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Despite uncertainty regarding the future of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, IRIS Software is today warning accountants to embrace the digital future or risk becoming obsolete.

MTD was removed from the Finance Bill ahead of the snap general election, but is expected to return in a new summer finance bill. Following a survey at industry conference, Accountex, IRIS found only 40 per cent of the accountancy industry is confident it will be ready for the MTD introduction in April 2018. The company fears many firms will be left playing catch-up if they wait for the finance bill.

This warning comes as IRIS releases its latest software updates, the most prominent of which will allow accountants to understand the number of clients that will fall into scope next April. IRIS Practice Management Data Mining has been updated to enable the search for clients with gross trading income or gross land & property income with a turnover above the VAT threshold.

Sion Lewis, CEO at IRIS Accountancy Solutions, believes this update will offer accountants insight into exactly how to tackle the challenges ahead.

He says, “Regardless of what the future is for MTD, the industry will continue its digital transformation. Many accountancy practices are already reaping the benefits of digital records, from bookkeeping efficiencies to greater tax accuracies and compliance. Those who continue dedicating their time to age-old processes and managing hard copies over digital efficiency will already be feeling the pain as the digital expectations of businesses evolve.

“You only have to look at Blockbuster to see what happens to businesses which fail to realise the potential for digital transformation. In 2000 the company turned down the opportunity to purchase then relatively unknown Netflix for £39.5 million. Blockbuster has since ceased, while Netflix has evolved into an industry-leading streaming platform worth £53.7 billion. No business leader wants to find themselves in this position.

“Therefore, accountancy firms and their clients shouldn’t wait for MTD; if they begin their journeys now they won’t find themselves playing catch-up, or potentially completely obsolete, by failing to recognise the benefits of a digital practice.”

Other new features include:

  • New tags for dates engagement letter sent and returned
  • IRIS Personal Tax additional functionality to cater for the new restriction of finance cost relief for individual landlords
  • Correction of HMRC exclusions and tax calculations; details of the specific scenarios and how IRIS handles them can be found here
  • Additional compliance updates:
    • Updated Dividends, RPI and Tax Districts databases
    • Updates to cater for latest HMRC Specials & Exclusions
    • Trust Tax forms R185 and Form 50FS updated to the latest versions
    • Update to the CT600 and CT600K final versions from HMRC
  • Updated Academy reports to allow preparation of accounts following the Academies Accounts Direction 2017, for year ending 31st August 2017
  • Updated auditors’ report for both charities and academies for the revised ISAs (for periods commencing on or after 17th June 2016)
  • Company Secretarial changes regarding persons of significant control
  • Time & Fees and Client Dashboard enhancements

Sion Lewis concludes, “We exist to simplify the lives of accountants by making them more efficient and productive. The value that is added through digitisation frees up the time and talent of UK professionals allowing them to focus on developing new services, offering greater insights and building stronger, closer relationships with their clients.”

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