Cybercrime fraudsters target ‘easy touch’ SMEs

SMEs have been warned to be on their guard after national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe is warning of a huge surge in cybercrime since COVID-19 hit the UK.

Johnathan Dudley, Midlands Managing Partner, said: “The figures are even worse than they first appear.

“The latest UK crime statistics from the ONS show an increase of 65% in cybercrime since April 2020, with cybercrime and fraud now representing more than 50% of all crime.

“Government statistics for 2019 show that 46% of all organisations suffered a cybercrime breach, but since April 2020 this has surged significantly – through our own calculations we believe there has been a 344% surge in cybercrime in the past three months alone.

“Our concern is that many SMEs have taken their eye off the ball while faced with the issues raised by COVID-19 and now Brexit rearing its head again.”

He pointed out that most large organisations have sophisticated procedures and defences in place to guard against cybercrime but this simply is not true of SMEs who may be considered an “easy touch”.

“Most business owners will tell you they are aware of the risks but not so many know how to apply their limited and depleted resources to guarding against the threat of fraud and cybercrime.”

The World Economic Forum has warned that new working patterns, leading to cyber attacks and data fraud, are the most likely technology fallout risk for the world as a result of from COVID-19.

Dudley added: “Most organisations have taken action of some kind but they tell us their biggest challenge is knowing where to target their limited resources, and spend, to make a realistic improvement in resilience to the rapidly evolving cyber threat.”

Crowe has developed significant expertise in this area in recent years, including external and internal vulnerability assessments and searches on the Dark Web for compromised emails and passwords, often available for as little as $2.

Jim Gee, Crowe Partner and Head of Forensic and Counter Fraud Services, said: “The initial stages of a fraud investigation are very important.

“Organisations that fail to observe the correct protocols are likely to encounter significant problems.

“Doing the wrong thing, however well-intentioned, may prevent discovery of what happened, limit the recovery of losses, limit the full range of sanctions which might be available, and leave an organisation open to legal claims under data protection, human rights and employment law.

“If you suspect a fraud is underway, before you do anything, speak to a professionally qualified counter fraud specialist.”

Ends (407 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK

Crowe industry recognition

  • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)
  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

‘Exceptional value’ leads REI to commence share buyback programme

Following the announcement in its half year results, Real Estate Investors plc has confirmed it is to buy back up to £2 million worth of the AIM-listed company’s shares.

In the half year statement, chief executive Paul Bassi said: “The board believes that an investment in REI’s ordinary shares at the prevailing price and discount to net asset value offers attractive value for its shareholders.  If the discount to net asset value persists, then the board will consider using proceeds from selective sales to fund share buy backs as part of its overall capital allocation strategy.”

REI has now confirmed that the board has approved the terms of a share buyback programme to buy back the Company’s ordinary shares of 10 pence each with an aggregate market value of up to £2.0 million.

The programme, which will be funded from the company’s existing cash resources, is intended to reduce the share capital of the Company.  will seek to make market purchases at a price or prices that the Company believes will be value-enhancing for shareholders.

REI has appointed Liberum Capital Limited to execute and manage the programme which is expected to end no later than 31 December 2020. A further announcement will be made if the programme is subsequently extended or increased in scale.

Mr Bassi said: “Given the discount to net asset value of the prevailing price of REI’s shares, this is an opportunity which offers exceptional value, and the decision has received the unanimous backing of the board.”

Ends (540 words)

For further information, please contact:

Paul Bassi CBE, Chief Executive Officer,
Real Estate Investors plc, 2nd Floor, 75/77 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2AP

0121 265 6406 or 0121 212 3446

www.reiplc.com

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner at ASAP PR, 01608 651203, mobile, 07990 978257

About Real Estate Investors Plc

Real Estate Investors Plc (REI Plc) is a publicly quoted, internally managed property investment company and REIT with a portfolio of 1.59 million sq ft of commercial property, managed by a highly-experienced property team with over 100 years of combined experience of operating in the Midlands property market across all sectors.

