The government expects every business to keep its accounting records in a digital form.

This key requirement will under-pin Making Tax Digital (MTD), as was made clear in the MTD for business event held on 3 March. What’s more “digital form” doesn’t mean an Excel spreadsheet. Each business and landlord will have to use some form of accounting software which has a capability to communicate with HMRC’s systems. We expect further details on this software requirement to be included in one of the five consultation documents on MTD to be released shortly after the Budget.

However, moving to a commercial software package will mean extra costs and data transfer problems for many businesses who have created their own bespoke accounting software, or who rely on Excel spreadsheets. Della Hudson of Hudson Accountants agreed that new businesses can keep adequate records on a simple spreadsheet. She said: “We run basic bookkeeping workshops based on Excel for about 40 businesses per year.”