Cloud Bookkeeping - Satisfactory or Success?

Your Recruitment business may now be converted to cloud bookkeeping, but ask yourself, do you feel that you are getting valuable business insight out of your cloud service?

Having doubts in your cloud service leaves you questioning it’s value, adding a resistance to using it. Another year slips by and it’s too late to maximise on any in-year opportunities .

How can you plan growth for your Recruitment business without full confidence in the tools you are using?

But what if you were so streamlined you knew what was going on in your business in REAL TIME? Perhaps having the ability to optimise on opportunities you’re sitting on and get more money out of the business?

Now is the time to take action.

Can you answer these questions honestly?

  1. Are you realistic on what money you can extract from the business?

  2. Are you managing your cash-flow?

  3. Are you efficient?

  4. Do you know what your return on investment is?

If you can answer all the above questions with YES then that’s great.

BUT if you are looking for help on how to overcome these common Recruiter pain points, book your 10 minute chat with a Recruitment business advisor below;

Cooper Curtis have been working with Recruitment Agencies for the past 9 years. In that time, we have developed an extensive knowledge of the industry and enjoy sharing our knowledge with other successful businesses.

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Blog by Caroline

Benefits of putting an early business exit plan into place.


Whether you have just set up as an agency and considered your start-up plans or been going for a few years and are now established - what about your business exit plans?

Too early to be thinking of exiting now we might think but we all need to consider our end games! These can be in as little as 5 years if you are carefully planning your business development.

Yes, it can be a good income during the next 5 years but you want to see the rewards for your hard-earned efforts later down the line too!

We at Cooper Curtis have worked with Companies developing their plans and not just the financials, which are important, but also helping them to maximising their true potential.

Cashflow up & down?

A problem we see, particularly within our perm recruiter clients, is bridging the payment gap between candidate delivery to actually getting paid, which can take up to 90 days! However, 90 days is unacceptable particularly to the small business.

Going into the temps supply market on a weekly or fortnightly payment cycle from your client can help with the low periods and your margins from this can at least cover the fixed monthly costs.

Running your business from home (tax allowances available) can be useful particularly to start-ups until you can afford to scale up your business with staff and external premises.

Software packages such as Fluidly can help you automate the Cashflow planning process.

Ever thought of asking for a regular retainer fee?

Outside financing, whilst it can be expensive for those on low margins, can be a great help in financing the growth of your business and most offer Bad Debt Protection as well to ease your Carillion type worries!

Should you wish to contact us to expand on any of the above points, or see if our solutions can help transform your business, request a 10 minute chat below.

Personal Service Company changes from 2020


In the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that the "off payroll" workers rules that currently apply in the public sector would be rolled out to the private sector in 2020. The government have now issued a consultation paper that sets out proposed tax and national insurance changes that will impact on those supplying their services through personal service companies.

End users will be required to determine whether the rules apply to the services provided by the worker via his or her personal service company. This will be a significant additional administrative burden on the large and medium-sized businesses who will be required to operate the new rules. The current CEST (Check Employment Status for Tax) online tool would be improved before the proposed start date.

No change for “Small” Employers

“Small” businesses will be outside of the new obligations and services supplied to such organisations will continue to be dealt with under the current IR35 rules with the worker and his or her personal service company effectively self-assessing whether the rules apply to that particular engagement. The definition of “small” has been widely awaited and the Government have confirmed that it intends to use the existing Companies Act 2006 definition. That is where the business satisfies 2 or more of the following features:

• Annual turnover of £10.2 million or less

• Balance Sheet total of £5.1 million or less

• 50 employees or less

The new obligations to determine whether the rules apply, deduct tax and national insurance, and report payments under RTI will apply to the agency or intermediary making payments to the personal service company where the end user is large or medium-sized. There will be an obligation to pass details of the status determination up and down the labour supply chain.

The liability for tax and national insurance will be the responsibility of the entity paying the personal service company, however if HMRC are unable to collect the tax from that entity the liability will pass up the labour supply chain thus encouraging those entities further up the supply chain to carry out due diligence to police compliance.

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published. 

Effective multi-tasking  

In today’s fast-paced business world, here are some tips to help you to be more effective at multi tasking.

Over the past 10 years or so businesses have become leaner by reducing employee numbers, focusing on efficiency and increasing the demands on their staff. An increased workload forces us to multitask, which may be effective for a short period of time, but over the long term, can cause stress.


