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MTD: how will it affect the client relationship?

With Making Tax Digital upon us, the age of online tax transactions has taken over the reams of paper which used to make tax returns such a nuisance.

The Government positions the switch to digital as a way of ‘reducing burdens for taxpayers’ and early on in the switch it seems like the changes will be positive.

Closer relationship to clients

MTD is an opportunity for accountants to get closer to their clients, offering a unique opportunity to touch base with clients who may not ordinarily be interacted with on a day to day basis.

One of the key reasons behind the introduction of MTD was to assist accountants and their clients in becoming more successful and more capable of overcoming business challenges.

Although the transition may be initially off-putting to many businesses, with the correct guidance the transition can be a smooth process.

In the past, the client-accountant relationship may have been a distant one, but MTD
means clients will no longer see their accountant once a year when they drop off their records.
The switch over will bring with it more frequent touchpoints, leading to more productive conversations and efficient interactions.

Easy to use technology

There a has been much concern surrounding the level of technical knowledge required from business owners or managers in relation to how their accounts connect to MTD.

Generally speaking, typical owners and managers don’t need a lot of prior knowledge into the inner workings of the technology.

In most instances, a combination of accountants and software providers deal with the technical aspect of the switch to make it as pain free as possible.

A basic understanding from the owners as to what is being sent to HMRC will always be beneficial, however an in-depth technical understanding is not necessary. This point should be reiterated to clients who are nervous about making the switch.

Smooth Transition

Online accounting systems are striving to insulate their users from many of the technical aspects of MTD.

They are also trying to make it as seamless as possible for those clients already on cloud software such as QuickBooks Online/Xero who won’t notice much of a difference.

The clients who currently use spreadsheets will be the most affected by the transition as they may have to make more adjustments.

The new digital system boasts a better process than the previous method of handing in stacks of paper to an accountant at the end of the year. With less paper to shuffle, there is less chance of making errors, and any errors which are made can be detected as and when they happen. It also allows a real-time view of financial information which helps to avoid the end-of-year anxiety as clients wait to see how much tax they are liable for.

The convenience of cloud storage will save the task of trawling through multiple platforms to find business records and financial information. Everything will be easily accessible in one easy-to use platform, saving clients time and making any tax returns fully trackable.

MTD represents the single most significant change to the UK’s taxing system in recent times but this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

It’s been a long time coming but the age of digital taxation is close, and those firms who are willing to adapt to help clients with the technical change required will set themselves up to benefit financially in the long run.

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