Making Tax Digital: Is the accounting profession taking it seriously?

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With an estimated 440,000 businesses still unaware of the government’s digital tax plans, cloud conversion expert Matt Flanagan examines what accountants can do to prepare their firms and their clients.

Recent statistics suggest that 40% of small businesses in the UK don't yet know about the government’s Making Tax Digital plans.

To unpack that 40% figure, 1.1m businesses are in scope for MTD for VAT. That's 440,000 businesses still left in the dark. There are 128 working days (as at 1 October 2018) left until the go-live date in April, leaving an average of 3,438 businesses to prepare per working day.

In a series of accounting think tanks I ran earlier this year, firms tracking how long it takes to convert clients to cloud software confirmed that it takes on average 8-11 hours for a standard conversion, including demos, scoping the conversion, actual conversion, cleaning up data, training and support.

In terms of time needed to convert all 440,000 of those potential clients to cloud, the nation needs 3,520,000 hours, or 27,500 hours of conversion per working day until April 19. This assumes all conversions are standard - which they are not.

If you think the stats are heavy, even with a 50% margin for error they still don't look much better.

MTD Stats October 2018

MTD compliant or advisory ready?

Worryingly, even though there are 60% of businesses that do know about MTD, I am not convinced they have actually progressed to being MTD compliant. Firms also have to consider whether they want clients that are ‘MTD compliant’ or ‘advisory ready’ – there’s an important distinction!

Having a client that is MTD compliant means they have the basics in place to integrate with the new MTD online function, but the chances of offering that client any further services is limited.

For an advisory-ready client running cloud software with real-time data (bank feeds, data entry automation, etc), there is much more chance of offering additional services. Whatever your view is on advisory, what is undeniable is that having a more up-to-date set of data is going to be key to future accountant-client relationships.

Is bridging software a solution?

Some firms are considering bridging software as a short-term fix, and that does make some sort of sense to plug a gap and will be right for certain clients. However, this brings into play versions of Excel.

I anticipate software vendors of any repute will only support Excel versions that are supported by Microsoft. Therefore businesses with older versions of Excel will not be supported or have issues looked into by those vendors, meaning eventually the client will have to upgrade software to a later version of Excel anyway.

Also, when HMRC inevitably come back for later iterations of MTD and ask for transactional data, bridging software is unlikely to suffice (functionality may be added at a later date to allow access, but I’m not sure how that would work in practice. Firms may have to instruct clients on two conversions as oppose to one.

Mind the information gap

I have heard many times from many different firms that HMRC hasn't given enough information, or that the accounting profession hasn't had enough detail.

My take on this is that an information gap exists, but if you take the time to look you can find enough to formulate a workable MTD plan for your firm and clients.

Accountants seem to have been waiting for precise compliance detail from HMRC. However, the MTD for VAT announcement was made back in 2017, which laid out the fact that the way certain businesses file VAT will significantly change so the need for communicating, discussing and planning this change could have easily begun.

In my experience, only a minority of firms are currently being proactive with their approach to MTD and putting in place any of the processes I’ve outlined above. Most firms are in a reactive state, deeming a 2019 start date for the conversion process as adequate.

All in all, there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of work to do for the accounting profession and affected businesses.

Matt Flanagan is speaking at AccountingWEB’s MTD for Small VAT Clients event in Manchester on 1 November. For more information on the event click here.

About Matt Flanagan

Matt Flanagan Pic

Matt co-founded BlueHub and has lead the team to on-board hundreds of businesses to cloud solutions, from complex inventory systems to project management programs. What started as a service to help with Xero Ecosystem add-on implementation, evolved into an additional service mentoring accountancy practices in moving their client base to cloud accounting systems.

Matt provides professional services to accountants, enabling them to move into business software advisory roles in a rapidly developing and changing industry.


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02nd Oct 2018 15:41

MTD is HMRC's baby. They are the ones that have come up with a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They are the ones who will force our clients to incur additional expenses that they previously didn't.

