There’s no question that the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) is changing the compliance landscape for accountants and their clients. And that means accountants are playing an even more important role in guiding businesses through the changes.
As part of MTD, approved software must be used to file returns. More frequent filings mean more data is being processed. And all that means there needs to be a technological,operational and mindset shift within practices as well as businesses.
We’re in constant communication with HMRC, working with them to discuss technology and compliance requirements for the April 2019 VAT roll-out and beyond. The following compliance considerations are often overlooked, and based on a flurry of recent industry-led events including Accounting Live, XeroCon and 2020 Innovation, they’re important elements to add to your preparation checklist.
MTD will have an impact on GDPR compliance
Part of GDPR involves data security and data access – you need to have robust controls and processes in place to protect against breaches. With MTD, you’ll be dealing with more data and different software, so you have to ensure you’re not inadvertently introducing any data protection risks.
One key element is making sure that whatever digital tax software you use has robust security, and most accountants we speak to are aware of this. However, there’s less awareness when it comes to bridging software.
Under MTD, companies will submit digital returns. However, not all clients will be preparing their data using MTD-approved software. Bridging software allows you to copy and paste return data from non-compliant software into a compliant one. For example, uploading a spreadsheet or VT Software export into your MTD solution in order to file the return. You need to ensure that bridging process has the right level of security and access control. If the vendor uses an API for this, check it has the requisite security (because APIs are more vulnerable from a cybersecurity perspective). And consider how you can eliminate manual input, which carries the risk of human error.
The more integrated your MTD software is, the easier it is to maintain compliance ongoing in this regard. Having integrating bridging capabilities in the system instead of relying on an API gives you added security to protect sensitive information.
Compliance will look different for different businesses
MTD compliance isn’t about introducing rigid, standardised processes across your client base. No single solution will meet all client requirements, and accountants have a vital role to play in making compliance as easy as possible.
Bookkeeping is a perfect example. For some businesses, spreadsheets are perfect. For others, cloud-based software is ideal. As the accountant, you’re best placed to help your clients identify the best approach to MTD. And that means you need digital solutions on your end that can be flexible based on what suits different clients. Features to look for include
- Ability to upload data from many different bookkeeping solutions
- A user-friendly hub so both sides can collaborate quickly and easily, and you have an in-built way to strengthen your relationship and help your clients provide the necessary information in a timely manner
- The ability to file returns for different company types, so you can serve all your clients from the single, approved system (key to future-proofing for onward MTD roll-outs)
- Ongoing updates based on regulatory and legislative changes, so it’s simple to stay on top of compliance
- Unlimited licences, so you don’t find yourself tied into solutions that quickly become expensive and eat into your profitability
MTD compliance is about control
As the accountant, you need a flexible, reliable way to maintain control over the increased workload that MTD introduces. When you have that control, you’re in a strong position to use your expertise to add value – and help your clients work strategically and compliantly.
Book a demo now to find out more about our GDPR and MTD-ready bridging software