New (Tax) Year resolutions

New tax year
New tax year

For any accountants who have been preparing their end of tax year reports, the last few months are likely to have been pretty stressful. However, there are many things that accountants can implement as we head into the new financial year to make their lives easier when they come to prepare their documentation again in March 2017.

By following the steps below, accountants can reduce the pressure of reporting and start as they mean to go on by deploying some New (Tax) Year resolutions.

Timing is everything

Having a clear plan in place for your tax year-end reporting is the key to hitting important deadlines and milestones. HMRC needs your tax return not only for its own records but in order to file the necessary documentation with Companies House. What’s more Corporation Tax can be worked out by using these reports.

Given the penalties that can be incurred as a result of a failure to comply, you need to have a strategy mapped outright from the beginning of the year. You and your finance team should have a planner set out which indicates key HMRC submission dates, and also a list of internal deadlines for pulling together certain reports. What’s more, you should put together a checklist for the new tax year which sets out what preparatory measures you need to take in order to ensure the smooth reporting of your company’s performance. For instance making sure you’ve got all of the right HMRC stationary to complete a tax return, and ensuring that all of your accounting software is updated to coincide with the New Year is essential. It’s by putting these incremental steps in place that you can ensure you produce a timely and hassle free return.

Make use of the available technology

Incorporating technology into your company’s financial processes is a must. Naturally, as an employee of webexpenses it’s no surprise that I’m such a big advocate, however the end of the tax year really does demonstrate why more businesses need to be using technology to perform basic accounting processes.

For instance, while recently pulling together my company’s own return, I was able to look back at a whole year’s worth of data at the click of a button. It was that simple. Using software management tools can provide a whole host of vital data not only quickly but in a format that is accurate and easy to digest.

Starting as you mean to go on

As part of having a clear strategy in place for the beginning of the new tax year, companies should look at how they can automate certain financial processes across their organisation. Having automation in place, not only saves the finance team from spending huge amounts of time doing financial administration, it ensures that the data that is collected for statutory administration like tax returns is accurate.

For instance, webexpenses’ own expenses management platform allows employees to upload expense claims easily to a cloud-based database, which can be viewed in real time by the company finance team. Having the ability to do this means that financial controllers can accurately monitor expenses throughout the year and spot any discrepancies quickly. The main advantage of this is that there will be no nasty surprises when preparing documents for things like tax returns.

Making use of the support out there

There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to tax returns. UK companies are many and varied in what they do and how they operate. Tax returns are bespoke and need to accurately reflect your company’s performance over the previous 12 months.

With that in mind, I’d recommend making best use of the expert knowledge out there when it comes to compiling tax returns. There’s no point struggling on, or trying to second guess how certain aspects of your company’s finances need to be reported when there’s so much support available.

One resource all accountants should access is the HMRC’s own webinars. The beauty of these webinars is that accountants themselves can ask questions and gain the bespoke advice they need to complete accurate returns.

In addition, I’d advise finance professionals to look at the white papers, videos and other resources that financial management companies offer for free. Again, all of these offer some insight on how to complete an accurate tax return.

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