The new era has begun: Making Tax Digital is live. The next step is to start preparing for the first digital submission, which for many will be in July or August. The priority for you and your clients alike is to concentrate on implementing best practice processes from the start.

The real thing

Your practice should start by figuring out how all clients keep their records and file their returns now, and how this will change under MTD. Does your practice submit and monitor VAT returns on behalf of their clients now, or have your clients been doing this themselves?

Some questions your practice will need to consider:

  • Does your client want to submit their own VAT return?
  • How can you support your client in this process?
  • If your client wants your practice to file their return, do they want to prepare the data themselves or will your practice prepare and validate the data for them?
  • If your practice expects an increased workload thanks to MTD, do you have any plans to expand your team?

You will need to ensure that all records – your own and your clients’ – have been converted to digital form. The next factor to consider is the software being used to submit VAT returns as part of MTD. If you have not introduced any new software yet, HMRC has published a list of software packages which are compatible with MTD.

The good news for those who currently use spreadsheets for record keeping or calculating the VAT return and want to continue is that they remain acceptable. Providing you use API-enabled or bridging software to make the final submission you may still use spreadsheets for calculations and historical data.

These changes could transform the relationship between firm and client. Your practice may be placed to offer new services, especially if your client chooses to take on some of the filing work themselves.

Relationship building

MTD is an opportunity to strengthen relationships between you and your client. For a start, providing strong support throughout the changeover period will go a long way.

Secondly, you could provide additional help in providing the software, such as CCH OneClick. Developed by Wolters Kluwer, it is a secure set of cloud tools, which includes document sharing, authorisation and messaging, as well as a space for clients to file their own VAT returns. CCH OneClick has one log-in for accountants and clients. It serves as a single space to manage all client communications, 24/7.

The client VAT filing service within the client workspace in CCH OneClick is a newly launched service for accountants to provide their clients. This functionality means your client does not have to invest in more software but rather receive added value from you, the accountant. They will be able to use their existing spreadsheets within CCH OneClick if they prefer.

Clients who want to start filing their own VAT returns will free up time for your practice to offer other value-added services. Strategic planning and consultancy are two elements that are becoming an increasingly important part of the industry.

Call to action: For more information on getting MTD ready for you and your clients, download the Wolters Kluwer MTD e-book here.



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