Multitasking is not about “piling on the work” to the point of exhaustion. It’s about training the brain to channel energy in an efficient and effective manner so you can accomplish more in less time. One of the keys to learning how to multitask effectively is actually to slow down, in order to accomplish more.

Set Priorities

Try to think of your brain as a computer. If you are working within multiple programs and have numerous windows open so you can quickly jump from program to program, you may find that your computer crashes a lot, due to the strain. The same thing happens in your brain. When you’re performing multiple tasks that require your undivided attention, your brain gets overloaded, as it can only process information from one channel at a time. Therefore, do not multitask if the assignment requires your full attention.

Useful tools

Make lists and write things down. You can’t remember everything so having a central to-do list is helpful. If you have a list of items you need to refer to often (such as pricing schedules or keyboard shortcuts) position this next to your phone or computer for quick access. Diarise some “management time” in your calendar each day - this might be a 45 minute slot where you have no meetings and can take stock, look at your to-do list and work through anything that needs your immediate attention.

Shift multitasking to single tasking

Your brain cannot multi-task all the time. So, occasionally, stop multitasking and allow yourself to do just one thing for fifteen to twenty minutes. At the end of this “rest period”, you’ll feel refreshed, alert, and ready to tackle more tasks - and you’ll do so with fewer mistakes.

Take regular breaks

Make the most of your breaks – avoid working through lunch and make sure to take a short break in the morning and afternoon. Use your break to walk around the building, sit outside, or do whatever you like for a few minutes to clear your head and give your brain a rest. Taking this time out during the day can actually make you more productive.

If you would like to speak with an advisor about getting better systems in place book your 10 minute chat at

What does Making Tax Digital mean for Recruitment Agencies?


By April 2019, businesses above the VAT Threshold will need to keep Digital records and from 2020 this should apply to all other businesses who will be updating HMRC quarterly for their corporation tax, Income Tax and National Insurance obligations digitally. It is a significant change for many of us and means the end of the annual tax return to be replaced with a digital tax account where all your information will be stored in one place.

This change in the way HMRC wants information from tax payers means that you may need to move from your existing desktop or manual record keeping and onto an online accounting package.


The good news is we are certified in the installation and operation of Online Accounting software which is digitally compliant and specifically designed for small and medium sized business

We are helping our recruitment clients migrate to the cloud to comply with the new HMRC requirements on Making Tax Digital. 


Imagine if you could:

•  See a clear picture of your profit margins in real-time;

•  Take a photo on your phone of a receipt and it was posted automatically; AND

• See your results, who owes you money, who you owe to and your business bank balance 24/7, 365 from your phone.

• Manage clients and workers details

•  Create and send invoices on the go

•  Have your bank feed your data directly into your accounts on a DAILY basis;

•  View a snapshot of your business

•  Estimate tax payments

•  Easy tax filing that matches HMRC requirements

We offer;

  • A smooth and quick transition to our online accounting solution

  • A free initial demonstration and ongoing support (no charge for calls/emails)

  • Fixed fee packages available ( No unexpected bills from us!)

 If you would like to speak with an advisor about getting better systems in place book your 10 minute chat at


GDPR simplified with our checklist

To help you comply with the new GDPR guidelines coming into force on 25th May 2018, please find a checklist which we hope you find useful. 


blog by Caroline

blog by Caroline

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

National Minimum Wage Rates from April

From 1 April  2018, rates for minimum wage and living wage will be rising to;

  • National Minimum Wage (For workers 25 and over) £7.83 per hour
  • Workers between 21 and 24 is £7.38 per hour
  • Workers between 18 and 20 is £5.90 per hour
  • Workers under 18 is £4.20 per hour
  • Apprentice rate is £3.70 (aged 16-18 or 19+ if in first year ) All other apprentices are entitled to min wage according to their age

For more information on the national minimum wage, please contact us on 0845 303 114 or

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Our chosen charity for 2018


For 2018, Cooper Curtis have decided that Cancer Research UK would be our charity of choice...

In 2017, we raised over £1,000 for Maggie’s’ Cancer Care Centres through our fundraising efforts. In 2018, we are aiming to double that!

Please watch this space for what challenges we a re undertaking this year to fundraise for them...






Cooper Curtis is 5 years old!

