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Predictions for SME community in 2017

ByCharley Williams

Jan 23, 2017

Robson Laidler Accountants managing director Graham Purvis said: “There is still much uncertainty around where Britain fits in the world following Brexit. 

Up until the High Court’s ruling that Brexit cannot begin without MPs’ backing, our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, was expected to trigger Article 50 before the end of March 2017, formerly starting the two year exit programme. Although now the Government is set to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court, the schedule is now still up in the air.

“Regardless of the timings, negotiations need to be worked out with Europe, and new trade agreements need to be settled with non-EU markets across the world to ensure Britain remains a global player. Add to this the appetite for a second independence referendum in Scotland, and 2017 looks to be challenging for the UK’s 5.4 million SMEs as it struggles to find its role in the global economy.

“More specifically, the SME community in 2017 needs to be preparing for what will be the biggest change to the tax system for a generation – Making Tax Digital.

“MP Chancellor Philip Hammond has already revealed that HMRC is in the final stages of its consultation period with the business community and hopes to announce its strategy for this roll out in January 2017, meaning businesses will only have 15 months to deal with the changes.

“And with the SME community being targeted first to use this new digital tax reporting  system, it is going to mean a big technological shift and financial burden for them as they deal with overheads for setting up a digital accountancy system and time and effort spent learning how to use it and keeping it up to date.  It’s not just a case of putting a few numbers in various boxes – it takes a whole new set of skills to use these programs properly. However this is where using your accountant to help you embrace this change comes into play.”