This article first appeared on https://www.freeagent.com/blog/mtd-client-communications/?channel=accbook
The next phase of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT and the introduction of MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) are fast approaching. With these deadlines on the horizon, it’s important that your clients understand how the MTD initiative will affect them and know what steps they need to take to remain compliant. With this in mind, award-winning software provider FreeAgent has put together the following tips to help you get your client communications off to a flying start.
Put your clients into groups
Before you start sharing information about MTD, you might want to review your customer base and consider how the initiative will impact different types of clients.
You may have some clients who are already using accounting software like FreeAgent and others who don’t yet keep digital accounting records. Some may be affected by MTD for VAT, others by MTD for ITSA, and some might be affected by both. A diverse range of clients means that a one-size-fits-all approach to communications is unlikely to be effective. Instead, you may wish to separate your clients into groups and tailor your messaging to fit the needs of each one.
Draw up a communications plan
Taking the time to plan how to speak to your clients about MTD will help you ensure that your communications are as efficient as possible. Try to detail what message you want to communicate to each group of clients and when you want to share it. While you certainly want to keep your clients informed about MTD, it’s important to avoid bombarding them with so many messages that they can’t stay on top of everything.
By prioritising your MTD messaging and choosing a particular time and day to get in touch with your clients, you can avoid overloading them with information and make sure they don’t miss important details.
Choose your channel
Your method of communication is every bit as important as the content. It’s also important to consider which methods of communication your clients will be most receptive to. Here are some communication channels to consider:
Email newsletters can be an efficient way of sending regular updates to your client base. By sticking to a regular schedule (e.g. once a week or once a month), you can keep your communications consistent and your clients will know to look out for them. You may decide to finish each email with a checklist of tasks your clients should complete or a hyperlink to encourage them to read more on the topic. If you’d like your newsletter to engage with prospective clients, consider adding a message on your website to encourage them to join your mailing list.
You can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to share your MTD messages and even spark discussions on related topics. It’s also important to think about the types of content that you want to share. For example, an infographic or a quick summary of the important MTD deadlines may resonate on Facebook better than a long post on how MTD will impact landlords, which could be better suited as a blog post.
If you’re keen to share your insights into MTD, consider writing blog posts for your clients and publishing them on your website. As some aspects of the initiative may require a little more explanation than others, you may want to create blog content that tackles the most important details or answers the most frequently asked questions. Although a blog post may take a while to research and write, it could prove invaluable in the long run, as you can point clients to it whenever they have a query as well as sharing it on social media platforms and linking to it from your newsletters.
By hosting an engaging webinar, you can speak directly to your clients about MTD and answer multiple questions in one session. This can bring a more personal feel to your communications, which your clients will hopefully both enjoy and appreciate. By hosting webinars for particular groups of clients, you can home in on the specific aspects of MTD for VAT and MTD for ITSA that will impact them.
You may also wish to invite other experts along to reinforce your messaging. For example, FreeAgent’s team of MTD experts can join your webinar to talk your clients through using digital accounting software and explain the benefits of digital record keeping. By hosting webinars, you might also get a better understanding of which of your clients are engaged and which ones have yet to prepare for the changes.
Reassure your clients
MTD may feel daunting to many business owners but by reassuring your clients that you’re able to support them through the change, you can help to put their minds at ease.
Highlighting the benefits of digital record keeping could also help to put your clients in a more positive frame of mind around MTD. From giving them a clearer understanding of their tax responsibilities to reducing the risk of invoicing errors, MTD could have major long-term advantages for your clients. You can read more about the advantages of MTD and other myth-busting information in this handy guide.
If you’re looking for a more tailored approach to your client communications, you can arrange a free 30-minute consultation with one of FreeAgent’s MTD experts.