Why spreadsheets won’t cut it with Making Tax Digital for VAT and it’s time to look at online accounting

Weird title? Well, no, actually… Let me explain.

Monday next week is the first day of the quarter. Q1 is gone. Think back to that marketing plan that was put together at the end of last year. Remember that commitment to write one blog a quarter by your own fair hand?

How is that going?

I know, I know – don’t beat yourself up.

Here’s a suggestion. Let’s say the business goal is to generate enquiries (that is, to win some business) via your website. And let’s assume a chosen tactic in the mix is content marketing. If that’s the case, then I would want to make sure I was writing about the hot topic of the day.

Enter stage left…

Making Tax Digital.

It’s fair to say that Making Tax Digital and in particular MTD for VAT is a right up there at the moment. I wrote a piece back in December about the huge rise in search trends for MTD. That trend has continued and we’re now seeing all-time-high search volumes, heading towards 35,000 per month in the UK. For the accountancy sector these are huge numbers.

So what am I saying? Write an MTD piece? Well, yes, and no.

If you have a general MTD explainer piece that can answer the informational questions like, ‘what is MTD?’, ‘what is MTD for VAT?’, ‘what do I need to do as VAT registered business for MTD?’ or ‘will I get fined by MTD?’ then by all means get writing. Just be aware that others have got there first and you will be competing not only against your peers but also the big boys in vendor space and the HMRC themselves.

What I recommend is working a little bit smarter. Rather than just go head to head, why not nip around the edges and pick up the bits other people haven’t cottoned on to yet. Here are two specific examples of ways you could get in on the act.

Cloud accounting vs online accounting

Every day we see reports, articles and blogs about the rise of cloud accounting, but ‘cloud accounting’ is industry speak. It’s the term in the ascendancy with the vendors, the marketers and accountants themselves. The Great British Public however are looking for answers to online accounting. The stats (here direct from Google) show that ‘online accounting’ is the more popular term.

The lesson? Use both.

Online Accounting

The numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular.


Making Tax Digital spreadsheets

The above is a term that has gone turbo in 2019, and that makes sense when you think about it. Lots of business owners operating over the VAT threshold still running on spreadsheets and hoping they can get away with it moving forward. This term has gone from nothing to 1600 searches a month.

Here lies the opportunity. There’s a substantial surge in interest and right now there’s no one giving authoritative answers. It could be you!

If you are going to write one blog post, write this one: ‘Why spreadsheets won’t cut it with Making Tax Digital for VAT and it’s time to look at online accounting’. Get it drafted, be brave, and get it up on your site with a sensible call to action along the lines of ‘Want to know more? Get in touch.’

If you do this – if you carve out 30 minutes and just do it – there’s a very good chance you can grab a piece of the action, and the business that comes with it.