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Accountants in Practice

Accountants unsure how to prepare for the looming storm

By Bankstream

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Central to HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiatives is the assumption that small businesses will have access to, and be able to use, digital tools such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.

Yet accountants have been quick to point out that many of their small business clients lack the time or skills to use digital accounting systems. Accountants are concerned that much of the work associated with maintaining Digital Tax Accounts will fall to them and they are unsure how their already over-burdened practices will cope.

Bankstream recently surveyed around 200 accountants and found:

• Most small businesses don’t use digital accounting systems now
• Accountants don’t expect this to change over the next 2 years
• Most accountants are unsure how they will service clients who are unable to use digital accounting systems, but many expect this work to end up on their desk.

These results reveal the extent of a common misconception in Whitehall – that most small businesses use (or could use) accounting software to keep their books. In contrast, Accountants understand that despite an ever-expanding range of small business accounting software, apps and online systems, most small business people lack the time and/or skills to use such systems.

With the wheels of change now rolling towards the introduction of Digital Tax Accounts and quarterly tax updates, accountants are considering how to equip their practices to cope with increased workload. Automation of manual tasks such as transaction collection and data entry is a common priority so, while it might be out of reach for many of their clients, accountants are turning to technology as a solution to their current and mounting workload issues.

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Published April 2016