Cooper Curtis Accountants, based near Southam, Warwickshire, celebrate their 5th anniversary this November.

Cooper Curtis provide specialised accountancy services for the recruitment industry.

Co-partner Brian Dormer says, '‘We are looking forward to introducing more client focussed services and to reaching out to others to share our success with them’


For more information on the bespoke services we offer contact us on 0845 303 1144 or email  to see how we can help. 

Agencies, are you up to date with Employment Intermediary Reporting?

Since 2015, it has been a requirement for all employment agencies who act as an intermediary to file quarterly reports to HMRC.

The workers details and payment details are supplied on a simple excel spreadsheet in a format given by HMRC, each quarter, by the 5th of the following month. If no workers were supplied in a particular quarter, a nil report must still be submitted by the deadline date.

The main reason HMRC brought in this reporting was to satisfy HMRC that PAYE should not have been operated on their payments and to tackle false self-employment.

Failure to submit these reports or submitting an inaccurate report can run into the £1,000's after a third offence so it is paramount that these are submitted with care. 

You will need to sign up to HMRC's unique online service in order to file these reports here.

You must use HMRC’s template to input the details which can be found here.

Should you require any assistance in preparing and submitting these reports, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Post by Caroline

Post by Caroline

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Staying safe online...

Responding to the wrong email could spell disaster... Caroline looks at ways to prevent this happening in your company.

The recent ransom-ware cyber attacks brought chaos to companies across the world. Small to Medium size firms will often be the target for criminals because they believe their chances of defeating security and gaining access are higher and once in, they can attack larger potentially more valuable organisations that have a relationship with the SME using compromised email accounts to phish contacts, customers and suppliers. 

As much as 1 in 10 individuals will fall victim to phishing attacks via email and unwittingly allow criminals access to unsecured networks. 

Because the phishing email is personalised, and appears to come from a recognised contact, many of these beat email security and are delivered to the inbox. Not expecting an attack, the recipient unknowingly opens the email and downloads an attachment, or clicking on a link, or entering in passwords releasing malware or ransom-ware into the device and across the system. 

Criminals are getting more and more sophisticated with their attacks and they only have to get lucky once.

So what should I look out for in emails?

The sender

Look very carefully and ask yourself do you know this person and is this their usual email address?


You should always give your email a meaningful subject and expect to receive the same. Does the subject contain spelling mistakes, or excessive punctuation? Is it irrelevant or poorly written?


Fraudulent emails will typically ask for you to do an action, such as download an attachment or visit a website. Be wary of emails that ask for personal information and wiht a phishing email there is usually an urgency to the email. 

Be wary of links in emails that could take you to a malicious website which poses as a normal looking one. 


Attachments can transmit viruses so open only when expecting an email. 


You should periodically change your passwords, and make them tough to guess. Use letters, numbers and symbols if allowed. 

Check that security training is included in any induction process. It is important to explain phishing to reduce the risk of being caught by a cyber attack. Always be alert and follow the news and think before clicking links and replying to emails.

Shop only on websites with https and the padlock icon showing in the address bar.

When making purchases, use credit card over debit card as they are more likely to reimburse you for fraudulent transactions

Back up all your data regularly in the event of loss, theft or ransom demand and be careful when using wifi in cafe's, hotels etc and ensure it is the genuine network so ask the staff who work there. NEVER undertake purchases over an open network and remember if it sounds too good to be true, it's likely to be a scam. 

Post by Caroline

Post by Caroline

The benefits of Regular Accounting


  • See your profitability in real time

  • Up to date view of your business

  • Stay in control of your business

  • Allows a business to make informed decisions throughout the year

  • A better relationship with your Accountant - bounce ideas of each other and have more contact

  • Streamline processes

  • Access your accounts anywhere any time

  • Make better use of your time

  • improve efficiency

The Cooper Curtis team are all Xero Certified advisors, for more information contact us on 0845 303 1144 or email



With less than 2 weeks to go until Brian's Cycle Challenge for Maggie's, find out how his training is going!

