February/March 2020

Empower your global ambition with J&P Accountants

Situated in Manchester’s iconic Chinatown can be found a very successful niche accountancy practice. J&P Accountants offer a truly International approach to accountancy and VAT compliance needs, as well as a host of other services perfect for businesses with global profiles. GM Business Connect caught up with Paul Shaw, managing director, at their Chinatown headquarters:

What best describes J&P Accountants and what makes you stand out from other firms?
“We are a UK Chartered Certified Accountancy firm, an E-commerce Taxation Agent and recommended Tax Advisor by online selling marketplaces. We were also proud to be nominated for the E-commerce Agent of the Year award at the Northern E-commerce Awards 2019. We take our clients’ worries about tax and convert it into their peace of mind, taking the time to provide businesses with the tools to grow and develop through our specialist knowledge in VAT compliance. We have businesses and offices across Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East in 14 countries. With a truly global ambition, J&P will continue to expand, and we are ready to serve our clients globally wherever there is internet access, and wherever there are online marketplaces.”

Do you take on start-ups and if so, do you offer any incentives for sole traders?  What services do you provide?
“As an accountancy and business consultancy firm, we offer accounting and finance services specifically tailored for sole traders and Small-to-Medium Enterprises. Individual businesspersons or firms looking for somewhere to begin can turn to us for assistance with any concerns they may have, such as how to set up a business, how to manage bookkeeping and payroll and how to submit self-assessment or corporation tax. Our ambition is to assist businesses with their accounting and taxation requirements, giving them peace of mind so they can focus on developing their business both within the UK and globally. That is why we also provide Global Trademarks and Patents, EU Logistic Services and cross-border VAT compliance services. Our services are easily accessible, multilingual and 24/7.”

Do you practice what you learn from HMRC and pass this knowledge on to your clients?
“First of all, we follow strict rules set up by HMRC, which means our clients can rest assured that their tax issues are in safe hands. Secondly, we regularly communicate with HMRC case workers. On one hand, we understand the latest tax rules and put this knowledge into practice to help our clients to comply with the highest standard. On the other hand, with our first-rate knowledge in accountancy and taxation, we can also bring our clients’ concerns and feedback to HMRC for their consideration. Last but not least, our staff frequently attend HMRC agent webinars to learn about the latest tax rules and compliance guidance – we implement this knowledge when delivering services to ensure our clients receive the utmost professional care.”

You have mentioned your Global VAT compliance service, which is your speciality. Could you please tell us more about this in detail?
“We advise on the VAT compliance requirements of the UK, EU, Middle East and Southeast Asia and can confidently provide solutions to the challenges our clients face. We have built our compliance team on our foundation of expertise in cross-border E-commerce solutions and our tax compliance knowledge knows no limits. We pride ourselves on our professional team which includes Chartered Accountants, Tax Advisors and Lawyers to name a few. We are focused and professional, concentrating all our energy into our services. As a business we work together to ensure that we serve our clients tirelessly and that we are always delivering the most up-to-date and accurate tax information to E-commerce businesses.

“We are also privileged to say that our business is listed on the Amazon Service Provider Network and eBay’s Third-party Service Provider. We are proud to be represented by these major marketplaces and provide our Accountancy and Taxation services to traders using these platforms. Since our launch in 2007, we have been trusted by numerous online sellers. We have established our reputation as we have served around 30k cross border e-commerce companies. This demonstrates the passion that goes into enabling our clients to achieve their global ambition, and we gift them with wings to reach the world stage.”

Paul Shaw, Managing Director, J&P Accountants

It is known that EU market is quite important for cross-border business. As your business also operate across EU States, could you please explain the current situation of VAT compliance for EU markets?
“VAT compliance in the EU is more vital than ever when taking into consideration the scale at which VAT fraud is committed across the European Continent. Luckily, the magnitude of the situation has been acknowledged by the European Commission, governments and tax authorities across Europe, and they are working together to combat flawed tax procedures and non-compliance. Government bodies and tax authorities have enacted amendments to VAT policies, new anti-fraud laws and VAT compliance methods. For example, in 2016, the EU proposed E-commerce VAT reform. This was followed by the extension of joint and several liabilities for UK online marketplaces in 2018. Germany followed in the UK’s footsteps in 2019, and the Anti-Fraud Act of France and Growth Decree of Italy took effect this year.

