The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for active farmers who qualify is an important form, and needs to be completed in order for those farmers who work on their own land on a regular basis to receive the benefits they are entitled to from the government. Without the form, or of it is filled in incorrectly, there can be serious delays which can negatively impact the work the farmer is able to do. It is the largest rural grant that is intended to help the famers and the farming industry, and should be applied for annually.
Along with the form, the farmer must send in evidence to the Rural Payments Agency that they are actively farming the land. One of these pieces of evidence is a certificate from an accountant, amongst other documents and application forms.
Before now, the BPS forms were only able to be completed by accountants who were full members of the Consultative Committee of Accounting Bodies (CCAB). This also includes ACCA, CIPFA, and ICEAW. This restricted farmers to using only very specific accountants, and that made prices for these services potentially higher than they needed to be.
A recent change in the law now means that along with members of the CCAB, members of the AAT (the Association of Accounting Technicians) and IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) can also complete the certificates and sign forms on behalf of farmers, specifically new farmers.
Although this still means that the number of accountants who can work on behalf of farmers is lower than if the BPS form was open to all, it does mean that some competition has now opened up, which should be a boon to the farmers and the agricultural industry as a whole.
Perhaps soon it will be possible for any accountant to help with the BPS form.