A major new survey conducted by MyFirmsApp, the largest global App platform for accountants in practice, into Making Tax Digital (MTD) has found that accountants overwhelmingly believe that the Government should offer financial support to businesses that need to invest in new IT, software or training for MTD purposes. The survey was conducted in August 2017 following the announcement of an amendment to the MTD timetable and 82 per cent of those who took part either strongly agreed or agreed with the premise.

The move to the new regime is expected to attract costs for businesses of between £100 and £1000 with almost half – 46 per cent of accountants – estimating that their clients will incur costs of between £101 – £500 and 28 per cent believe that this figure could be higher and end up between £501 and £1000.

The cost implications are based on the transition to the use of software to manage their accounts with the survey suggesting that over half of SME business clients are not currently using software. 36 per cent of the accountants surveyed believe that they will need to spend an additional 5-10 hours to get them ready for quarterly financial reporting and 28 per cent believe this could be in the region of 10 – 20 hours with 7 per cent estimating that this figure could be in excess of 50 hours.

72 per cent believe that businesses under the VAT threshold should not be mandated into MTD but despite this, interestingly over half of those polled (61%) said they will be recommending to their clients, regardless of size, that they move to digital record keeping sooner rather than later. These findings suggest that accountants are in favour of a simpler solution than the main cloud accounting providers currently offer with 43 per cent of respondents supportive of the introduction of a low cost, simple to operate bookkeeping App as a sensible solution to the MTD challenge.

The slackened timetable has been welcomed by the 271 accountants that took part in the survey in August 2017 with 83 per cent of accountants saying that it is preferable that the government takes its time about getting MTD right rather than rushing ahead. On a positive note, 31 per cent of respondents feel that the changes are achievable in the new time frame.

Joel Oliver, CEO, MyFirmsApp commented on the findings: “Accountants have been assessing what their clients need to do to ensure they are ready for the new MTD regime and according to our findings, they are unequivocally in favour of the Government offering financial support for new IT, software or training. It is clear that those businesses that still use the ‘shoebox’ method for collating information face the biggest challenge and they will need the most help in moving to digital applications for quarterly reporting.”

Full results are available to download at https://www.myfirmsapp.co.uk/docs/mtd-survey-results.pdf

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