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What are your plans for 2022?

Will accountants be able to come through the Covid crisis and plan ahead in 2022?

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As we were discussing elsewhere just before Christmas, 2021 has been a very, very tough year for accountants. Just think back to the sequence of compliance issues that came in the first part of the year (Brexit/VAT, domestic reverse charge for construction, IR35 for the private sector) and throw in the ever-changing variety of furlough grants and income support schemes generated by the pandemic.

Aside from the unwelcome presence of the virus for the past two years, MTD has been ever-present in our consciousness, as it has been since MTD for VAT first came into effect back in April 2019.

With many practitioners spending the holiday period with tax returns, and so much uncertainty in the air with the latest Covid-19 Omicron variant and the economic repercussions, we're still not out of the woods yet.

And yet... could it be that there might be a window opening to look ahead and bring some longstanding ideas and plans back into play during 2022?

Are you one of those who is looking forward to a more proactive year? And if so, what plans are you making and where are you looking to improve?

Staffing and culture were very prominent among the concerns of our Accounting Excellence Award entrants earlier in 2021, so we expect to see a lot more activity there. And on the technology front, the signs of a spring practice software surge are all around. 

Richard Hattersley has summarised our editorial calendar for 2022, but we'd like to flesh that out by hearing what everyone here is planning for the year ahead.

And on behalf of the whole AccountingWEB team, we wish you a happy, productive and uneventful new year - apart from the things that you actually plan to happen.

Replies (20)

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Slim
By Slim
29th Dec 2021 19:33

still being in business by the end of 2022

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By Paul Crowley
29th Dec 2021 21:05

To cope
What else?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Hugo Fair
29th Dec 2021 21:44

Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Til the blue skies
Drive the dark clouds far away

... with thanks to Vera Lynn

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By Homeworker
30th Dec 2021 10:50

To more or less retire (before MTD for SA starts), keeping just a small number of our oldest clients. I have neither the willpower nor the resources to get involved with quarterly reporting!

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Replying to Homeworker:
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By Samsung
30th Dec 2021 11:14

Same here!!

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By mkowl
30th Dec 2021 11:27

New year different [***]

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Replying to mkowl:
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By Paul Crowley
30th Dec 2021 11:31

But the [***] comes mostly from the same source

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By mkowl
30th Dec 2021 11:33

In no particular order

HMRC
Staff
Clients

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Replying to mkowl:
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By Paul Crowley
30th Dec 2021 15:48

Mostly clients

Then HMRC which leads to clients not believing HMRC could be so rubbish

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
30th Dec 2021 11:38

I am not worried about MTD for 2022 as its a long way out yet. Whilst I am keeping a close eye on it, ultimately we will be dragging our heels on that for as long as is possible. Its pointless acting now on something which might well be delayed yet again especially if its pushed back into an election year when annoying several million small business is not a very bright move politically.

The main practical thing we are doing is leaving quite a lot of room in terms of capacity, so whilst we normally run 'hot' on client numbers at full capacity, I am instead running at 90-95%. This is due to the level of uncertainty around staff health with covid, potential extra support for clients due to the huge changes in the economy at the moment (Covid & Brexit), and to a lesser extent not wanting to get too full if MTD stops getting pushed back.

I think a key issue will be inflation myself in terms of pricing for our practice and helping clients cope with what quite frankly is a new experience for many, working in an inflationary environment when we have spent the past 20 years dealing with (largely) falling prices for 'stuff' and very modest prices adjustments labour. "Stuff" is getting increasingly expensive, rapidly so in many quarters with a combination of Covid related supply shortages plus the underlying economic damage from Brexit. Its a new mindset for many businesses and business owners, and this is the number one thing on my list to be talking to my clients about, how to remain both profitable and competitive in an inflationary environment.

Our own costs have been largely static for some years as we have incrementally increased efficiency year on year so taking less time to do the same jobs, but have put in a 20-30% rise next year on SA as communicated for the past 9 months to clients which will be interesting, not least as I trailed this as a "once in a while" increase but we may need to go again in 2023 if inflation is rapid in 2022.

Politically we may well of course see a new regime at no. 10 & 11, so that may mean new taxes and changes to existing ones, but I will worry about that if and when it happens.

2022 will not be boring, I know that much.

