Doherty Associates: Cyber Security breakfast briefing 7th July 2017, The Gherkin Building.
Doherty Associates are pleased to announce that they will be hosting a Cyber Security breakfast briefing at The Gherkin Building, specifically targeted at the legal sector. Considering recent high-profile security breaches, founder and managing director Terry Doherty, with 25 years’ experience in the industry, will suggest ways in which barrister’s chambers and law firms can mitigate against the growing risks.
Doherty Associates is currently in partnership with several legal firms and barrister’s chambers, including Hogan Lovells, 12 King’s Bench Walk and Hailsham Chambers. This has allowed Doherty Associates to understand the specific needs of the industry and ways in which we can help you.
Doherty Associates manage and secure cloud services, safely enabling the adoption of technologies that allow businesses to innovate. We have 1000 customers across 50 countries, supported by our fully managed 24/7 helpdesk and our dedicated cyber security team. We hold 3 Gold competencies with Microsoft and are a Tier 1 partner, giving us a depth of expertise that you can rely on.
In an industry where data protection is critical, this informative briefing will give you all the information needed on the type of threats that are most relevant to the legal industry, as well as a range of different ways and best practices all companies can carry out to help guard against them.
As well as discussing security, Terry will also speak about how legal practices can use technology to increase their efficiency and productivity, helping firms to increase their number of billable hours. There will be an emphasis on practical takeaways and advice, to guide legal professionals in how to use technology to increase the productivity of their employees, without compromising the security of the company.
Taking advantage of the new rules allowing barristers to incorporate
Since April 2015 barristers have been able to incorporate, gaining the advantages of trading as a limited company rather than as sole traders. The company must be owned by lawyers, but not necessarily barristers. Even this restriction is due to change shortly to allow non-lawyers also to be shareholders of the soon to be recognised Alternative Business Structures (also referred to as BSB licensed bodies). Watch this space!
There can be significant tax advantages for a barrister to consider incorporating. All the profits of the practice will be taxed at 20 per cent, rather than possibly 40, 45 or even effectively 60 per cent (which is the marginal tax rate for a barrister earning a little over £100,000 in a tax year). Any of the profit the barrister needs to spend in the year will then be subject to additional tax when it is drawn, but as long as there is a significant amount of profit that is not immediately needed it is very tax efficient to leave this in the company and then only pay 20 per cent corporation tax. The barrister can then choose when to withdraw the additional profit, timing it to suit both when it is really needed and when it will suffer the least tax.
When a barrister (or a group of barristers) wishes to incorporate, it will be necessary to obtain the approval of Chambers. The Chambers Constitution will probably need to be changed to allow that the new company can be recognised as a member of Chambers.
Jane Walshe Limited took advantage of the change in rules early on, becoming recognised as a Bar Standards Board Regulated Entity (now called BSB authorised body) in July 2015. The barrister, Jane Walshe, owns all the shares in her company. The advice she has given on the Bar Standards Board website to any barristers considering setting up a BSB authorised body is to get a good accountant who understands limited companies as well as barrister practices, and who can complete both the personal and company tax returns.
There will be a cut-off date when fees are no longer earned by the individual barrister but by the new company instead. The implications on Income Tax liabilities will need to be considered carefully. There will also be implications for VAT, with the old fees being reflected in the individual VAT return and the new ones being reflected in the company VAT return. The new company will need to be registered properly with the Bar Standards Board, and meet all its obligations to HM Revenue & Customs. A good, flexible service contract will need to be drawn up between the company and the barrister. Banking arrangements will probably need to be changed, as all fees and costs must now go through the company bank account rather than the barrister’s personal account. This can be quite complex and easily lead to costly mistakes, unless a good accounting and bookkeeping firm is retained.
Retaining a firm that fully understands barrister practices and can provide specialist outsourced bookkeeping services, as well as accounting and tax advice tailored to the profession, is an essential element of setting up a BSB authorised or licensed body. It is very important for the practice to budget at the outset for sufficient rewards to pay the costs of running the business, including bookkeeping costs, and leave enough reserves to ensure the barristers and other professionals in the business receive appropriate salaries and dividends.
Beavis Morgan is an accounting, tax and business advisory firm providing this required specialist knowledge and experience, having worked with solicitors and barristers for many years, assisting sole practitioners, through to large London-based firms and chambers. Our services are tailored according to your specific requirements and objectives, always seeking opportunities to enhance wealth accumulation and succession planning, and ultimately reduce your tax bill.
For more information on this topic and to find out how Beavis Morgan can assist you and your business, contact Matthew Burge, Beavis Morgan Client Partner, on T: 020 7417 0417 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org