Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA) will bring some major changes for your landlord and sole trader clients. Those affected will need to use MTD-compatible accounting software to keep digital records and make quarterly tax submissions. Here are four steps to help you get your practice ready and provide extra support for your clients ahead of the transition.
1. Use our calculator to work out how much time you will need
If you’d like to get your preparation off to a strong start, our MTD for ITSA workload calculator will help you figure out how long it will take to get your clients migrated onto MTD-compatible software. Just enter the number of clients who will be affected by the changes and the calculator will show you the total hours you’ll need to set aside each week, based on the number of working days until the MTD for ITSA deadline.
By setting out a clear plan with monthly goals, you can avoid ending up with a mountain of work to do at the last minute.
2. Segment your client base
Grouping your clients into segments can provide you with a deeper understanding of the needs of your client base ahead of MTD for ITSA. This will help you adapt your approach and communications to suit each segment.
For example, one segment could contain landlord clients who’ve never used accounting software, while another might contain sole traders who are already set up on FreeAgent, and so on. By developing a strategy for each segment, you can create a standard process for each type of client.
Not only will this ensure that every client receives the right kind of support, it can also help you streamline your workflow, plan your resources and build more effective communication strategies.
If you’d like a more tailored approach towards segmenting your client base, you can arrange a free consultation with one of our MTD experts.
3. Create a communications plan
Once you’ve segmented your clients, you can start thinking about how to share relevant information with them in an effective way. Creating a communications plan will help you identify the key messages you want to share and how best to communicate those messages so your clients are left feeling confident about what’s next.
Have a think about whether your clients prefer emails or phone calls and how you can deliver your messages concisely. If your clients are completely new to the world of digital record keeping, you can start by outlining what MTD actually means, what rules are changing and how it will affect their businesses. You can also share FreeAgent’s handy resources with your clients, such as this guide created specifically for landlords.
To get started, download FreeAgent’s communications plan template, which will help you guide your clients seamlessly through the transition.
4. Set up your clients on accounting software
Some of your clients may have never used accounting software before, so it’s important to acclimatise them well in advance of their first MTD for ITSA submission.
FreeAgent is easy to use and is designed especially for smaller clients, including landlords and sole traders, making it a good fit for those new to digital record keeping.
Becoming a FreeAgent Partner gives you access to a host of handy educational resources that can help your clients get to know our software, and with a bit of encouragement, they may feel more comfortable taking on some admin and bookkeeping tasks.
As different clients are likely to require different levels of support with MTD for ITSA, consider running training sessions tailored to the level of client involvement - for example, one session for clients who won’t have any involvement in their bookkeeping and quarterly filings, another for those who will pick up some elements, and another for clients who will do it all.