Welcome to Tech Talk, a monthly catch-up with an accountant in practice to find out the effect that technological changes have had on the industry over the years.
Today we are joined by Jolene Hutton, operations director of Eazitax, an accountancy practice working with self-employed people and small and medium-sized businesses in Loughton, Essex. Eaxitax is taking part in the Making Tax Digital pilot with Thomson Reuters as their chosen software provider.
Jolene, how has the technology you use in your firm changed since you started out?
Making Tax Digital is introducing a lot of changes. We mainly act for clients who are professional drivers, and operatives in the security industry. It’s been a slow process introducing the changes to our clients as many of them keep their books and records manually.
We have now introduced our clients to Thomson Reuters OnBalance which is part of the Digita Professional Suite, so they are now able to take pictures of any receipts, key in expenses and income on a daily basis. We’ve been hands on with providing Thomson Reuters with development direction for the Making Tax Digital solution from the perspective of our client’s and what they want to see from the software.
The new digital accounts process is going to be a long journey for Eazitax as we deal mainly with the individuals for the tax returns at the moment, but this week we are already working on our first set of MTD VAT upload.
Tell us about the tech set up within your practice for Making Tax Digital
Again, the Thomson Reuters OnBalance solution takes care of this. Our clients use it daily to input their income and expense data, we also use Onvio in conjunction with OnBalance to pull that data though on our end. It’s very straightforward we first set up projects that then flow through to OnBalance, which then alerts our clients that they need to press a button to release their data to us.
What three considerations did you make when choosing the technology to cope with MTD for your practice?
The three main priorities for us was to find software that was user friendly for our clients, easy for us to use and had smart processes in place when it came to submitting to HMRC.
What are your favourite technology products at work and at home and why?
I use so many it’s difficult to choose! I am a bit of a gadget queen myself, I love gadgets. I use my iPhone a lot, I couldn’t live without it.
At work we use Sage for all of our internal accounts, invoicing, payments and I find it very easy to use. One thing I enjoy at work is using the Digita Professional Suite from Thomson Reuters, especially the Practice Management tool. It’s how we run our business and it makes our life a lot easier.
Are there any everyday accountancy problems you think could be solved with technology in the future?
To be honest, at the moment what I am more concerned about is our clients. So long as they put the information in the correct places, everything will work smoothly. Otherwise, it will take us a lot of time to untangle it.
Can you tell me about a recent project or process that you made better, faster, smarter or more efficient?
One thing that we do at Eazitax is making sure we have the right processes in place. For example, we always try to keep our clients in the loop of what we are doing. Once we’ve completed a job or procedure we send a letter informing them of exactly what we’ve done, were they stand and what they need to do next. We always try to keep that communication up with our clients.
At Eazitax, the end result for our customers is what is most paramount to us. We make sure that they have an easy journey.