August defied expectations on AccountingWEB with some unexpected traffic surges. Head of Insight John Stokdyk digs into underlying trends ahead of our Accounting Excellence Awards on 12 September.
The anticipated growth in traffic around the construction reverse VAT charge, off payroll IR35 rules and Brexit didn’t materialise during August’s silly season. There was intense interest in the evergreen Making Tax Digtial topic up to the 7 August deadline for the first “stagger” group of VAT filers, but traffic faded away from July’s peak after that date.
Keytime made a timely intervention on this subject with a reassuring industry update explaining that businesses that failed to get MTD for VAT working by 7 August could still file using the old system. “Do not worry, we won’t penalise them (businesses) this time,” HMRC advised.
With holidaymakers back from the beaches and kids heading back to school, we would be looking for normal service to resume on AccountingWEB. Contrary to our predictions, however, all our August hot tips dropped down our tracking chart. Instead we saw more big increases in traffic to our ethics tag thanks to a couple of disciplinary cases – find out more about the August highlights below.
We had to dig a little deeper to find topics on an upward trend heading into September and these are the “bubbling under” topics we identified for attention:
Budgeting – All those finance managers with December year ends are getting back to work too. We may not know what they did in the summer, but the rise in traffic around budgeting gives us a good idea how they’re likely to be spending September. The time is ripe for publishing case studies and practical advice around how to take some of the pain and friction out of the annual ritual.
Software shopping – We also saw rises in visits to our Software Reviews pages. Financial cycles based on the annual calendar mean that autumn is when business a lot of finance managers consider whether they need to upgrade their software systems after the 31 December year end. AccountingWEB will be publishing mid-market accounting and forecasting, planning and analysis software reviews during this period, so this is a good time for anyone catering for the business audience to get active too.
Tips & tutorials – A strong showing for this tag confirmed the appetite among our members for personal development content during the August lull. Mazuma’s Lucy Cohen grabbed a good chunk of the traffic with her content series on “how to grow a practice”, but FRS 102 and Giles Mooney’s tips for public speaking covered off technical and personal development needs too. It’s not too late to cater for residual interest in all of those themes.
Meanwhile, with Westminster paralysed by prorogration, behind-the-scenes plots and election preparations, Brexit has already thrown the government’s three-year spending review off course. The macroeconomic outlook is just as confused and what’s going to happen to tax policy and the Budget is anybody’s guess.
Time to celebrate Accounting Excellence
What we can confidently predict is that the Accounting Excellence theme will build to a crescendo around our ceremony on 12 September. There will be a significant afterglow through the rest of the month as we celebrate the award-winners and share the secrets of their success.
This is a great time to associate your brand with the Accounting Excellence philosophy, which is all about sharing best practices and celebrating excellence. In the past, many suppliers have posted industry updates wishing luck to their customers among the finalists. Others have followed up the prizegiving with news of the award-winners among their customer base.
Even more instructive and useful to prospective buyers are more detailed case studies explaining, “How [your brand here] software helped us achieve Accounting Excellence”.
August in review
The ACCA student who lied to his boss about passing all his exams and the story about ICAEW cancelling the practicing certificate of a late paying accountant caught the attention of our practice audience. Our finance audience enjoyed their own tales of the chaos surrounding SportsDirect, with Grant Thornton resigning as its auditor.
Links to the other hot stories on AccountingWEB in August are listed below:
TaxDigital VAT: File the old way, HMRC tells accountants