Important information for sole traders and partnerships.

 HMRC is currently consulting on a proposal to simplify the taxation of trading profits as part of its measures to simplify the tax system.

The proposal for basis period reform will affect sole traders or partnerships which do not draw up annual accounts to 31st March or 5th April, including those that are newly trading.

The proposal changes the way trading income is allocated to tax years from a ‘current year basis period based on your accounting year end’ to an ‘actual tax year basis based on the year ending 31st March’ with effect from 2023 to 2024.

Unincorporated businesses will be taxed on the profits arising in each tax year, rather than the profits of an accounting period ending in that tax year which is the current general rule for ongoing businesses.  The proposals would also mean the end of overlap relief.

Businesses, such as seasonal businesses, who do not draw up annual accounts to 31st March or 5th April, and particularly those who do so later in the year may find this change problematic.

The allocation of profits in an accounting period to tax years is complex.  For example, a business with accounts made up to 30 June would need to change the basis of its taxation to include 3/12 of the results from those accounts in the particular tax year, added to the 9/12 from the next accounting period, to now make up the full year to 31st March.

It may lead to the need for estimations as, for example, a business with a December year end would not be able to finalise its accounts in time to allocate profits to the previous tax year.

For some businesses, the change to a tax-year basis would mean a significant additional tax bill in the transitional year (2022-23) on profits that are taxed to “catch up” on the proportion of the basis period not taxed in the previous tax year.

Businesses may wish to consider changing their year-end date to 31st March or 5th April but before you do you will need to consider:

  • Whether it is advantageous to change your financial year end now to accelerate losses or poor profitability for the period ending 31st March 2021, due to COVID restrictions.
  • Does the change in base period reduce or increase your taxable profits?
  • When is the best time to change your financial year end to 31st March 2021, 2022 or 2023?
  • The impact of Making Tax Digital (MTD) changes which come into force on 1st April 2023 which require quarterly income tax returns, may also need to be taken in to account.  (Changing your financial year end to 31st March 2023 defers MTD quarterly income tax returns for another year to 2024.)

Professional advice from your accountant is vital so that they can perform the necessary calculations and advise you on the best course of action.  Each case needs to be considered on its own merits in order to assess the taxable profits created by changing your financial year end and therefore your base periods for taxation, and assess whether this increases or reduces your overall tax liability.

NB: The ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) is calling for the Government to drop the proposal and argues such reforms would be likely to “… increase costs, complexity and uncertainty for those businesses affected.”


If you require more information, please contact Lamont Pridmore our Strategic Partner on 0800 2346978 or email

The Cumberland is throwing its support behind the long-term recovery of the county’s tourism industry, as it renews its Strategic Partnership with Cumbria Tourism for another two years.

As the county prepares to ease out of lockdown, the company has reaffirmed its commitment to working alongside Cumbria’s official ‘Destination Management Organisation’ (or DMO) to champion the long-term success of the local visitor economy and the communities it supports.

Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners are an influential network of key tourism-related businesses, organisations and individuals who share its core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s tourism sector and build a brighter, more sustainable future.

The Cumberland commercial lending team has a particular specialism in the tourism and hospitality sector and supports and provides finance to customers who operate holiday lets, hotels and B&Bs in locations like Keswick, Windemere and Ambleside. The team has also been supporting customers facing financial difficulties during the pandemic.

The new Strategic Partnership agreement builds on previous joint working with Cumbria Tourism over the past two years to support the sector, including a high-profile ‘round table’ event examining the future of self-catering businesses and an event for B&Bs aimed at working with international markets.

Grant Seaton, Senior Lending Manager at The Cumberland comments: “As we look ahead to the re-opening of the hospitality industry, it’s more important than ever for the organisations that serve the sector to work collaboratively to support businesses to re-open, recover, and to thrive once again.

 “With over 90% of our business mortgage customers operating within the hospitality sector, our partnership with Cumbria Tourism helps us to remain close to key developments within the industry, and the issues that affect our customers and influence their business decisions. It’s critical that we have this in depth understanding, to help us provide personal and tailored support to our customers.

