Daily we are being regaled with endless messages extolling the virtues of Technology for Accountants. At the moment it’s all about the cloud and automation and of course Apps in relation to MTD. HMRC are banking everything including the supposed tax gap reduction on Tech making sweeping manpower reductions across the board buoyed up by the fact that more and more of their work will be being undertaken by the taxpayer themselves or their employers or their agents online.
We as Accountants are doing similar by making use of the new Cloud technology and automation via for instance direct bank feeds and various other techniques and when everything goes well we are happy the client is happy and all is well in the world.
However, when our tech goes wrong suddenly we are faced with upset clients or even staff and we have to deal with getting the tech sorted out first and then resolve any outstanding issues that our clients have faced.
We don’t simply leave the tech as is and put out a generic “Sorry” that at its core says “some of it is working and if you don’t need the bits that aren’t working no worries but if you are one of the few that is effected sorry about that soldier on will you and let’s see how it goes” of course not.
Why not? Well could it be because we care about our clients? We care about the effect it may have on our reputation? We are professional in everything we do and failing Tech is not professional?
So why do HMRC feel that when their Tech fails all that is required is frankly do nothing and let others sort out the mess of their doing? I’m referring to the problems encountered with savings and dividends that have been succinctly reported by “Tolley Guidance” as follows:-
“The Self Assessment online filing parameters set by HMRC, which all the tax software providers must follow, mean that individuals with certain fact patterns should file their 2016/17 Tax Returns on paper rather than online. Although those Returns can be filed online (and will not be rejected), in these situations the taxpayer will pay more tax than is necessary if the Return is filed online due to the calculation errors in the parameters set by HMRC. It is not possible to ‘fudge’ the software in order to get the correct result; a paper Return is the only option.”