Dealing with MTD: ‘one of the biggest challenges for businesses’
The Government’s “Making Tax Digital” scheme is an “extremely” or “very” challenging issue for one in four businesses in the UK, according to a new survey, comments an expert from PracticeWeb.
More than a quarter of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners cited compliance with MTD as one of the biggest issues impacting their day-to-day operations, while a growing number of businesses said they had problems dealing with HMRC in general.
The research was conducted on behalf of PracticeWeb, the digital marketing agency for the accountancy industry, and involved a survey of 400 business owners or partners with an accountant. The results can be found in PracticeWeb’s latest insight report in association with AccountancyManager.
The results demonstrate the value accountants can provide their clients by demystifying regulatory compliance as well as the importance of using effective communication to keep businesses in-the-know regarding the latest changes to tax rules.
PracticeWeb’s annual survey included Making Tax Digital (MTD) as a new category for the question “how challenging are the following issues to your business?”, with 28% of SMEs citing it as very or extremely challenging.
More than a third (35%) of business owners said online competition was very or extremely challenging for them, making this the top challenge for the second year running, highlighting the importance of online marketing and maintaining an active online presence.
Financing (34%) and cashflow (34%) came in as the joint second-highest challenges, while dealing with HMRC (33%) came a close third.
The answers citing regulatory compliance as very or extremely challenging also increased by around eight percentage points, with 32% of respondents finding this particularly difficult.
The biggest issues impacting day-to-day operations for SME owners
Beth Steer, head of content and digital marketing services at PracticeWeb, said: “MTD is obviously proving to be difficult for a significant number of businesses in the UK, at a time when various factors impacting running costs and staffing levels mean they already have enough on their plates.
“It represents both a challenge and an opportunity to the accountancy industry. For some, MTD is a costly and complicated exercise, hampered by delays and confusion along the way. But it also presents accountancy firms the chance to convert more clients to digital processes, to take a more active role in advising them on accounting technology, and to expand to new advice and services.
“Big changes like MTD are also a good opportunity for accountancy firms to boost client communications through things like blog posts, videos, emails, social media and so on, to make sure they’re getting the message out wherever their audiences might see it.
“Sometimes accountancy firms can benefit from refreshers and advice of their own in how to best take advantage of the different avenues of communication available to them, and they shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to specialist marketing firms like ours to make sure they’re comfortable using all the tools at their disposal so they can offer the best service possible to their own clients.”