With 2018 offering plenty of scope for you to build on last year’s achievements, now is the time to focus on your priorities for the forthcoming 12 months at your accountancy practice.
No matter whether you’re looking to grow your practice or solidify your offering to your current clients, it’s worth having goals in place to help you achieve what you want to set out. And what better time of year to do that than now, when you can put some new year’s resolutions into play.
What will a successful 2018 look like for your accountancy practice? Here are a few things to consider to get your practice ready.
1. Get prepared for GDPR
From 25 May 2018, businesses in the UK will be required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This significant piece of legislation will have huge implications on how personal data is stored, so you’ll need to be ready for it.
There are significant consequences for breaching the GDPR, notably the fact that your practice might be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20m, whichever is greater.
And it’s likely there will be numerous expenses that your practice will have to have to cover – make sure you do your research so you’re ready. To help you with that, Keir Thomas-Bryant has put together a series of answers to questions you may have on GDPR.
2. Keep on top of Making Tax Digital
There’s still a lot of confusion over Making Tax Digital (MTD), with some plans being delayed by the UK government while others have been abandoned.
As things stand, the implementation of MTD is due to begin from April 2019, starting with VAT-registered businesses. But despite that, there are still huge implications for accountants and bookkeepers.
It’s worth considering what you need to do now so your practice is ready for MTD. This involves making sure you know which of your clients will be impacted by it and when, so you can develop a software solution to manage your workload.
You’ll also need to consider what services you’ll be offering in light of MTD and the costs you’ll charge provide them. And make sure you look at your processes and resources, so internally your accountancy practice is ready for the changes.
Finally, get in touch with your clients and keep them up to date with MTD developments, so there are no surprises when it eventually comes into play.
3. Help your clients go digital now
While your practice is waiting for MTD to become a reality, there’s no reason why you can’t help your clients go digital now.
This will lead to your clients reporting in a more efficient manner, as Chris Baber-Davies highlights in an article where he refers to “Making Business Digital”, which will help your practice reach “accounting utopia”.
By putting a plan in place to digitise business for your clients, mapping out the journey for them, and communicating clearly on a digital plan and the use of cloud accounting software, it will make things clearer all round.
And when MTD does come into play, both you and your clients will be ready.
4. Reduce reworking of client data
Reworking client data has become the norm for a lot of accounting practices – but that shouldn’t be the case.
If you need to take the time out to completely rework your clients’ books – or even spend time doing a partial rework of them – that’s time lost that could be spent finding new clients or completing other tasks.
And due to the issue of fixed-fee billing, there’s a good chance that any time spent reworking client data will be seen as something that’s already covered as part of the bill.
It’s worth putting a strategy in place to tackle the issue of rework, which will help you offer a more effective service.
5. Get to know your clients better
Meeting the needs of your clients can be tough if you don’t really get to know them. It might take a bit of psychology but understanding them and how they tick can help you meet their needs in a smoother and more efficient way.
There are numerous ways you could get to know your clients better, including scheduling more regular meetings with them by phone, videoconferencing, at your offices, at their offices, a coffee shop – you get the idea – to discuss their business challenges, goals and dreams.
By doing so, you might identify other areas that you could offer your services or provide additional solutions. And at a simple level, you’ll find yourself offering a higher level of service that keeps your clients onboard and helps to attract new ones.
What other plans for your accountancy practice have you got in place for 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.