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With the introduction of Real Time Information from next April, we’ve had to look at the pricing of our PSC service package.

~ From April 2013 the basic fee will rise by £100 from £900 + vat to £1,000 + vat to cover the costs of RTI – for clients with bespoke fee arrangements, the change will be an increase of £100.  As always, for anyone joining us in the last 12 months we will defer the change by 12 months.

~ From 1 November 2012 we will increase our referral fee to £100 per successful introduction – we pay this once we’ve received the first monthly payment from the introduced client, and tend to make the payments each quarter.

~ From 1 November 2012 our contract review fee is increasing from £100 +vat to £200 + vat – we’ve never reviewed this charge, and it better reflects the costs to us of carrying out a review

~ We are going to simplify our charging structure for part years and catch up if you are transferring to us from another accountant – we expect to publish details of this shortly, and intention is to have something thats easy and fair both ways.

Overall the increase in our fees is inevitable with the major cost and staffing implications from RTI.  However the increase in the referral fee should mitigate this for many clients – so – please -get talking to your friends!

We keep an eye on the charging structure of our competitors, and aim to be mid market.  Sometimes its difficult to compare rates as competitors offer headline rates which exclude certain services, but on a like for like we are confident our charges are mid market.  We, of course, know that everyone needs to watch the pennies but the overall differences between us and major competitors – be their fees higher or lower – should not really be material, maybe a few pounds a week, and at that level quality and service is probably more important than price.

In terms of the increased costs for RTI, I’m sure some people will, understandably, consider taking this on themselves, either purchasing software or using HMRCs portal.  We advise against this – although there is a cost in processing, the greater cost is the skilled time in us preparing data, troubleshooting, monitoring and risk managing – we will be recruiting a new team member specifically to this role.  Our historic experience is that if we offer a reduced price / service package to clients who wish to DIY then we end up having to spend just as much time providing support and resolving queries, which clearly isn’t commercial for us or fair to the rest of our clients.

The increase in our fees needs to be seen in the context of HMRCs long term aim of mechanising all routine submissions and reducing their headcount.  Clearly HMRCs reduced headcount, although to some extent replaced by automation, reflects in additional time demands on Tax payers or their Accountants – not with new reporting requirements per se, but with more rigid requirements on existing reporting cycles, eg RTI for PAYE, iXbrl for Corporation Tax, VAT online, and similar.

As always, if clients need something bespoke, or have queries on these changes, please let us know.