Tax

Accountants spend 7 days getting clients MTD compliant

Quickbooks found the majority (62%) of accounting professionals also say that many of their clients are resistant to following MTD rules

Accountants and bookkeepers are investing a “significant amount of time” getting clients compliant – but in the long-term, the new rules are “benefiting their firms”, according to new research from Intuit Quickbooks.

QuickBooks said its research found that accounting professionals spend an average of seven working days (55 hours) helping each SME client get up to speed with MTD, from initial conversations to getting them set up with a software provider.

It found that more than half (55%) said that this process “causes them stress”, with the top reason being some clients are not digitally savvy and will need help complying over the long term (41%).

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In addition, the majority (62%) of accounting professionals also say that many of their clients are resistant to following MTD rules. This makes the process an “uphill battle” for many accountants and bookkeepers, who are trying to ensure businesses aren’t penalised for being non-compliant.

However, QuickBooks’s research found that accounting professionals are positive about the long-term benefits of MTD. Almost three quarters (74%) of them agree that the new rules will save or are already saving them time, and 73% say that it will reduce or already has reduced errors in their clients’ tax returns.

Ultimately, three quarters (75%) of accounting professionals say that Making Tax Digital will benefit or is already benefiting their firm, and 75% agree that the benefits outweigh the initial time investment for their clients.

It added that currently, less than half (48%) of accounting professionals’ small business clients on average are up to date with MTD. However, despite the resistance from many clients in complying with the legislation, 89% of accounting professionals are confident that they have the skills and means to get them compliant.

Pauline Green, head of Product Compliance and Programmes at QuickBooks, said: “Accountants and bookkeepers play a critical role in implementing Making Tax Digital, initially with MTD for VAT phase 2 and then Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA). Navigating legislation can be a difficult task, particularly for time-pressed small business owners, and many of these would be lost without the guidance of their accountant.

“Though it requires some initial time investment, MTD should be seen as a big business opportunity for accounting professionals. Many are already recognising that it will save them time and reduce errors, leaving more space for strategic advisory work. Getting clients ready well in advance of the deadline means they can immediately start to reap the benefits.”

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