The Making Tax Digital initiative has forced the hand of many businesses to accept a change in business operations. Paper-based or manual systems are quickly being dropped in favour of a more technological way of managing business accounts. And whilst some farms may feel that they’ve been pushed to do something they weren’t keen to, many are pleasantly surprised by the additional benefits of digital record-keeping.

Fiona Ives, a self-employed farm secretary has helped many farms move away from manual, paper-based accounts or excel spreadsheets to embrace the benefits of digital accounts software such as Farmplan’s Business Manager.

“Many farms are reluctant to go down the digital route, comfortable with the way they’ve always done things. But I’ve found that most of them would now say it’s been a really positive change.”

Anna Cianchi, Product Manager at Farmplan would agree with Fiona’s assessment. “We’ve found that once reluctant adopters move across to our Business Manager software, they are surprised by lots of hidden benefits. From easing cash flow management to analysing business performance. And now with the Making Tax Digital functionality, customers can comply with the new regulations without any difficulty at all.”

People are worried about how the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative works but Fiona believes they’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is, especially if you are already using digital accounts software.

“People were concerned how MTD was going to work. However, submitting VAT returns via MTD has been nothing but straightforward.”

If you’re already using compatible accounts software such as Farmplan’s Business Manager, it’s a simple 3 step process:

  1. Update your software to the latest version which includes the MTD functionality (no extra cost for existing customers) and follow the MTD set-up wizard.
  2. Sign up to MTD on the HMRC website
  3. Once HMRC confirms you’re signed up, go back into your accounts software and finish the set-up.

When your VAT return is due, all you need to do is check that all your daily transactions are up to date and accurate and then it’s simply a click of the button and all the relevant data is sent to HMRC and your VAT return is automatically completed for you.

Fiona enthuses about the initiative but accepts that it represents a change in culture: “Although MTD has perhaps necessitated farm businesses to take the leap to digitising their accounts, I believe computerised accounts brings so many other benefits to the business – for the farmer, their accountant and their book-keeper!”

People were concerned how MTD was going to work. However, submitting VAT returns via MTD has been nothing but straightforward.

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