Making Tax Digital

How the threat of change is galvanising the industry

August 21, 2017

Heralding a new era, ‘Making Tax Digital’ (MTD) continues to be at the forefront of the news agenda. In recent months the Treasury Committee announced further updates to the timeline and from 2019 organisations with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will need to keep digital records, but only for VAT purposes. Smaller businesses below the VAT threshold will not need to keep quarterly, digital records until at least 2020.

The revised dates means a welcome delay for many, however, it remains essential for businesses to plan ahead in order to ready both their practice and customers in a timely manner.  

Navigating the changes  

We’re working with accounting and bookkeeping firms across the UK in the run up to the deadlines. By deploying cloud-based software compliant with HMRC’s digital tax platform, such as AutoEntry, they’re also benefitting from the significant operating efficiencies these solutions provide.

Take for instance, leading accountancy practice, Armstrong Watson. As part of its ongoing digital strategy, Armstrong Watson wanted to both systemise its bookkeeping processes in order to increasing productivity, whilst preparing for MTD by partnering with a trusted software vendor. Toby Woodhead, solution architect at the firm comments:

“We believe MTD will force tax administration to become more efficient in turn giving our customers increased visibility into their accounts throughout the year, which will help us identify how they can become more profitable. We expect a surge of new clients as we approach the deadline and AutoEntry will be key in helping us support this new business. As AutoEntry is so simple to use, we’ll also be encouraging customers to use the solution themselves when scanning documents and filing quarterly reports.”

By choosing AutoEntry, Armstrong Watson has the IT resources in place to help customers comply with MTD whilst also addressing operational challenges and time constraints relating to the manual data entry of paper documents, including bank and credit card statements, receipts and invoices. Toby Woodhead comments:

“Before AutoEntry, we had over a 100 people spending hours each week to manually upload data for our bookkeeping clients, which was an impractical use of resource in the long term. Since implementing the solution, we’ve driven productivity by almost 90% when processing bookkeeping data entry - an incredible time saving which we can reinvest into the business.”

Elsewhere, Wilkins Kennedy, a top 20 UK accountancy firm, partnered with AutoEntry in order to support both existing customers and new prospects in the run up to the launch of MTD. As well as providing Wilkins Kennedy with significant time savings, the technology has critically allowed the company to scale its services to more clients without stretching resources, or needing to take on more staff. Simon Woodhams, head of cloud accounting software comments:

“We’re very impressed with AutoEntry and the efficiencies it has generated so far, including time savings upwards of 50%. AutoEntry will remain a core component of our ongoing digital strategy, automating data entry and enabling us to take on more new business with the additional capacity. It will also be key in helping us support clients with the changes associated with MTD over the next few years.”

Selecting a solution provider with care

As identified by the customers above, as well as its ability to integrate with HMRC’s reporting software, savvy businesses should also look for a data entry solution with the in-built intelligence to enable them to drive heightened operating efficiencies. With over 1,000 accountancy practices and 20,000 businesses now set up on the platform, AutoEntry is helping firms to do exactly that.  

AutoEntry works by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed purchase and sales invoices, receipts, bank and card statements, securely automating data entry into accounting solutions including Xero, QuickBooks and Sage. Its suite of features help to drive unparalleled operating efficiencies during the accounts preparation process, for instance, AutoEntry captures tax summaries by default and if requested, full line item details including description, quantity and unit price. AutoEntry also remembers how you categorise your expenses such as the relevant supplier account, nominal account and tax code without ever creating duplicate supplier accounts or posting duplicate invoices into your accounting solution. AutoEntry even matches invoices to purchase orders.

MTD is galvanising the industry and kickstarting firms to harness the power of digital and start their journey to the cloud. Whilst change can often seem daunting, MTD represents a real opportunity for firms to become a trusted advisor to clients and to drive significant operating efficiencies by retiring outdated processes such as manual data entry.

However, it will be critical for these businesses to carefully assess their options and partner with the right service provider to help both support their clients during this transition and in driving change for the long term.