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Do your clients actually care about the Budget?

What if anything are your clients asking about the Budget?

Philip Hammond will deliver his Budget speech on Wednesday. While there has been plenty of speculation here on AccountingWEB, the question is: do your clients actually care what Hammond will announce?

Have any of your clients contacted you over the past few days with questions about the Budget? Such as what Hammond could announce? How those measures would potentially affect them?

More to the point, has the Budget even come up in conversation with your clients? And how have you responded to that? 

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15th Nov 2017 17:58

I can't remember the last time a client ever asked me about an upcoming budget (and that 36 years and counting) and, on perhaps only 2-3 occasions, have I contacted any of them in advance about potential changes.

But then I'm a cr*p accountant so take no notice

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to Paul Scholes
16th Nov 2017 11:33

Paul Scholes wrote:

But then I'm a cr*p accountant so take no notice

Haha! I am sure that is not true, Paul.

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15th Nov 2017 18:03

Our clients are usually a bit busy working on their business rather than speculating on what might or might not happen.

I will have told them in exactly a weeks time what did happen which is all they need to know.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Nov 2017 11:40

Thanks I really should know...

While your clients are not swept up in the pre-Budget gossip, if there is a bombshell announcement how soon after the Chancellor sits down would your phone start ringing?

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By Matrix
to Richard Hattersley
16th Nov 2017 11:47

If it is ok to step in and answer this, I can't imagine any clients calling me. However I would get my summary out to clients on the same day if there was anything affecting small businesses since I would prefer to be proactive rather than reactive - in case they saw something on twitter and panicked. I would prefer that the first they hear of any changes comes from me.

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to Matrix
16th Nov 2017 12:14

Interesting stuff, Matrix - thanks!

Not wanting to become 'Hastag Dickie' and bang on about the benefits of social media but I guess there could be a case here for accountants to use these social channels to provide an instant reaction.

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By Matrix
to Richard Hattersley
16th Nov 2017 13:56

I may tweet if there is some pretty mainstream change but social media for me is about prospects, not clients. I would be disappointed if the only way existing clients heard about changes was from my social media. I can probably count on one hand how many follow me too!

No, it will be a generic summary with bespoke emails or calls if necessary.

I have been bitten by Twitter before so am careful what I write. I once tweeted something which I thought was topical on MTD (being a shambles) but it was retweeted by a well known tax person and then retweeted very sarcastically by a partner from a large accounting firm as not a major problem given all the other problems in the world.

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By Tornado
to Matrix
16th Nov 2017 14:18

"then retweeted very sarcastically by a partner from a large accounting firm as not a major problem given all the other problems in the world."

A typically arrogant reply from someone who probably considers that being outed in the Paradise Papers is a really serious problem in the world. He does not have to deal with MTD, he pays other people to do that and therefore it is not a problem to him.

The fact is, that what he may not consider to be a problem will be a very worrying problem to many "lesser" people, and this has to be recognised.

Social media is becoming our new drug problem with cravings for 'likes' and whatever else provides a fix. It does nothing for me and at no time do I feel that I am missing out on anything important by not joining in .... although I guess AWEB is the hole in the armour.

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to Tornado
16th Nov 2017 14:19

Don't come on here talking about your K I N K S!

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By Tornado
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Nov 2017 11:56

I have not actually seen or listened to the Budget Statement in Parliament for a number of years now. I find the hype is completely different to the reality.

It is easy to download the Budget documents from the Treasury a few minutes after the Chancellor sits down, and take a look at the facts.

If any of my clients do ring (they do not) then I would be able to check any particular facts that are of relevance to them.

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By Matrix
15th Nov 2017 20:33

I was bitten by MTD so I am not going to say anything anymore until any proposals become law!

A contractor client told me her contract ended yesterday and she was considering her next move, whether to look for permanent employment or another contract.

I warned her that the off payroll rules could be extended to the private sector since I would prefer to make clients aware of the risk in any discussions to assist with decisions and negotiating rates.

But no one has called me about the speculated reduction in the VAT threshold, u-turn on the 17% CT rate etc.

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15th Nov 2017 20:42

The what?

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to Kim Jong Un's Hair
16th Nov 2017 12:20

The Budget? I think it's some kind of small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot.

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By Tornado
16th Nov 2017 09:38

The Budget is of no particular interest to most of my clients who have more important things to do than spend hours or even days trying to understand complex and often hundreds of pages of irrelevant legislation (to them). Most do not ask questions as they do not know what questions to ask.

With Budgets appearing so frequently, their importance has been diminished and I think most feel that there is always going to be an overall increase in taxation anyway.

That fact that the UK Tax Code has risen to something like 21,000 pages means that few people will have a complete understanding as to how the tax system works and there is always the political aspect such as the reluctance of Governments to combine tax and National Insurance which would massively simplify the tax system but at the same time perhaps make 100,000 civil servants redundant.