The Company’s strategy is to invest in well located, real estate assets in the established and proven markets of central Birmingham and the Midlands, with income and capital growth potential, realisable through active portfolio management, refurbishment, change of use and lettings.  The portfolio has no material reliance on a single asset or occupier.

Brexit preparations – are you ready?

National audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe, will be conducting a major review of Brexit preparations in a live video conference on Friday 16 October at 12:00.

Johnathan Dudley, National Head of Manufacturing at Crowe, said the event would not just be about “what we know so far”, but also “what is still to be resolved in the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.”

The session, in which Dudley will be joined by Rob Marchant, VAT and Customs Duty services Partner, will aim to help businesses with their Brexit preparations.

Dudley said: “We will be explaining the key areas of change and provide insights into how these changes can be managed.”

There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, share details of the preparation they have undertaken and to hear from Crowe’s VAT and Customs Duty specialists.

Areas also covered will include the need for customs declarations, Incoterms, VAT registration changes, customs aspects of sales to and from Ireland, both North and South, origin and preference, transit arrangements and customs regimes such as bonded warehousing and Returned Goods Relief.

Dudley added: “There are areas and details to be confirmed, however, whether we get a deal or proceed with a no-deal exit, businesses must still be at an optimum state of preparation and ready to move quickly where flexibility and change is required nearer 31 December.

“With all the disruption and issues that responding to COVID-19 have brought, there is a risk that businesses may have taken their eye off the Brexit ball in the past six months.

“There will be winners and losers when the eventual changes are finalised, but businesses owe it to themselves to be as prepared as they possibly can be, to gain advantage and win market share.”

For an invitation to join the Zoom conference on Friday 16 October at 12 noon, please contact Nathan Sanghera on 0121 543 1900 or email nathan.sanghera@crowe.co.uk

Ends (326 words)

Contacts: 

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

  • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)
  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Crowe secures 100% CBILS success rate

Since the introduction of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has helped Midlands companies raise £16.6 million with a 100% success rate – against a national average of 50%.

The news comes as the deadline for CBILS applications approaches at the end of September when this funding source is expected to dry up.

Andy Kay, Corporate Finance Partner in Crowe’s Midlands office, said: “CBILS is intended to provide financial support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and through it, they can raise up to £5 million in the shape of term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance or asset finance.

“The loans are in high demand, so it is very important to submit your application right first time.”

He said that delays due to errors in application can be the difference between business survival and jobs being kept or lost.

“We are extremely proud of maintaining a 100% success rate for our Midlands clients. During incredibly straining times, this success rate has enabled organisations we are assisting to make other decisions with confidence that their CBILS application will be accepted. This sense of certainty and security should not be underestimated at a time like this.”

Kay said the success rate was a tribute to the diverse skills and experience of Crowe’s Midlands Corporate Finance team, including Senior Manager Julie Mole who has almost 30 years of banking experience.

“Businesses need to understand now whether they should be applying for CBILS as the scheme was introduced by the Chancellor on 23 March for only six months, leaving them just two months to get their applications in.

“We don’t yet know whether there will be any continuation of this scheme and we should plan for it to end.

“Having the right advisor is key. Businesses need to ensure qualified advice and thorough checks are in place to avoid seeing the cost of errors in application.  Despite huge economic pressure on businesses, qualified advice and thorough checks should never be traded off against the need for speed.”

Since lockdown was announced on 23 March, the government has implemented several measures to help businesses and there are a number of routes businesses can consider to help manage the impact of the pandemic in the short-term, but also during the resulting economic downturn.

Johnathan Dudley, Midlands Managing Partner and Head of Manufacturing at Crowe, said: “With the latest measures announced at the summer Statement on 8 July, including the £1,000 bonus scheme for keeping furloughed staff employed, organisations must continue to assess how they will plan a route forward and should consider using their grant to help refashion and invest in a successful future as it emerges from COVID-19.