Why the hell should I do HMRC's dirty job of explaining all this to the taxpayers? That is also HMRC's job.

Thanks (18)
to SteLacca
06th Oct 2018 13:34

SteLacca - thanks for reading and responding. The Gazette reported the two reasons as follows:

"The motivation behind the changes is to help reduce the number of errors that businesses and the self-employed make on their tax returns, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer around £8bn a year. It’s also argued that going digital will benefit taxpayers by giving them a clearer view of their business as they progress through the tax year."

They both seem fair reasons for me to kick off a long term digital strategy with the UK economy.....

Thanks (0)
By Tornado
to MattFlan
06th Oct 2018 14:27

There is a certain arrogance here that assumes the MTD changes are a revolutionary idea that everyone is capable of dealing with when in practice there has been book-keeping software available for decades and in practice, those that are capable of using it are already using it.

I had a bricklayer client who had difficulty in keeping his records and was often unable to add up columns correctly. An illiterate idiot you may think, but this impression was completely wrong as he was capable of building perfectly sized walls of the highest standard and was a true expect at his trade.

The personal capabilities of people in business are often overlooked by the arrogance of so called 'experts and consultants' who care more about such thing as MTD than the skills, expertise and quality of goods & services that are the real reason why people go into business in the first place. People do not go into business because they are excited about the prospect of using accounting software and MTD.

What we are getting with MTD is that distasteful arrogance of those who find the idea easy but who have no real experience or even care about how things really are for others actually in business.

If the Government want to introduce MTD then they MUST take into account the needs and capabilities of those that are going to use it and create a properly worked out timescale for its implementation.

Note that the Government are there to do the will of the people, and NOT tell the people what it wants them to do. As far as I can see with MTD, the Government made decisions without consulting the people or their representatives and this is most definitely not acceptable.

Thanks (3)
to Tornado
09th Oct 2018 09:19

Yes, HMRC seems to think we have loads of free time, lunch breaks, free evenings, not work coming in all day every day, children at home and houses to run. Lifei s very busy for a lot of small business owners. There is one person in my business me - no secretary, no accountant, no assistant, no one. I like my record keeping which is perfect. I don't even use excel. I was just thinking about it first thing today when i was doing my daily note of spending and income - if I want to write myself a longish note below the amount I paid there is as much space as I like on that (I use Word and hate and don't use excel) and it just happens to suit me. I don't see why I have to move to excel with bridging software to send HMRC exactly the same information. If they want in due course copies of every invoice I can photocopy them and post them to them.

A lot of time is taken in learning new things and we are not going to be given say £30k each to retrain and take time off work to learn all this. We don't even have good signal here all the time so no way would I use a cloud storage product either and don't want to risk hacking which I know is unusual but there we are. We are all different and work in our own ways. Lots of us don't like change either because things to wrong and it takes up time, time no one is going to pay us for.

The timing is very tight. There is no free bridging software yet and the new system comes in in April. In April we won't be able to file VAT returns. I would have liked say a year when the old and new ran side by side when eg you could file as now and also file a duplicate dummy return using the bridging software and then if the HMRC account numbers and IT and passwords failed at least you could still use your normal filing. Instead i bet i get sent some kind of code just before April from HMRC and am wrestling with some hopefully free bridging software product with the link being made. They assume so much knowledge too - I don't even really know what an "app" is and don't really use my mobile phone other than for whastapp messages from the children. I know what computer software is and |I know what using software which is not installed on your computer but kept at and accessed from the software provider.

HMRC need in their instructions to use words people understand not assume that we are all payas you go card and mobile users who don't go near paper.

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to MattFlan
08th Oct 2018 13:32

MattFlan wrote:

The motivation behind the changes is to help reduce the number of errors that businesses and the self-employed make on their tax returns, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer around £8bn a year.

Where is the proof? If this were true then the estimated 4 million businesses in SA must be making an average error of £2000 a business per year: that is every business. Many small businesses quite correctly pay tax of less then £2000 so they can't be making errors of £2000. So that must rule out a sizeable number of the 4 million businesses.