 “It’s also hugely important to us to contribute to the long-term success of the Cumbrian tourism industry, and working with Cumbria Tourism and the wider strategic partnership group to provide events and resources is something we are excited to continue to do over the next two years of our partnership.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, added: “Our Strategic Partners are a group of influential, like-minded organisations who want to get behind us, to share their collective expertise and values, and to champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the county.

 “Never has this been more important, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease and businesses starts to get back on their feet.  The Cumberland not only has an in-depth understanding of our visitor economy but is highly respected and regarded within the industry. It is a critical time for tourism and hospitality businesses, but we know that The Cumberland is a huge advocate for our sector and we are proud to have their team, their experience and their enthusiasm alongside us.”

Ready for business? I am ready to help!

By Ben Beetham, Director of Partnerships at Inspired Energy

It’s been twelve working weeks since lockdown measures were introduced across the UK and thousands of businesses have been desperately looking into the most effective way to cutting costs, in order to survive the Coronavirus crisis. Now, as many begin to reopen for business, there is some key information I’d like to share with you.

Managing costs is important for any business, but during a crisis, resilience is key to your recovery. Utility bills make up a large proportion of a business’ overheads, so when it comes to your financial health check, managing your business energy costs is a critical part of this.

Review Your Energy Contracts

A good energy procurement strategy means more than just renewing your gas and electricity contracts at their end dates – it’s always worth reviewing your current contracts to see where you could be paying less.  Are you on the right tariff for your business needs? Have you missed a renewal date, leaving you stuck with a poor value default rate? At Inspired Energy plc, we can perform a free, no-obligation energy assessment to confirm whether your utilities are performing well and unearth any cost-saving opportunities. Plus, we can set up renewal reminders to ensure you avoid those pesky rollover rates!

Be mindful of consumption

Did you leave the lights on over closure? If you did, chances are that this will have gone unnoticed, but it will have undoubtedly cost you money. Improve the way you use energy with a business smart meter, which can help you to monitor and reduce your energy consumption – after all you can’t manage what you can’t measure. We work with suppliers who offer free smart meters and can arrange this on your behalf.

Take advantage of current market lows

Energy prices fluctuate daily and can be affected by a whole host of factors, including demand, weather conditions and political factors. Due to the current market, wholesale energy costs are extremely low – in fact, prices have only been this low once in the last 10 years, meaning that now is the perfect time for smart business owners to act quickly and secure a better tariff.

To give your business utilities a refresh, get in touch with Inspired Energy plc. Call 01772 689 250, email or visit

Since its inception back in 2000, Inspired Energy has been working tirelessly to build the most complete utilities management solution available – a solution that can meet the diverse needs of businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. Our growth has been careful and strategic; through acquisition and investment, we’ve become not only one of the largest utilities consultancies in the UK but also the best in the business.

Today, Inspired Energy plc serves more than 2,800 clients. With more than 500 dedicated team members, we have the scale and expertise to help businesses with every aspect of utilities management; from cost control and procurement through to innovative research and renewable generation projects. And our service isn’t just for large industrial and commercial organisations: during our acquisition trail, we have also gained expertise specific to the SME market.

In fact, we now have a utilities solution that stretches across the entire market, including specialist teams for education, healthcare, churches and the public sector; all backed by a unique, best-in-class software platform. It’s been quite a journey. Let’s take a look at how we got here:


Our business was founded almost twenty years ago. We had ambitious plans in place from the outset: our aim was to consolidate a fragmented and confusing TPI marketplace and our focus was making utilities management easier and more valuable for the businesses who sought our help. Our determination saw its first significant rewards in 2011 when we became the first and only publicly quoted TPI, following a successful AIM debut in November 2011. We were proud to discover that we were the only business in the North West to achieve successful flotation that year.


