At Xero, we are well underway in helping accountants get ready for Making Tax Digital (MTD). And just last week, HMRC listed Xero on its list of software suppliers supporting MTD for VAT.
We’re in the midst of testing Xero’s MTD solution with the accounting community. We’re really pleased to have so far completed two successful VAT returns using the beta version of our MTD functionality.
Linda Gibson, partner at Xero gold partner firm Gibson Whitter was the first to trial Xero’s MTD solution and says she was really pleased with how easy the whole experience was. And last Thursday, Cheryl Price, director of gold partner firm CH Accountancy & Bookkeeping Ltd had a similarly seamless experience.
We had a chat with Linda and Cheryl to get their insight and perspective on the change:
Can you tell me a bit about your firm?
Linda Gibson, Gibson Whitter (LG): We founded the practice in 2012 when there were just three of us, and today we’re a 12-strong team. We’ve used Xero from day one, and only take on new clients who are willing to get on board with cloud accounting – this hasn’t been difficult to do!
Cheryl Price, CH Accountancy & Bookkeeping Ltd (CP): I set up shop in 2014 to offer a flexible solution for busy parents such as myself. Today, thanks to Xero, as long as we’ve got an internet connection, we can work anywhere. This is a far cry from the days of working at a traditional practice when I would have never had this type of flexibility.
What do you think of MTD?
LG: I’ve only ever seen MTD as a good move for the industry. It has given us huge opportunities for growth. Clients pay you for your business advice rather than the speed at which you analyse data. MTD has a huge role to play in this evolution.
CP: It can only be positive that businesses are able to get a better handle of their finances.
And are you ready?
CP: VAT for our clients is already done through Xero. So I’m pretty much ready to migrate over to the new function once it’s live. Every new client gets set up with Xero straight away. There are a few older ones not on the cloud, but we’re on track to be ready in good time.
LG: We started the onboarding process early to make the rest of the year go smoothly. There are a few clients who haven’t instantly jumped at the chance to get online. With the right communication and preparation, however, I’m confident they will all be on the cloud by December. We’ll then have three months to see the reporting in action ahead of the MTD deadline.
What was it like testing out Xero’s MTD functionality?
CP: Everything was very simple to use. We brought up the VAT return for one of my clients, a design agency, and matched it to what we had already prepared and then got confirmation that it had all gone through.
LG: We had to do a bit of work before to make sure we were set up correctly with the HMRC API. Once that was done, the team at Xero showed me how to easily submit a digital VAT return. It was over in no time. Everyone involved was impressed with just how simple Xero’s tool was.
How do you think the rest of the industry is going to do?
LG: I’ve spoken to fellow accountants who aren’t going to do anything until January 2019. This is a little frightening. There’s no hiding from it so the industry will listen up eventually. MTD is a process that will invariably have some bumps in the road, but you can make it easier by giving yourself enough time – and partnering with the right experts.
CP: If you look at other areas of our lives, such as transport and retail, it’s time that the sector catches up. And MTD is just one significant vehicle for change. As more apps and services go online, it will only continue to add huge value to business.
What does the future hold?
LG: The days of the qualified accountant doing data analysis are well and truly behind us. Now it’s about having the right people who are able to offer the right sort of business advice.
CP: It’s really exciting to think about what the future holds when it comes to helping the business community do bigger and better business.
At Xero, we’re committed to helping small businesses and practices with MTD: we’ll provide the right software, with the right VAT functionalities to make the transition as smooth and as seamless as possible. If you need help with your preparations, get in touch to see how we can help your business.