In the 23 years SA has been operating HMRC has had the power to enquire into returns. They have enquired into some of my client returns but never found anything near £2000. In fact they've not found a single £ in the last 10 years. I've spoken to many other agents with the same experience. So where are these errors?

By definition an error could be made either way so what convinces HMRC the errors are in the taxpayer's favour. Surely the net effect of reducing errors is £nil.

Thanks (0)
02nd Oct 2018 15:33

Its only people selling software on the back of it that seem to be keen.

And most of that vastly exaggerates the reality.

My gut reaction is they will get to the VAT a year late in April 2020, and then call it a day as all the original people have long moved on and there is just no credible justification for the project proper (ie populating tax returns quarterly) other than shifting units for the software co's.

Thanks (12)
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
06th Oct 2018 13:38

Thanks for reading and responding. I'd be interested to know what the reality is in your view if it is being exaggerated?

I would challenge the 'no credible justification' element when it is well understood that we have one of the poorest productivity outputs in the EU yet are deemed one of the most economically advanced countries.. Surely smarter working with technology will only improve that which in turn will have a positive impact on our economy?

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to MattFlan
07th Oct 2018 13:18

There is "no credible justification" in MTD. "Making less errors", Business will know more about their business". Biggest con since the reformation of the EU by DC. When will people like you learn that not everybody or business in the UK is "High Tech" and do not want to be. Errors, if any, will nearly always balance themselves out. Oh by the way, most Accountants do not agree with the concept of MTD. However HMRC are so bent on getting sight of all business transactions without opening an investigation that eventually they will either achieve by the backdoor or they will realise the only way anything will work is to hand over all admin to us and them concentrate on collection and investigation.

Thanks (1)
02nd Oct 2018 16:17

We don't take it seriously because:
a) Brexit will (hopefully) scupper it
b) Because it is utter rubbish

Thanks (11)
02nd Oct 2018 17:08

I just can't see the problem. Bridging software is beginning to come along at a reasonable cost even free. If the accounting package can't talk direct to HMRC or to the bridging software then it is simple enough to download the relevant data into, say, Excel and thence into HMRC via the bridging software. The latest versions of Excel have powerful data manipulation features so, even if the output from the accounting package is not great, it should be easy enough to generate an automatic conversion.

A requirement to submit transactional data may be more of an issue but there is no point leaping into new software when so little is known about what will be required unless there is a business case for change anyway.

Thanks (4)
02nd Oct 2018 17:15

1) Shouldn't it be called "forcing you to Make Bookkeeping Digital"?

2) Can we give valid advice to clients when, with less than six months to go, HMRC are still in the pilot stage?

Today HMRC are not MTD compliant as they are still developing the system, so how can anyone else currently be compliant?

That said, I do have one client who is compliant, their broadband is slow, even by local standards, to the point where they can only send emails without attachments and they are permitted to file paper VAT returns, so they will continue to file paper returns.

Given the state of broadband speeds here, the cloud is not a solution to MTD.

Thanks (9)
to GW
05th Oct 2018 13:45

GW wrote:

1) Shouldn't it be called "forcing you to Make Bookkeeping Digital"?

No, it's Making TRANSACTIONS Digital.
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02nd Oct 2018 18:17

As a professional accountant, I would only recommend software to clients that has been properly specified and user tested.

Given that HMRC has not yet bothered to do either of those things, there is nothing to do here.

Thanks (11)
to mr. mischief
06th Oct 2018 13:42

Hi Mr Mischief - there is a list approved by HMRC here -

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to MattFlan
08th Oct 2018 12:33

Matt, I must correct you - none of the software listed is approved, they are merely suppliers 'supporting' MTD.

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to kevinringer
09th Oct 2018 09:23

That is whatt HMRC directed me to afte rmy tweet but it is 1. not a list of products that are compatible as HMRC have not specified them yet so no one can produce them. If you approach those companies they say they will p ut you on the list for when the product is available and yet we are already into october now.

