The profession of journalism is well-known for the unique experiences it can offer, indeed that’s one of the few perks of the job. A sports journalist can be paid to attend the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup. A food critic eats gorgeous food, free of charge. Travel writers get paid to go on holidays.

At Accountancy Age, I must admit that I expected none of these experiences, big or small, to come my way.

But then, along came QuickBooks with their rather eager attempt to convince me that Making Tax Digital (MTD) was easy. Their idea was simple. Put me in a taxi and spin me round like a ragdoll while I attempted to file my taxes online.

For high-pitched screams, nervous laughter and a terrible haircut, watch the video below to see if even an idiot could get their taxes done.

Fortunately, Shaun Shirazian, UK Head of Product was on hand afterwards to hold a bucket for me and talk about how MTD compliance can make life easier and save accountants time.

“MTD compliance is all about having more control over your finances – knowing what’s coming in and going out. This added oversight is imperative for small businesses to have a real overview of the financial health of their company, so it’s easier to deal with issues like cash flow and expenditure,” he said.

“And for accountants, with access to this information, they can really take on an advisory role – not just deal with numbers – to help clients grow their businesses,” he said.

“Human nature” to resist change

Shirazian urged accountants to adapt and look for the positives that technological changes will drive, instead of fighting against the tide of modernising.

“It’s important to recognise that it is human nature to be resistant to change, to grapple with choices and the delineation from the norm, but it is inevitable that technology will continue to play an ever-increasing role in a business world that demands more flexibility and innovation. This isn’t confined to tax or accountancy issues – successful organisations will be those that can keep pace with the demands of modern services and focus on delivering an outstanding customer experience,” Shirazian added.

He also said that QuickBooks had been monitoring the attitudes of business and found that there was an increasing positivity about MTD as companies began to familiarise themselves with new technology.

“We knew MTD was coming – and we wanted to see how much accountants and small businesses knew or understood about the changes MTD would bring, as well their attitudes towards the initiative.”

“We started an MTD attitude tracker over a year ago now and have been regularly conducting a pulse survey into over 500 small business on a monthly basis. We found that just before the 1st of April deadline, 11 per cent of those polled weren’t aware of the new requirement. There also appeared to be confusion from businesses about whether they’re complying with the scheme.”

“Of the people polled, almost half (46 per cent) who thought they were compliant were found not to be, while a quarter of compliant companies didn’t think they were set up correctly for the changes. Our latest pulse research showed that the sentiment is changing. There’s been a 32% uplift in small business attitude, and now half of businesses believe MTD will have a positive impact.”

“Business owners are starting to use software and are becoming more familiar with MTD, understanding the scale of the opportunity it presents to streamline operations and simplify tax.”

“More and more businesses are realising the advantages software can bring, by providing real-time access to all financial data in once place and reducing the risk of errors thanks to automating manual bookkeeping tasks,” Shirazian added.

MTD encouraging a “step change” in attitudes

Shirazian added that MTD was now powering a “step change” in businesses and accountant’s outlook on technology, creating new opportunities for growth.

“Uncovering our research further, we found that for some customers, MTD marked a step change. But as they become more accustomed to the benefits and ease of use – there is a considered acceptance of the power financial automation can bring a business to influence better decision making.”

“The great thing about MTD is that by putting all analysed client data in one place accountants can operate more efficiently – freeing up time and capacity. Instead of plugging away receipts, automated tasks can free up time to advise and yield opportunities to grow clients’ businesses – while adding value to their own.”

Certainly, if I had any doubts about how easy MTD could be, they have been (dangerously) driven away.

The post QuickBooks try dangerously hard to show that MTD is easy appeared first on Accountancy Age.