Our first face-to-face Xerocon in several years was fun and joyous, but the tone – while optimistic – was serious.
Tobacco Dock, the venue for Xero’s big UK event, was far different venue to that of a hotel conference room. What were old storage rooms became pods for Xero’s app exhibitors (including AdvanceTrack); while the central courtyards provided much relief against the heat, creating a carnival-like atmosphere.
However, the context was a stagnating economy, high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis. And of course, MTD ITSA. Can accountancy firms act as ‘digital consultants’? asked Xero’s UK and EMEA managing director Alex von Schirmeister.
Sole traders and micro businesses are the seed for creativity and graspers of new models to serve markets. And they want accountants to support them in that journey of growth. So… can you, as an adviser, steer them through the compliance hurdles they face? And, then, develop that relationship to offer timely and strategic support?
It’s not easy. MTD is proving to be a moving feast. The practitioners we spoke to at Xerocon are looking at ways to make both themselves, and their clients, ready as soon as possible. They don’t want nasty surprises when MTD ITSA goes live. But, unfortunately, we’re still waiting on some of the fine detail.
Xero’s big launch was Xero Go – a ‘freemium’ app to create an entry point for the millions of sole traders to better manage and capture income and expenses data.
While it’s very early days, it’s clear that Xero Go is one of the steps needed to offer a quick and easy platform for the smallest businesses to begin the vital process of capturing that information.
Accountants have so much on their plate. Being a ‘digital consultant’ requires a very important first step – understanding your own tech and processes. Your clients need help to both understand how to capture information – but, where automation isn’t possible, to get in the habit of opening up Tax Go, or whatever other capture tool is used.
There is an argument that this flow of extra information to HMRC will be of little use to the taxman. However, as we’ve suggested previously: building more links, consistently, between client and adviser should be a good thing – at least something that the practice can leverage.
We’d love to help you manage the increase in scale of client touchpoints – it’s what we do for a living. If you’d like to speak to us about improving your practice’s processes and workflow, contact us here.