2. the list is far too long - 150+. I want a list of say 3 to choose from (not 150 - I hardly have time to get lunch some days as a one person business never mind plough through 150 software companies) and I want the 3 to be of providers with one product which is free and which is bridging only and from excel (not that I use excel but you can't bridge from paper records sadly).

Thanks (0)
03rd Oct 2018 10:40

In its current form its no big deal for me.

You currently cannot file returns on paper, and have to login into to enter the information.

If you do not want to change, then this bridging software will sort it out and I cannot see how the bridging will be much different to what we do now.

There is many reasons to put your clients in the cloud with Xero or whatever, but MTD wouldnt make the top 5 reasons for me. Better records and information etc are far more important.

I have told all my clients about MTD but if you asked them I am sure some would say "no idea what it is" as they are not interested as they know we will just sort it, and make it as painless for them as we can, in the same way people are not interested in RTI, IXBRL, and can you blame them.

I do think some firms that have been around along time have done nothing at all to prepare for MTD, as they feel that Brexit blowing up into bigger mess than anticipated that it will get postponed again and then maybe dropped.
That could be a master stroke if it happens or leave you with a very busy Feb & March to get your [***] into gear.

With a potential no deal Brexit happening in March I think HMRC and the treasury might have bigger fish to fry than rolling out MTD.

I was at and HMRC workshop on MTD and they said they were going to roll out TV adverts like they did with that stupid monster for AE but cannot say I have seen anything for it so I suspect the April 2019 deadline may get kicked into the long grass.

Thanks (7)
to Glennzy
06th Oct 2018 13:44

Hi Glenzy - interesting point about the possible deferral... One thing that intrigued me is the fact that HMRC sent a Tweet a few weeks ago, now to the normal person we pick up our phone and tweet... For HMRC that is likely to have had to gone through umpteen committees and sign-off, it's not something that could have been completed lightly.

Thanks (0)
By Tornado
03rd Oct 2018 09:56

What is the point of Bridging Software when it is just a complex way of doing exactly the same thing as typing the same information into the HMRC portal as most people do today. The chances of information being more accurately extracted by bridging software than by manual entry into the current portal are very small, so I cannot see the justification for the bridging software on the basis that this will significantly reduce the tax gap.

Total nonsense.

It is all getting very silly and the Government need to step back and review their plans and create a PROPER programme for introducing MTD over a realistic time scale, so that all of those affected can join in voluntarily and not because there is a gun held to their head.

Thanks (14)
By Ammie
03rd Oct 2018 10:09

I have said it before and I'll say it again.

MTD is still far from ready and will take many more wild swings before kick off and I see no point in getting "dizzy" chasing its path. At present I am happy watching from afar until the dust has settled.

Furthermore, no software provider will convince me to jump quite yet.

In my opinion MTD will happen, it's just when.

Thanks (6)
03rd Oct 2018 10:26

Just as soon as I read "Cloud Conversion" I switched off and thought:

"Oh Hell! Not yet more damned sales guff?

Thanks (6)
By Tornado
to Michael C Feltham
03rd Oct 2018 11:43

I always thought that 'The Cloud' was not a particularly good name for this type of remote data processing.

If you look up at clouds for any length of time, you can see that they are constantly moving and changing in size & colour and sometimes they disappear altogether!

Hardly the right name for what is supposed to be a reliable and safe system of data storage and processing.

And as to whether Accountants and Businesses are taking MTD seriously, I don't think many are. At the moment there seems to be very little to take seriously.

For example, the introduction of Self-Assessment was quite well executed and offered clear improvements over the existing system. In fact, I still think that had the MTD 1200 million pounds budget been spent on improving the Self-Assessment system, it would have been money much better spent.

EDIT : Just as an aside to my suggestion that Self-Assessment be retained and improved, after nearly four months I am still waiting for a 2018 Tax Return to be processed that had to be submitted on paper due to the Exclusion 70 software problem. What a Joke, HMRC cannot even get their current software to calculate tax properly, what chance for MTD then?

