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Is your business ready for the April 2019 VAT changes?

VAT changed April 2019 Explained

Is your business ready for the April 2019 VAT changes?It’s now less than a year until businesses that file VAT returns will need to do so online via accountancy software. Apart of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme, the initiative means some 2.5 million VAT registered businesses in the UK with a turnover exceeding £85,000 will need to submit their VAT returns through software compliant with that of MTD rather than through the HMRC portal.

Both businesses and their accountants are therefore being required to set up and use online software such as QuickBooks, Xero and Sage.  But many companies are still unprepared for the changes. So what can you do to ensure you comply in time? Here, we offer some tips:

Educate yourself and your staff

The first thing to do is confirm – as soon as possible – that your organisation is subject to MTD. There are a few exclusions, including being subject to an insolvency procedure, or being a member of a religious society that has beliefs incompatible with using electronic communications.

If you aren’t exempt, you’ll need to sit down with your accountant to discuss how the changes will affect your business and come up with a new process for billing, preparing accounts and filing data. You can then begin to research different software options to see which would suit your company best.

Inform your staff

Allow your staff as much time as possible to get on board with the idea of digital accounting. Speak to them about what the changes involve and why moving to online accounting is necessary. You may then want to appoint a champion or group of champions – depending on the size of your business – to lead the introduction of the programme.

Introduce the software

Once you’ve found an online provider that fits with your business and can be supported by your accountancy firm, it’s time to introduce it. Ensure your champions are fully trained externally on the software – either by your accountant or by the provider themselves – and are confident to deliver training to the rest of the staff. Providers will be aware of the April 2019 deadline, and will have technical support teams on hand to help iron out any issues you might experience.

Keep in touch with your accountant

Another key aspect of remaining on top of the situation is to keep in regular contact with your accountant. This will help you keep abreast of any updates or changes that are occurring. Remember that your accountancy firm will be trying to help a range of clients with the changes, so don’t expect them to always get in touch with you first – if you have a question or are expecting some information, give them a call.

Many accountancy firms such as a Chartered Accountant in Tunbridge Wells, are busy preparing their clients for the upcoming changes. If your business hasn’t begun the process, now is the time to get started.