So, you have your MTD action plan. Now what?
Sitting at your desk surrounded by printouts of 12 different MTD Plans that you have received from software providers, staring at a huge spreadsheet with client names and more gaps than information I’m sure you’re not feeling quite ready for MTD for VAT.
How do you turn that plan into reality??
Step one - segment your client base
Understanding the position you are in right now is cricial to any well delivered plan. Certain criteria such as the software you clients are using is generally unknown to most firms however crucial in knowing if your client is compliant. Most firms hold lots of client information in numerous spreadsheets and/or practice management systems however it is likely missing or out of date. Trying to manage those multiple systems becomes difficult and time consuming.
Spreadsheets are all well and good until multiple people need to add information to them, it’s usually quite difficult to ask numerous people to supply information, what usually occurs is that half of the information asked for is blank and extra columns and fields are added. Having said that, spreadsheets are a good starting tool, if only to pull together the numerous systems that currently hold information within your firm.
Step two – use neXus as a planning tool
Gain real-time visability of your firm, staff and clients. Our software gives unparalleled tracking against your firm’s progress towards making tax digital. By using it you see the exact picture of MTD and can track that by office, partner, manager or team member. It gives a great view on where your resources need to be allocated to make sure that clients are being tracked and assisted towards MTD compliance.
Step three – Work through the plan
You have probably decided or are in the process of deciding on a preferred software to use for clients however remain aware that many clients will have key processes that are crucially important within their company, which may or may not work with an online bookkeeping software. The choice of software and apps can seem baffling however there are great companies such as BlueHub who will guide and assist you with selecting, implementing & integrating Cloud Accounting Add-ons.
Ensure that you put key performance metrics in the plan, check your plan. A tip here is to align the plan to S.M.A.R.T
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
• What: What do I want to accomplish?
• Why: Specific reasons for accomplishing the goal.
• Who: Who is involved?
• Where: Identify a location.
• Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
To remain on track, you need to understand how many clients are impacted and then look at the target to work with every month, week, day.
Regularly report on these numbers to see if you are in front or behind where you need to be.
Strike a balance between too easy attainable and being too stretching. What are you trying to do? Move all your clients to MTD software or is there a mid-way solution that extends the time we have.
Consider who will perform each task and if their capacity and skillset are correct. Look at the plan, can you complete it with the resources that you have now or do you need to look at hiring or working with a business partner.
The deadline of April 1st is looming however the reality is clients will have April, May, and June as their first submission date, plan around this and treat the earliest clients as a priority.
Once you have visibility of the clients that need assistance with software you’ll be able to see the scale of task ahead, bear in mind that an average client will take in the region of eight hours from initial conversation through to software training.
Step four – Use the information you now have
The information gathered over the next few years as we progress through MTD (VAT and beyond) can be crucial in providing additional services to your clients. My suggestion is use this as an opportunity rather than seeing a problem, clean up databases, improve processes and as a great excuse to sack those clients that make life difficult!
To find out more about how we are helping accounting firms gather client data and plan for MTD please go to www.nexus-cloud.co.uk