Thanks (6)
to Tornado
03rd Oct 2018 12:23

@ Tornado:

From Day One, the Internet was described by the original brains who created it, from Sir Tim Berners-Lee (who invented Hypertexts and HTML: and didn't actually bother to take out global copyrights!), onwards, as "Data "Being in The Cloud".

As you say, Tornado, clouds change by the minute and then vanish!

Which totally reflects my own misgivings...

Thanks (0)
to Tornado
08th Oct 2018 12:37

Tornado, I agree with your contrast when HMRC introduced SA. SA was the biggest change in tax for decades. Our local tax office appointed an officer dedicated to helping agents get to grips with SA. There were also local workshops hosted by HMRC. Working Together was formed to identify and fix problems. As a result the transition to SA worked. Our local tax office has long since closed. HMRC don't want to communicate. They're not interested.

Thanks (1)
to kevinringer
08th Oct 2018 14:08

I was going to the original seminars HMRC had for SA. They new the answers to most questions, but the main objective "to have all income and expenses in one return" was sound. The only objective MTD has is to have sight of every transaction a business makes in order for us or tax payer to make less errors. So who is going to check that every business transaction is not an error? Or is there some all singing all dancing algorithm that will flag up those "errors"? What if there are some private transactions amongst the business ones. What then? It's all a bit iffy.

Thanks (1)
By ClaireB
to Michael C Feltham
03rd Oct 2018 13:07

It was the phrase "To unpack that 40% figure..." which did for me.

Thanks (3)
By djn24
03rd Oct 2018 11:03

I'm just so glad we didn't do anything a few years back with the software when sage/iris/xero were pushing it so hard. All the sales talk was quite believable.
We will be able to continue to use spreadsheets and just link it with bridging software. CCH has one click which apparently deal with this and will be MTD compliant.

Looks like it's not going to be the huge change I initially feared. Although, if this is the case - what's the point in it all???

Thanks (5)
03rd Oct 2018 11:18

Regardless of whether MTD happens in April 2019 or later, by using modern technology we can get far closer to and provide a far better service to clients.

We can do the same work as say 10 years ago in 50% of the time. Minimise delays in completing client work (document and information flow) making our businesses far more efficient.

Why wouldn't we take this as an opportunity to improve?

Thanks (2)
to Mark Telford
03rd Oct 2018 12:00

Totally agree with you Mark, however that isn't what MTD is all about.
Most Accountants and business, even the very small ones, use some sort of digital equipment. MTD is all about allowing HMRC to have sight of every transaction a business makes (to eliminate errors, we are told) in a very limited time period without consultation with us at ground level (even the pilot has only got certain business that fit a certain criteria). That is not the same as us using digital devices to speed up our process.
I don't believe the "cloud" is a proven progression, in fact the many times I've used it I have not been impressed. What HMRC don't realise is that you are dealing with a lot of "low" techies and also those that don't want all this high tech stuff. Yes it may not be "high" tech to some but to others it's a nightmare. So why should HMRC be allowed to force this on the small business world (the big boys are already "high teched") for a made up excuse of "it will eliminate errors".

Thanks (4)
to johnjenkins
03rd Oct 2018 19:47

Proven progression? It really depends on what businesses are currently using and how capable they are of maintaining their own records.

Smaller businesses - excel plus bridging software (if needed) make sense.

Cloud does have the big advantage of being real time, so using the example of a new start up, the ability to spot and correct bookkeeping errors in month one rather than month 16/17 when the first years accounts are prepared will save time and tears all round.

Thanks (0)
to Mark Telford
04th Oct 2018 08:50

Real time is only "when you do it". If a business goes and pays cash for whatever, real time is irrelevant, it's the time they post to spreadsheet or accounting package that's the key. OK bank payments are real time but with the mistrust in MP's and banks, it wouldn't surprise me if more small business started using cash. Again whatever bookkeeping system you use it doesn't need MTD to find errors. This is a fallacy.

