'Apps key to meeting Government's digital tax plans'
Accountancy firms must get connected in the world of mobile technology to satisfy the Government’s digital taxation plans, according to the boss of a specialist app development firm.
The Government’s Making Tax Digital policy means all businesses will soon have to pay tax digitally.
Joel Oliver is CEO of MyFirmsApp, the world’s leading app developer in the sector.
He told BusinessCloud: “With HMRC’s commitment to Making Tax Digital, we believe it’s even more vital for accountancy firms to get connected in the mobile world.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to ensure they are the digital conduit between clients and HMRC, or be left behind.”
The company is developing a new artificial intelligence-enabled app solution, on track for completion by the summer, which allows clients without any accountancy knowledge to deal with their tax affairs directly.
All the data concerning receipts and income will be stored securely in an Amazon-powered server and be available from any computer, phone or tablet with internet access.
“We have a clear plan for growth for the next three years which is totally focused on developing our core business,” said Oliver.
“We have already invested in additional developers to ensure we can meet our ambitious development roadmap for our app. We will be enhancing current features and the user interface as well as adding some amazing new functionality into the app.
“One of the exciting developments will be the launch of AI within the app, coming early summer.
“Despite the announcement earlier this month by HMRC that there will be a one-year delay in the introduction of MTD for businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold, our development plans remain unchanged.
“We believe that it is important that the tools to manage MTD are made available at the earliest opportunity as accountants face a huge challenge to get their clients digital-ready.”
Each bespoke app developed by MyFirmsApp delivers a suite of compliant and approved tax tools to make running a business easier and includes calculators, mileage and income trackers, receipt management, finance news, calendars and push notifications.
“All our apps are designed specifically to meet the needs of our clients,” continued Oliver. “We discuss with clients which functions and integrations they need built into their app. We then create a bespoke design for the user interface for them, which supports their own firm’s branding and image.”
MyFirmsApp is the only app to be fully compliant and endorsed by industry bodies such as ICAS, ACCA, ICPA and CiMA.
ICPA chairman Tony Margaritelli said: “Small practice accountants everywhere are concerned… they keep manual records or use their own spreadsheet and for some it's just a bag or box of receipts.
“How are they to cope and how can we help without trying to teach them bookkeeping or using expensive software? That's where an app will come in – it will be simple and need no expertise [yet] will allow our members to retain their overriding control of their clients’ tax affairs.
“That's why the ICPA are working with MyFirmsApp to develop the best product available.”
Around 900 billion hours were spent inside apps around the world in 2016, making up 90 per cent of overall time with the rest coming from browsing the mobile web.
“Successful businesses are realising that this does not just apply to social activity but it’s where their clients are spending their time within the working arena,” Oliver continued.
“The key to the success of the app is that we effectively make it like having a member of your firm in your client’s pocket at all times.
“Instead of having clients seeking other sources of information via mobile searches, they come to you, their trusted financial advisor.
“It makes communication with clients and potential clients so much easy via push notifications, which get far higher engagement than email at 88 per cent.
“We also bring all the various apps together in one easy to use place via our integrations. Accountants are amazed at the time saving all this digital capture delivers for them.”