Until they start treating us like human beings I refuse to pay them any more money for AML.
I have paid not once but 4 times for my AML registration! my most recent payment was a full application because they transfered my account to the new system and I was unable to access it online to renew. I was advised I had to let it expire and re-apply, I did this and now I have been told I cannot re-apply because I have an existing expired account! dozens of emails and phone calls to various HMRC departments and nothing. The replies I do get are either automated responces or clearly show that the person answering did not read the entire email and advises solutions I have already exhausted!
I cannot comply with MTD until the ASA account is set up and I need my AML for that.
To say I'm at my wits end with this is an understatement!
I was hoping for more of a varied list of "chalk mark" results, less focused on the individual cases but more general in the intent and how HMRC deal with them. The feel of the program was very mute and vague. They where obviously not allowed to cover much given the sensitivity of the subject matter.
Perhaps something more akin to a Tax version of Crimewatch would have been better. Something that highlighted the results of resent campaigns HMRC have run like the landlord scheme. This would have been better viewing.
£5 per month for accountants to access free software for users? is this some way of hiding fees from clients who choose to use this software?
I hope there’s some way of pulling this information out to other accounting software.
I imagine the idea of offering free software to businesses had to happen eventually, and Clear Books will likely draw a lot of businesses in with this model, however the client/accountant relationships will be severely tested with this hidden price tag.
Assuming I want to move all my clients to Clear Books Micro, it’s going to cost me an additional £1,500 per month (300 clients). Now I could simply increase all my fees to cover this but then that’s adding another £60 a year to my charges when clients are going to say,
"Hey, why the price increase? we’re doing most of the work for you now!" (yes, they do say that a lot.)
Then there is the issue of not moving to Clear Books Micro and having clients come to us who have moved to it themselves (I mean, why wouldn’t they, its free after all) ...
Accountant. "Hi Mr. Smith, your accounts are done but we have charged you an extra £60 this year."
Mr. Smith, "But you only just finished my friend, Mr. Jones, you didn’t charge him extra and he only gave paper records, I gave you a completed spreadsheet with Clear Books!"
I don't know how I would respond to this TBH.
Most of my clients are from recommendations, they are friends/family etc. and yes, they do discuss fees and such.
I am not so sure about dungeons and dragons re AI , gaming is a completely different issue than accounting. AI i would suggest is a different thing to automation , do we want our software suddenly saying ' you cant post it there'....
See that's the thing about Dungeons and Dragons, its not like monopoly or Cluedo. The game presents a dungeon master with the tools to tell his own story to the players, letting the players have the freedom to decide how their heroes face off against the challenges laid out.
With each encounter the Dungeon master must decide if a players action is possible and to what rules it applies.
In Business, its the Accountants who decide if a business owners transactions are allowable and to what rules they apply to.
One of the biggest problems with getting computers to do a humans job is the interpretation of the rules used to do said job.
I'm going to show my geekiness here as an example...
Dungeons and Dragons has, since the 1970s, been a pen and paper affair. As computers entered our life, people have developed programs to try and simulate the role of the players to provide tools to play online. Every new book release introduced new challenges for the software and ultimately they failed to fulfil the roll they where designed for.
In order to create a computer version of the game that kept the freedom of its intent they had to redesign the rules from the ground up, sacrificing some of its flexibility to achieve a fully automated version of the game.
The Accounting Ruleset has much the same issues. With every new business, new venture and new technology, the rules must be adjudicated by humans to ascertain an acceptable result. Computers must be continuously updated to cope with this ever changing medium.
Now to make it easier we could redesign the accounting system from scratch with AI/Machine Learning in mind. But that would be a task so huge that by the time it was finished it would be out of date.
Youngloch's example is a good one. It highlights the one thing that has attracted me to the cloud and MTD more than anything. The ability to connect with my clients on a much more personal level!
I too have been working with clients to convert them to cloud software and I can say, with hand on heart, that it has been the most rewarding experience of my career.
To have clients openly thank and praise me for everything I have done to make their life easier and make their business more successful, is something I intend to pursue.
From my experience sole traders have been "getting away with it" for far too long. While MTD doesn't prevent sole traders from "hiding" their earnings it goes along way to removing those upstanding businesses who want pay what they owe from the firing line.
I agree that the need for a full pilot is required to make this transition from paper to digital run as smoothly as possible.
But lets not go down the pointing fingers route just because HMRC are so tight lipped.
Honestly HMRC are approaching MTD wrong. They should be looking at this from a software development standpoint. Software development has design and implementation, you then have private testing (commonly known as Alpha) then this is followed by a more public Beta. Only when the Beta has been fully tested does it become implemented to the public and even after beta patches and updates are required.
In these modern times software developers are communicating more with their customers long before even the alpha is launched. HMRC are not and that is why we have fear and uncetainty on these forums.
clicking a button does not cause "untold burdens, costs or anxiety"
The quarterly reporting, partly thanks to next to no information from HMRC on its implementation, has fueled the fear mongering that is now rife on these forums.
Rebecca Bennyworth said at her presentations at QuickBooks Connect in London, that the main purpose of the quarterly filing was to ensure businesses where using digital records. The figures hold no bearing on tax implications for the business.
Think of it like signing the register at school, theres no guarantee your going to attend your classes by signing the register, it just tells the school you where there at that time.
Whats the point you might ask? Well its a simple numbers game.
If there are 50,000 new businesses starting in the UK every year, and HMRC need 1 member of staff to investigate 12 of them (averaging 1 month investigation per business), they will need over 4,000 members of staff. If however they have a digital register (MTD) that could potentially monitor 90% of them without any staff, they need less than 500 staff to monitor the rest.
I dont need to spell it out why HMRC think this is a good idea really.
The time frame for MTD is certainly questionable, but the reasons people are arguing against it are wildly unrealistic.
I have spoken to a few clients both new and old, and have been pleasantly surprised by their reactions to MTD.
One existing client who has used paper records for years actually admitted to me that he and his wife use "Quicken" to manage their household. A move to QuickBooks for his business would not be a hard sell.
Success or failure can be measured in my opinion. Over time clients will evolve just like when self-assessment was first introduced. The biggest issue for most will be how much extra it will cost.
By your definition (and that is also stated by UBER) there is also another concern. UBER connects the driver and passenger through an app. There is no pre-booking involved. This means that the app is providing a digital version of "hailing" a taxi...
UBER drivers are currently licenced under private hire licences. Private Hire are not allowed to "hail". they are only allowed to pick up pre-booked customers. So currently under the ruling, all UBER drivers have been working illegally as far as the councils are concerned.