit planning for all possible scenarios, and the evolving role of the Finance Director including the added skills professionals are now expected to possess.

“The finance arena is constantly changing, with new regulations, best practice ideas and new political situations to navigate,” said Simon Speak, who also coordinated the event. “The North West Finance Director Network gives professionals the opportunity to get together, learn from experts, talk about their experiences with their peers, and make new contacts.”

The North West Finance Director Network events are organised and supported by the ICAEW, AFR Consulting, Moore & Smalley and Barclays. They are held quarterly, attended by up to 70 finance professionals from across the region.

For information on future events, please contact Simon Speak at AFR Consulting: simons@afrconsulting.co.uk