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MAKING TAX DIGITAL (MTD)
Making Tax Digital for accountants - four rules for success
Like it or not, Making Tax Digital (MTD) is here to stay, and will have an impact on your firm and clients. And while you may understand what it is, putting it into practice requires planning and safeguarding against any impacts it may have on both your firm and your clients.
There are plenty of things you can do to ensure that everything runs smoothly - whether that’s asking for external support or simply communicating and being transparent with your clients. Here, we’ll run through four Making Tax Digital ‘rules’ to follow to ensure your success.
1. Communicate with clients
If your clients aren’t up-to-date with MTD, then you need to ensure they are, right now.
We asked Lorraine Ellison of Simply Additions accountants how her practice informed clients about the change. “Many of our clients had heard nothing about MTD from HMRC and had no idea what it meant. So we talked a lot about it when we moved them over to QuickBooks.”
Rather than shy away, Lorraine and her team used the opportunity to ignite a conversation about MTD with their clients, explaining the benefits it could bring. Things like having a real-time view of their finances and a clearer view of the tax they owe are hugely beneficial to clients.
Having this conversation with your own clients can help to ease any concerns they may have.
Some tips for effective communication about MTD with your clients are:
Make MTD a part of every conversation your staff have with clients
Add an MTD reminder to the bottom of every email you send to clients
Customise QuickBooks resources, such as those in our Making Tax Digital Marketing Kit and send them to your clients
Consider sending newsletters, blogs or email updates to your clients on this topic, informing them of the changes and reminding them of any MTD deadlines
“Resist the urge to leave everyone until the last minute”
2. Scale up for success
A personal approach can be very effective in encouraging a client to switch to MTD, but it’s impractical if you need to on-board clients in large numbers. Think about how you could swap the one-to-one approach for a one-to-many approach.
Don’t leave the entire on-boarding process to one person on your team. That approach works when you have lots of time, but MTD is already here. You could be playing catch up for weeks. By including everyone you’ll increase the reach of your message.
Consider teaming up a few people, with the sole focus of on-boarding all your clients in a timely fashion. By getting more people involved, you can hugely speed up the process, allowing your clients to appreciate the benefits as soon as possible.
Aside from our Making Tax Digital software for accountants, QuickBooks can help you scale up by:
offering advice about running successful seminars with your clients
supplying training materials and documents
providing access to bi-weekly webinars and how-to videos to share with clients
“MTD will free up time to let you do more advisory, higher-value work”
3. Get support from experts
It’s not just your clients who need reassurance about MTD. At QuickBooks, we recognise the pressure that some accountants have been under. So as well as making sure our software is MTD-compliant and as user-friendly as possible, we’re helping firms beyond the on-boarding process.
Our range of support resources includes a digital marketing kit, an on-boarding guide and a range of printable PDFs explaining everything from the benefits of cloud accounting to how MTD affects small businesses. Our account managers can also offer expert, practical advice and help you build a landing page with links to videos and technical support.
4. Look to the future
This has been a hectic time for accountants. However streamlined your on-boarding process may have been, some clients will have been reluctant to move to digital record keeping until absolutely necessary. But, with clients and staff now familiar with a new way of working, MTD frees up time to let you do more advisory, higher-value work.
Firms who are confident about meeting deadlines, like Lorraine at Simply Additions, are positive about the changes. “I think it’s brilliant. It takes away all the manual entry and means we have time to look at how our clients are doing and give them advice.”
Feel you’re better informed about Making Tax Digital rules? The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses grow.
Learn how QuickBooks can help you with Making Tax Digital