“When CBILS support is shut off at the end of September, business leaders will need to oversee a transition period which ensures their continued ability to raise finance where necessary, and we will be closely watching for further economic measures from the Chancellor.”

Crowe has been working throughout lockdown to support businesses of all sizes across the UK who are looking to achieve business continuity in these challenging times; constantly revising and updating the Crowe Funding Flowchart, including for the self-employed.

Ends (536 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

  • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)
  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Radical reform of tax system on the cards

By Rebecca Durrant, National Head of Private Clients, at national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe

Today (Friday 17 August) saw the launch of the Treasury Committee’s inquiry into tax reform after the pandemic. It was clear from the discussions that there is an appetite to radically reform the tax system, something which has not been done for decades.

The cost of the pandemic has run in to billions and this deficit will need to be remedied. It is clear that “nothing is off the table” but following the discussion, the three key areas, in our view, are:

  • A review of the tax relief system – there are a number of key tax reliefs which could be under fire; there have already been whispers around changes to private residence relief on the sale of a person’s home which currently costs the treasury £20bn per annum; Entrepreneurs Relief on the sale of businesses has already been reduced but could be removed altogether; the removal of inheritance tax business relief is part of the ongoing review of IHT and tax relief on investments under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) could also be a target.
  • The ‘three person problem’ – this was mention several times and concerns the different tax treatment of workers e.g. three people all work for the same business, one is self-employed, one is employed and one operates through a personal service company. They all do the same job, are paid the same rate but pay very different amounts of tax.
  • The structure of business – international structures that move the tax treatment of what is essentially UK based income and assets offshore are already under scrutiny and there is a raft of anti-avoidance already in place to try to combat tax leakage here. Clearly if we are to ask people to contribute more via their personal tax system then they need to have clarity over these avoidance measures and be confident they are fair and robust.

This review could essentially be a call to arms for us all to pay a bit more by way of a “solidarity tax” to see us out of this crisis. The debate of who pays more – workers, savers or the wealthy – will continue as the more wealthy older generation could be asked to contribute more to support the younger generation seen to be suffering the most.

Wealth tax in some form is likely play a part. The Chancellor’s requested review of capital gains tax is likely to be the start of this, with increased tax rates as minimum. For investors and business owners an increase to the rate of dividend tax is also likely to be under review, possibly alongside accumulated profits for businesses. This could be part of the wider plan to bring owner-managers in line with the employed.

There are concerns around all the areas highlighted – how would a removal of some of the tax reliefs affect the housing market? Also, EIS is an important source of investment for early stage and growing businesses. Where will the support and funding come from if these are removed?

For the self-employed, any changes to their taxation will need to be balanced with their entitlement to benefits. Is it fair to ask them to pay the same as the employed without the same entitlement to holiday and sick pay, for example? Concerns around this have been highlighted following the financial support the government has provided throughout COVID as many have fallen through gaps here due to their business structure.

In our view, any changes to the tax system need to be simple, fair and robust. Only then will people engage sufficiently. We have danced around the edge of change for a while now. Maybe it is time for the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980s?

There will be a call for evidence with a date of 28 August for submissions.

Ends

Contacts:

 Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

  • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
  • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)
  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Crowe calling manufacturers together to plan restart

Crowe, national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm is hosting another nationwide conference call on Friday 15 May 2020, to discuss the continuing challenges facing UK manufacturing as the process of restarting industry begins.

The discussion, via the Zoom platform, will hosted by Crowe’s National Head of Manufacturing Johnathan Dudley, and follows on from the successful and informative discussion held earlier this month.

Dudley, said:  “Managing out of a crisis requires businesses to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities.

“On our conference call we will be outlining the main steps to take and the challenges facing businesses as they begin to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown.”

