Dec 2019: Self assessment - bigger than politics
It would be a push to diagnose an outbreak of election fever among AccountingWEB members, but politics showed up prominently in our monthly trend radar during November, writes John Stokdyk.
Election-related traffic has more than doubled on AccountingWEB since the beginning of October.
More than 40 members got stuck into the debate around Philip Fisher’s analysis of Labour’s manifesto proposals for tax, but there was plenty of traffic for articles considering the prospects for existing policies, such as Loan charge review hits the election buffers and the suggestion that off-payroll working reforms would benefit from a delay.
Batten down for self assessment season
While political content saw the biggest percentage rise over the past two months, our old friend self assessment has been building steadily since August and broke into the top five in our trend tracker, where we expect to stay until the end of January.
Payroll, accounts production, corporation tax and tax software are all jostling for attention just outside our top five growth topics for December, indicating that AW members are devoting a lot of attention to the full sweep of tax season compliance issues.
These topics come around like clockwork at this time of the year, so suppliers serving the practitioner market should have their “We’re here to help” messages and campaigns – as well as all the associated support efforts - lined up in good time for the busy season ahead.
Now it’s time to start anticipating the issues that they might have time to think about in early February, such as ensuring that MTD for VAT complications don’t intrude on personal tax workloads, or implementing more effective practice and workflow management systems.
Accountants curious about fintech
Our fintech coverage continued to attract traffic, particularly some of the announcements at November’s Xerocon event. That trend should persist a little when we visit Fintech Connect in early December and write up our findings, and look back at developments in general in 2019. Soldo, which combines expenses management with fintech features, published a whitepaper on financial automation and has been reaping steady interest from readers during the past month.
This might be another fruitful subject to explore next year.
Top stories for November 2019
Away from politics, a cavalcade of tribunal decisions livened up things on AccountingWEB during November, but the biggest controversy of all related to HMRC’s efforts to legally justify its habit of issuing computerised penalties rather than sticking to the letter of the law. The retrospective nature of the guidance change came in for a kicking from the tax community.
Picking up on previous successes by Insight Exchange clients in providing background advice and insights on tax and compliance issues, IRIS bagged the top two spots for supplier posts in November with news on the MTD soft-landing policy and self assessment exclusions for 2017-18.