Protecting employees from stress at work

The Working Minds campaign has been created by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, and is committed to improving the health of workers.

Tackling stress isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a legal obligation. Working Minds can help you make it a routine priority for your business.

Reasons To Manage Stress In The Workplace

There are three main reasons employers should be looking to prevent stress and support good mental health in business:

  1. It’s the law
  2. It’s good for business
  3. It’s the right thing to do

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, the law requires all employers to prevent work-related stress and support good mental health in the workplace.

It’s important to remember that in the end, we’re all just people. Every one of us faces pressures in and out of the workplace, and by treating each other with respect and compassion at work, we support our teams and colleagues to stay well.

The earlier a problem is tackled, the less impact it will have on the person and your business. Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills, experience, age or disability may affect someone’s coping ability.

Employee Wellbeing Strategy

You can get started today with these 5 steps: 

  1. Reach out and have conversations.
  2. Recognise the signs and causes of stress.
  3. Respond to any risks identified by agreeing on action points between employer and workers.
  4. Reflect on the actions taken – have things improved?
  5. Make it routine to check back in on how things are going.

If you think that a worker is having problems, encourage them to talk to someone, whether it’s their line manager, trade union representative, GP or their occupational health team.

See: Working Minds Employers – Work Right to keep Britain safe

Update your payroll software for 6 November NIC changes

The mini budget on 23 September announced the scrapping of the Health and Social Care Levy and important changes to employee and employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that take effect in just six weeks’ time. Software developers are frantically working to make sure that payroll software is ready for the 6 November rate change.

NIC Changes

Unlike PAYE (which generally works on a cumulative basis) NIC for employees who are not directors is calculated weekly or monthly, based on the limits and rates for that particular payroll period. This means that if the wrong NIC is calculated the error cannot be corrected in the next pay period and the employer will have to claim a refund from HMRC. This is because there is currently no process in place to retrospectively correct the earlier NIC calculation. Unless a simple NIC reclaim system is introduced this could be time consuming for both the employer and HMRC.

Contact Us Today

If we don’t currently do your Payroll and you would like to talk to us about adding this service on, or if you have any questions about your software just give us a call on 01704 546000 or email

Changes to VAT Returns

From Tuesday 1 November you will no longer be able to use your existing VAT online account to file your monthly VAT returns. Businesses that file annual VAT returns only will still be able to use their VAT online account until May 2023.

It is now a legal requirement for VAT registered businesses to sign up to Making Tax Digital (MTD) and to use MTD-compatible software to keep their VAT records and to file their VAT returns.

If your business does not sign up for MTD and file VAT returns through MTD, you risk incurring penalties. The best way to avoid penalties is to start using MTD now, so you have a good amount of time to get to grips with the new system.

Even if you already use MTD-compatible software for record keeping and to file your returns, you must also register through before you file your next return.

I haven’t signed up and I don’t know where to start?

Don’t worry, we can get you MTD ready! Our in-house experts can guide you through the software and the process. Just give one of the team a call today to find out more. Call today on 01704 546000 or email .

Employers PAYE – introduction of variable payment plan

From 19 September 2022, in response to customer feedback, employers’ PAYE customers will be able to take advantage of a new variable Direct Debit payment plan.

The service can be accessed through Pay employers’ PAYE or directly through the business tax account and the employers PAYE service.

There will be changes to the business tax account and the employers’ liabilities and payments screens on the employers PAYE service. A new link, ‘Set up a Direct Debit’ will be introduced, and this will allow customers to set up a Direct Debit instruction, authorising HMRC to collect direct from their bank account based on their return submissions.

Following set up, the link will change to ‘Manage your Direct Debit’, and an employer will be able to view, change or cancel the Direct Debit online.

The facility to create, view, amend and cancel a Direct Debit is restricted to employers only, there is no scope for agents to do this.

If signed up to a variable payment plan, the following charges will be collected on receipt of the returns to HMRC:

1.       Full Payment Submission

2.       Employer Payment Summary

3.       Construction Industry Scheme

4.       Apprenticeship Levy

5.       Class 1A National Insurance

6.       Earlier Year Update

What does it mean for me?