“In recent years the cross-border selling landscape has also been transformed by other compliance check procedures, such as customs checks, the introduction of the Fulfilment House due diligence scheme, online selling marketplaces having more liabilities and Payment service providers teaming up with tax authorities to exchange data. Double taxation has also been introduced, meaning if a trader does not pay VAT in a member state, that member state’s tax authorities will inform their counterpart government body to control the trader’s goods and freeze the trader’s funds. It can be a challenge for cross-border businesses to keep these new regulations in mind with the speed at which tax laws are advancing, but that is where our business can help – our passion is to keep our clients happy and reassured that they are always one step ahead of ever-changing tax laws.”

What will happen for the 2021 EU tax reforms, particularly for the cross border e-commerce sector?
“Just like our business, the EU Commission’s focus is on making life easier for companies that will be impacted by new regulations. They will simplify the tax obligations of traders whilst making certain that VAT is paid correctly to member states. Measures that traders need to keep in mind include the VAT E-commerce package, which will ease the cross-border process, combat fraud and make competition fairer for traders. The One-Stop Shop will also be introduced in January 2021. Sellers also need to be aware that some businesses operating online marketplaces will be obligated to collect and pay VAT on their behalf. 

“To ease the pressure of the upcoming regulations, we suggest traders understand the basic rules of the E-commerce VAT package – as the VAT relief will also be removed for imports up to and including €22, cross-border businesses should consider new ways of shipping goods into the EU. A final tip – it is a good idea to find a professional tax agent. They will ensure that you are equipped to face the challenges of the new VAT rules.”

What will be the core competitive advantage of VAT services in the future? Which companies will stand out and which will be shuffled out?
“Every day we remind ourselves that the only thing that does not change is change itself. Although we can demonstrate professional practising qualifications, we constantly strive to ensure we are ahead of industry changes. That is why we offer employee training to improve personal and professional skills. We are aware that the UK has implemented Making Tax Digital and other EU countries also have their own electronic tax portals. That’s why we also aim to integrate the latest technology into our business, and why we launched our own electronic tax filing system, Smart Tax.

“Keeping our clients in mind, we master the latest data, improve analysis and application capabilities and adjust our business strategy accordingly to suit their needs. We achieve this by conducting data analysis, investing in global tax databases and we ensure the accurate input, processing and sharing of information at the first instance. We believe that standing out with the latest technology is a necessary condition – if you want to make progress and not be eliminated in the accounting industry, constant development is essential. In the end, business strength depends on the competition of human resources and interpersonal relationships!”

You have offices in other countries, why Manchester?
“Manchester is geographically and economically important in the UK, and it is where we started! In the early years of J&P, we worked very hard to establish the business, networks, and our reputation. We also benefited from the support of the local community, the government and people around us. Manchester is not just our birthplace – we have an emotional and economical attachment to this great place. That is why we are also eager to contribute to the Greater Manchester community, through donations to the RHS Garden Bridgewater project and our campaign for saving East Horizon on BBC Radio Manchester.”

With offices in other countries can you offer services to businesses exporting?
“Our three offices in central locations across China offer excellent opportunities for businesses looking to export – these are located in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen. Locally, we also have partnerships in warehouse services in the UK and logistics solutions for traders. Our Global VAT compliance services also enable traders to comply with country tax rules after exporting goods there, meaning we can help businesses to feel confident no matter where they are exporting to.”

If you are looking to empower your global ambition, please call us directly on: +44(0)161 637 1080 or +44(0)191 378 0287, or drop us an email: enquiries@jpaccountant.com

You can also visit www.jpaccountant.com and find us on social media.