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Are UK accountants missing out on a million new clients?

25th Mar 2024
Brought to you by
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Receipt Bot is a robotic data entry assistant for accountants and bookkeepers. Leveraging the...
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The UK's self-assessment tax filing deadline is a big deal – and not optional. Yet, notably, a million people missed this crucial deadline this year. While the majority of these are small filers with minimal obligations, the sheer scale of the issue reveals just how many people struggle with the demands of the system.

Are accountants missing out on a million new clients
Receipt Bot

For small businesses, sole traders, and side-hustle workers who drift into the fileable threshold, manually tracking, sorting, and checking their income and expenditures can seem daunting. Here, we examine the challenges faced by filers and how the right tools can help make your service more attractive, affordable, and effective for these individuals.

Why Businesses Miss Their Self-Assessment Filings

Unlike many other aspects of starting a business – incorporation, registration or choosing a name – tax isn’t a one-and-done task. It’s an ongoing obligation that requires not only regular attention but also specialised knowledge and interacting with arcane-seeming systems.

Tax regulations are intimidating

For small business owners or side-hustle entrepreneurs without a dedicated accounting team, the intricate web of tax laws can be overwhelming. The task of staying abreast with ever-evolving tax regulations poses a significant hurdle, leading those responsible to put off the task until it’s too late.

Lack of Awareness

New entrepreneurs, in their nascent stage, may find themselves unfamiliar with their tax obligations, including deadlines and filing requirements, due to a sheer lack of education and guidance. New business owners inevitably have a lot on their plate, and taxes can easily slide down the to-do list until it’s forgotten entirely.

Time Constraints

Startups and high-growth businesses, focusing intensely on market expansion and operational priorities, often sideline compliance tasks. The pressing demands of running and growing a business can inadvertently push tax filing to the back burner.

Record Keeping Challenges

Proper record keeping, an essential for accurate tax filing, remains a confusing and time-consuming challenge for businesses not employing automated bookkeeping solutions. The manual process of handling of paperwork and financial records is both time-consuming and prone to errors.

How Can Accountants Help?

Accountants are still the default trusted advisor for businesses of all types, and these smaller companies present a significant opportunity if firms can angle their service in the right way.

  • Make education a priority: It is crucial for accountants to take an active role in educating their business clients about how tax works, perhaps through workshops or webinars, ensuring they are well-informed and prepared to be a helpful partner, rather than a hindrance.
  • Offering Tailored Solutions: Accountants should provide appropriate, easy-to-use bookkeeping and tax services that cater to the unique needs of various business sizes and sectors, from startups to established firms, making tax less of a burden.
  • Implementing Automation: Leveraging tools like Receipt Bot that streamline the record-keeping and filing processes makes tax more approachable and discourages procrastination. Automating the extraction of data from invoices and bank statements not only saves time but also minimises errors, making the tax filing process more efficient.
  • Proactive Planning: Accountants need to instil a culture of proactive tax planning among their clients, including setting up visible tax calendars that highlight all critical deadlines, ensuring timely compliance.

Capturing the Opportunity

Accountants can turn these missed deadlines into revenue and new business by using the right tools, messaging, and pricing to reach and convert uncertain filers.

  • Outreach can include content marketing, targeted advertisements, and forming partnerships with business associations to highlight a modern approach to bookkeeping and compliance that provides value for businesses rather than just ticking a box.
  • Review your client base to find case studies that resonate with the kind of customer you’re trying to attract, using quotes and insights to show how easy tax can be with the right partner.
  • By capturing clients early in their business journey, you can establish relationships early on that can grow with their company, going from basic compliance to more value-added work.

Making Your Tax Process Work For You

The tools and processes in your firm are not just a means to get your work done – they’re the promise you make to businesses about how you’ll improve their lives. With millions of filers showing that manual tax management is enough of a headache for them to miss the deadline, now is the time to create a more compelling offering.

Receipt Bot is a user-friendly bookkeeping and document management hub designed for accountants, bookkeepers, and their small business clients. With automated data extraction, digital document management, and seamless cloud integration, clients can save time and money on their compliance while leaving more time for advisors to add value where it counts.

To find out more, get in touch with our team today.