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April 2020

BI Resized 1170x600 - COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation
1024 512 Nicki Smith

COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation

It’s staggering, the changes that businesses have had to make over the last month.

So to say it’s given digital transformation a kick start is a bit of an understatement…

The outbreak of the Coronavirus has forced the hand of many business owners who may have previously been reluctant to step into the world of digital transformation.

Businesses who now have many employees working remotely will no doubt be struggling to establish how their employees are really doing emotionally as well as physically.

Some are having to juggle a new experience of not just working from home but while also looking after and home-schooling their children.

We’ve all got very good at multitasking!

World Mental Health Day 2019 - COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation

Being able to function as a business, in a paperless way, communicate effectively as a team and to continue to offer your customers your services or products with an online presence is now more important than ever.

Not a gentle nudge, but a real shove in the right direction for some companies who have been putting off making changes.

An annual report from the Office of National Statistics which was published in Nov 2019 detailing eCommerce and ICT use by UK businesses in 2018 said that 52% of British businesses did not have a website.

Office for National Statistics 2018 1 - COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation

The same report also said that only 12.9% of British businesses had made sales through a website and that more than half of larger businesses (with 1,000+ employees) did not make sales via their websites.

The Government have been pushing the move to digital following their 2017 UK Digital Strategy, with businesses being asked to make the move to offer a web presence, sell online, use the cloud and digitise back-end systems including payroll and VAT.

Perhaps it will also pave the way for more permanent changes to the way (or location) in which we work and also how we interact with both our customers and colleagues?

Companies with no facility in place to allow employees to effectively work from home will have also had to invest and make changes in a very short space of time. Investing further on systems, websites and e-commerce development might not be what you want to do right now, but it might have become an absolute necessity.

The initial panic of getting the infrastructure in place will now have been dealt with, and attention may now be turning to what can be done to ensure the survival of the business in general – if there are gaps in your channels to market and what can be done to stay ahead of the competition?

So, businesses who previously shied away from selling online or enhancing their existing offer should be making changes now.

Big-name retail businesses will have an established online presence already, but with literally everyone now ordering everything they need online, those who have always had a ‘customer-focused’ approach will now be taking an even closer look at making sure that your customer experience is as slick as possible. Websites which make the user journey simple and encourages repeat visits are those who will thrive in this current situation.

However, businesses who sell in a B2B (Business to Business) environment might be keen to offer their customers the facility to log in to their account, browse a catalogue, add products to shopping baskets directly from an online brochure. Giving the customer the freedom to shop with your business at any hour of the day to suit them.

Or what about allowing trade customers to customise or build bespoke products from components with an intuitive search and filter facility – and most importantly allow their customers to view a price list specific to them while managing their account online?

Once your customers, regardless of whether they are making consumer or trade-related transactions have experienced a simple, easy online shopping experience they are going to be less likely to shop around!

KFA can support companies with their eCommerce to help businesses get online quickly and effectively in response to the Coronavirus measures, and to ensure companies are well-placed to continue with eCommerce activities moving forward.

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1024 544 Nicki Smith

HMRC Announces Phase 2 of Making Tax Digital for VAT is to be Deferred due to COVID-19 Outbreak

New guidelines have been announced by HMRC – now giving them longer to make the digital transition.

Following the announcement from HMRC last week – offering companies the opportunity to delay making their VAT payments to HMRC, they have now relaxed the Making Tax Digital for VAT legislation dates for phase 2, giving businesses longer to make the change from manual submissions to going fully digital.

Making the digital transition to MTD for VAT

COVID-19 is creating extremely difficult times for all, and HMRC have confirmed that they are “committed to helping in every way possible all those businesses facing unprecedented challenges”.

Therefore, HMRC are providing all MTD businesses with more time to put in place digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. This means that all businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place.

Delaying VAT payments

If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to:

  • defer the payment until a later date
  • pay the VAT due as normal

But it’s important to remember that you still need to continue to make your VAT submissions…

HMRC have also said that they will continue to process VAT reclaims and refunds as normal during this time.

One option is to use KFA Connect’s FREE bridging software solution Magic Tax.

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KFA do not profit from the solution at all, we are simply asking businesses who find the solution useful to make a donation to our chosen charity Marie Curie.

Suggested donation, £20.00 per vat submission filed.

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Charities at the moment need as much help as they can get, so now is a great time to use Magic Tax to help your business and helping a very worthy charity in the process!

For full details on any of the above, please visit HMRC website.

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