Accountancy Service Providers (ASPs): What would you expect to see at a visit to an ASP?
The ASP sector accounts for approximately 70% of the businesses registered with HMRC for MLR purposes. There are 13,000 businesses currently registered with only a small number trading from more than one business premises.
The businesses tend to be small having few employees and many are operated by individuals trading as sole practitioners. A significant number of ASPs continue to work beyond normal retirement age keeping on long established clients but not taking on new ones. This is done with a view to running down their business until their eventual retirement.
A visit to an ASP is likely to involve either a visit to a small office or to a private house. Many sole practitioners trade from a spare room or study in their home set aside for this purpose. Bookkeepers and stocktakers tend to operate from their home addresses as they do not require an office. Most of their work is carried out at their client’s premises.
Most ASPs will have some computerised records. Accountants and tax advisers need a computer to deliver on-line returns to HMRC. Bookkeepers, payroll agents and stocktakers are likely to make use of software packages designed for their purposes. Some businesses advertise their services on the internet and have websites.