If we complete your payroll each month, we’ll still continue to send the usual information, so you’ll know the amount that will be collected by direct debit, you just won’t have to make a physical payment each month, it will be done automatically.

Accounting Jobs Kirkwood Wilson

A bit about us

Kirkwood Wilson is a family-run Accountancy practise based in Burscough. We deal with an extremely wide range of clients, from local farmers, national household chains, to PR companies in London. We are a very personable firm and pride ourselves on our dedicated, loyal and hard-working team.  Half of our team have 10 years or more service under their belts, so we must be doing something right! Find out more about us and the team.

The role

We are looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual to join our expanding team of Accountants and Bookkeepers. There are a couple of roles available that would suit someone who has either completed some studies in accountancy (particularly AAT) and is perhaps looking to progress their studies further or someone who has a significant amount of bookkeeping experience. Key duties will include:-

  • Bank reconciliations
  • Bookkeeping
  • Journals and assisting in the processing of Management Accounts
  • P&L review & variance analysis
  • Year-end preparation
  • Balance sheet reconciliations
  • Daily cash monitoring
  • Vat Returns
  • Ad hoc analysis

The successful applicant

As an accounts trainee or bookkeeping assistant you will have experience of all the above along with strong working knowledge of Excel and Xero, knowledge of the Iris Accountancy Suite would be beneficial but not crucial. Good IT skills will be an advantage with this role due to the majority of our clients being “cloud based”. You will also need good interpersonal and communication skills, and be comfortable talking to internal and external stakeholders. In any event, full training will be given on all aspects of this role.

As a firm, we take a relaxed attitude, we don’t believe in micro-managing our staff. Therefore, the successful applicant must be self-motivated and must be able to handle and prioritise their own workload.

What’s on offer?

The opportunity to join an expanding firm on a full-time basis in an accounting job. Full training and study support under an accredited training contract is also available should you wish. Salary is dependent on experience.

If this is you, please send your cv to , we look forward to hearing from you.

question mark, marketing questions

Great questions to ask when growing your business

Here at Kirkwood Wilson we know how important it is to set attainable business goals. We see companies of all sizes grow from strength to strength when they set clear goals and progression markers. 

We suggest exploring goals against your company’s size, budget and current profits, and then asking questions to learn more about yourselves as a business. 

Not all the questions will be relevant to your business, but it’s a valuable exercise and may help you come up with a few ideas for growing your customer base.

Asking questions encourages you to break out of your normal thought patterns. This can be a gateway to creativity and thinking about solutions you hadn’t considered before. Help encourage thinking and understanding: Questions need answers.

Here are a few examples to help you drive your sales upwards:  

  • Why do our customers buy from us now?
  • What new ways of generating customers can we use to build our business?
  • Which of our marketing efforts brought in the bulk of our clients?  What percentage of our business comes from this?
  • How involved are we with our customers at the sales or transaction level?
  • What ongoing sales efforts do we personally perform day to day?  How do these functions differ from those we performed when we first started our business?
  • Where do our customers come from specifically?
  • What do we believe our greatest single advantage is?
  • What aspect of our business, product or service are we most proud of or happy with?
  • If we had a magic wand, would we rather attract more new customers or take more money from our existing customers, and why?
  • Who else benefits from our success; excluding our customers, our employees and our family members?
  • How many of our suppliers would be motivated to help us grow our business more because it will directly benefit them at a very high level?  Who are they?
  • When we create a new customer for our business, who else have we indirectly created a new customer for?
  • Who is our ideal target market and how did we arrive at it?

At Kirkwood Wilson, we offer advice on many commercial finance options that allow businesses of all sizes to achieve their investment goals. We can support the growth of your business as your workforce expands and help you to maintain a healthy cashflow by looking into unique financial processes and future projections. Explore more about business advice.

If you’d like to get in touch with Kirkwood Wilson, contact us on 01704 546000 or email us at

Making Tax Digital for income tax – Quarterly information to be reported by businesses

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax will apply to sole traders, property landlords and other businesses with gross turnover and/or property income over £10,000 a year, commencing in April 2024. The system will then be extended to partners from April 2025, LLPs and partnerships with corporate members from April 2026.

