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Regional contacts

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Financial stability report 2013

Financial stability report 2013


Our report on financial stability highlights pitfalls, identifies helpful indicators and suggests practical steps to reduce the risk of financial disaster. Click here to view an interactive pdf of the report.

Legal Innovation 2013

Legal Innovation 2013

Our report explores the innovative ways in which law firms are adapting to the wealth of changes affecting the legal market and discusses how the sector may look in 2020.

COFA Forums

Our COFA forum round tables provide an opportunity for COFAs within law firms of all sizes to come together to discuss sector developments, current issues and to voice any concerns or problems that they are facing.

For more details and to register for one of these events please click here.

Professional practices

Baker Tilly’s Professional Practices Group is a multi-disciplinary team of partners and managers dedicated to servicing all types of professional practice businesses. Our flair and sector expertise have helped us to achieve our position as one of the UK’s top providers of business services to the professions. We work with clients across the sector, including solicitors, architects, management consultants, surveyors and accountants.

Helping our clients with current sector issues

Like most businesses in the current economic climate, professional firms, both large and small, corporate or partnership, are facing numerous challenges. These include:

  • Complying with increased government regulation, both in the UK and internationally
  • Identifying and adopting the appropriate strategy in uncertain market conditions
  • Overcoming the constraints on working capital
  • Getting the most from your workforce in a highly competitive employment market
  • Mitigating the increased risk of fraud by employees
  • Coping with departures or retirements of key individuals from the business
  • Operating internationally in an effective and competitive manner
  • Minimising exposure to the 50% tax rate for higher earners
  • Responding to the changing nature of the buyer of services

Practical and relevant solutions to help your business succeed

Our position in the professional practices marketplace enables us to not only influence technical and legislative developments for the good of our clients, but also to lead the way in identifying innovative and efficient solutions to their problems. What we can do:

  • Advising on changing regulations for professional firms, in particular the Legal Services Act and the risks and opportunities that arise from it
  • Raising external debt or equity funding
  • Assisting with mergers, acquisitions, disposals or public offers
  • Advising on the most suitable business structure, whether corporate, LLP or hybrid
  • Reviewing working capital management policies to ensure the optimum use of cash resources
  • Creating effective remuneration strategies to reward and incentivise key staff and owners
  • Reviewing internal controls procedures and business processes to maximise efficiency and to deter fraud
  • Advising on succession planning issues to ensure a smooth transition or exit
  • Advising on the financial implications of operating in multiple jurisdictions with varying tax and regulatory landscapes
  • Providing effective personal tax planning for partners, directors and employees
  • Advising on the adoption of fee-charging models and arrangements to assist with client care

Industry expertise with international reach

Our Professional Practices Group provides a complete range of specialist services to the professions in the UK and internationally. We assist our clients with:

Recent publications

SRA confirms next phase of regulatory reform
During the summer, the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) has been consulting on six specific aspects of regulatory reform. The SRA Board has now announced changes arising from four of these consultations. These changes are still subject to approval by the Legal Services Board but are expected to take effect from October 2014.

The perils of office jargon - “The WAOC, APM and AFR are ready for you” - no, me neither!

This was the message I received by email from one of my team earlier this week. Have you noticed how each firm develops its own special language in the form of 3 or 4 letter acronyms?

Are you going to be one of the fifty survivors?
Of the 200 or so mid-tier law firms, only 50 or so may survive in the short-medium term. Are you going to be one of the fifty survivors?

The demise of the accountants' report
The SRA have started their consultation process into whether to scrap the annual Solicitors Accounts Rules Report.

Reflections on LLP tax changes

With 6 April 2014 now behind us, the new regime for taxing members of LLPs is in force. Although the legislation itself may be modified during its passage through Parliament, LLP members are now taxed as employees unless they can establish that they are “true partners” (to quote HMRC) by failing any one of three conditions.

Debt Collection Services Iceberg Ahoy

Solicitors carrying on consumer credit activities from 1st April 2014 without permission of the FCA will be committing a criminal offence and a breach of FCA regulations.

LLPs - Lords’ message to HMRC

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee (FBSC) has published its report on their review of the draft legislation on partnership and LLP taxation.

LLP members - changes to new tax rules
Following consultation with Baker Tilly and other concerned groups, HMRC has published revised guidance on the new tax rules for salaried members of LLPs. This reflects a substantial amount of time and effort on the part of HMRC: we welcome their efforts to produce a workable set of rules.

The growing trends in cybercrime and how to protect your firm
Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing criminal activities on the planet. It covers a huge range of illegal activity including financial scams, computer hacking, virus attacks and stalking by e-mail.

Hot topics in UK LLP tax changes
While the HMRC consultation on aspects of the new tax rules for LLP members runs until 4 February, it’s become clear that some effects of the new rules will be far harsher than originally expected.

Still waiting for the impact – ABS two years on
The City had its Big Bang in 1986 with the de-regulation of financial markets leading to increased market activity and many of the old firms being taken over by foreign and domestic bank.

A lateral hire – forever, or just for Christmas?

Taking on a lateral hire is a risk, but we all have to take risks now and again. The right lateral hire will enable you to win market share and help to propel your firm’s growth ahead of your competition. Or it will end in tears – expensive ones at that.

Partnership tax changes – three months left to prepare
HMRC has published draft legislation dealing with ‘disguised salary’ of LLP members, partnerships with individual and company members, and further anti-avoidance measures

Service company tax changes to apply from 25 October 2013

Many professional firms have service companies which employ staff. Some of these companies also provide other services to their firms. These arrangements may not have been entered into for tax purposes.

FRS 102 and potential cashflow benefits available on accounting for lease incentives
If you currently occupy premises under a lease and received an incentive for entering into that lease, you may gain cashflow advantages from adopting FRS 102 early.

Is your firm on a collision course with the SRA?
One of the radical changes in the regulation of legal services was the introduction of entity-based regulation. The change allowed the SRA to regulate the firm itself as well as the solicitors and other individuals operating within the firm. This change is monumental but its significance is often overlooked.

Cash is king, but profit is the joker
Rowan Williams, Head of Professional Practices Group London and South, discusses the importance of cashflow for law firms and warns of the risks if ignored, for Legal Business magazine, September edition.

ABS applications – where are we now? 

The SRA commenced processing ABS applications on 3 January 2012. Since then, common themes have been time delays, frustration and an apparent lack of transparency and consistency.But have the SRA turned a corner and does the fault lie at their door?

How law firms are tackling the 'efficiency agenda'

There are many well publicised challenges facing law firms including fee pressures, new entrants to the market, and regulatory changes to name but a few.

Funding challenges for professional firms
In this Briefing, we take a look at the funding issues for firms in all the professions.

New SRA arrangements
George Bull, National Chair of Professional Practices Group, writes for Legal Business magazine on the new rules for international practices and their implications.

Partnerships and LLPs affected by review of tax rules

HM Revenue and Customs has published an important review of two aspects of the tax rules affecting partnerships and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Once implemented, the new rules will generate further taxes of up to £365m per year.

The Perfect Storm- legislative changes leading to more law firm insolvencies?
All law firms will be affected by the legislative changes hitting the sector from 1 April 2013. Are these changes are a perfect storm for law firm insolvency?