Naveed Ikhlaq is a tax specialist, who has been working with SMEs, Landlords, HNW clients and large corporates for over 12 years. He started his tax career in 2007, eventually progressing to KPMG. He has gained broad experience working with a range of businesses and private clients. He is a Fellow of the ACCA and part-qualified Chartered Tax Advisor.
Naveed started his practice in 2020, comprising a dedicated team supporting clients with their accountancy and tax needs, their expertise covering all aspects of accountancy, tax planning and business advisory services.
Tell us a little bit about your work and your role.
- I have always wanted to help businesses configure and optimise their profitability, and minimise their tax liability, while focusing on the growth of their business, assisting them in structuring their business in ways to get the best out of it.
- My role is to ensure that businesses are tax compliant and the tax process is aligned with HMRC guidelines.
What does your work with a client usually involve?
- We provide bookkeeping services to year-end compliance work. We meet regularly with our clients to ensure that they are making correct business decisions from purchasing capital assets to making investments in other businesses.
- We also provide CFO services for businesses who need help on a day to day basis.
- We prepare R&D reports for businesses evolving new processes or creating new technology through web apps or creating an evolutionary product.
- We give Assistance to clients facing Tax investigations from HMRC.
How did you get into this field of work?
I have always had an interest in how businesses grow and what makes this growth possible.
Becoming a Chartered Certified Accountant has meant that I am able to help businesses ensure they are in compliant with legislation and on the right track to support the business growth through positive cash flow.
What excites you about your role?
- The best part of my work is helping my clients to achieve their vision.
What does your ideal client look like?
- A UK SME with an established, even if small, revenue and profit base (i.e. the business model is proven) which has the ambition and appetite to grow.
What have your highlights been so far?
- Being the tax lead for a small business accounting team at KPMG, where I helped over 200 accountants dealing with the tax impact of various transactions – from business loans to R&D credit report reviews – and providing advice on those transactions.
What are the challenges currently facing your sector?
- Anti-Hybrid rules impacting many businesses financing structures
- Brexit complicating many SMEs cross-border transactions
- Whilst tactical export business has grown due to favourable exchange rates, little of that has been strategic. Focus on long-term profitable markets and channel – planning ahead is now the challenge.
- Deferred tax recognition
Do you find companies try to do this area of work themselves – and get stuck? What are the common issues?
- Yes, and they often find that either their skillsets and capabilities are insufficient or lacking, or they stretch themselves too thin to the detriment of their core business.
Should a busy entrepreneur prioritise this area of work? How can they make time for it with everything else on their plate?
- A busy entrepreneur tends, by definition, to be focussed on short-term results. From my experience, they benefit from the intervention of an additional pair of eyes and ears with a mandate to chart long-term growth paths.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
- Build high performance, collaborative teams.
- Focus on what you are good at and surround yourself with people who are good at what you are not.
- It’s a numbers game. But the story is always more interesting than the data.
How do you see your work changing over the next ten years?
- It will be changing, as never before, due to MTD (Making tax digital), and I will ensure my clients are well informed on that journey.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
- Tennis and Badminton are my sports in summer, and in winter I am a swimmer. I am a great fan of Ronnie O’Sullivan, so I do play snooker, and my highest break was 32
What are the benefits do you think of working together in a collective way like Runway Advisors?
- Networking opportunities.
- Meeting new clients – a new source of business.
- Working in a team.
Could you provide an example of a common question or issue that clients present you with, and write a few lines in response? This will form part of our Agony Aunt series.
- How canI save tax?
My first response is to identify business profitability by reviewing a business’ full accounts and how they have structured their business. This helps me to advise them on potential tax savings they could achieve.
- How to save VAT!
I always start from the position that the VAT you take from the end consumer belongs to the government, but as a VAT registered business, you can reclaim any input VAT incurred on business expenses.