MTD comes into effect on April 1st 2019 for VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000. Prepare your practice and your clients before the deadline. Use AutoEntry to automate data entry and generate digital records.
Once you’ve begun to prepare your existing clients for MTD, start marketing your services to potential new clients. Many businesses are still not using accounting software, or you may have existing clients who will want their tax aﬀairs managed in addition to the other services they outsource to you.
Research what services other practices are oﬀering and how you could set your ﬁrm apart. Consider oﬀering packages which tie in other services. Think about your pricing and if your current method of billing - hourly, value based or otherwise, will work best given the extra hours it will take for businesses prepare in time.
Once you’ve crafted your service oﬀering, market your services to get the word out. Pull together compelling content and marketing materials such as ﬂyers, brochures, videos and logos and publicise these to your clients.
If you don’t already have marketing or design support, websites like Fiverr or People Per Hour, connect you to freelance graphic designers who can create branded materials inexpensively, on a project basis. You can also ﬁnd support in improving your search engine optimisation (SEO), which will help your ﬁrm to rank highly in a Google search. A big part of having good SEO is linking to other content and using the right keywords in the content you create. You can also use these keywords as part of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, when you place ads to appear during a Google search. You’re only charged based on how many people click on this advert. This approach allows you to accurately measure engagement with your content as well as getting your message to the right audience quickly.
Create a PR-program to create extra buzz. For instance, as the owner of your accounting or bookkeeping practice, oﬀer interviews to journalists at small business magazines on moving to the cloud and the beneﬁts of working digitally. Scour these titles for regular columns or comment opportunities. Ring the advertising team and see if there is any sponsored content or relevant campaigns you could publicise your service oﬀering in. Create thought leadership content (i.e. insightful, unbiased content that isn’t directly plugging your ﬁrm) and pitch these articles to the publications your target audience is reading. Organise a breakfast brieﬁng to educate businesses on MTD, whilst oﬀering a special discount to attendees.
Be strategic with social media to connect with more businesses. As well as keeping your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts updated, consider how often and the time of day that you post, as users interact with these channels diﬀerently. For instance, you can post on Twitter several times a day but it’s better to share just one or two meaningful posts a week on LinkedIn, and from Tuesday to Friday for optimum visibility. Use tools such as Hootsuite to help you schedule posts and keep track of keywords in relation to this topic, so you can join in with the conversation. Create diﬀerent content to target diﬀerent industries and customer types. Track engagement and visits to your website using analytics and encoded links (rather than through vanity metrics, i.e. likes and retweets). Join relevant groups and communities to connect with more businesses in your area.
When engaging with your target audience through content, focus on quality rather than quantity and maximising the reach of your existing content with a distribution strategy. For instance, if you write a blog, share this via social media, include it as part of your company newsletter, or email it to customers using an automated marketing tool such as MailChimp. Include a link to it in your email signature or turn the blog post into a video for your YouTube channel.