According to Mike Butler, chairman of the board at accountant Old Mill, new software is extremely farmer-friendly, helping with budgeting, invoicing, payroll, VAT returns and self-assessment. “There are considerable benefits of moving your accounts online – not only will it aid financial decision-making, but also save secretarial time and significantly reduce your accountant’s fees.”
With the impending ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirement just around the corner, it may be H M Revenue and Customs that forces the decision on farmers. “Make sure you get ahead of those changes by acting early.”
By updating accounts regularly, farmers can use the data to assess their financial position throughout the year and be proactive about financial management, rather than simply waiting for the annual summary. “We actively encourage our clients to use software and analyse data,” says Mr Butler. “As well as reducing their costs and improving cash flow budgeting, it means we can focus on the important aspect of providing advice.”
Modern accounting software helps to reduce accountants’ compliance costs and frees up professional time for tax planning and advice, he adds. “You shouldn’t be using your accountant solely to produce accounts. Instead, we should be helping to reduce your tax bills and flagging up new changes and opportunities.”
Making the transition may seem like a daunting task for many farmers, but their accountant can help to set the system up and explain how to use it. “We particularly like Xero; it is an ideal, simple system for farms wanting to update their own accounts in real time throughout the year,” says Mr Butler. “That gives us more time to talk to farmers about arising opportunities for their businesses – without the worry of a growing bill.”
For more information contact Mike Butler on 01749 335019.