Top takeaways from Accountex Virtual Summit UK

Important: This blog post was published before the government announced that MTD for ITSA will be delayed until 2026. Some of the information below is no longer accurate.

This article was updated on 29th September 2021.

Last week, a host of hot topics sprang up at Accountex Virtual Summit UK, including the impact of Making Tax Digital (MTD), the future of accountancy and more. Here are some of the key takeaways for you and your practice.

Make the most of MTD

The next stages of MTD may disrupt traditional accounting processes, but much of the conversation at the virtual summit focussed on the opportunities MTD presents to practices.

When MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) is introduced in 2024, many of your clients will need to switch from annual to quarterly filing. It’s likely that you’ll need to communicate with clients affected by MTD for ITSA throughout the tax year, which will provide you with more opportunities to demonstrate your value and give your relationships a boost.

If you frequently gain new clients through referrals, you might see an uplift in client enquiries from those affected by MTD. You may decide to invest more time in your marketing efforts, such as setting up a referral scheme, to make the most of this opportunity.

In a poll* conducted during our recent MTD Base Camp event, we discovered that only 3.3% of practices consider themselves fully prepared for MTD, while 20.2% are not prepared at all. If you haven’t yet prepared your practice for the next stages of MTD, check out these top tips to plan your approach.

The importance of advisory services

Another hot topic at the two-day virtual summit was the shift from compliance to advisory services. With a deep knowledge of the inner workings of their clients’ businesses, many practices provide their clients with far more than purely financial advice. Whether it’s advising clients on legislation that affects their businesses or helping them understand their cashflow, the role of accountants and bookkeepers has become very diverse.

Client requests are also evolving, with accountants and bookkeepers being asked to provide a wider range of advice and guidance than ever before. Some clients may ask for your opinion before making a big financial decision, for example, while others may ask for your help with getting their business started or even with finding new customers.

Finding the time to advise clients can be tricky, but by implementing the right technology and updating your processes, you may be able to dedicate more time to advisory services.

Automate admin tasks

FreeAgent’s VP of Sales, Nick Longden, hosted a session at the virtual summit to explore how software automation can help you make the most of the small business boom.

With the continuous improvements in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), you can now automate many of your time-consuming tasks, such as inputting and reconciling your clients’ transactions. Nick highlighted that the efficiency gains through automation can allow you to invest more time in areas such as team training and cultivating positive client relationships.

Keep an eye on the future

During Accountex Virtual Summit UK, much of the discussion centred around the evolution of the accountancy landscape as technology continues to develop.

The automation of workflows and data capturing and analysis will continue to offer time-saving opportunities for you and your clients. Wearable technology, blockchain and advancements in AI could all have an impact in the not-too-distant future. Here are some of the ways that technological trends are changing the accounting landscape and a look at what the future might hold.

*FreeAgent poll of 272 accountants and bookkeepers.

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