1. Robots will steal our jobs – but more jobs will be created overall
Jennifer Warawa, executive vice president of Sage, reminded us that all sectors are experiencing disruption, and the pace of change due to technology is only set to grow. But those accountants who are worried they will be replaced by AI or other kind of technology should be assured – she shared Gartner research which shows that by 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3m jobs while only eliminating 1.8m.
Millennials want the same as everyone else
Among the many surprising figures in Sage’s Practice of Now presentation, shared at Accountex 2019 for the first time, was this detail about millennials. While many practices worry about how to recruit and retain this section of the workforce, it may not be as difficult as feared. Executive vice president Jennifer Warawa said the things which matter to them, such as having a positive impact on their organisation, becoming an expert in their field and being able to do work they are passionate about, have always mattered to all generations. “Everybody ultimately wants the same thing in the workplace, not just millennials,” she said. While issues such as a work/life balance are now higher on the agenda for many graduates entering the workplace, all generations can in fact benefit from these changes, many of which are enabled by technology.
There has been a 32% increase in positive sentiment among SMEs for MTD
While some resentment remains among SMEs forced to choose between 200 different kinds of software which are compatible with MTD, the message about its benefits is getting through. QuickBooks’ Nick Williams shared the results of a survey they commissioned, showing that there is a more positive feeling about the regulation now. HMRC’s MTD director Theresa Middleton said the next steps for MTD would include stimulating the software market to create more software capable of filing income tax directly to HMRC, ahead of the government introducing MTD for income tax – though this will not be until after 2020, as Philip Hammond has said in the Spring Statement.
The workforce is changing
QuickBooks’ sales director Nick Williams shared the statistic that 50% of the workforce will be self-employed by 2025. And that’s not all – Sage’s Jennifer Warawa reminded us that millennials already make up the largest proportion of the workforce, a milestone which was passed in 2017. By 2020, she added, they will make up more than half of the workforce, along with Generation X.
There have been 70,000 MTD submissions so far
Theresa Middleton, HMRC’s MTD director, said the tax authority is pleased with the way MTD has been progressing so far, though she stressed that teething problems are being ironed out. The first VAT returns will be submitted on August 7, meaning that the April 1 deadline was not a “cliff edge.” Businesses who must comply will still have a chance to do so, although they should already be keeping digital records.
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Five things we have learned from Accountex so far