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Haines Watts Launceston Phone icon 01566 777189

A good working relationship with farm secretaries and book keepers can prove to be invaluable to us as accountants.

These professionals visit our clients on a monthly basis, and are privet to information on a regular basis that we may not be aware of.  The discussions they have, and the information they obtain can enable us to provide a proactive working relationship with our clients and add value to them, knowing when they need additional advice from us.

A regular debriefing with them enables us to contact the client to discuss in more detail the plans they are carrying out, and the manner in which they carry them out. These conversations initiated by the accountants forge a deeper relationship with the clients.

Examples of this can be when the client is constructing a shed.  Through timely discussions with the clients, we can determine the most tax efficient treatment of the expenses incurred, whether this be a revenue or a capital nature.  The details entered on the system when the book keeping is completed can be crucial to the subsequent tax claims that then follow.

The secretaries are usually also informed of grants that are applied for, and whether these are capital or revenue grants.  There are criteria for these that must be met in order to qualify, and knowledge of these are important for us to know.

The initial purpose is to ensure the expenditure incurred is correctly allocated, and the appropriate allowances are able to be claimed. Secondary to this is that it provides the opportunity to review not only the transactions in question, but the vision of the client, and the implications this may have on other taxes.

With more and more farms diversifying, with the additions of wind turbines, or air bnb for example, taxation needs to be considered at each stage.  It is imperative the inheritance tax reliefs are not lost through these diversifications. Consideration needs to be given to the VAT status, partial exemption and ownership of the assets.

When Making Tax Digital enters the equation, it will be imperative the information is included at source, and not retrospectively. The relationship with the professionals on the front line will become even more invaluable, and it is time now to forge those alliances in preparation for the future.

Want to know more? Call us on 01566 777189 or email

About the author

Fiona Davey

Fiona qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) in 2008, having previously been qualified as a member of the AAT. She was granted Fellow Membership in 2013 and is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA), with almost 20 years’ experience working in professional accountancy practices in Cornwall.

Fiona joined Haines Watts in April 2016, having previously worked for Nevill & Hovey & Co Ltd as an Accounts Senior, and Fiona has an in-depth knowledge of many computerised systems, including Sage and Quickbooks. Based in the Launceston office, Fiona’s main responsibilities have been overseeing the preparation of annual accounts and tax returns for the agricultural sector, including limited companies, partnerships and sole traders.

In her current role as associate partner based at the office in Launceston, she has a portfolio of clients who she regularly has face to face contact with.

When Fiona is not in the office, she is busy with her four boys. She enjoys outdoor pursuits and spectating all the sports the boys play.

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