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Making Tax Digital tops the Accountex agenda

Legislation for Making Tax Digital (MTD) was removed last month from the Finance Bill 2017, yet it has topped the agenda of the sixth edition of Accountex, as professionals remain aware that it is still on schedule to arrive by 2020.

Held in London in the first week of May, Accountex brought together accounting professionals and accounting technology companies to tackle issues such as: MTD, Brexit, apprenticeships, cybersecurity, decision making, risk management, business value, investment, artificial intelligence, robotics, regulation guides, automated accounting systems, digital transformation and moving to the cloud.

Making Tax Digital has been on the minds of the accountancy professionals in the UK since its conception in 2016. It has raised a lot of concerns over the changes required to adhere to the new system that HMRC intends to implement by 2020. Businesses will be required to keep digital records, tax adjustments to income and expenditure, to submit quarterly updates as well as a year-end declaration for income tax and VAT.

In a survey by FreeAgent of 300 accountants, which was displayed at their exhibit, the results found that 98.5% of accountants think that their clients are not prepared for MTD, and it also found that many accountants do not feel like they have enough information themselves to prepare their practice.

Speaking to International Accounting Bulletin a lot of delegates said they found the focus on MTD useful, however, some accountants lamented that other topics had been given less attention. “I was surprised to see so much at Accountex focused on Making Tax Digital this year as there isn’t any information we haven’t heard already,” A delegate confided.

One of Accountex’s theatres was entirely dedicated to MTD, with specific seminars all day across both days of the conference. In one of those seminars, Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) head of tax technical team Richard Wild warned the audience that MTD had not been scrapped or shelved , but that the pilot will continue but will be delayed and with no change to the timetable.

Many accounting software companies were present at the event, including the largest three Xero, Sage and Intuit Quickbooks. But all, largest and smallest alike, were keen to showcase how their software packages specifically created for MTD or other automated solutions such as tax calculators, accountant directories, connecting advisors to clients, as well as bookkeeping and payroll could help accountants.

With heightened interest from the profession in digital solutions driven by regulatory compliance requirements, and a proliferation of service providers, the competition amongst software providers promise to be fierce in the years to come.

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