Chancellors, such as Gordon Brown, have dreamed up extremely complex tax rules and political pressure, such as that applied to the Conservatives by the Liberal Democrats with regard to taxation of child benefit, leave us with awkward and unfair tax rules that are simply not necessary.

Even those that have a better understanding of the tax system find it difficult to plan as there is little in the way of stability in the way successive Chancellors lurch from year to year with a mix of fire-fighting and money grubbing policies.

There is nothing really of substance to say to clients before a budget, anything could happen. The only certainty is that we will all be paying more tax in one way or another as a consequence of the Budget proposals.

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to Tornado
16th Nov 2017 12:35

Tornado wrote:

With Budgets appearing so frequently, their importance has been diminished and I think most feel that there is always going to be an overall increase in taxation anyway.

I had not thought about Budget burnout. I guess that explains why clients are not whipped up by the Budget speculation and are resigned to the fact that what happens, happens.

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16th Nov 2017 09:46

I tend not to have clients take a prospective interest in the budget, but do have some who will take a retrospective interest.

Then there's the odd one asking questions which could realistically be affected by the forthcoming budget, in which case I make them interested.

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16th Nov 2017 13:00

I'm lucky? enough in having a couple of clients who are an*l enough to absorb all of the stuff in the media that issues throughout and shortly after the budget statement, then send it to me!

Yes, on a few occasions over the years I've spotted significant stuff that effects a few clients and contacted them in a day or two post budget but I no longer buy in/publish the website guides from publishing companies it's just so much wasted e-paper.

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16th Nov 2017 14:09

Hi Richard. We send a roundup of the budget with key points. The response rate to this email is nearly 90 percent with all clients saying thank you for the information. So yes I guess they do want to know. I do not think they sit and worry but like to be informed when you know.

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16th Nov 2017 14:50

Few of my clients will have noticed there's a Budget next week.

Sure, there's stuff in Budgets that affects them but a lot of it is madcap ideas thought up in the car on the way to Westminster. Who'd've predicted MTD or 16½% VAT rates ? So what's the point in speculating ?

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By DJKL
16th Nov 2017 15:13

I have talked with a few this year but it has not so much been the budget itself more my expectation that it will possibly result in more detail on MTD and vat being announced.

For those clients with June and September year ends, who will likely need to embrace new software if required (it is going ahead?), we will really need to be ready at their next year end to change how they keep records to avoid having two systems in place within one accounts year: seven months to 1 July 2018 is not that long.

Have had a chat with a couple re whether we may see a change in the daft tax effect from £100,000 to £123,000, they are looking to clean out a couple of small pensions but they end up slap bang in 60% re most of the withdrawl so we decided to wait and see if a change (not holding my breath) was forthcoming as if there is one we would wait until post April.

Do tend to chat with some clients re the economy and there are a couple who give me a steer re what they are observing in the economy (property industry) who are always worth 30 minutes over a coffee.

Whilst my economics knowledge is mainly 35 years out of day post university I can still remember some and I suspect most years it is the economy itself that is more discussed pre budget rather than particular tax issues.

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to DJKL
16th Nov 2017 15:27

Here's a point - does the latest revision of MTD start for returns beginning on or after 1st April 2019 or ending after 1st April 2019 ?

I'm guessing the former but I never looked.

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By DJKL
to lionofludesch
16th Nov 2017 15:40

I think the former but would not want to swear that is the case.

I do not fancy a 30 June 2019 year end with three quarters on one system (excel) and one on the new system (whatever) so will likely be looking to get them switched to start using whatever software best fits on 1st July 2018. I actually have most with 31 March year ends so for them I have a little more time and if we have to do this then spreading out client implementation is obviously the way to go, catch is cannot really do anything until we know exactly the requirements.

I am betting on another delay ( especially if EU vat treatment will also be up in the air at the same time), however governments are stupid so not 100% confident re my (internal, with myself) bet.

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to DJKL
16th Nov 2017 15:55

I don't fancy the mid year switch either but I'm not confident that I'll be able to make a sensible choice by 1st July 2018.

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By DJKL
to lionofludesch
16th Nov 2017 16:07

lionofludesch wrote:

I don't fancy the mid year switch either but I'm not confident that I'll be able to make a sensible choice by 1st July 2018.

Do not disagree, once we are sure re requirements and know who the runners and riders are there will be a flurry of activity narrowing down what will work for each client, maybe someone helpful will publish a book spelling out the pros and cons etc re each offering, could be a bestseller re smaller practices.

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to DJKL
16th Nov 2017 16:16

The thing is, we might make a difficult transition in July 2018 only to find that the whole project has been postponed.

Again.

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By mjshort
23rd Nov 2017 08:07

Never mind the clients..
I told my daughter to delay her exchange on her first property- 268k flat- till after the budget (as she could have exchanged last week).
Feel v.smug.

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