In April 2012, we began building our business in earnest, with the acquisition of Direct Energy Purchasing. DEP’s sector specialisms included energy procurement services for healthcare and speciality-retail clients. The acquisition provided us with the opportunity to reach new marketplaces. It also increased our average client size, as well as broadening our geographic reach and diversifying our supplier offering. The investment delivered a range of valuable benefits to the clients of both businesses. It received such strong support from our shareholders that we were certain our acquisition journey would continue.


In 2013, our new capabilities and larger team enabled us to establish the EnergiSave division of Inspired Energy. EnergiSave was created with the specific needs of SMEs in mind – and the hard work of the EnergiSave team meant that from the very first year of trading, performance of the new division has exceeded all expectations.

To bolster our new EnergiSave service and ensure we were able to offer SMEs the market-leading, comprehensive solution they needed, we invested in the acquisition of KWH Consulting and Simply Business Energy only one year later in 2014. The newly enlarged EnergiSave was able to provide SMEs with more competitive energy contracts from a broader variety of suppliers. Simply Business Energy already had agreements in place with most major suppliers and had also developed a fully automated, operational online quoting platform for SME customers looking to switch their energy supplier. Acquisition of the business and the platform meant we could enhance our group’s offering while also streamlining back office functions throughout the SME division.


Between 2014 and 2019, we’ve made a further thirteen business acquisitions. Each time, our aim has been to build a business our clients can depend on for every single aspect of their utilities management – one that can offer truly expert advice but is also flexible to their specific needs.

Since our growth journey began, we have strengthened our service offering through the acquisition of the experienced teams of engineers and analysts at Wholesale Power UK and STC Energy. We have also expanded into the Irish marketplace through the acquisition of our Irish counterpart Horizon Energy Group, and we have broadened our capabilities to better serve specialist marketplaces through the acquisition of Flexible Energy Management (public sector), Churchcom (churches) and SquareOne (education and manufacturing). Since then, we’ve also increased our team of procurement experts and added telecoms to the mix through the acquisition of Informed Business Solutions. In 2018, we further enhanced our technical and data management capabilities, carbon reduction expertise, cost auditing competence and overall service-offering with the acquisition of SystemsLink 2000, Energy Cost Management, Inprova Energy and Professional Cost Management Group. Then, in 2019 we invested in water specialist business WaterWatch UK, ensuring a truly rounded utilities offering. Now, whatever the utilities project at hand, we have the scale, the software and the specialist teams to get it right for every business, regardless of sector or size.


Our mission to build a total utilities solution for our customers is ongoing. Last year, we secured a 40% stake in Ignite Energy, with a two-year option to acquire the remainder of the business. We believe that Ignite’s specialism in energy efficiency projects and optimisation services will bring significant benefits to our existing customers, particularly those pursuing ambitious carbon reduction goals.

Our energy marketplace is changing at pace and it’s important that Inspired Energy is properly equipped to help businesses navigate new risks and reap any potential rewards. From negotiating best-in-class electricity, gas and water supply contracts to complying with the latest carbon legislation and implementing new on-site energy generation projects, we intend to remain the go-to consultancy and to keep on growing our experienced and expert teams.

Talk to us about a complete utilities solution for your business. Call 01772 689 250, email or visit

January is a time for reflection for most people and this includes business owners, with the new year bringing with it an opportunity to take stock of performance during the past 12 months, create goals for the year ahead, and ensure that you start the new year in the best position possible.

Utility bills make up a large proportion of a business’ overheads, so when it comes to your financial health check, managing your business energy costs is a critical part of this. Here’s what you can do to start your new year on the right foot…

Review Your Energy Contracts

A good energy procurement strategy means more than just renewing your gas and electricity contracts at their end dates – it’s always worth reviewing your current contracts to see where you could be paying less.  Are you on the right tariff for your business needs? Have you missed a renewal date, leaving you stuck with a poor value default rate? We can perform a free, no-obligation energy assessment to confirm whether your utilities are performing well and unearth any cost-saving opportunities. Plus, we can set up renewal reminders to ensure you avoid those pesky rollover rates!

