Our next speaker Q&A is with Steve Checkley, commercial director at TaxCalc.
What do you think are the key opportunities for the industry focused around making tax digital?
We have spent a lot of time discussing MTD with our customers and whilst MTD definitely presents certain issues to be overcome, it’s also clear that practitioners feel there are opportunities to offer new services for the additional compliance requirements.
There is also a growing consensus that once unrepresented businesses become aware of MTD, more will seek the services of accountants.
What key questions should accountants be asking their clients about making tax digital?
The requirement for clients to file quarterly updates of information to HMRC using digital tools is going to change the way a large proportion of taxpayers currently look after their records. Accountants need to ask their clients who will handle this for them and to what extent.
What’s the best advice you can offer the accountancy profession about making tax digital?
At present, MTD is still being developed and with the calling of a general election, is certainly subject to change. Indeed, the spring Budget announced a major deferment for businesses with turnover under the VAT threshold. After the general election, there may be a further Budget in July plus a planned Autumn Budget towards the end of the year.
It’s important that practitioners stay up to date during 2017. Thankfully, TaxCalc can help with this with our growing resources on our website and updates to our software during the year.
Making Tax Digital is a key theme at Accountex, what is the one thing accountants must do to adapt to this?
As mentioned, many clients are going to face a new record keeping and submission regime. Firms that provide this as a service to clients will need to develop the means to offer the service and keep on top of at least six deadlines a year. TaxCalc is currently developing new tools within its Practice Management suite to help practitioners engage with their clients and manage such services. We will be showcasing these at Accountex.
With a lot of unknowns in the profession right now about MTD how can an accountant best manage difficult questions from their clients?
Within the next couple of months, and of course, subject to the general election and its outcomes, we will be updating TaxCalc Client Hub to feature materials that will help practitioners prepare their clients and answers their questions.
In the meantime, we have developed a microsite, taxcalc.com/mtd/practice that will help practitioners find answers to questions raised by clients.
Tell us about your journey with Accountex, how has the show shaped your growth?
Accountex has been instrumental in our growth over the years. It was evident from that first show just what an important event it is for practitioners and from starting from a simple 3 x 2 stand in its inaugural year, we have grown substantially – pretty much doubling our footprint every year since.
It has been a privilege to meet so many new firms that have since become TaxCalc customers and, indeed, to engage with so many fantastic existing customers on a wholly new level.
See Steve at Accountex 2017: www.accountex.co.uk/speaker/steve-checkley
As a former accountant in practice with over 15 years in software development, Steve Checkley FCCA brings the ideal combination of skills and experience to his role as Commercial Director at TaxCalc. Actively involved in BASDA and HMRC’s Making Tax Digital strategy, Steve is an influential voice in our industry.