We should embrace opportunities presented by so called threats such as MTD and auto enrolment, writes the Secret Accountant.
Do you remember when we used to go to work to do accounts and tax and longed for a day when we could do something slightly different? Well, be careful what you wish for!
I had a very nice man who used to work for the Home Office visit me the other day on a recommendation from an associate. He came to talk about cybersecurity and the dangers we all face and the conversation very quickly moved on to a thing called GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation.
On the face of it, a very good thing and working in a business which deals in nothing but confidential information, I wholeheartedly believe we can’t be too careful. What is slightly more worrying is that however careful we are, should something go wrong, we can be made into a criminal and fined enough money to ensure that continuing in business is going to be difficult.
But don’t worry, there is a business to be had in advising all of our clients of such glad tidings and advising them what they need to do with the data they hold in order to avoid prison and bankruptcy.
[At the time of writing] These regulations will start to take effect around the same time our good friends at HMRC are introducing the first wave of MTD. The jury still seems to be out as to whether we will be doing four times as much work with all the excitement of 31 January being visited on us four times a year instead of just once.
Alternatively it may come to pass that we actually having very little to do because the new system is likely to be so user friendly to the valued ‘customers’ of HMRC that the role of the accountant will be proved to be the superfluous nuisance that my pals at the golf club have been telling me we are for years.
Mind you the extra members of the team we had to employ to cope with the extra payroll work that auto enrolment has created won’t be putting their feet up, that is the straw that broke many a camels’ back in the small business community as all the bookkeepers who do a bit of payroll threw their hands in the air in horror.
The reality is that with a bit of flexibility and foresight, all of these things have created more opportunities for the profession, on top of those that are created on a regular basis by the awfully nice chaps at the Treasury who in their quest to simplify tax are slowly growing our tax textbooks to a size that means we no longer need to go to the gym to lift weights!
Our sympathies should lie with our entrepreneurial clients who continue to try and create, fix, and grow businesses against this onslaught of administrative burden that most of them never bargained for on the day they took a leap of faith and risked their future to pursue their dream.
The Secret Accountant – a practitioner based within the UK