Edited to add, typical business owner Xmas holiday. Still thinking about business.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By JD
30th Dec 2021 16:09

Interesting that you mention capacity. We were doing the same pre-covid-19 as a means of improving service levels, accelerating the time of year when certain jobs are completed and to take the pressure off of SA deadlines.

As it turns out with covid-19, staff out of action at different times, furlough, MTD and other uncertainties it has proved a life saver.

As for plans, intend to continue to run with spare capacity, making use of that capacity by accelerating the timing of work where we can, dropping a few D clients (particularly those with poor basic records) and being more selective about those we gain.

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By markabacus
30th Dec 2021 19:30

My wife and I are thinking along the same lines as 'homeworker', we don't want to pack up completely although it's tempting at the moment as I grind my way thru tax rtns and accounts.
At least with Christmas we get less interruptions

Happy New Year to all and many thanks for all the advice, articles and webinars

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
31st Dec 2021 12:03

Personally I parked my own business plan/ambitions in October 20 to focus on the clients we have, to give them the best shot of getting through this.

Stopped all marketing, limited client recruitment. Morally probably a good thing to do, business wise a mistake. We still ended up losing work to IR35, retirements, cheaper fees, clients ceasing to trade etc. A lot of the work we did extra was non recurring so we will likely start 2022 down with what we have on the books.

So I am ruling off 31.12.2021 as the end to all the crap from the last 2 years and getting back on the horse on 01.01.2022 to recover the progress we should have made in the last 2 years.

I am now on the downward slope to retirement so build for 5 years then exit for 5 years and thats me done.

Happy New Year everyone its got to be better than the last 2 right?

Lets get back on this, the cavalry is not coming to help, Rishi pot is dry, we need to sort the road back ourselves.

Who is with me?

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Replying to Glennzy:
By Moonbeam
31st Dec 2021 12:30

My own business has never been so quiet since starting up nearly 40 years ago. Thank goodness for the state pension.
But I'm determined to rebuild, just like you, so I can sell out by age 75. That's 8 years away.
It's good to know I'm not the only one!!

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Replying to Moonbeam:
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By Hugo Fair
31st Dec 2021 14:58

Being a mere year older than you (and without wishing to sound morbid), I'd be inclined to weight that plan more heavily towards selling-up earlier (even if for less). Although obviously, and fortunately, we're all different ... there are things I'd still like to do that don't require oodles of money, but that will require me to retain a mobility/flexibility that I can't guarantee to possess at 75+
Anyway, good luck either way.

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boxfile
By spilly
31st Dec 2021 13:37

My aim this year is to take some proper time off. With all the extra work due to Covid schemes, staff absences, client sectors in crisis, etc, I’ve only managed a long weekend away over the last 2 years and am absolutely cream-crackered.
Roll on February when I will sack a couple of the whiniest clients, do fee reviews, and hopefully spend at least a week away from my desk (fingers crossed).

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Replying to spilly:
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By Hugo Fair
31st Dec 2021 15:45

I have this vision of a confused & lonely desk in February
... thinking to itself "What did I say? Was it something that I did?", followed by "Hey can someone turn on the central heating please?"

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By spilly
31st Dec 2021 18:17

I’ll might even get to clear said desk before skedaddling, and if I polish it too, it will be much too shocked to miss me!
It won’t be lonely though as my home office has two desks. One is to work on and the other has a turntable & Marshall speaker somewhere on it, currently buried under piles of ‘to do/finish’ client stuff.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
31st Dec 2021 13:46

Retiring in 2022.

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Morph
By kevinringer
04th Jan 2022 13:00

My plan is to get through SA 2021. As we needed the whole extra month extension 2020 we ended up with an 11 month filing season for 2020 which means we started work 1 month late on 2021 which means in effect 2021 is 1 months shorter than pre-Covid years and 2 months shorter than 2020. Yet we had to give our clients more Covid support during 2021 and deal with other things such as CIS reverse charge. We need an extension to 31 March just to end up with the same time period as we did for 2020.

We have at last been able to hire staff but they need training. So we won't feel the benefit from then for a few months yet.

I'm aware of MTD but the can has been kicked down the road so often I'm not the slightest concern about it. And I know of businesses that have still not switched to MTD VAT and yet HMRC do nothing to enforce it so I reckon you can add a few years onto the MTD ITSA deadline before you need to worry about it. Maybe 2030?

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