The Income Tax (Digital Requirements) Regulations 2021 set out the requirements that relevant persons must comply with under Making Tax Digital for Income Tax. This includes the use of Making Tax Digital compatible softwares to keep and preserve business records (income and expenses) digitally, send quarterly updates of their records to HMRC, and to submit an end-of-period statement to HMRC.

Making Tax Digital and draft notices

HMRC have published draft notices of the detailed provisions for consultation. The consultation invites views on these which provide additional information on the key requirements of Making Tax Digital, as they relate to:

  • The navigation of functional compatible software.
  • The required information for submission of quarterly updates and end-of-period statements.
  • Retail sales election.

Draft notices specify the proposed dataset requirements. Later in the year, HMRC is set to publish guidance explaining the ways that customers can reflect any accounting and tax adjustments that may be required to reconcile the quarterly submissions to the final taxable profits for the year (The End of Period Statement). The consultation sets out the adjustments that are likely to be required, such as:

  • Accruals
  • Prepayments
  • Private use adjustments
  • Stock
  • Capital allowances

What is a self assessment tax return? All the requirements

The breakdown of income and expenses broadly follow the heading on the self-employment and property income pages on the Self Assessment Tax Return.

The consultation document states that where annual turnover is below the VAT registration threshold, the individual can opt to provide the total of all income and the total of all expenses, rather than a detailed breakdown of expenses. This is also the case with the self-employment pages in the Self Assessment Tax Return.

Retail business may enter a single digital record containing the daily gross takings for any retail sales made.If you need support in ensuring that your business is government compliant with Making Tax Digital, please contact us today to speak with a member of the team. We are here to help!

Online accounting

How to get diversity and inclusion right

When running a business, there are many challenges involved, including trying to turn a profit, improving talent, growing the company, and more. You also must be aware of being inclusive and having a diverse talent pool within your organisation. How do you go about this, though? At Kirkwood Wilson we not only provide small business accounting advice online and projections in business, but we can help you improve your diversity and inclusion, continue reading our guide below.

Diversity and inclusion in business

The first step to creating or improving diversity and inclusion in your workplace is understanding where you’re at right now. Depending on the size of your firm, it may be helpful to run a staff survey as this helps you to gain insights into how diverse and inclusive your own team feels the company is at present.

Take time to analyse the diversity of your current team and consider past employees as well. Ask yourself questions like, ‘why did they leave?’ and ‘could the company have been more inclusive?’. If you could have been more inclusive, would they have stayed?

Once you’ve mapped out where you are, you can create aims and objectives around where you want the company to be in the future. This could be in the space of six months, 12 months or more, but it sets achievable goals within a set timeframe for you to improve diversity and inclusion.

Consider the current policies in place, too. In order to ensure that diversity and inclusion is not just lip service to current and new employees, you have to make an inclusive culture part of the fabric of your business.

Making a change from the top

Start your process of transforming the company by taking a top-down approach and lead by example. Ensure that your company’s leadership team is diverse and inclusive because this sets the tone for the entire business. The leadership team should lead the way on creating a business culture that embraces more diversity and inclusion.

Increasing the depth of your talent pool is key to building a more diverse and inclusive workforce too. Consider your current recruitment processes and review where you could improve the diversity of the team. Could you adopt more inclusive approaches to hiring?

Perhaps you could invest in some unconscious bias training to help your recruitment team overcome any biases that dictate the type of people that they hire. Attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse mix of talented people are all crucial steps in building a more diverse and inclusive business. However, it doesn’t stop there.

You must create a career development structure within the company too. Leadership teams in businesses across most sector often lack diversity, with non-white makes occupying only a small percentage of senior roles. Achieving gender and racial equality in top level leadership roles starts with making diversity and inclusion a business priority, especially when it comes to career development opportunities.