Brian at Tissington Hall, Derbyshire

Brian at Tissington Hall, Derbyshire

On Sunday 30th April at 9am, Brian will embark on a challenging 50 mile cycle from Maggie's Oxford to Maggie's Cheltenham in aid of raising money for the fantastic support Maggie's centres offer to people living with cancer and their families. Brian has been training hard since January and here is a recent update from him; 

‘Well, there's less than 2 weeks to go until my 50 miles Charity Cycle ride for Maggie’s Cancer Charity. My training is going well and my cycle team member, Sarah Allen has kindly accompanied me to help spur me along. I cycled 40 miles on the Tissington Trail in Derbyshire 2 weeks ago and completed another 20 miles over the Easter weekend. 

A big thank you to those who have kindly sponsored me so far and there is still time for you to help me reach my £1,000 target for Maggie’s.’

You can donate to Brian's just giving page below, or email him on to make an offline donation.

When do I need to fill in a Tax Return?

You may be wondering why you have been sent a notice to complete a tax return, or whether or not you should be completing one for the year.

The list below explains when you need to prepare a self assessment, but should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us; 

  • You were self employed at any point of the tax year (runs from 6 April to 5 April)
  • You received more than £2,500 of un-taxed income for renting property or from un-taxed savings
  • You received dividend income of over £5,000 in the year
  • Your investment income was £10,000 or more before tax
  • You made a profit from selling a second property or shares and owe Capital Gains Tax
  • You are a company director
  • Your income was more than £50,000 and you or your partner claimed Child benefit
  • You received overseas income and need to pay UK tax on it
  • You lived abroad and need to pay tax on your UK income
  • Your income was over £100,000 for the tax year
  • You were trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • If HMRC have issued you with a tax return, you must still complete and submit it

If you would like any advice on whether or not you should be completing a Self Assessment, or would like help completing and filing a tax return, please call 0845 303 1144 or email 

Post by Caroline

Post by Caroline

 Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

The Not so 'Trivial' Benefits Exemption

Tax-free Trivial Benefits

A little known and underused tax free perk is the trivial benefits exemption.

A benefit provided to an employee is classed as a trivial benefit and therefore tax free for not only them, but a tax deduction for the employer too, provided that;

  1. It is less than £50, if given as a voucher it is non cash transferable,
  2. It is NOT a reward for services,
  3. And, it isn't included in the terms of an employee’s contract.


Trivial benefits could include, a gift voucher, a bunch of flowers, a meal out for employees under £50 per head.

To avoid the reward for service rule, the benefits could be given for a birthday, or a turkey or bottle of wine at Christmas, the birth of a child or a bereavement.

There is no limit to employees!

HMRC’s legislation does not state how many times per year you can give a trivial benefit to your employees. But be wise! Obviously a £50 gift every working day of the year would ring HMRC's alarm bells so we would advise that any trivial benefits made in the year are made as a gesture rather than a frequent payment.

Does this apply to company directors too?

Yes it does! To limit company directors taking advantage of this tax freebie, HMRC will allow trivial benefits provided to directors up to a value of £300 per year. So that’s a payment up to £50 once every two months. If your spouse is also a director that is another saving of £300 and a potential tax saving of £335 if both higher rate tax payers!

For more information on trivial benefits and other tax saving opportunities, contact Cooper Curtis on 0845 303 1144 or email



Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Chancellor makes shock U-Turn! Cooper Curtis comment on Spring Budget

Last week saw Philip Hammond deliver his first Spring Budget as Chancellor. There were a few shock announcements on the day, one being the dividends allowance now reduced to just £2,000 from next year prompting some in-year tax planning for our limited company clients. 

After a heavy backlash from his opposition about tax rises, the chancellor has now abolished his plans to raise the Class 4 National Insurance from April 2018 one week after delivering his budget bringing a sigh of relief to many self-employed people. 

The changes proposed where the contractors IR35 status will be decided by the public body they are contracted with is still going ahead beginning from April 2017. 

If you have any questions regarding any topics covered in the Budget or would like any advice, please give us a call on 0845 303 1144 or email

 Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Help Brian on his way to raise money for Maggies' centres

Cooper Curtis announced that Maggies' centres would be our charity of choice for 2017 earlier in the year and in our first fundraising event of 2017, Brian will be cycling from the Maggies' centre in Oxford, to the Maggies' centre in Cheltenham on Sunday 30 April 2017 totalling 50 miles!

Brian decided to challenge himself having been used to little or no exercise and has been training hard since January and hopes to reach his target of £1,000 for the Maggies' centre based in Oxford.

You can help Brian on his journey by reading his story and visiting our Justgiving page here;

Donate here and support Brian's journey