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The Live Expo guide for the MTD explorer


Unfurl your guide map, adjust your wide-brimmed fedora and set the coordinates to Coventry to uncover the answers to your MTD problems at AccountingWEB Live Expo. Your essential guide starts here...

12th Nov 2021
Editor AccountingWEB
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Getting your practice ready for Making Tax Digital has become accountancy’s version of finding the Ark of the Covenant. It’s often talked about, but despite many expeditions and a few sightings (and policy papers and delays), it still remains a mystery to many.

Globetrotting accountants, however, have a chance to get closer to unravelling the secrets of Making Tax Digital at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December. 

Intrepid MTD explorers will be trekking to the Temple of the Coventry Building Society Arena in search of answers to grappling with deadline bunching, post-MTD fee wrangling, basis period headscratchers, software choices and more.

But the journey to MTD nirvana is not an easy one. So AccountingWEB’s essential guide is here to plan your route around the exhibition hall, so you come away fully prepped and ready to whip your clients into shape ready for April 2024. 

Before you hit the dusty but relatively quick trail towards the West Midlands, the first step is to ensure you’ve planned ahead of time and booked your Live Expo tickets. Register now for your tickets.   


Your MTD guides

Now, I know what you're going to say: "MTD... why does it always have to be MTD?" But don't worry, you won’t be on this mission alone. Tax, technology and practice experts will lead you through the the jungle of treacherous booby-traps or digital rolling boulders that may look to spear or flatten your MTD preparations. 

The team of experts include Chris Downing from Sage, HMRC’s Giles McCallum and Jim Harra, Kris Sawford from FreeAgent, Paul Aplin, Rebecca Benneyworth and Steve Cox from IRIS plus many more.  

There will be many others looking for the secrets to MTD at the Live Expo, so be sure to arrive at each session with plenty of time. So join us as we take you on a trip around the Live Expo... 


Day one for the MTD explorer

Every MTD explorer should live by the Scouts’ motto ‘be prepared’. So even before you arrive, you should examine how far along your practice is up the steep Mount MTD path and figure out the best route to take around the exhibition hall. 

So, where should you start? The ascent point on the Live Expo map should start at the Accounting Excellence keynote theatre at 10.45am to hear HMRC’s MTD vision. Here, you’ll hear directly from HMRC’s Giles McCallum on the role accountants will play and like any good mission, what the long-term strategy is for the project over the next 10 years and beyond.  

Once you’ve heard what’s next for MTD, you can set your compass for the Tax Academy at 11.45am. And then, chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in, it’s time for the first MTD bootcamp. Change into your tax deductible camouflage and stand to attention! Rebecca Benneyworth will be joined by IRIS’s Steve Cox to marshall you and your team through the planning, preparation and processes considerations of MTD. 

Now you’re armed with the MTD workflows to streamline your practice, don’t move too far from the Tax Academy basecamp as at 12.30pm, Rebecca Benneyworth will again put you through your paces in another MTD bootcamp. This time she teams up with Sage's Chris Downing to examine the human side of the client management challenge and explore some of the tactics you can use to migrate clients online. 

Make sure you pack plenty of snacks in your satchel, as you’re going to have to hightail it straight from the Tax Academy to the Tech Workshop Theatre 2 for the 1pm bootcamp on choosing the right MTD software. Army drill sergeants for this session, John Stokdyk and a representative from HMRC will advise you on what core functionality you should be looking out for when making your MTD software purchases. 

It’s then back to the Tax Academy at 1.45pm for the final bootcamp of the day: Inside the income tax trials. You can’t fully prepare for your MTD mission without studying stories from the field. Hear the latest from the income tax trials and learn what updates will be coming down the line. 

Now that day one has come to a close, and you’ve made good progress, it’s time to finally return to the explorer theme we started out with and celebrate with a drink around the campfire (please don’t start an actual fire - it’s a health and safety nightmare!). You can enjoy a drink and share your findings with your fellow MTD explorers at the Live Expo aftershow party.   


Day two for the MTD explorer

Rub off your bootcamp camouflage face paint and set off for the Tech Workshop Theatre 2 at 10.30am for the realities of the automated practice. Technology is going to be key to thriving in your MTD mission and this session will reveal how accountants in the trenches have brought real-time reporting and streamlined processes into their practices. 

Whether it’s the snow leopard or hanging gardens of Babylon, every explorer wants to catch a glimpse of that one hidden creature or artefact. The same goes for the MTD explorer. And at the Live Expo they get to see it at 12.15pm in the Accounting Excellence Theatre: a Tax Talk Whitehall special with Rebecca Benneyworth, Bill Dodwell from the Office of Tax Simplification and Jim Harra, the chief executive of HMRC.  

Your mission is almost complete. Over the two days, you will have found out what software you need, how you can get buy-in from clients and staff, asked HMRC your burning questions and discovered the processes you need to bring into your practice. 

But there is one challenge left to conquer - the post-MTD pricing problem. Your final climb to the MTD summit is at the Tax Academy at 1.45pm. Our experts will debate how fees will have to increase going forward and how they’re tackling that free vs paid dilemma. 

Before you go, you can touch the final MTD session at the Tech Workshop 1 trig pillar as FreeAgent’s Kris Sawford explores the benefits of encouraging your clients to keep digital records ahead of MTD ITSA.  

Explore the exhibitors

But your MTD expedition doesn’t stop there. It’s time now to take a stroll around the stalls and see what MTD solutions are on offer in the exhibition space. 

So, make sure you leave plenty of time in your Expo schedule to speak with all the vendors that will be integral to your MTD planning and preparations. 

  • FreeAgent [Stand E20] allows you to run your clients’ monthly payroll in bulk and file your clients’ Making Tax Digital VAT returns.
  • IRIS [Stand F1] provides a suite of integrated compliance, productivity, and collaboration solutions for accountants
  • Sage [Stand E1] offers compatible, proven, and trusted software that’s ready for Making Tax Digital
  • TaxCalc [Stand D10] comprises tax, accounts, company secretarial, compliance and practice management solutions
  • Xero [Stand E10] recently launched a new personal tax feature which means Xero Tax can be used for both your individual and company clients.

There are over 80 exhibitors attending the exhibition with many providing software solutions that will be key to future-proofing your practice ready for MTD ITSA. You can see the full list of exhibitors here. 

And if you still have some unanswered questions from your journey around the exhibition hall, make your way over to the HMRC stand to put your questions directly to the tax authority. 

And keep your eyes out for relics or artefacts on pedestals too. There is no guarantee that you’ll see the Ark of the Covenant there (sorry!), but you will discover other artefacts such as the historic HMRC stamp press

Time to go home

So, you’ve uncovered the secrets to your MTD problems, and now it’s time to bid farewell to AccountingWEB Live Expo temple and ride off into the sunset (or use whichever form of transport suits you!) 

But there is so much more at the Live Expo to explore. Next time in your trusty guide we’ll round up the best sights and secrets to help if you’re looking to grow your practice or to get a head start on the latest technology trends hitting the market. 

What MTD sessions have you got your eye on at the Live Expo?


Replies (4)

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paddle steamer
15th Nov 2021 15:26

I wonder if I could get the concession for selling over ripe tomatoes at the Expo?

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
By Paul Crowley
16th Nov 2021 17:18

Does life exist outside of MTD?

Thanks (2)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
paddle steamer
22nd Nov 2021 11:07

Yes Paul*, but not as we know it. [ *Jim]

Thanks (0)
By StarkSeahorse
24th Nov 2021 06:11

Happy to hear that! Your comment made mine.

Thanks (0)