Another year is almost over, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be sitting in a post-Christmas haze wondering where on earth it went. The world of accounting is subject to constant change, and this year was no different.
Which announcements shook us (sort of) the most? And what’s in store for 2019? Here’s our round-up of the year and beyond.
The Big Four
Seemingly untouchable and never out of the news, the year started with a bang and the almighty collapse of public sector firm, Carillion. The warning signs weren’t spotted by financial experts, and PwC were accused of ‘milking the Carillion cow dry’ by parliament.
In fact it’s been such a terrible year for the Big Four, that watchdogs are now calling for an overhaul in the way they operate, including a more obvious divide between auditing and consulting services, more accountability, and bringing in a third party to work on a joint auditing system.
A rise in tech
We’ve ditched our abacuses and our slates in favour of a more modern approach. We investigated all the ways you can introduce automation to your business, and we’re seeing a really positive change by embracing some really cool tech. Even simple changes like cloud accounting, available in Quickbooks Online, which enables us (and you) to access up-to-date accounts from anywhere with phone signal have made a big difference. We happily welcome our robot overlords.
More IR35 investigations
Whilst the legislation that aims to crack down on employees masquerading as contractors has been around for some time, this year saw some high-profile court cases. The most notable involved BBC newsreader, Christa Ackroyd, who was ordered to pay back a whopping £419,151 in owed taxes. But it’s not all just HMRC raking it in. On the other hand, the two other big cases we saw last year found in favour of the contractor. Previously limited to public sector companies, IR35 was name-checked in the autumn budget and it’s coming for the private sector soon, so we haven’t quite heard the last of it yet.
For a while over the summer, speculation over the ‘Amazon tax’ was all we heard about. Thankfully the Autumn budget gave us the concrete details of how the new Digital Services Tax will work. It’s due to come into force in 2020 unless any new EU laws supersede it.
But enough of the year just gone, what are just a few things we can expect from 2019?…
Making Tax Digital
Of course we are all bracing ourselves for Making Tax Digital, which is going to be one of the biggest changes we’ll see in 2019. The MTD for VAT scheme goes live for most straightforward VAT-registered businesses in April, with the rest following in October. Pilot schemes are currently available for both if you’d like to get a head-start.
Brexit… or no-Brexit
We couldn’t not mention the B word… whichever side of the nebulous debate you stand, the outcome of Brexit will have knock-on effects for every business across the country. Judging by the current parliamentary chaos at the time of writing (though it’s not too difficult to predict that this may continue the forseeable!), the outcome, its effects or what this will mean for businesses is impossible to tell. Watch this space!