Accountancy practices set to increase client engagement with MTD VAT services

The new Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT legislation coming into force in April 2019 is not only causing much industry discussion but now according to new research from IRIS Accountancy Solutions, reveals accountants will provide VAT submission services for even more clients.

The UK’s leading accountancy software provider found many accountants do not believe their clients are willing to continue to spend time keeping their books up to date and would prefer their accountant to deliver bookkeeping services. Over half (58%) of accountancy practices expect to provide bookkeeping services for clients from 2019.

IRIS also found nearly three quarters (73%) of accountants will continue to carry out submissions for clients when HMRC’s online VAT service is no longer available for businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold.  Nearly two thirds (63%) of accountants would make quarterly VAT submissions using bookkeeping software in April 2019.

The news comes as HMRC is working with industry software suppliers like IRIS and KashFlow in the controlled beta phase of the MTD VAT programme, stepping up its campaign to educate accountants and businesses as the programme enters public beta later in the summer. Registered businesses operating with taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold will be required to keep digital accounting records and file VAT returns using MTD compliant software from April 2019.

Sion Lewis, CEO of IRIS Accountancy Solutions comments, “The IRIS survey confirms MTD for VAT is likely to increase demand from UK businesses for accountancy practice compliance services. As the digital journey for businesses reaches this next landmark, we see accountants increasingly transform their practices to businesses that are more digitally enabled and client-centric. Accountants need to retain the compliance loop at the core of their practice but they should also use them as the springboard for value-added services, enabling to stay relevant in the coming years.

“MTD is the centre piece of the digital economy in our industry and every reputable vendor is going to huge lengths to ensure their clients of all sizes can maximise the opportunities as the industry transforms. We’ve seen evidence of this in recent months with Rowleys Chartered Accountants becoming the first UK accountancy practice to complete a quarterly filing submission in the MTD programme using IRIS Personal Tax.”

The survey was conducted among 553 IRIS Software and Keytime accountancy practices in March 2018. The size of practice ranged from sole practitioners to practices with more than five partners. Other findings include:

  • 27% of practices complete quarterly VAT returns for between 80-100% of clients
  • 38% of practices complete quarterly VAT returns for between 10-20% of clients
  • 81% of accountants use HMRC’s online service to submit client VAT returns
  • 15% of accountants use commercial software to submit client VAT returns
  • 58% of accountants expect to provide bookkeeping services for clients from April 2019
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