Six key takeaways from Accountex 2018

Six key takeaways from Accountex 2018

It has been a busy two days at Accountex 2018. Here are six key takeaways from the event

1. Making Tax Digital – don’t delay, it’s going ahead!

Theresa Middleton, director of Making Tax Digital for business at HMRC warned that MTD is on its way so it’s time to prepare. She gave a four key actions for MTD preparation:

  • Talk to clients, assessing potential transition challenges and their aptitude and attitude for making a change
  • Talk to your software providers to find out when products are going to be enabled for clients, or to look at what software is on offer
  • Think about digital recordkeeping – even if you’re not participating in the pilots
  • Take part in the pilots, helping you to get used to the process and make the transition smoother

In another session, John Whelan, CEO of My Digital Accounts, highlighted why MTD is a force for good, including that it will result in quicker submission of data, reduced chances or errors, access to real-time figures, reduced paperwork, and pre-populated returns.

2. Millennial workplace preferences

In the millennial roundtable and panel session held on Wednesday, individuals discussed the differences in workplace priorities between millennials and their predecessors. Millennials were particularly in search of personal development and autonomy supported by flexible or remote working opportunities. In the roundtable, millennials said that these qualities were present in an ideal workplace while millennial company starters in the panel session said that they felt these features were important to offer in their own businesses.

3. GDPR: the key stats

Brendan Woods of AutoEntry delivered some key stats on individuals’ thoughts on data security. He said that 73% of people are concerned about the security of their data; 38% are concerned about regulatory compliance; and 30% are worried about compromised accounts or insider threats.

When speaking about the potential GDPR fines for not reporting a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours of it occurring (€10m or 2% of the company’s global turnover), Richard George of The Learn Centre said: “It is far better to tell the ICO about something they don’t care about, than not tell them about something they do.”

4. GDPR and the ‘Big 3’ personal data rights

Phil Bernie, co-founder of KeyPay, spoke about the ‘Big 3’ personal rights when it comes to data. When it comes to our personal data, Bernie said that we all have the right to be (1) informed; (2) forgotten; and (3) be able to access our data. He also shared some interesting statistics on GDPR, including that 5% of businesses say that they won’t be compliant by the deadline; and 40% don’t view GDPR as a priority.

At the GDPR panel, speakers from Sage, Milsted Langdon LLP and GDPR365 spoke about the importance of being logical about GDPR – always understand the point of having a customer’s data; identify what is appropriate; and not doing anything with the data that you wouldn’t want another company to do with your own.

Adam Prince, vice president of product management at Sage said: “Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of GDPR because the case law doesn’t exist but just think about how you would like your data to be treated.”

5. How do you prevent a cyberattack?

Peter Erceg, CISO at Lockton, shared some key ways in which businesses could improve their cybersecurity. There were:

  • Patch your systems
  • Restrict user access
  • Change passwords regularly
  • Use two factor authentication
  • Segment networks
  • Ensure software is no more that one version behind the latest available
  • Protect your systems, but detection and mitigation is the key

6. Can women have it all?

In a roundtable held on women in accountancy, women across the industry discussed the following issues:

  • Experiences of gender parity
  • The gender pay gap
  • Support available in returning to work after maternity leave
  • Difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance.

The biggest takeaway from the session was that no two women have had the same experience, and that supporting one another – through mentorships and role models – is key.

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