WHA’s Nicolar Spoor posted the enclosed Blog Entry on the ICAEW’s Travel, Tourisim & Hospitality forum:
The CAA announced yesterday they are standing firm on September Atol renewal deadline, despite the extra work that has been created in this renewal process with the newly launched Atol portal. In excess of 200 Atol holders have still not lodged their renewals. Submitting applications with 10 days to go leaves little time to deal with any IT glitches (and trust me there are plenty !) and also to familiarise yourself with the new online system for renewal. That being said the CAA personnel are being prompt and helpful in dealing with portal problems. How easily it will be to engage them next week remains to be seen. This means that if you are an ARA that is responsible for the AAR1 and AAR2 submission you will be getting notification very near the deadline. You need to make sure you are prepared. What we are seeing is that a lot of clients completing their application don’t know if you are auditors or not auditors, that the liabilities have to have a – before them and a lot more minor issues. As the ARA you cannot change the already inputted detail and it means the client has to redo, before you can sign off. You will need to allow more time on this renewal.
The Atol portal process for our larger licence holders (licensable turnover in excess of £20M) is easier to complete than for the smaller licence holders. More information is required for the smaller holders than previously was the case and also the financial criteria for smaller cases has changed and is leading to sub-ordinated loan and cash injection requirements coming through at the last minute. There is an Atol Self Assessment tool that is available on the CAA website, but this is in PDF format. You input the financial data and it comes back with what financial requirements are necessary for a likely renewal. This has been useful, but not now as the response can take up to 10 days to get. The online version with immediate responses should have been available now, but it isn’t. The CAA have said that this is imminent. When it is available I will blog with the link. We have found it in its primitive stage useful, but not always accurate.
In the long run this will save time, effort and money, albeit it doesn’t feel like it at present for us ARAs or the Atol holders.
Because of these changes the CAA have been slow to provide an updated training module for Atol reporting accountants. A revised one should also be expected soon after the September renewal process is out of the way. The CAA have indicated that they are unlikely to make this mandatory for ARAs. However in line with the ICAEW Licenced Practitioner handbook (S5.09) you as an ARA need to keep fully technically updated to be able to be competent at what work you are doing. This revised training module is a good place to start, as there have been so many changes this year. We can also expect and amended technical release, updating TECH09/16AAF, and work programmes from the ICAEW over the next few months.