What is the benefit to employing an accountant?

The importance of employing an accountant - Martyn Benstead

3rd November, 2022, Martyn Benstead

Martyn Benstead, Partner at Stephenson Smart Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors explains why now, more than ever, employing an accountant is important:

Financially, as well as politically, these are turbulent times.

Replacements in Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer are coming thick and fast and with these changes, volatility in the financial markets and economic climate inevitably follow.

Why employ an accountant at times likes these?

Good accountants relish change as it enables them to advise clients to take advantage of tax reliefs and of opportunities to maximise wealth.

Interest rates, tax rates and the markets are all changing constantly and it is hard to follow and understand what to do for the best with our finances and how to plan for the future.

Employing an accountant to your team at times like these is crucial and at Stephenson Smart, we’re available to help.

“Martyn was extremely helpful and clear and went above and beyond in trying to resolve the issues we had – even though it was our first meeting with him. We definitely got the sense that he cared about his work and clients and would do all he could to help. We had a very positive experience and would highly recommend Martyn and Stephenson Smart.”

Key areas that may affect you:


If you are thinking about selling a residential property, you may need to be aware of the requirement to submit a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Return and pay the tax due online within 60 days of completion. We can calculate the likely CGT to assist you in making an informed decision over whether to sell or rent your property.

Depending on the asset, you may be able to reduce any tax you pay by claiming reliefs.

As well as CGT, another factor needing consideration over whether to sell would be your inheritance tax position. Some assets would be subject to inheritance tax if left to beneficiaries in your estate at your death. Careful planning can assist in minimising the impact of this.


There have been a raft of changes in the rates and thresholds in Income Tax, Corporation Tax, National Insurance and Dividend Tax.

It’s more important than ever to consider your business structure – whether you’re operating as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, it may no longer be the best for your circumstances.

Please contact us if you need a fresh look at how you structure your business.




Buying a Business

Buying a Business

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

If you are keen to improve your position in the market by merger, acquisition or disposal Stephenson Smart can help you avoid pitfalls and navigate you through the tricky process.

There are many things to take into consideration when buying a business, including the right price to pay, how much you need to borrow, funding options and which is the most appropriate.

Business Strategy and Support

At Stephenson Smart, we can help you identify purchase targets, assist you in developing business plans and forecasts, use our long-standing relationships to help you in raising finance, carry out financial and taxation due diligence and help in negotiations.

In short, we can give you peace of mind.

You might be considering a Management Buy Out? This is a complicated transaction requiring persistence, expertise and excellent advice and we can advise your management team through every stage

Talk to us about optimising tax and corporate structures, and on advising about an integration plan, or how best to invest the profits.

At Stephenson Smart, we can advise on:

  • Raising finance
  • Business valuations
  • Due diligence
  • Management buy-ins and buy-out
  • Post-acquisition integration

Business Structure

Business Structure

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

Stephenson Smart’s business structure planning service can help grow and flourish your business, while maximizing your profit.

Business structure planning is extremely important and determining the right structure for your business depends on many factors. At Stephenson Smart we aim to get a thorough understanding of both your short term needs and your long-term business goals, and recommend the structure that will best deliver your goals now and in the future.

We have particular expertise in the tax treatment of Limited Companies versus unincorporated structures, such as partnerships and sole traders. We can also advise on share structures and if there are different shareholders, consider whether a Shareholders’ Agreement may be beneficial.

The four common forms of business structures are:

Sole trader 

The simplest way and only a few formalities attached, the most important of which is informing HM Revenue & Customs when you start trading.


In a partnership, a group of two or more people will come together, pool their talents, clients and business contacts so that, collectively, they can build a more successful business than they would individually. The partners will agree to share the joint profits in pre-determined percentages.

Limited company

A limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners. It can trade, own assets and incur liabilities in its own right. The ownership of the company is recognised by owning shares in that company. If you work for the company, you are both the owner (shareholder) and an employee of that company. When a company generates profits, they are the company’s property.

Limited liability partnership

A limited liability partnership is legally similar to a company. It is administered like a company in all aspects apart from taxation. In this, it is treated like a partnership. They are particularly suitable for medium and large-sized partnerships.

Selling a Business

Selling a Business

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

Are you looking to sell your business? Let us support you every step of the way.

When you decide to sell as business, an experienced accountant is essential. Starting early is the key to successful exit planning and Stephenson Smart can work with you to ensure your goals are fulfilled.

We want business owners to achieve the highest value for their business and keep as much of the proceeds as possible by minimising any taxes.

You may question who you should sell to, how much is the business worth and how you can sell and preserve confidentially. We can provide you with the answers by retaining key management, improving financial performance, increasing profit and reducing your tax exposure.

We know how to conduct an effective sale and at the same time do this in such a way that confidentiality is maintained and access to commercially sensitive data regarding your business is controlled.

Once your business is ready for market, we can help you to identify potential buyers through our network of professional advisers. We can also help you structure the deal and support you during the process of negotiations.

Tax Investigations

Stephenson Smart: Tax Investigations

9th April, 2019, Stephenson Smart

Being subject to a tax investigation from HMRC can be a stressful and worrying experience.

Let us guide you through with our tax investigation service.

What Does A Tax Investigation Involve?
Contrary to most UK law, in a tax investigation you are required to “prove your innocence”. It is not unheard of for an enquiry to last several years and we regularly see Inspectors trawling through not only the business records, but also personal expenditure such as grocery shopping, holidays and car expenses to identify potential discrepancies.
Personal tax clients are not immune either as the tax authorities regularly select individuals for investigation based on its view that they have “the means to pay”.

Regardless of your circumstances, this work is extremely technical and will require significant time by a tax expert in order to resolve the matter with the Inspector.

Disappointingly, HMRC does not consider your costs when conducting its investigations and even a basic tax enquiry can result in thousands of pounds in professional fees.

How Can Stephenson Smart Help?
At Stephenson Smart, we offer our clients an annual subscription to our Tax Investigation Service.
By subscribing to our comprehensive Tax Investigation Service, the cost of full professional representation by our experts will be covered in the event that you are investigated. We will ensure that you do not have to simply concede to the Inspector’s demands and will “fight your corner” without you worrying about the fees.

As a further benefit of the service, you will have unlimited 24/7 access to an expert Business Legal Helpline, which can answer queries relating to Employment Law, Health and Safety matters and commercial issues.

Unfortunately, we cannot protect you from being selected for a tax investigation enquiry, but we can ensure you have experts to help you through it with ease.

Page 1 of 2

Stephenson Smart News