We recently hosted a live virtual event to discuss the most important issues facing accountants and bookkeepers in 2022. Our expert panel covered topics including Making Tax Digital, the opportunities that lie ahead for the profession and the evolving relationship between practices and challenger banks.
In case you missed it, you can now watch the recording of the event, and below we’ve pulled together some of the key takeaways.
1. It’s time to talk to clients about MTD for ITSA
Our guest speakers believe Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA) is a top priority for the next 12 months. They’re already having conversations with clients ahead of the introduction of the new rules, which will require those affected to submit quarterly updates to HMRC from April 2024.
Rikhil Shonchhatra FCA, of Ashon Limited, has been preparing every client to keep digital records. He pointed out that setting a client up with a Mettle account, which includes a free FreeAgent subscription, can be a great way to introduce them to digital accounting.
Zoe Whitman FCCA, of 6 Figure Bookkeeper, sees a big opportunity for accountants and bookkeepers to reposition themselves as business advisors as the changes are introduced.
She emphasised how important it is to talk to clients at regular intervals, rather than just being a year-end service. Being closer to your clients can help them grow better businesses, and this could lead to them spending more money on services because of the added value you offer throughout the year.
2. The banking landscape is evolving fast
Another key trend our panel identified for 2022 is the continued growth of challenger banks and ‘neobanks’ as their relationship with business owners, accountants and bookkeepers evolves.
Nicolas Vrillaud, Head of Partnerships at Mettle, thinks the big brands in the sector are here to stay, but he stressed that they will need to focus on maintaining quality customer service as they grow.
Nicolas also explained that lending for small businesses is likely to be a big focus after the closure of government initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. He pointed out that this could reshuffle the cards in the market, as not all challenger banks offer credit to customers.
3. The gig economy is here to stay
Our panellists predicted the continued growth of the gig economy in 2022. Rikhil explained that many furloughed workers switched to selling online or taking work as delivery drivers during the pandemic, while Zoe spoke about how a new generation is taking the opportunity to turn hobbies into side hustles after being inspired by social media.
This shift is a huge opportunity for accountants and bookkeepers to offer advice on tax and accounting to clients with multiple income streams and no previous business experience.
4. The future looks bright for the profession
Despite the challenges that lie ahead around MTD for ITSA, we found that most of our attendees had high hopes for the future. A poll we conducted during the event found that over 70% of practices are feeling positive about the next 12 months, while nearly 60% of practices see MTD as the biggest opportunity on the horizon in 2022.
FreeAgent will continue to offer tailored support to your practice as MTD for ITSA approaches. Zoe shared that there’s huge value in scheduling calls with your account manager, as they can help you to set goals and grow your practice.
Our Senior Practice Implementation Consultant, Tony Stevenson FCA, also told attendees about FreeAgent’s plans to support landlords, with new functionality due to be rolled out in 2022.
Do you need help to plan your practice's approach to MTD? Book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our experts.