Tech Lowdown: MTD readiness and Curve expansion

Tech Lowdown
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Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest news and updates from the accounting tech world. 

This week, Tech Lowdown features Curve’s European expansion and new surveys about the UK firms’ implementation of their MTD plans.

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Curve announces international expansion plans

Fintech startup Curve has announced new plans for international expansion, beginning with six additional offices across Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and Poland.

The company, which enables users to combine all their credit and debit cards into a single card managed by an app has reached half a million users since its launch in the UK.

To manage its growth, Curve has appointed former Linkedin talent acquisition partner Alaister Mortlock as head of talent and is now hiring six country managers as part of the expansion plans in the European market.

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Over half of tax professionals haven’t yet implemented their MTD plans

A survey of UK accounting professionals conducted by Thomson Reuters this month has found that over half of UK tax professionals haven’t fully implemented their Making Tax Digital for VAT plans yet.

Over a third (36%) of the companies surveyed stated they will be ready in 6-12 months and 64% expect to be ready for MTD in the next six months. “There are many companies still running the risk of not having their plans fully implemented and tested before both the April 2019 deadline and the deferred deadline for complex businesses,” said Kim Hau, senior proposition manager for ONESOURCE Indirect Tax at Thomson Reuters.

Among the main challenges that accountants are encountering, participants mentioned digital maintenance of their records (23%), finding suitable software for VAT return submissions (24%) and concerns about whether their software will be ready for the challenges (17%). 

One of the main changes identified in the survey was the increased use of new tax technology with 32% of tax professionals adopting new technologies as part of MTD, with the use of Excel for VAT returns decreasing for filing returns and maintaining records.

As for the readiness of UK SMEs in the run-up to MTD, recent research conducted by IRIS reveals that accountants are struggling to move clients to bookkeeping software with three in five (61%) practices mentioning this to be currently their biggest challenge.

“Many SMEs are worried about the time and cost of adopting a digital approach to tax and compliance. As a result, they have - and will continue to - ignore pleas from their accountant and HMRC until absolutely necessary,” said Nick Gregory, chief marketing officer at IRIS Software Group. He encouraged practices to use the soft-landing period to encourage as many clients as possible to adopt a digital approach.

The survey conducted by IRIS also found that most accountancy firms will continue to provide core compliance services with nearly two thirds (60%) of practices saying they will provide bookkeeping services.

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