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to Mark Telford
03rd Oct 2018 12:10

We should be taking the opportunities to improve in any event. MTD, so far, is just HMRC getting us to submit the same information by a more convoluted route; there is no benefit to the client in itself.

If there is a business case to change then change is a good thing but changing for the sake of compliance is not. Plus jumping into new software to comply with the initial MTD for VAT stage would be foolhardy as it may not be the right solution when the transactional phase is implemented. Until we know what is needed for that, it is difficult to make any calls; the prospect of telling a client in a couple of years that yet another change to software systems is needed does not sit well with me.

So, unless there is a case for change for BUSINESS reasons, I will be telling my clients to sit tight and use the simplest solution possible - probably bridging software from the existing accounts package or via Excel.

Thanks (3)
to paulwakefield1
03rd Oct 2018 19:50


If an accountant/client takes the opportunity to improve systems/processes which were much needed - because of MTD then that is a good thing.

MTD will be the nudge that many accountants and clients need to improve systems which they knew weren't really adequate but had never got round to changing.

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By Tornado
to Mark Telford
03rd Oct 2018 15:27

I can empathise with your sentiments but that assumes that we have all been inefficient over the last decade or more. In fact my firm was one of the first Accountancy Practices to use 'personal computers' for Accounts Production over 38 years ago and the real savings and efficiencies happened all those years ago.

The problem is that efficiencies have been created in myriad different ways, few of which are directly compatible with the MTD requirements. Efficiencies may include carrying out complete book-keeping for clients when trying to get them to do it themselves would involve more time in correcting their errors than to do it all from scratch.

One persons efficiency can at the same time be another persons burden.

For some of us, it is very difficult to get more efficient and ironically, the move to MTD is going to make things more complex and inefficient in many cases.

Watch the tax gap increase!

Thanks (1)
to Mark Telford
03rd Oct 2018 16:35

@Mark you are conflating two key issues

1. Are some business better off with better software?

YES. We have many clients using good software and saving heaps of time vs older methods.

2. Should ALL business (and landlords for some reason) be forced to use software whether they see any benefit from it?

The only answer to that is no.

Business should be left to make their own rational decisions. By and large all my clients who SHOULD be on cloud/other software products are on them. A couple could do with a firm kick, but most of 'em use appropriate kit.

Forcing all the ones who DONT use cloud software for good commercial reasons, to use it due to a dogmatic insistence its good for them is at best naive, but I find it quite rude and unworldly. It basically implies you think our clients who don't use cloud are imbeciles and deliberately wasting their time using efficient methods of compiling their bookkeeping. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thanks (2)
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Oct 2018 19:43


For most younger firms having clients on 'up to date' and 'fit for purpose' systems isn't an issue.

But there are well established (usually smaller) businesses who have been with the same firm and using the same processes for the past 10-20 years.

Or - a version of Sage 50 which is out of date and unsupported.

Its this type of business that really would benefit from a radical overhaul.

Now seems as good a time as any for firms to go through their client lists and see who needs to change.

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to Mark Telford
04th Oct 2018 09:05

What is wrong with a business bringing in all their income and expenditure details once a year to have their accounts and tax return done? Nothing at all, but it doesn't give HMRC the ability to see all transactions without opening an investigation (I'm not even sure if that's legal. That is the only reason for MTD and nothing to do with errors.
Let me get this straight I am not against MTD. What I am against is forcing Accountants and business to work within an unworkable timescale and forcing high tech (it will be to some) on our workforce. These sort of major changes that involve many different facets should be natural and well thought out prior to implementation.

Thanks (2)
By Tornado
03rd Oct 2018 11:27

Just to highlight that MTD for VAT (and associated matters) is the subject of a current Lords Select Committee inquiry.

If you are interested in how this Select Committee assess the situation, then details are here -

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03rd Oct 2018 11:29

Self-interested person does another article on pushing sales of cloud based systems by tagging on the buzzword 'MTD'.