Crowe this week launched “Getting Back on Track”, a guide to help businesses re-open as the lockdown starts to ease. It provides companies with a roadmap back to work and addresses the challenges that sectors such as manufacturing will need to tackle.

Dudley continued:  “Getting Back on Track outlines three stages – Stabilisation, Healthcheck and Functioning Successfully in the future.

As well as leading manufacturers and consultants, the conference will also feature input from organisations such as the Confederation of British Metalforming, based in West Bromwich in the heart of UK manufacturing.

Those interested can join the Zoom conference on Friday 15 May at 12 noon. For details on accessing the meeting, contact Nathan Sanghera on nathan.sanghera@crowe.co.uk or call 0121 543 1900.

Ends (233 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)

 

  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Employment tax consequences of working from home

The government’s request, that everyone in the UK who can work from home does so until further notice, has turned the spotlight on the tax consequences of employees working from home.

Caroline Harwood, partner and head of employment tax at national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe, said: “The issue of coronavirus is both a national and a global concern, with many countries in lockdown.

“As a result of advice from government, many businesses have closed workplaces and are requiring staff to work from home wherever possible.”

Harwood said that, in the first instance, this decision had initially placed considerable strain on IT departments to enable staff to function online from home satisfactorily.

Having adapted to working from home, both employers and employees were now being forced to address the additional, knock-on costs of home working.

“Employers must consider the employment tax consequences, both for employers and employees, of working from home and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The rules state that employers may make payments free from tax to employees for reasonable costs they incur while working from home, if there are arrangements between the employer and employee, and the employee works at home regularly under those arrangements.

If so, the employer can make payments exempt from tax for the additional costs of heating and lighting the working area, the metered cost of increased water use, increased charge for internet access, home contents insurance or business telephone calls.

HMRC will permit payments exempt of tax of up to £6 per week or £26 per month without the employer having to justify the amount, and the actual additional costs incurred by the employee.

Harwood said: “For employees, the rules are more restrictive and depend on any amounts already reimbursed by their employee. However, the government’s advice to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic raises an interesting question.

“Generally, the conditions covering working from home will normally only be met by a very small proportion of those who occasionally work from home. Usually, any such arrangement is for convenience rather than a requirement of the job.

“As it stands, if an employer encourages or allows their employees to work from home due to concern around the virus, this would not meet the conditions for an employee to claim a deduction for their expenses.”

However, the position following government guidance around COVID-19 could change this.

Harwood said: “In this instance, if an employer requires their employees to work from home, and does not permit them to work from their premises, and other conditions are met, this could mean that the employee can claim a deduction for appropriate working from home costs.”

In this case, employees can deduct from their earnings, the additional unit costs of gas and electricity consumed while a room is being used for work, the metered cost of water used in the performance of duties, and the unit costs of business telephone calls including dial-up internet access.

These costs can be difficult to quantify so HMRC will accept a deduction of £6 per week, or £26 per month (excluding the cost of business telephone calls).

Where employers have provided additional equipment to employees such as mobile phones and sim cards, laptops, tablets, computers and office supplies, these are non-taxable where used mainly for business purposes and not significant private use.

Provision of broadband is only non-taxable if the employee does not already have a broadband internet connection and one is required to work from home, otherwise the provision of broadband is taxable.

Harwood said: “This is a complex area that has suddenly been thrown into the spotlight and employers and employees will be concerned to ensure they have followed the rules correctly.

“If you are unsure on the tax treatment of working from home, or have any other employment tax queries, our Employers Advisory Group would be happy to assist.”

Ends (666 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)

 

  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Crowe advises Newman & Spurr Consultancy Ltd on £14m acquisition by QinetiQ

The Corporate Finance team of national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has advised the shareholders of military training specialists Newman & Spurr Consultancy Ltd (NSC) on the sale of the business to QinetiQ on a cash-free, debt-free basis for £14 million.

