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Thousands of UK small businesses are still not prepared for important digital tax changes set to come into force within the next few months, a study has found.
The UK government has ruled that by April 2022 over one million small businesses will need to comply with incoming digital tax legislation, called Making Tax Digital (MTD). The changes — which require digital tax records uploaded online — apply to any business with less than £85,000 turnover.
Except there’s a problem: Intuit has conducted a survey and found that around 300,000 businesses are not yet compliant.
The company, which makes the QuickBooks tax software suite, found nearly half (41%) of those it surveyed have been delaying making the necessary changes to comply with MTD, most likely because of the extensive paperwork.
According to Intuit, most small business owners spend four hours per month worrying about VAT returns and some can spend up to seven hours per month.
“Tax returns are a necessary fact of life for most small businesses, but that doesn’t mean they are enjoyable. With many experiencing sleepless nights around filing their returns, it’s understandable that many are avoiding thinking about upcoming VAT legislation,” noted Pauline Green, Head of Product Compliance & Programs at QuickBooks.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way. Using digital software for VAT can actually reduce stress by automating the process, therefore minimising the time spent, improving efficiency and ensuring returns are accurate. Software also provides real-time insights into finances, helping to build better habits and financial awareness. If they prioritise becoming MTD compliant, small businesses will start to experience these benefits and eliminate tax worries – allowing them to focus on building a successful business.”
Intuit has also worked with University of Bath Professor Bas Verplanken to create a free guide for alleviating some of the stress that stems from taxes, with a focus on simple changes that can make a big difference, freeing up time for other activities.
As Verplanken says, “Successful habits form when you frequently and regularly conduct a task and protect against forgetfulness, procrastination, and even fear by making your tasks part of your daily or weekly routines. Building and adhering to these habits can minimise small businesses’ worries about their VAT returns and put them in full control of their business.”
Creating video ads can be a costly and time consuming process which is why YouTube has launched a new tool to help small businesses create simple videos to better reach their customers.
The company's YouTube Video Builder has already been in the testing phase for several months but Google decided to fast track the tool's beta release to allow businesses to easily advertise their products during the global pandemic when in-person video shoots are no longer possible.
In a blog post announcing the beta of YouTube Video Builder, director of product management at YouTube ads, Ali Miller explained how both large and small businesses can use the tool to reach their customers, saying:
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“Different businesses have different creative needs. A restaurant may want to communicate changing hours or promotions, while a supermarket may highlight new services like curbside pickup. For brands or agencies with existing video resources, Video Builder can help bring agility and experimentation to the creation process by generating supplemental, lightweight videos. For smaller businesses and those with less creative experience, it can provide an efficient, low-resource way to create videos, perhaps even for the first time.”
YouTube Video Builder
YouTube's new tool is now available for businesses to try out for themselves but they will first have to sign up to participate in the beta. Once accepted, businesses will need a Google account as well as a YouTube channel to start making and publishing videos.
The beta version of YouTube Video Builder allows businesses to animate their images, text and photos and set them to music from YouTube's free audio library. Users will also be able to select from a variety of layouts and customize the colors and fonts in their videos to create short six or 15 second videos.
Finished videos can be uploaded to a business' YouTube channel but more importantly, they can also be run as ads through Google Ads.
While YouTube's new tool has just entered its public beta phase, both large and small companies including the interior design service Havenly, sandwich shop Which Wich and the grocery store Central Market have already been using the tool to create their own videos.
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