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Making Tax Digital: Top tips from Peter Jones

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Entrepreneur Peter Jones shares his top tips to get your business ready for Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital started on 1 April 2019 for VAT-registered businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000. Here, Sage Ambassador Peter Jones shares his advice on MTD.

In this article, he talks about the importance of a well-organised business, why embracing digital is vital for your company and how Making Tax Digital can give you time back so you can keep growing your business.

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Peter Jones’s advice on keeping your business well organised

There’s one thing that’s really important, if you think about it: actually preventing a problem is a lot easier than fixing a problem, especially when it comes to taxes.

The last thing you want to do is have a major issue with a tax bill that’s going to take you down routes of investigation, so you just need to get organised.

I’ve always believed with regards to tax that you can prevent an issue just by being organised and there’s nothing better than actually having all of your information in one place.

We all know what it’s like when you’re running around. When I started my first business at 19, I literally had all of these books and I used to have to write every single receipt, every single invoice, I ran my own ledger.

And, while it was great, it was all in one place, the time it took to do that, I couldn’t go back and then print another report. I had to go back and actually manually calculate everything again and work out different numbers.

Making Tax Digital will actually take all of that away and make your business so much more efficient. It will allow you to focus on what’s important and that’s running your business.

Why businesses should embrace the digital world

This is really quite key: now that you can’t actually submit your VAT return directly to HMRC, what are you going to do?

You need to make life easy, there’s only one way, you’ve just got to embrace that digital world.

If my dad was to start a business today—my dad is 86—even he would actually go digital, that’s the most important thing. You need an accounting package to do that and obviously what better accounting package than Sage.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m an ambassador for Sage. Genuinely.

I’m saying it because I have used Sage within my businesses since I was 19 and I might look in my mid-to-late fifties but being 53 today, I’m still going strong and do you know what accounting package I use? It’s Sage—so you’ve just got to embrace it. Embracing digital saves you so much more time.

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All of my teams across all of my businesses, if we didn’t have Sage running our businesses and our accounting solutions, the amount of people that I would now need to employ would just absolutely make it not efficient and it would just cost me more money.

So embracing that digital age, moving forward, but most importantly getting that information so you don’t make your errors, it’s there and you’ve got access to it at any time—it’s wow—it’s the dream ticket.

How to get time back to run your business

One of the most important things, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a one-man outfit, or you’re running a company with thousands of people, the thing we just don’t have is enough time.

Time is never on an entrepreneur’s side. I’m always running out of time.

Going digital—especially with the most important management information which is about your business and taking all the heartache away from producing all of those VAT returns, literally at a click and press of a button—that gives you back the very commodity that you desperately need to become successful. You need time.

Making Tax Digital gives you that time back and that’s why it’s important to embrace it.

Where to find the best advice for Making Tax Digital

So at the moment, the big thing is Making Tax Digital and so many questions from so many people and one of the questions that I get asked quite a lot is where do I go, where’s the help and advice that I need to find out how I make my tax digital within my own business so that it gives me back my time?

And Google is always your best friend, however there’s some government resources out there but genuinely the best place to go is directly to Sage’s website.

There’s so much on there, the advice section there is as good as it gets, so please go to Sage.com/mtd and have a look.

You’ll find everything you need to know and there’s a hub in there specifically about Making Tax Digital and the information you get for free is so fantastic, so take a look.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in November 2018 and has been updated for relevance.

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