For most of us, we're keeping an eye on MTD and seeing which way the wind blows before we jump. Until we know the exact format it will take and how much information HMRC think they can handle, scaring clients with tales of woe doesn't seem like a good idea.

HMRC's goal is to be able to use 'big data' to analyse transactions and then send automated queries out which we will then spend most of our time sorting out (with the inevitable 3mth+ backlog at HMRC's end) so they can try and deny legitimate expenses.

With Brexit on the horizon I think there's a fair chance MTD will be delayed by at least one year.

They should get sensible and make it a voluntary system so we can iron out the kinks and then gradually phase it in over the next 5+ years so that we all get used to it. Throwing it at us half baked doesn't help anyone, not least HMRC who won't have the staff to answer all the queries.

Thanks (3)
to Ian McTernan CTA
03rd Oct 2018 12:13

Even if it gets delayed 'one year', that's still not a lot of time to get everyone on board.

Matt's message of getting things moving is still valid in this case.

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to Ian McTernan CTA
03rd Oct 2018 19:53

Self interested person has more work than he can shake a stick at at the moment.

He's doing what a professional would in his position advising firms of the scale of the change that will be needed when/if MTD happens.

For some it will be too little too late.

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to Ian McTernan CTA
06th Oct 2018 14:00

This made me chuckle - self-interested....!

I wrote this article to get firms thinking and discussing the MTD opportunity/problem depending on how you view it.

I have no service or product that will come close to fixing the problems with the volume of numbers that I have referred to.

However, I do value the type of influence the Accounting Profession can have (if they wish to) in regards to improving our productivity and economy... Just not entirely sure that the Accounting Profession (as a whole) recognises how much of a difference they could make.

I was expecting the nay-sayers on this post but I also know there will be firms who have read this and taken action on how to address their own MTD projects. That's a fair exchange.

I'm big & ugly enough to take negative comments - it goes with the territory of having an opinion.

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By Tornado
to MattFlan
06th Oct 2018 14:48


If you read through the comments on your article and the thousands of related comments across AWEB, you will find that most Accountants support the idea of an MTD style system.

The problem is that the current plans for MTD simply cannot be taken seriously and that is the bottom line. If the Government brought the project to a halt now, and started again with a well thought out project plan in a recognise format, then we can start taking it seriously.

Talk to the experts (us and our clients) before making plans or allocating monies and follow all the traditional requirements for any project in any industry, then we have a much better chance of being a leading Digital Government in the modern world.

At the moment we are just heading for chaos.

Thanks (2)
03rd Oct 2018 11:35

I fear Matt has never had to directly deal with anything the Revenue get involved in (shall we start with the 70+ exceptions/errors that mean we cannot submit an electronic tax return - and that's been with us for years!)

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to justsotax
06th Oct 2018 13:49

No need to fear justsotax - I've dealt with HMRC every year for 15 years across many changes to their Tax & IT systems from initial ideas to implementations....

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to MattFlan
09th Oct 2018 09:28

Is that why since SA a lot of their IT ideas have come a cropper? Actually you can say without too much controversy that HMRC have gone downhill in the last 15 years, coincidence?
I do understand that with the advent of IT systems people think that staff can be cut, which doesn't help.
You would think that since the Tax return on line filing started HMRC would have sorted out all the problems yet still some returns have to be filed by paper. Still as we all know MTD will eliminate all those errors.

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03rd Oct 2018 11:35

I'm not wasting any time or money on it until a definite start date and software that works have been announced. I expect the start date to be delayed yet again and am hoping they scrap the whole crazy idea. The current system works fine and expecting businesses to buy software is going a bit too far.

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By Thiagu
03rd Oct 2018 11:42

Where can I get a bridging software?

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to Thiagu
06th Oct 2018 13:50

The current list of compliant software is here -

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to MattFlan
08th Oct 2018 13:20

Question was "where can I get" the software - the answer is, you cannot - if you contact the suppliers on HMRC's list you will be told the software is not currently available and they will contact you when it is.

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