Be Mindful of Consumption

Did you leave the office lights on over Christmas? If you did, chances are that this will have gone unnoticed, but it will have undoubtedly cost you money. Improve the way you use energy with a business smart meter, which can help you to monitor and reduce your energy consumption – after all you can’t manage what you can’t measure. We work with suppliers who offer free smart meters and can arrange this on your behalf.

New Year, New Supplier?

According to Ofgem’s Micro and Small Business Engagement Survey*, 36% of businesses were too busy to switch energy suppliers and 35% thought that something would go wrong if they switched. This lack of engagement is costing small businesses money, with many small business owners put off by the complexity of the energy market.

We understand that finding the best deal can be time-consuming and complicated – the energy markets are ever-changing, with prices affected by everything from the weather to political events. Our energy experts track electricity and gas prices daily, so we can find you the most competitive deal. The results speak for themselves – we save SMEs an average of £500 on their renewal quotes.

*Ofgem Micro and Small Business Engagement Survey 2018Micro and small businesses that haven’t switched supplier or tariff in past 12 months.

To give your business utilities a refresh, get in touch with Inspired Energy plc. Call 01772 689 250, email or visit

Business energy bills are complex, there’s no doubt about that. With a widening range of non-commodity costs now taking up a majority share of the invoice, it can be both confusing and time consuming to effectively recognise whether your business is being billed correctly.

Although the increase in available energy data gives you better insight and understanding, such a wealth of data can also be so daunting to tackle that energy managers don’t know where to start. A business with many sites in its portfolio will have hundreds of half-hourly meter reads automatically submitted each day, creating huge volumes of data to process. Large organisations with smart or AMR meters installed across their portfolio might think these will prevent billing errors, however, this is not the case and your business could still be at risk of being overcharged.

There are several explanations for incorrect charges and billing errors, from right across the supply chain. Inaccuracies can occur from taking incorrect meter readings, applying third party charges, confusion on change of tenancies and on supply contracts being set up inaccurately.

A systematic, efficient process reinforced with advanced error checking and reporting software is required to ensure validation is completed to the highest standard to make sure billing errors are correctly identified, investigated and corrected.

In the UK’s move towards net-zero, using a reputable business energy consultant to conduct your bill validation will allow them to identify consumption reduction opportunities, while reviewing the benefits of any energy optimisation measures you’ve already implemented. A great way to promote energy efficiency to your stakeholders, set yourself ahead of your competition, boost your CSR credentials and save money.

Without invoice validation, there is often no way of knowing whether a bill is correct or ensuring accurate charges for the future.


Recover Historical Overcharges

As important as it is to ensure your current invoices are accurate, if your previous bills have not been effectively audited it is likely that retrospective errors are still waiting to be recovered. Businesses can recover incorrect charges for up to the past six years and the entire process can be managed end-to-end to make it simple and stress-free. Using a consultancy to review your historical billing data means errors can be identified and recovered on your behalf, with the potential to receive a significant refund that had previously been paid incorrectly.

Professional Cost Management Group (PCMG), part of Inspired Energy plc, has identified more than £17.4m in refunds and savings for clients since the start of 2019, by looking deeper into their energy, water and telecoms expenditure. In addition, refunds and savings amounting to £42,933,546 have been recovered for the public sector alone.


To find out what savings and refunds your organisation might be eligible for, get in touch today. Call 01772 689 250, email or visit

In the third quarter of 2019, electricity generated in the UK via renewable energy sources surpassed electricity derived from fossil fuels for the first time.

Recent research from Carbon Brief showed that domestic and business consumers have embraced a move towards cleaner power, with 40% of UK electricity coming from sources such as wind, biomass and solar. Although renewables took the lead by just a 1% margin, in light of the current climate crisis, this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Many businesses, especially SMEs, think they don’t have the money to invest in green energy, but something as simple as switching your power contracts can make a huge difference – and it doesn’t always mean you’ll be paying more.


