What is in store in the accountant’s IT world in 2018?

There is little doubt that there will be many IT challenges in 2018.

GDPR legislation becomes effective in May 2018. Many still think this will be “a piece of cake”, but a nasty shock awaits. To comply with the legislation will require significant work, identifying systems and methodologies currently in place and devising revised systems to ensure compliance going forward. It also needs documenting, communicating to clients and educating all staff. With IT products continually evolving, this will need to be revisited on a regular basis.

A big challenge is likely to be trying to change behaviour, both internally in the practice and by clients. It has been increasingly common and so easy to attach a document to an email and press Send. Has anyone never sent something to the wrong recipient?

We are starting to see products already which encrypt documents prior to transmission, a key to protecting information.

We will also see more and more use of multi-factor authentication – so a smartphone will be essential for everyone to receive the codes sent through. WE have already had to provide one staff member with a mobile phone and pay as you go SIM as he does not possess such a device!

Whilst Making Tax Digital goalposts have moved, the Digital VAT goalposts loom large. 2019 is not the time to start addressing the changes needed to comply….for those businesses which need to implement or change digital methods, the start of a new accounting period is probably the best time to do this.  It will also be totally impractical to drag everyone kicking and screaming into the digital world at the very last minute.

There will be many practitioners flat out from now until 31 January and then another week or so to catch up on everything else that has had to be put on the back burner, so the latest consultation document on Digital VAT may well pass you by. The deadline for comments is 9 February!

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-legislation-the-value-added-tax-amendment-regulations-2018

Automation has been a buzz word for some time and this will increasingly be heard, along with the other new buzz words in the accounting workspace – artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain. Cloud will be central to all these technologies.

There is still “animosity” from an element of the bookkeeping fraternity to the new methods of working – scanning or emailing on purchase invoices for automated data extraction. Whilst there are still old school business owners who do not want to accept change either, these bookkeepers will still find gainful employment.

In accounting practices, the trend towards scrapping internal servers is also expected to continue, with the drive towards hosted servers.

What is certain is that IT will continue to move dramatically.

Where do you and your staff sit in the IT World? Do you let it happen, make it happen or wonder what happened?

Anonymous