Andy Kay, corporate finance partner at Crowe’s office in the Midlands, said: “NSC offers a range of attractive training and simulation solutions, primarily in land and joint training area, and this acquisition will support QinetiQ’s global training and mission rehearsal campaign, driving future sustainable growth.”

Since NSC was formed in 1991 in Camberley, Surrey, it has been at the forefront of developing and delivering innovative solutions for military and civilian customers around the globe, and has an enviable record for educating senior commanders and young soldiers individual and collectively.

In the 12 months to 31 July 2019, NSC generated £5.9 million of revenue, and £1.3 million of EBITDA.

QinetiQ (QQ.L) is a leading science and engineering company operating primarily in the defence, security and critical infrastructure markets which is based at Farnborough, Hampshire.

It was formed in July 2001 when the Ministry of Defence split its Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in two. The major part of DERA, including most of the non-nuclear testing and evaluation establishments, was renamed QinetiQ and prepared for privatisation.

The company became a public private partnership in 2002 with the purchase of a stake by UK-based private equity company, the Carlyle Group.

Kay, who worked alongside Chasz Coulsting at Crowe, added: “NSC has been a long standing client of Crowe for many years, and we were pleased to able to advise the shareholders on the sale of the business to QinetiQ. This is a deal that works well for both parties, enabling NSC to broaden its global reach while tapping into QinetiQ’s much larger resources and support.”

Jeremy Spurr, chief executive at NSC, said: “We are delighted to have found in QinetiQ the right acquisition partner for NSC to embark on the next stage of its growth within a larger organisation that shares our goals and customer focussed ethos.

“For an owner-managed business, the prospect of being acquired by a large multinational plc could be intimidating.

“Andy Kay, Chasz Coulsting and their support team at Crowe performed superbly, guiding us through the process, helping the deal move forward and managing the transactions with our new colleagues and their advisors to ensure that we were free to concentrate on running the company effectively while the acquisition proceeded smoothly.”

NSC’s legal advisors were BPE Solicitors in Cheltenham and QinetiQ was advised by Osborne Clarke.

Ends (430 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK

  • Crowe industry recognition
    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Finance Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK  (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession Figure 33, October 2019)
  • 8th AIM and Main Market auditor  (By number of audits of listed companies, FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, Figure 38, October 2019)

 

  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

Indian companies’ interest in British trade increasing despite Brexit

While businesses in the UK focus on the implications and complications of Brexit, whichever form it takes, Indian companies are looking at Britain with increasing interest, according to national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe.

Mark Evans, partner in the Midlands office of Crowe, said he had noticed a flurry of interest from the Indian sub-continent in the past six months.

Mark said: “The Department of International Trade is reporting a real surge in enquiries from India.

“High taxes and changes in Indian corporate taxation are driving interest and causing Indian entrepreneurs and corporate groups to look wider globally.

“The UK is attractive because of its relatively low corporate tax regime. It also has the appeal of the ‘Made in Britain’ brand.”

But while Indian companies could see trading opportunities in the UK, perhaps spurred on by Tata Motor’s success story with Jaguar Land Rover, Mark said there were still many hurdles to be cleared when setting up businesses here.

Mark said: “Many are finding issues in setting up bank accounts in the UK, with a significant number of major banks seemingly not interested, but it is possible to set up accounts in 24-48 hours if required.

“Others are finding difficulties tackling the complexities of management and employee mobility and also tax and pension issues.”

Mark said that Crowe, with its global reach and local expertise, was well placed to advise Indian entrepreneurs.

“We have been talking to tech, manufacturing and training businesses keen to take advantage of the positive tax regime, availability of skilled labour and access to target customer sectors such automotive. Through our own resources and our network of contacts we are able to provide all the support they need to get on with business quickly.

“Global trade is a two-way street and as many as there are Indian companies wishing to establish a foothold in the UK, there are also many UK businesses that could work in partnership with them to their mutual benefit.

