How to make ‘Making Tax Digital’ (MTD) work with good communication

February 18th 2022 | Posted by Dave Cross

There is some room for confusion when it comes to Making Tax Digital (MTD) given the amount of information that is out there.

This makes it essential for accounting professionals to communicate proactively with their clients in order to ensure clarity and remove any concerns.

The key to communicating MTD effectively is to apply and share knowledge in a straightforward manner that is best suited to the client. Planning communications plays an essential role in making sure this happens.

Why planning your communications is vital

Communicating about MTD helps clients to feel secure and ensures that they fully understand the processes involved. This is a vital aspect of an accountant’s role considering that all VAT registered businesses will be required to use MTD by April this year and MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment takes effect from April 2024.

In order to ensure clients are prepared, and understand the value of the process, planning of communications should be happening now.

Creating and utilising your communications plan

For accounting firms to operate efficiently in assisting clients with MTD, they must have an understanding of their clients and optimal communication methods.

A well devised communications plan takes care of this and can de developed using four steps.

Understanding clients and how MTD relates to them

Each client is different and has individual requirements. Some clients may already have processes in place that adhere to new regulations. Others may need more assistance. It makes sense to segment customers depending on their requirements.

To do this, you can ask yourself questions such as:

  • When does MTD compliance begin for them?
  • How close are their current records and processes to compliance?
  • Are they comfortable using technology?
  • What methods of communication are preferable to them?

Developing a timeline for actions

Once you have an understanding of your customers in relation to MTD, you can plan your deadlines for communicating with them. During this process, it’s important to allow more time for those clients who require more assistance.

For this reason, it may be wise to address quick wins at the start, but each accounting professional or firm will make decisions based on what they consider to be in the best interests of their clients and their operations.

When planning the timeline, it’s essential to appreciate that clients will require time to adapt to new processes, change old habits, and adapt to new software.

Optimising communication methods

There are many methods you can use to communicate the MTD process to clients. The best approach is likely to be to diversify between a few options.

You can host a webinar or produce an explainer video as a way of opening the door on discussions. This can be followed up by more direct communication with each client that relates to their particular circumstances.

Track and measure progress

The aim of MTD communications with clients is to raise awareness of the new regulations and processes and ensure compliance.

So, tracking and measuring processes is the vital last step of communications planning. This includes setting clear goals and agreeing methods of assurance.

Using these four steps in communications will help you as an accounting professional to ensure that MTD works for clients.

If you are an accountancy professional looking for your next role, register with us. If you are on looking to hire an accountancy professional, get in touch.