The end of the small practice? Cancel Accountex visit due to train strike?
Things are hotting up with the new HMRC digital quarterly accounting/billing system. I see that Receipt Bank have fired the first broadside and issued a new App by which you can scan paper receipts and send direct to HMRC's computer bypassing the accountant.
I am obviously not worried about my non computerised clients leaving or my clients who currently dont have time to do anything so mundane as preparing accounts (I will have to get my systems more up to date) as they will leave it all to me but I am worried about the more lucrative computer savvy clients. I think it will all depend on the cost of these new Apps and apparently HMRC will be issuing free ones. If I can do the work of accounts and tax return and give advice for just a bit more or the same as for the cost of the monthly App they will stay.
But I have clients who actually create websites for a living - they will leave. Landlords are nearly all computer/smart phone savvy so they will leave. The larger accounting firms who already have larger sole/partnership trader firms as clients will stay with those firms and those accountants will not feel too much hardship except possibly they might get rid of bookkeeping staff (I wonder what the Institute of Bookkeepers are thinking?)
A client of mine who has people working on a contract/ consultancy basis and for whom she pays expenses tried one of the Apps that are currently on the market and announced it to be no good - couldnt read the receipt unless very clear. Obviously the accuracy of technology will change.
A number of Accweb members use Receipt bank but when I made contact with the company last year they said they dont deal with bags of receipts which is what I thought they did. Their website is not clear as to how their process works and their announcement of the App is stuck down the bottom of the page. It looks as though I'm going to have to buy Quick Books if I go with them. Sage are looking to create an App (I dont use Sage for my clients although I know how it works). Accountants who are already using Receipt bank will obviously be given a discount to use this new App. But it still costs and my clients wont take kindly to higher bills but then I suppose if it saves my time......
I can only think that the accounting firms that will be hit will be the smaller one man band firms. I notice that a number of the what -shall-we-say - more 'mature accountants' have already commented that they will be selling up which does, at least, bring expansion opportunities for the others of us that will try to weather the storm that is coming.
I've not said a thing to any of my clients but if we are to get them all onto computerised systems then we should be consulted more than we currently have been- but that is a pipe dream. I understand that there will be an HMRC consultation document published in the next few weeks explaining more but it is a bit late for that - the system is in place. Apart from Receipt Banks' new App we really dont know how HMRC (sorry ... wrong 'person' - George Osborne (as according to Taxcalc this system is coming from higher up the chain) envisages how the new system will work apart from HMRC pulling together accounts on a quarterly basis and potentially demanding quarterly payments the same as currently for VAT returns. I saw a question posted on Any Answers a few days ago asking members what they are telling clients but there was only one response saying 'nothing - wait and see'.
I already have my train ticket booked for 11 May Accountex and it was there that I was going to view Receipt Bank questioning the salesmen again (and now ask re its new App) as I would think many other accountants will be but there is going to be a train strike all that week! Not on my line but it will mean that those affects will be trying to get to London using other lines.
Its Friday before the Bank Hol Monday - maybe I'm being too pessimistic? Please tell whether you have said anything to your clients and whether you are putting new procedures into place or are you also waiting.