Businesses from across the country have taken the time to tell us their experiences of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
The family-run farm – North Farm
Victoria Snell is a Farm Secretary at her family run crop farm – North Farm in Dorset. As a busy secretary and farmers wife, Victoria took a few moments to tell us about her experience of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
I have been a Farm Secretary for over 8 years now, and being in this privileged position I get a fascinating insight into the running of the business. North Farm grows combinable crops in a stunning part of East Dorset using the latest technology.
One of my many roles in the office is the bookkeeping and on a farm that harvests over 3,000 acres there are a huge number of inputs and outputs to keep track of. Our VAT return is performed on a monthly basis and it is made easy via the software we use.
I submitted our first Making Tax Digital return a year ago on 28 February 2019 and was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was – it was easier and quicker than a manual return. It took a few steps to get to the position where I was ready to submit but I was guided along the way with clear information from both HMRC and our software provider. Making Tax Digital is not as daunting as I believed it would be and I feel the benefits in the time it saves, as well as the clarity of the information that the software provides.
The family business – Mower Magic
Mower Magic is a family business based in Lincoln dealing in domestic and professional gardening and lawn care products. Owner John Hall tells us about his experience of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
The introduction of Making Tax Digital gave us the ideal opportunity to change the software we were using to future-proof our bookkeeping systems and processes. We were pleasantly surprised that the transition to our new Making Tax Digital-compatible software was relatively easy as it was seamlessly managed with the help of our accountant.
We found switching to Making Tax Digital also gave us the additional benefit of being able to access up-to-date financial figures, giving us a daily handle on our business’ finances and performance, that wasn’t there previously. Making Tax Digital has made the submission process so simple and we find it really comforting to receive an instant acknowledgement from HMRC when we submit our VAT return.
The rural business professional
Fiona Ives is a self-employed rural business professional (farm secretary) based near Basingstoke. Fiona previously lived and worked on a dairy farm and she now shares her expertise and experience with other farming businesses. Fiona told us about her experience of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
I have helped many farms move from manual (or excel spreadsheets) to digital records and they’re all getting on fantastically well with it. I think it’s fair to say most people would have been reluctant to make the change to digital but I’m sure most of them would now say it’s been a really positive change. I am a member of the local branch of The Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators Ltd (IAgSA) and we had a few training sessions before the MTD deadline, people were concerned how it was going to all work.
However, MTD for VAT has been nothing but straightforward. As a Farm Secretary all of my clients were already using accounts software. It just took loading the programme update, following the MTD set-up wizard, and onto the HMRC website to apply to sign up for MTD. Within a very short space of time I had a message from HMRC to say I had the go ahead. So back into the accounts software, and I set it up ready for MTD. Then at the end of the first MTD VAT return (having done my usual checks through the figures) I pressed the button and off went the VAT return.
It went through very smoothly indeed – no finding my login details, no waiting for the text message with the code, no entering the figures and checking and double-checking they were correctly entered, and no finding my login details again to go back in for confirmation! Straightaway I had confirmation it had gone through and a receipt back from HMRC.
What had I been worried about? It was so straightforward, quick and reassuring! I have also set up an arable farm on the software who had until then been doing their accounts manually – the whole process could not have been easier. From manual to computerised accounts might seem like a bit of a leap, but I hope other farms have found it as positive an experience as my clients have. It’s obviously been essential for MTD VAT, but having computerised accounts brings so many other benefits to the business – for the farmer, their accountant and their book-keeper!
The accountancy firm – DSG
DSG is an independent accountancy and advisory firm in the North West with an HQ in Liverpool and two offices in Liverpool City and North Wales. Andrew Moss is a partner in the Corporate department of DSG and he has been with the company since 2003. Andrew shared with us his, and his clients experience of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
Making Tax Digital, while it might not have felt like it, has given us a great opportunity to talk to clients about their systems and help them, where need be, to transition to an environment where they are getting, or have the ability to get, more timely information about their business. This process continues for the clients where our bridging software has been employed. Some of the owner-managed businesses with turnovers of up to £5m and still employing excel-based bookkeeping systems now have timely management information and the ability to access their financial data from their phone or tablet. We have seen that these are the businesses that have the ability to make informed decisions that ultimately improve their businesses.
MTD has provided an opportunity for our clients to address other systems within their business, whether it be around stock management, credit control, staff expenses or project management. The new cloud ‘eco-system’ has a multitude of bolt-on apps which are able to interact directly with the cloud-based accounting systems, enabling business owners to operate in a more efficient and effective way as well as having a better oversight of the business performance. Some clients have struggled, but we have been able to support them with an outsourced service enabling them to not only meet their reporting obligations, but also to have the business insight on a regular basis.
While initially MTD was seen as another burden on business, the wider digital benefits have to be seen as a positive as business owners can embrace new applications and improve their business processes to be more robust and efficient than in a pre-MTD world. And, of course, we are happy to help them along the way.
The estate agent – Dowen Estate Agents
Dowen Estate Agents is a business based in the North East of England. It has 8 branches covering the mid North East from the coast to the A1 corridor. It was founded in 1982 by Managing Director Denis Dowen. Denis shares his experience of Making Tax Digital for VAT:
When I first learned that Making Tax Digital was becoming mandatory for businesses above the VAT threshold, I admit I was sceptical. As a business dealing in property sales, purchases, auctions and property management there are a great deal of transactions to track from a VAT perspective, and I certainly did not want the process to become overly complicated.
However, I learned more about MTD for VAT on GOV.UK and I spoke to my accountant. I soon realised that as we already kept many financial records digitally, signing up to MTD and submitting via MTD for VAT was the next natural step for us. I found the process relatively straightforward and it did not take long to become business as usual across the business.
MTD also acted as a catalyst for the expansion of our digital record keeping. Having been in business almost 40 years, we did have considerable paper-based records. However, we moved more and more of these to a digital basis and saw many immediate benefits – not just the instant accessibility of records across our branches, but also the time it freed up for colleagues as they accessed records easily and immediately. At the end of the day, anything that frees up resource so our staff can focus all their time on providing a 5-star service to our customers is very welcome.
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- September 21, 2020 at 3:04 am by Editor (displayed above)
- September 21, 2020 at 3:04 am by Editor