As the deadline for major changes to the way many businesses have to file their VAT returns approaches, figures from accountancy software firm, Landmark Systems shows a 200% increase in uptake in the first part of this year.
Landmark Systems, which provides accounts software for farms and rural businesses, is working with accountants, Duncan & Toplis in the East Midlands to help businesses switch to digital accounting software ahead of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) deadline on April 1st 2019.
Every VAT registered business with a turnover higher than the £85,000 threshold will have to keep their records digitally and send VAT returns using MTD compatible software for VAT periods commencing from 1st April 2019, rather than traditional pen and paper methods. This will include filing VAT returns directly from compliant software and maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial information throughout the trading year.
Businesses have had more than two years to adapt to Making Tax Digital, which was originally to become mandatory in April last year but figures suggest a surge in rural businesses switching to digital platforms at practically the last minute.
Clare Hulme, associate director at Duncan & Toplis said: “The move to digital has proven to be a challenge for rural organisations that fall into the MTD regime. Not only do they face unique challenges such as delayed broadband delivery, but there has also been a lack of communication from HMRC which has left many businesses confused by the many myths that are out there about MTD.
“Working with Landmark and other platforms designed specifically for rural businesses, we’re helping farmers and businesses in rural areas across the East Midlands to confidently make the move from paper to digital and understand the advantages that this will bring.
“We’re advising anyone yet to adopt MTD software to take their time, speak to an expert and look into the software options that are right for their business. There are some important decisions to be made that will have a lasting impact on businesses, but there’s still time to make the right choice and there’s still time to switch.”
Landmark has been working alongside rural accountancy specialists and the CLA to reach out to farmers and explain all the options available. The agricultural software supplier was also appointed by the NFU as the sole recommended supplier of MTD compliant software ahead of the switch to digital.
Since January, over 400 people have attended countrywide joint NFU and Landmark presentations.
As a result, more businesses are investing in Landmark’s accounting systems. One popular entry level option is Landmark’s KEYPrime Intro, which provides a one-click MTD for VAT submission solution and has contributed to the 200% increase in sales in 2019.
Landmark’s national sales manager Keith Morris believes the increase is a result of agricultural business owners recognising the benefits of incorporating technology into their organisations.
Keith said: “The deadline is focusing farmers’ minds not only on MTD. Technology is at the forefront of every aspect of the agricultural industry with speed and a greater connection between remote field and livestock recording devices and the office PC or laptop aiding management decisions.
“Our sales and support teams are working flat out to dispel the myths surrounding MTD. For example, it is false information to say that to make a digital VAT submission the accounting software must be cloud-based. HMRC recognised software, a PC and an internet connection are all that is required. Neither do invoices need to be scanned - manual entry by the farmer or the farm secretary onto the software is a perfectly good first step.
“MTD is a simple process but farmers have recognised that a software investment may well bring wider advantages. Easy and fast access to data can improve efficiency and be a driver for increased productivity, widely acknowledged as wise tactics in the forthcoming challenges facing farming.”