“It’s all about recognising opportunity, and not being deterred by seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your way. At Crowe, we can see both sides of the trading coin and are ideally placed to help both parties.”

Ends (364 words)

Contacts: 

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK

  • Crowe industry recognition
    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)

 

  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)

General Election and an unfavourable tax system cited as top concerns for the property and construction industry

Findings of Crowe’s 2019 Property and Construction Outlook report provide a timely snapshot of the UK’s property market.

 The property and construction industry has long been an indicator of the health of the UK, New research from national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, Crowe, has gathered the opinions of the property and construction industry, identifying the key challenges and opportunities the sector faces over the next 12 months.

Gemma Brindley, director in Crowe’s Cheltenham office, said: “It is clear from the results of this year’s survey that the sector is calling for stability in this current political and economic environment.

“With the impending General Election topping the concerns of our respondents (27%), up from 13% in 2018, interestingly Brexit, although still a concern at 20%, has seen a 10% drop from 2018.

“It is interesting that despite these overall concerns, 53% of respondents remain confident and believe that their business will grow in the next 12 months.”

Unsurprisingly, for the third consecutive year, the vast majority of respondents feel that the tax system is unfavourable to property developers and investors (65%), with only 13% believing that it is favourable. 48% of respondents identified stamp duty land tax (SDLT) as the biggest barrier to business growth and 36% stated tax complexity.

This is underpinned by the longstanding calls from the property and construction sector for SDLT to be cut in an attempt to boost activity in the housing market. In addition, 63% stated greenbelt protections are not conducive to the housing market.

A variety of technological factors are affecting the sector, with 52% believing that retail property will be most impacted, up from 32% in 2018. Unsurprisingly, 42% believe that modern methods of construction (MMC) will be the next big thing to set a future trend; reports such as ‘Modernise or Die’ and the 2018 Construction Sector Deal highlight the benefits of MMC and the impact of the government’s over-reliance on traditional build.

The South East is regarded by respondents, once again, as having the highest potential for investment (34%). This is partly due to Crossrail, which has been projected to support the delivery of over 57,000 new houses.

Crowe’s research suggests that the London market, although still affected by low growth, is the second most attractive region for investment in the next 12 months (20%).

In a first for the research, the North West was cited as an area for investment over the next 12 months, with the two major cities of Manchester and Liverpool each having populations exceeding 500,000. The area will also benefit from the £55 million HS2 high-speed rail project, which will enable travel to London in 63 minutes and 94 minutes respectively – a big attraction for developers.

As a major topic nationally, diversity has been identified as an area of focus for the property and construction sector in the report. With only around 14% of the industry consisting of women, it is not surprising that respondents believe diversity in the sector will increase (58%) with calls to attract females at a young age.

Stacy Eden, partner and Head of Property and Construction at Crowe, said: “There have been some interesting results from this year’s survey, notably the increased concern around the political environment.

“The continued concern around SDLT was largely expected, but we welcome the recent noise from political parties, indicating that they may be in favour of reducing levels. The hope now is that they listen to the opinions of the sector and take action, including reducing the level of tax complexity and streamlining the UK’s planning regulations.

“While the UK remains an attractive location for investment, the industry is changing. Businesses face new challenges, with an uncertain political and economic environment, high taxation levels and a restrictive planning system.

“It is strongly recommended that those navigating the industry’s changing landscape seek specialist advice to identify opportunities and challenges, mitigate risks and secure last value for their businesses.”

Key points the survey identified include:

  • 27% believe the General Election poses the most concern to their business.

 

  • 65% believe the tax system is unfavourable to property developers.
  • 52% feel retail property will be impacted most by technology.
  • 58% believe diversity within the sector will increase.
  • 53% expect their business to grow in size over the next 12 months.
  • 34% regard the South East (excl. London) as having the highest potential for investment.

Ends (709 words)

Contacts:

Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor (Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 9th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)

 

  • Employment Tax Specialist of the Year (Global Payroll Awards 2019)