There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the end of self assessment season. But Jane Falconer-White of KF Accounting services has another reason to rejoice: She is the lucky winner of the TaxCalc self assessment season prize draw.
"I never win anything," a shocked Falconer-White told AccountingWEB shortly after hearing the news.
And now Falconer-White gets to unwind with a well-earned spa break after she endured her first self assessment season responsible for the day-to-day running of the firm.
It was a particularly arduous busy season for her first - as the firm entered the New Year, it still needed to submit 100 tax returns. Of course, the reason for this is a common one among practitioners: Late clients.
“A lot of the people are not that good at getting the records in on time, no matter how much we nag them,” she said. But despite repeat late offender clients exacerbating her self assessment stress, she is reluctant to banish these clients – many of whom are poorly organised pseudo-hobby businesses. “Even though they're late, a lot of them are really nice people so I always aim to nudge them earlier.”
Falconer-White sends out reminders as soon as the year-end finishes and then continues to elbow them throughout the year, but when the thick of January arrives, the response is always the same: “I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier”.
Creates a positive atmosphere
It can be easy to dread January when confronted by this stress. However, Falconer-White found support in the trenches from her part-time team, who lifted the office’s spirits with their unified efforts from December through to January. “It's nice in a way when you've got a full office,” she said. “Normally it's only one or two of us at the time. So it's a nice atmosphere.”
Prepare for next year
Looking ahead, Falconer-White’s self assessment plans for next year and beyond rests on the firm’s approach to Making Tax Digital (MTD). The upcoming digital era has prompted Falconer-White to review her clients’ appetite towards cloud accounting.
She believes a spring push towards MTD should help ease next year’s self assessment season. Over the coming weeks, Falconer-White has penciled a number of workshops and demos as a way to help educate clients about cloud accounting: “The start of the tax year is a really good time to move. It might not help us for this tax year coming, but hopefully, it will put things in place for the next one,” she said.
The workshops will offer her clients the chance to play around with Xero, the firm’s chosen cloud solution, in a supportive environment with other business owners.
“I think some of them might surprise me. You never know. Just because someone has been a shoebox-type client, they might actually, secretly, be into computers."