Green Energy Suppliers

Green energy tariffs have been rising in popularity over recent years as businesses realise the need engage with the fight against climate change and help the UK reach its Net Zero target by 2050. As an independent consultancy, our mission is to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint through green energy procurement and enhanced energy efficiency measures. We can help you find the best priced green energy contracts, and, in many cases, we can source green contracts for the same price as the standard, non-renewable tariff. riffs have been rising in popularity over recent years as businesses.


What Exactly is a Green Energy Tariff?

 Because our electricity in the UK is generated via a mixture of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, it is likely that whatever tariff your business is on, some of your supply has come from sustainable sources. However, if you sign up to a green energy tariff, your supplier will promise to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy sources which feed back into the National Grid. So, by choosing a green tariff you are helping to increase the proportion of green energy being fed into the system – making changes to the UK’s fuel mix and moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

If you want to know that your tariff is fully green, we work with suppliers who source electricity from 100% renewable sources – some use biomass, for example, which uses natural waste to produce energy, and is much less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.


Carbon Offset

Energy suppliers are also embracing carbon offsetting, where carbon-reduction methods are used to balance the carbon footprint of the electricity and gas that you purchase.

There are plenty of options available for choosing a tariff that is kinder to the planet without compromising your profit margins – our green energy experts will help find the right tariff, according to your business’ needs.


Green Gas

 And it’s not just electricity. Most homes and businesses use natural gas, but you can still choose a green tariff for your gas contract. We can arrange a gas contract where the supplier will use carbon offsetting to balance the gas you use. Additionally, certain companies now supply ‘green gas’ as part of the fuel mix, which uses organic matter and turns it into biomethane using anaerobic digestion – a process which is virtually carbon neutral.


Green Energy is Good for Business

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, green energy can demonstrate good corporate social responsibility and is a great thing for your business to shout about. If you do choose a green energy contract, we can arrange for REGO-backed certification to be sent to you, showing the origin of your supply. You can display your certification proudly for your customers to see – and it can also help when trying to get your workforce engaged with efficiency measures.


The Greenest kwH is the One You Don’t Use…

 Talking of efficiency, as well as green energy procurement, we can help businesses reduce their carbon footprint in other ways such as through LED lighting, energy monitoring software and energy efficiency projects. If your premises are suitable, we can give advice on self-generation technologies including solar, battery storage, biomass and heat pumps. Whatever your goals, our utility experts can find a solution to help your business become a greener and more environmentally responsible energy consumer.


To find out how Inspired Energy plc can help your business go green, get in touch. Call 01772 689 250, email or visit

What Is SECR?

Introduced in April 2019, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (or SECR) is a new framework, which requires businesses to report annually on their electricity, gas, and transport energy use, along with the associated carbon emissions.

The introduction of SECR coincides with the ending of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Scheme, which some companies will already be familiar with, although the qualification criteria is very different and will affect many more organisations. The idea is that the new guidelines will create a simple approach to carbon reporting, whilst also encouraging energy efficiency.

Business and industry accounts for 25% of UK greenhouse gases, so it’s crucial that businesses play a role in helping to reach our emissions reduction target.

Who Does SECR Affect?

The Government estimates that around 11,900 organisations fall within the scope of SECR. The new reporting framework is mandatory for the following organisations:

All UK quoted companies, meaning a company…

  • whose equity share capital is officially listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange; or,
  • is officially listed in a European Economic Area State; or is admitted to dealing on either the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.

Any large UK incorporated company or LLP which meets 2 or more of these conditions…

  • has more than 250 employees
  • has an annual turnover of more than £36m
  • has an annual balance sheet total of more than £18m

What Do I Need to Report?

Under SECR guidelines, you’ll need to provide a detailed report on your company’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and scope 2), alongside details of the energy efficiency actions you’ve put in place during the reporting period. If you haven’t made any efficiency measures, you’ll need to state this.

Quoted companies also need to report global energy consumption in addition to the mandatory carbon reporting they have already been completing.

All companies must also provide an intensity metric relevant to their business sector. For example, if you’re a manufacturer, you may choose to report tonnes of CO2 equivalent per million tonnes of production. For those in retail, you might report tonnes of CO2 equivalent per m2 of store area.

