This is just a very quick video to help you understand the onboarding process with Performance Accountancy
Starting with us
So you’ve decided to come on board with us! That is absolutely brilliant. Thank you very much. What we need you to do is to complete something called an onboarding form.
This will ask you all sorts of information like your name, your address, your unique tax reference number, your National Insurance number. It will also ask you various questions about your income. What are your income sources? Do you have any costs that we have to take into account? Clearly then I know what to expect from you when it comes to tax returns.
It also asks for your accountant’s details because we have to write to them and ask for any handover stuff. That’s all part of the professional ethics, but a bit more on that later.
Completing the onboarding form
To complete the onboarding form, this is done via JotForm. When you press the send button, it sends it to me via the email system. On that form, you can attach various documents if you’d like to upload them. So we always ask for any anti-money laundering documents. That can go on the form and it will send it through. But sometimes it’s a little bit squeaky about size of forms. What we do have is a client portal, which part the way through this process I’ll introduce you to, and you can upload your documents there if you would prefer.
Once we have the onboarding form, we have to run some anti-money laundering checks. Oh yes, it’s all good fun. Basically, just to confirm who you are. With your copies of a passport or driving licence, your copies of ID for where you live, et cetera. We run that through the anti-money laundering just to make sure you’re an okay person to deal with. If it comes back as fail, oh that’s not good, so we have to find other methods to verify you are et cetera, et cetera. It doesn’t go on any credit checking. It is a soft check, so don’t panic about that. That’s the process so far, complete the onboarding form, send us your anti-money laundering documents, we will run the anti-money laundering checks.
Once we have done that, my PA will set you up in our internal systems and that will record the answers from your onboarding form. Again, so we’ve then got something in our system to know what to do and how to chase you, et cetera. We do like chasing people for their tax documentations. It also puts in the price we have agreed for the fees, et cetera.
Documents to review
Now, from that system, we can then generate two automatic documents. The first is the terms and conditions. It is a very long form, so yes, you can print it by all means. That basically says what our terms are, how you’re going to pay us, when you’re going to pay us, and the potential of what happens if you don’t get your stuff to us until December and January. It makes Louise not a very happy person, but more on that at another stage.
Along with the terms of conditions, it will also send the letter of engagement. This is an official document to say we are being acting as your tax agents, these are the things that we are responsible for. It’s mainly to do self-assessment tax returns. We don’t get involved in your VAT stuff unless it’s specifically requested. If you run your own payroll, we don’t get involved in that. But obviously, if you are an employee somewhere, then, yes, we do get involved in getting your P45 or P60s. So that’s fine.
But they are two different documents, and both will need to be signed. And it’s all done by e-signature. So you can do it on a phone. You can do it on a tablet. You can do it on the PC. So a phone and tablet you’ll be able to actually scroll your signature on a PC or a Mac, obviously. Then you’ll be able to type in your name and it will convert it into a signature, unless you’re really good with the mouse and you can sign your signature with the mouse. I’m not very good at that.
Once those two are done, you will get copies of them. I will get copies of them. It then invites you to set up access to the client portal. Now we use a process called Accountancy Manager. This is my practise system that will do my chasing for me. It will remind me when I haven’t spoken to you for a while and you’ve still got documents outstanding. Accountany Manager does all sorts of fun stuff. A lot of it I’ve not set up yet because I haven’t done it. I do like the personal touch at times. It will allow you to go in there, create your portal, and you can actually check what data I have on you. If something’s incorrect or if you’ve moved address, you’ll be able to go and update it there or you can just email me and we update it.
But the most important thing, it will give you to a document page. That is where you can go and upload your anti-money laundering information on a secure environment. So there is always a reference document folder. And it will also allow you to upload any tax information you want us to have and you don’t want to send it via email. But please, if you want to do everything by the portal, let us know. We’ll make a note of it, and then all correspondence then with regards to tax returns and signing will be done via the portal. Some people don’t trust email. It’s really a case of it’s up to you. So you’ll be able to check your access to the portal, make sure it works and everything’s hunky-dory there. So, but those two forms do have to be signed before you can get access to the portal.
What I am doing at the same time is I will sign up with HMRC to be your tax agent. So I can do this online providing the data you give me is correct as to what HMRC has. A lot of the time it fails on the address or the post code because you might’ve moved in the time that you did your last tax return to coming on board here, or if you always use an accountant and you’ve never updated HMRC, potentially the accountant’s always used your old address. So there might have to be some jiggling around and you phoning HMRC to sort out your postcode and your actual address. But make sure you sort out the whole address because we have known that the postcodes might be correct, but if you live in a block of flats, et cetera, it might have the wrong flat number, so the post won’t get to you. Or it might have the wrong block number but the right flat number and all sorts of things can go wrong. The post code will be correct, so it’ll be happily sending you out letters, but you’re not receiving them.
Your tax agent
So that is my sign up to be your tax agent. HMRC will then write to you, and they only do things by post at the moment for that. They will write to you and they will send a letter to you to say do you want Herrington Accounting Services, because that’s the official name of the business, I trade as Performance Accountancy, so do you want Herrington Accounting Services to do your tax returns and act on your behalf as your tax agent? If you still do and I haven’t put you off by then, then I need to have that code and I need to have it before the expiry date. So really, as soon as you get that code, please let me have it and we can get set up. So send that code to me and I will complete the HMRC element of it. It takes, sometimes it takes 24 hours for it to go through for me to act as your tax agent. Sometimes in January it happens even quicker. I think they’re a bit worried about people panicking about getting their tax returns done in January.
There is the question on the onboarding form if you are leaving a current accountant. What has to happen, you need to tell your accountant you need to resign from your accountant, to say that you are leaving, thanks very much, and you need to introduce them to me. You need to tell them that Louise Herrington of Performance Accountancy [Herrington Accounting Services] will now be taking over as my accountant and ask them to provide me all the information I need for a smooth handover. You need to do that. Ideally, you can do it by email and copy me in so I know it’s happened. Because what can happen is we set up the onboarding process, you come on board, you sign the documents, and my system will automatically send a letter, well an email to the accountant. And if you haven’t resigned from them, it kind of puts everything in a bit of a sticky situation. So by all means, tell me you’ve resigned from them. Otherwise, this might get stuck and it might get a bit awkward.
So once you have come on board and signed all the agreements, got your portal running, then it will automatically send the email to the accountant for a handover of last year’s tax return and the year before, plus any accounts that they have on you that created those accounts, capital allowances, and any overlap relief, et cetera. What I do find is a lot of accountants they might send over the basic information, so it might just be the tax return, and give me no other information whatsoever. So in the ideal world, if you can also email me any tax return you might have for the prior year and the backup, so accountants would do a set of accounts for you, if you send that to me and the tax calculation, that would be brilliant. I’d prefer to have it twice than not have it at all. It works in your favour as well, especially if you’re claiming capital allowances and the writing-down allowance because then I’ll know exactly what’s being claimed and on what assets. So hopefully, I’ll get it from you and hopefully I’ll get it from the prior accountant.
Business as usual
And there you go. So that technically is your onboarding complete. As soon as we’ve got the HMRC code, you’ll be all up and running and we can actually then start to work on your tax returns. So that is it. That is the whole onboarding process. It can be simple. But if things don’t quite work out, like the HMRC don’t recognise your postcode or your accountant really is playing up, et cetera, then things can be, again, a bit sticky. But it should be a very simple process.
Obviously, if you have any problems or any concerns, then please feel free to contact me.