There are always clients who are never satisfied but, if you provide solutions to their problems, most of them will appreciate you. This was the main response we received from our clients when we helped them to prepare for MTD last year.
MTD is coming. The UK is well behind other countries in their use of technology for tax reporting. Whilst the dates may slip, it isn’t going to go away. Companies on the annual VAT scheme should already be keeping digital records for the April 2019 implementation but, so far, HMRC has done little to warn VAT registered companies that they may need to make changes.
This means that you have the opportunity to be the first to let your clients know about Making Tax Digital. It’s a way of demonstrating that you are truly proactive if you share the solution along with the HMRC requirements.
Start with generic information campaigns which can also be used for external marketing beyond your existing clients. Tell them the basic requirements of digital, up to date record keeping, share the benefits of this to their business and perhaps suggest some software and training to help them. Our job is to look after our clients and to provide a solution. This is not the time to share our grievances about the additional admin burden or other downsides.
As part of the awareness you can put some FAQs onto your website or host an event or webinar with a small presentation.
These campaigns will prompt many of your clients to ask for specific help so, for these and others, be prepared and ready to explain what each of them needs to do in order to comply. They may need your help with moving to new software and training to improve their bookkeeping or data input. Outsourcing their bookkeeping to you or a trusted contact may also help them.
Suggested benefits for your clients of up to date digital records:
Better information to run their business more easily
Management accounts available to make applications for finance easier
Time saved through automation
No big pile of records to write up at the year end
Easier to seek help from their accountant with online software
Those affected by changes to the flat rate scheme may now be better off under the standard scheme if the software can simplify their VAT returns. The additional VAT recovered may even cover any additional costs of MTD.
Better information to help run their businesses more easily and the opportunity to provide advisory services where applicable
Management accounts to make applications for finance easier
No delay writing up records at the year end so your turnaround time can be slicker
If clients use bookkeeping software which integrates with your accounts and tax software then there are additional time savings to be made at the year end
Accountant access to online software means that you can keep an eye on clients’ bookkeeping throughout the year or help them with any queries – this should also reduce the December/January overwhelm
Where you are doing the bookkeeping for your clients you will have more opportunities to communicate with your clients throughout the year in order to win and maintain their loyalty
You may win additional work and therefore increase your fee income
Your aim is to get clients to thank you for solving their problem (we really did have some of these) and making their life easier.
Click here to download the Capium white paper on How to Talk to Small Businesses About MTD with more ideas of the detail to include in your generic and specific communications along with some ideas on how to spread the message.
Della Hudson was part of the class of 2009. She built up Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers from her kitchen table to a small team of flexible workers with independent premises in Nailsea, near Bristol. The firm ran regular Money Matters seminars and other training and webinars. Della sold the firm in 2017 in order to focus on the...