We have nearly prepared every single one of our 2018 personal tax returns. We're aiming to have them all completed by 31 July. I'm really excited about this. Here's why.
Back in January I was talking with a traditional accountant, they proudly told me that they had, "submitted over half of their tax returns in the December and January". They were proud! Proud to be doing over 50% of their clients returns at the eleventh hour.
People have come to expect it. Who hasn't found themselves making small talk with an accountant in January and asked, "I bet you're really busy right now?". And the accountant replies happily, "Oh yes, very busy!" or "Silly clients, they always leave it until the last minute".
Silly clients? Poor clients if you ask me.
Rather than accepting that some people will always leave it until the last minute, we've been talking with our clients about the benefit of getting their returns prepared nice and early. And it's worked. We've only got two who haven't pulled their books together yet (and they know who they are!).
The benefits to filing early are huge. It means all our clients know their January '19 and July '19 tax bills already. What an amazing thing; to know exactly how much tax you'll be paying with at least six months to prepare for it. On top of that, we've saved our clients tens of thousands of pounds by reducing July '18 payments on account.
To me, there's an even bigger benefit to be enjoyed. When we meet with our clients we can talk about what is happening now, because the accounts are only a month or so old. When the traditional accountant hands you accounts in mid-January they're almost a year out of date. In fact, the first transactions in those accounts happened 21 months ago.
The easiest way to increase the value of your accountancy spend is to prepare accounts early. It doesn't cost any more but the numbers have so much more meaning.
We've done this for all of our clients. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.
I wasn't sure what picture to use for this post, so I went for one that describes a traditional accountant's January. I wonder what we'll be doing instead? Ah well, plenty of time to plan for that!