Today, MYOB released its latest SME Snapshot, identifying some concerning end-of-year trends.
Notably, there has been an increase in the number of SMEs taking on their own year-end tax preparation, with 41 per cent of SMEs planning to complete their tax themselves, up 36 per cent from last year.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, MYOB’s chief strategy officer, John Moss, said that this increase in SMEs taking their tax returns in to their own hands has occurred as a result of more SMEs using cloud accounting.
“I think the primary thing is the various software tools and cloud accounting that are making it easier for SMEs to do that. Transaction processing, compliance, tax forms, reports, it's all a lot simpler these days,” Mr Moss said.
This poses a challenge for accountants according to Mr Moss because while they want their clients to get on board with cloud accounting, they need to ensure their clients understand the value of seeking advice in relation to their tax return.
SMEs may feel it’s easier to do the reporting themselves because it’s in the software so to speak, but accountants really need to press upon their clients that it’s really about ensuring that they get the maximum benefit from the tax system and that comes from advice, it doesn't come from a software,” he said.
“I would say to accountants they need to get the message across that the best outcome for an SME is probably coming through using accountants for those returns.”
The research also found that SMEs find tax time stressful, with 44 per cent of SMEs reporting that the EOFY process significantly impacts work/life balance.
Many are working overtime to ensure that they meet the 30 June deadline, with 37 per cent sacrificing their weekends and 23 per cent working past midnight in the lead up to the EOFY.
This provides accountants with another avenue to take some of the stress away from their clients and assist them in their tax time preparation according to Mr Moss.
“It’s absolutely a time that an accountant can be out there providing guidance and advice to help reduce that stress and again using cloud accounting to simplify their lives so they don’t need to spend as much time doing the books,” he said.
“Between that and getting accounting advice, SMEs can simplify what they do and reduce their effort, but it is pretty stressful this time of year.”