Seashell Trust in Cheadle Hulme was delighted to accept a cheque for £3,850 from the team at Manchester Accountants HURST, who nominated them as their charity of the year in 2011. HURST said that they love the way the charity gets involved with the local businesses and would reccomend them to anyone looking for a charity to support. Seashell Trust are extremely greatful for the money recieved and the promotion for the charity, and say that the money will be put to excellent use.

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Bradford accountants firm Watson Buckle claim that appealing against a late filing penalty on VAT or other taxes may actually be very worth it. Recent figures show that of the people who appeal, over 50% prove successful.

HMRC have recently changed the way they review the claims, which is proving to be beneficial for the consumer. All disputes should now be handled by a trained review officer, who has not previously been involved in the case and should therefore be able to take a more unbiased view.

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Directors of Birmingham investment firm, Assura LIFT Holdings, have completed an MBO for an undisclosed sum from parent Assura Group. The structure of the MBO, led by managing director Elaine Siew and development director David Acklam, comprises 100 per cent of the operational and consultancy businesses, together with 25 per cent of the investments. Assura LIFT Holdings is one of the country’s leading investors of Local Improvement Finance Trusts.

“Whilst continuing to concentrate on the LIFT end of our business, we are looking to expand our property development and consulting activities, focusing on the public sector and the opportunities that will continue to emerge from estate rationalisation.”

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Blacks put itself up for sale in December, and had announced that Sports Direct was interested in buying it. The sports goods retailer already owns 22.5% of Blacks, whose shares have fallen 95% since January. Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United FC,  is the main shareholder for Sports Direct Ltd, and he has now said that he is not going to make a bid for the company.

KPMG Newcastle Accountants have now been assigned responsibility to find interested buyers, but with the recent figures released by blacks, showing a total bank debt of £36million, this might be easier said than done.

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Arthur Burden was handed the Manchester Chartered Accountants‘ accolade, at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester, in recognition of his contribution to the profession. He was appointed a partner at Beever and Struthers in 1959 and took on roles as honorary treasurer for a number of organisations, which would later contribute to him receiving an OBE for services to charity.

Mr Burden is a former president of the MCA himself, and was presented the award by the current president – Martin Robinson.

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Newcastle upon Tyne-based Sage, which supplies accountancy and payroll software to more than 6m companies worldwide, serves as a barometer of business sentiment, and is heavily reliant upon SMEs. They boosted their full-year dividend by 25 per cent this year, but the software vendor warned that if small and medium sized businesses continue to struggle, organic growth could slow considerably next year.

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Small Business Accountants and Experts look to consumer finance models like Funding Circle to provide the financial lifeline to SMEs.

The London Evening Standard recent article Funding Circle Will Save SMEs highlights this kind of finance.

The Funding Circle business model is quite simple. It has a credit assessment team – drawn from the ranks of ex-bankers – who assess the creditworthiness of small businesses looking for loans. At the same time it uses the web to mobilise individuals with cash to lend. Those SMEs which pass muster then get their loan needs met by the private investors. In theory the banks could help them more but in practice it is not going to happen even with the Chancellor’s latest wheeze. The fact is that modern bankers prefer to lend to other financial institutions or buy exotic financial products, and they have lost most of the skills they once had in knowing how to judge which businesses are worth lending to.

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