Online accountancy firm, The Accountancy Partnership, is looking to the future and asking the government to invest in superfast broadband in advance of upcoming tax reforms and the prevalence of New Year start-up companies.
Lee Murphy, Managing Director of the Partnership explained that a report by Ofcom indicated that almost 500,000 SME’s across the UK cannot access superfast broadband – compounded by the need for SME’s to improve their internet profile. This is the case not least because of the initiative ‘Making Tax Digital’, which asks that all companies complete their tax filing online.
In the meantime January expects to see a 20 per cent rise in new business registrations in the wake of a large increase in start-up figures.
“As a firm delivering cloud-based accounting services we are well aware that far too many businesses are held back by poor broadband coverage and slow speeds,“ said Mr Murphy. “They are simply not able to maximise the same opportunities online afforded to better connected competitors. It is not a level playing field and only serves to broaden the gap between the fast-emerging built-up areas and the nation’s more remote rural locations.
“On the international stage, we also risk being rapidly overtaken by nations such as Japan who are piling resources into universal broadband. Our mobile internet coverage, for instance on trains and roads, requires real attention to support business people on the move.“
The Accountancy Partnership provides accounting software (cloud based) called Pandle which aims to helps sole traders and small businesses. Start-ups can utilise the software free of charge, with the option to select more advanced paid options at a later stage, if required. The firm has an employee count of 25 and in excess of 3,000 clients.
“Technology is advancing at rapid pace with transformative cloud-based solutions, and the vast majority of businesses require superfast and reliable internet to function effectively and competitively,“ said Mr Murphy. “However, hundreds of thousands of firms remain at a severe disadvantage, with an estimated 192,000 not even able to access speeds of 10 Mbps. Many business parks and rural areas remain hampered by poor internet affecting their ability to grow and innovate.
“Following Ofcom’s recent ‘Nations Connected’ report there is a groundswell of support for greater action to deliver universal broadband. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Government to deliver a Universal Service Obligation (USO) so that a basic level of broadband can be accessed by all small businesses by 2020.
“However, there is no room for delay, as many more new and ambitious entrepreneurs will be setting up this month. There has been a spike in the number of websites registered in January for the past five years. British entrepreneurs are 10pc more likely to start a business in the first month of the year than in any other month.
“Furthermore, HMRC is embarking on the biggest change to the tax system in a generation with the ‘Making Tax Digital’ initiative. For businesses, the most significant change is the requirement for digital record keeping. This will involve the use of software to record income and expenditure, which can submit information to HMRC once every three months. The new regime will start soon with the smallest and some of the most vulnerable businesses first.“
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