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Jul 24, 2020

logo by Ivan Blythe, General Manager of Finance Solutions

Need-to-know Updates for your Orchard Financials Implementation

At Orchard, our expert team are always working hard to stay on top of the latest tax and accounting changes, to make sure that clients are able to make the changes they need to their Orchard Financials implementations.

Orchard’s Financial General Manager, Ivan Blythe, explains a few recent legislation changes and what they’re likely to mean for Orchard customers:

HMRC Making Tax Digital Legislation – Are You Prepared?

In light of the disruption to businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC has again delayed the deadline for the latest stage in the implementation of its Making Tax Digital for VAT rules.

While Making Tax Digital requirements came into effect in 2019, HMRC will shortly require businesses to ensure that there is an end-to-end digital trail from source systems to the submission of VAT returns, allowing for all data manipulation to be recorded from accounting through to the final VAT return.

The deadline for compliance was previously April 2020 (or October 2020 for complex businesses), but the deadline has now been extended to 1 April 2021 for all businesses.

While the extension will take pressure off housing associations still working to make the necessary changes to their finance system, it’s important not to delay – there’s very likely to be a backlog of organisations requiring system changes near the deadline, so we would urge our customers to ensure they’re making the necessary preparations as soon as possible.

Here at Orchard we’ve been working with one of our consultants, Damian Irisarri, to assess the changes our clients are likely to need to make. Depending on the version of our submission portal they’re using, we’re hoping that most clients won’t need to carry out major changes – so if you’re still waiting to get your system in shape to handle Making Tax Digital for VAT, please contact your account manager as soon as possible! – We won’t be able to effectively accommodate a large number of our customers needing help at the same time, so please act early.

5% VAT Rate Change

Another recent change that has come about with the advent of COVID recently announced by HMRC is the introduction of a reduced 5% VAT rate for certain industries, particularly those related to hospitality.

As this is a temporary measure that won’t affect our customer too much, we’re recommending that Orchard Financials customers simply use the existing 5% VAT rate code for utilities as an interim method of dealing with this.

Financial Forecast Returns

We’ve also recently been discussing the requirements for Financial Forecast Returns, and how best to pull the data required for these from Orchard Financials. From our conversations with clients so far, we believe that it should be possible to use the existing Executive Desktop Reporting Toolkit within OpenAccounts to access the right data for Financial Forecast Returns.

To make the process easier for all our clients, we’re encouraging anybody who’s also working on gathering data for Financial Forecast Returns to join the discussion on our communications portal Basecamp – this way, we can all work together to share tips and ideas, and come up with the best possible solution.

If you’re an Orchard Financials customer, you can join the discussion on our Basecamp to collaborate with other housing organisations to get the most out of our systems and OpenAccounts. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Orchard Financials could help improve your organisation’s reporting, contact us today to find out how.

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