LAST week I spoke at three events in London on the way digital technology is changing the world of tax and accountancy.

This week I will be speaking at two more. Technology is changing at the fastest pace I have seen in my 37 year career and I don’t foresee the pace slowing.

The changes are impacting not just on accountants but on the business and individual clients we serve.

Nor are the changes confined to HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) project, which will require all landlords and businesses – including the self employed – with annual rent or sales in excess of £10,000 to keep digital records.

Technology is delivering new opportunities to save time and effort and to have access to more up to date information.

While many people have been using accounting software for years – decades in some cases – MTD will force others who are perfectly happy keeping manual records to take the digital plunge.

Some will find the transition easier than others (which is why I am opposed to the idea of making this compulsory for smaller businesses – people should change because they see benefits, not through compulsion).

So should you wait until HMRC insists you go digital, or should you look at the possibilities now? I think it is well worth looking at what is available.

Modern software goes way beyond bookkeeping and basic reports. Cloud based software allows your accountant to see your records whenever you want: if you have a question, you can ask for help “real time” or simply choose to let your accountant keep an eye on things and to offer advice when they feel it is appropriate.

That proactive relationship is only possible for smaller businesses thanks to new technology.

Smartphones with the appropriate apps can capture expense receipts and upload the information direct to accounting software.

Apps can be used to maintain a business mileage log, with the phone’s GPS recording journeys taken and measuring distances with great accuracy.All you have to do is say whether the trip was business or private.

Other software can be used to draw details from your bank account straight into your accounting software.

If you are interested in what new technology has to offer, have a chat with your accountant and if you don’t have an accountant, feel free to contact me or one of my colleagues at AC Mole & Sons.

  • Paul Aplin OBE is a tax partner with AC Mole & Sons and Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales; you can follow him on Twitter @PaulAplinOnTax. He and the digital Business Solutions team can be contacted on 01823 624450.