When and How Do I Submit My Report?

The timeframe for SECR reporting runs in sync with your company’s financial year, meaning that if your business is within scope, you’ll need to report from the start of your first accounting period starting on or after 1st April 2019.

In terms of submission, SECR forms part of your business’ annual reporting obligations, so your energy data must be included within your Directors’ Report and submitted to Companies House in the usual way. LLPs will need to prepare an Energy and Carbon Report for each financial year, to be signed off by LLP members.

Benefits of Carbon & Energy Reporting

Organisations can sign up to SECR voluntarily and there are several benefits to taking a proactive approach. Saving energy is an effective way to reduce business costs, save carbon and help to meet emission targets. SECR can also be used by businesses to promote their sustainability credentials, as part of their wider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.


Companies House may reject your report if it doesn’t meet their reporting requirements. As with all company reporting, fines are in place for late or incomplete submissions, with fines of up to £1,500 for reports which are more than six months late. The penalty will be doubled for those who report late for two years in a row.

The bigger incentive, however, is expected to be the reputational damage that will come from late or missing reports.  This may well impact on future business opportunities, particularly given the significant focus now being given to carbon reporting and carbon neutrality targets.

Although many companies are familiar with a certain degree of energy reporting, we would urge members to seek expert advice to ensure they remain 100% compliant.

To find out more about how Inspired Energy can help you, get in touch…call 01772 689 250, email or visit

Inspired Energy plc is the leading utilities Third Party Intermediary (TPI) in the UK, helping businesses to optimise the value of every pound spent on utilities. Utility bills form a large part of a company’s overall costs, and as energy prices continue to rise and new legislation is introduced, it’s important to look for ways to become more efficient. Inspired Energy share their top energy-saving tips, to help bolster your business’ green credentials and save you money.


Create a Utility Plan

Having a clear picture of your utility consumption is the first step to efficiency. A comprehensive utility plan, which includes information on consumption and contract renewal dates, can help you pinpoint your efficiency goals, and prevent you from falling foul of default rates, which are often poor value.

We understand that time is precious for business owners and many don’t have time to focus on their utility usage.  In fact, a 2018 report from Ofgem showed that 53% of businesses hadn’t engaged in the energy market during the past 12 months. Working with a credible intermediary gives you access to energy experts who understand the complexity of the utility market, so you don’t have to. We track electricity, gas and water prices on a daily basis and will search the marketplace to find the right contract to suit your business’s needs.


Switch on to Smart Lighting

Lighting makes up a large proportion of a building’s electricity use, so a few small changes can make a world of difference. Consider switching to energy-saving LED lights, which use up to 90% less energy than traditional lighting. Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would switch lights off when a room is not in use, but by installing motion sensors, you can make sure that unoccupied areas aren’t being lit unnecessarily.


Get Smart Meter Savvy

Using a smart meter gives you control over your utilities by allowing you real-time access to your usage in pounds and pence.  A smart meter will take meter readings, so you don’t have to, and you’ll only be billed for the energy you use – no more estimated bills! We work with suppliers that offer free smart meters and can arrange installation for you.


Get Staff on Board

Getting the workforce engaged is crucial to an energy efficient workplace. It might sound simple but encouraging behavioural changes can make a big impact. Try creating promotional posters to get staff involved with energy saving measures like switching off equipment. For example, turning your printer from standby to off overnight for a year could reduce your CO2 by as much as would be produced by a driving from Cambridge to Paris and back again.


It’s also important to educate staff on the scale of the issue. Staff who are aware of the importance of sustainability and the role they can play are more likely to take a responsible approach to consumption.


Go Green with Renewables

Economic and legislative pressure has led to more and more businesses investing in renewable energy products, with 80% of businesses planning to generate a quarter of their electricity on site by 2025.

On-site generation brings many benefits but is not practical for all businesses. As independent industry experts, we can guide you through the process, checking what is feasible within your organisation and finding the best solution for your business.


To find out how Inspired Energy plc can help your business become more energy efficient, get in touch… call 01772 689 250, email or visit