TaxCalc has some advice on dealing with the challenges that lie ahead
While the UK finds itself having to manoeuvre political and economic minefields, the accountancy profession faces its own increasing levels of uncertainty with technological, social and legal factors influencing practices at every turn.
The challenges have been continuous, with updated FRSs, the GDPR, MLRs and the high-profile rollout of MTD for VAT with Brexit hot on their heels. MTD for Business is waiting in the wings and the recently issued consultation on the ‘Corporate transparency and register reform’ means there is simply no getting away from the fact that change is inevitable. These changes will affect the services you provide, how you interact with your clients – and how you manage your practice.
For a well-established and reasonably-sized practice, such challenges are worrying enough. But with the number of small and micro practices growing over recent years and the re-emergence of lifestyle accountants, those with little or no network around them will need the support from others to help them make the right choices.
So what should you do?
Plan, embrace and transform… and don’t panic! Some short-term planning is obviously required to avoid any bumps in the road, especially for MTD for VAT, but it would also be wise to start the process of building a longer-term strategy.
Plan: Start with a list, speak to your institute, your software providers and other accountants to find out how they’re planning for future.
Embrace change: Be innovative and forward thinking. Both Brexit and MTD provide opportunities to offer added-value client services you hadn’t previously considered.
Transform: You may want to look to review staffing, internal processes and software. Do you have the ‘right tools’ for the job? You may need to streamline your processes and consolidate your systems to free up time for you and your clients. Will you start your own digital transformation?
When should I review my software?
Now is a critical time to take stock, to work out if and when you need to take key investment decisions. You don’t want to be stuck with a system that doesn’t meet your needs.
Requirements of GDPR, MLRs and MTD highlight the importance of knowing where your data resides and keeping on top of your work. Furthermore, Brexit is likely to create instability and prompt legislative change through the devolution of legislation from the EU over the coming years. Having the right systems in place are therefore imperative. So consider:
• Cost: is your software scalable as you grow? Can you choose what tools you pay for? Do you have to pay for more than one system?
• Features: is your software fully compliant and future-proofed? Does it have features you pay for but don’t use?
• Efficiency: does your software save you time? Does it make complex jobs easier? Is it easy to use/learn?
• Support: do you have access to help when you need it?
• Upgrades/maintenance: do your systems receive regular updates? Are updates quick to install?
• Data protection: do you know where your client’s data is stored? Is your client’s data all in one place?
• Cloud software: do you use Cloud software, or will you consider moving to the Cloud at some point? Note: Becoming digital doesn’t necessarily mean moving to Cloud.
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• Thanks to TaxCalc for this article
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