Stephanie Hammond

Five minutes with…

Stephanie Hammond

Director

Beatons Group

With accountancy almost in your DNA, when did you first know that a career in numbers was for you?

To be honest, I didn’t. After sitting my A Levels, I had a place to study for a law degree but decided to take a year off to live in America and postponed my place for one year. I returned from America early and thought I would work in the interim months, so I applied for a role at Beatons. Maths had always been one of my favourite subjects, so accountancy seemed a good fit, and I have been working at Beatons ever since.

Beatons Group provides a diverse list of accountancy services; what aspect of your role gives the most satisfaction?

I think I would have to say face-to-face client contact. The pandemic resulted in numerous Zoom and Teams meetings, and it is not something I enjoyed. I was very pleased when we could return to visiting clients, and feeling that you are offering direct support to your clients is very important to me.

If you had three pieces of accountancy advice to give a company, what would they be?

My first tip is to have up-to-date and reliable accounts information. Monitoring and controlling the financial performance of your business is of paramount importance, and regular management information is incredibly important to assist with ongoing business decisions.

Secondly, seek professional advice on all tax matters, including compliance matters. In the face of constantly evolving tax legislation, it can help to ensure that you are paying the right amount of tax, while also taking advantage of the tax schemes and allowances that are available to you and your business. Seeking professional advice can offer peace of mind that you are complying with your tax reporting obligations and liabilities while freeing up time for you to devote to your business.

Finally, it may seem strange, but consider your exit strategy. While few people who are starting a business will naturally plan for its end, it is nevertheless essential to consider how you will exit your business when the time comes. At Beatons, we can help you to put together a comprehensive exit plan, which will minimise your tax liabilities, maximise your financial gains, and help to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. From creating a succession plan to setting a price, choosing the best time to sell, and making the sale, our expert advisers can guide you through the process.

And for private individuals, what top tips would you offer?

My first tip is, again, simply to seek professional advice on personal tax matters. This will help to ensure that you minimise your tax liability for all personal taxes, such as Income tax and Capital gains tax (CGT) etc, and also ensure that you are on top of all of your reporting requirements.

Secondly, ensure that your personal wealth is managed as tax-efficiently as possible. This can include personal tax planning, extracting profit from your business, remuneration strategies, tax-efficient savings and investments and planning for a comfortable retirement.

Finally, do not delay Inheritance tax planning. Although we do not really like to think about it, early planning is crucial when making arrangements for the future of your estate upon your death. Such forethought may enable you to take full advantage of the tax opportunities available and therefore maximise the amount that is passed to your beneficiaries.

Outsourcing has become a key area of today’s accountancy offering; what do you believe are the standout benefits of such services?

Obviously, you have staff and other overhead cost savings associated with outsourcing, but I feel the main benefit to the client is that they have more time to focus on their business and what they are good at and less time to spend on managing the numbers. In addition to this, you gain access to accounting and tax experts as well as taking care of the day-to-day accounts tasks and can enjoy peace of mind in having timely, accurate and reliable accounts information.

Working with so many logistics clients, how do you believe the sector has navigated the last few years since Covid?  

After an initial shock to the system, where shipments from China were almost non-existent at the start of the pandemic, many companies in the logistics industry actually thrived in later months and post Covid. We have seen that many businesses have enjoyed what some have termed as ‘super profits’ but also that profits are continuing to be strong even now. This has resulted in increased interest in acquisitions in recent months, and some are deciding that this is a good time to sell their business with business valuations being higher. Selling your company can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the support and assistance of trained professionals, so we are always here to assist clients that are exploring this route.

And finally, a question we always ask – can you share a guilty pleasure?

Football. It surprises many, but I love football and have a season ticket at Chelsea. Although last season was a difficult one to watch, I renewed my season ticket and travel to all home and away games.

Beatons Group