Senior members of a business should endeavour to create a sense of belonging for everyone within the company. For each individual to bring the best version of themselves to work each day, a sense of belonging must first be established. A greater connection between company and staff with a clear career path can only help to produce greater engagement, productivity and creativity.

Race for talent

As the battle for talent in recruitment continues for businesses, employees are becoming increasingly interested in working for companies whose diversity and inclusion initiatives are aligned with their values. If your company can set the tone and stand out as a diverse and inclusive employer, attracting talented team members should become a little bit easier.

Small business accounting advice online and projections in business at Kirkwood Wilson

Kirkwood Wilson is a family-owned company of Chartered Accountants, offering accounting advice online. We understand the challenges faced by family-run businesses and have the knowledge and expertise to support you in overcoming these challenges.

We can support your business by attending meetings, assisting with an exit strategy, planning for any capital gains or inheritance tax and reorganising the business structure.

Our experienced team can also offer you guidance on trusts, small business accounting advice, and retirement planning.
If you’d like to find out more about what we do at Kirkwood Wilson and how we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 01704 546000 or email us at

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) guide

What is PAYE and why should you check it?

If you make PAYE payments to HMRC, you should check that your payment reference number is correct every time. If you use an incorrect reference number, your payment may not be recognised. This can lead to penalties and charges being issued even if you paid on time, and you will need to call HMRC to correct any error. 

What is PAYE on payslip?

A payment reference number is specific to the type of tax and the accounting period for which you are making a payment. The characters in your payment reference number tell HMRC where to allocate your payments, which helps them process your payments as quickly as possible.

Your online banking service may default to a previous payment reference so be sure to check this is right every time you pay HMRC.

HMRC want to help you get this right. You can use the ‘Pay now’ tool to find the correct reference number to use each time. Do your staff need assistance on pay slip advice, we offer a whole variety of business advice and payroll information.

What does PAYE stand for?

PAYE is known as Pay As You Earn, it will be located on your monthly or weekly payslip and is HMRC’s system to collect income tax. Income tax focuses on services like health care, defense, and education.

What is PAYE reference number?

If you are paying on time for the current period, you will need to use your 13-character Accounts Office reference. You can find this on:

  • the letter HMRC sent you when you first registered as an employer.
  • the front of your payment booklet.
  • the letter from HMRC that replaced the booklet.
  • your Business tax account if you’ve already added Employer PAYE enrolment to it.

If you are not paying for the current period, you need to add 4 extra characters to the end of your Accounts Office reference. These final 4 characters will show the year and the month or quarter your payment is for. You will need to enter all 17 characters without any spaces:

  • Characters 14 and 15 are for the tax year — for example, 22 for the tax year from 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022, or 23 for the tax year from 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023.
  • Characters 16 and 17 are for the tax month or quarter depending on how you pay — you can use the ‘Pay now’ tool to find out which characters to include.

How much PAYE should I pay?

Each tax period has a different payment reference number so it’s important to make separate payments for each period.

For example, to pay for the month ending 5 June 2022 (month 2 of the 2022 to 2023 tax year), add the 4 extra characters 2302 to the end of your Accounts Office reference — 23 to tell HMRC it’s for the tax year ending 5 April 2023 and 02 to tell them it’s for month 2.

Further help and support can be found over on the government PAYE website. Or contact a member of our team today for bespoke advice.

What is the ‘plug in grant’ on electric vehicles?

white and blue plastic tool

The UK government has closed the plug-in car grant scheme to new orders. This follows a  public evaluation report highlighting that while the grant was vital in building the early market for electric vehicles, it has since been having less of an effect on demand.

Other existing price incentives, such as company car tax, continue to have an important impact. The report also found the plug-in van market will benefit from grant incentives more to support businesses and their fleets in making the switch.

How much is the plug in car grant?

To continue the UK government’s drive towards net zero, £300 million in grant funding will now be refocused towards extending plug-in grants to boost sales of plug-in taxisvans and trucksmotorcycles and wheelchair accessible vehicles, as announced in the autumn statement.

Discover how the ‘plug in grant’ could affect you and your business. Simply, contact us today, we can look to offer individual business advice and look at the best choices to save money and benefit from grant incentives.