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January self-assessment for accountants: process, systems and cloud benefits

The start of the year is a busy time for UK accountancy practices. The deadline for self-assessment means that January can be a pretty hectic month, and when you’re busy it really focuses attention on how efficient (or otherwise) your processes and systems are.

With this in mind, we got together with AccountingWEB to ask a sample of 1,100 accountants how the 2014 self-assessment period was for them this year.

UK accountants' self-assessment infographic

For many, it was a case of ‘same as it ever was’, but 15% of the accountants we spoke to felt that recent system changes had improved this year’s self-assessment. That’s an encouraging sign and shows there’s a growing appetite for improved technology that can speed up and improve the way practices work.

Of the accountants surveyed, 10% are considering moving to the cloud. While 10% feels quite low, combined with the number already on the cloud it shows that almost a third of UK accountants are cloud-based or about to move there. When you consider that there’s approximately 20,000 accountancy firms in the UK, that’s still an awful lot of practices who’ve embraced the technology. This has been a gradual shift and one that’s taken time. But we’re at a point now where cloud-based systems are the norm, rather than the exception, for practices. We’re at a tipping point in the evolution of cloud accounting, something that Gary Turner, Xero UK Managing Director, outlined in his recent blog about the state of cloud computing in the UK.

So, as cloud adoption continues, it’ll be interesting to see how the busy January season evolves for UK accountants in 2015 and beyond. Improved processes, more efficient use of staff resources and quicker access to client data in the cloud will have an impact on how accountants start the year.


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Tammie Neller
9 April 2014 #

It is not just accountants. As Electrical Contractors we have just moved to cloud and the potential for things being done easier and quicker is only limited by your imagination and the technology available to you. Instead of waiting for paper forms to come back to you from staff or clients in the field, they back to you almost instantly upon completion. And the office isn’t cluttered with paper files. Love it.

Jon Jenkins
9 April 2014 #

We had the worst January ever and lived on 4 hours sleep in the last week to get everything filed on time. We didn’t as the last batch of paperwork from a client arrived at 2.30pm on the last day! They are a Sage user!! Not any more. They are now using Xero and WorkflowMax.

This year will be different we have adopted a cloud only approach for all new clients and have already contacted everyone with a March year end to get everything together. A brand new client has already processed everything and others are following suit. The mindset of those adopting cloud tech is different which makes them easier to work with as they see the benefits and require less prompting.

The other approach we took was to take on no new clients in January. If you are leaving it that late you are probably bad news and will dilute the service we can provide to others.

I plan on taking a holiday in January 2015 to prove to all how effective this way of working can be and to thank my family for all the years of stress and zombie Daddy.

Michelle Cowley
30 April 2014 #

Yes, I think technology make thing more easy and comforted. Although usually no liability is accepted for loss of data, in practice. A number of user-centric cloud services provide features to share data with other users.

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