Home computer scheme gets muted response

The DTI and IT accounting network IAAITC are ramping up efforts to make more
accountants aware of the home computing initiative.

Accountants have been targeted by the scheme’s providers as being in
a prime position to advise SME clients on its benefits.

Under the scheme, employers operate a tax-exempt loan scheme for home-use
PCs. Employers acquire the PCs under a lease rental agreement which they rent to
staff for home use.

Advising on the scheme can create revenue for small firms, and allow their
clients to deliver a cost-free benefit package.

Morris Owen, RMT and Hawsons are among the many firms offering the scheme
since its launch in 2004, but the IAAITC is looking to widen the number of
participants. To this end, it aims to increase the number of events it carries
out to up to 90 during 2006.

The IAAITC has predicted that between 80 and 100 firms should be trained to
implement HCI by spring.

‘I am often asked by employers why their accountants have not drawn their
attention to HCI, and there is not a lot you can say to that,’ said Dave
Reynolds, CEO of the IAAITC.

The scheme’s initial objective was to devise a ‘simple model’ that could be
easily replicated by member firms, but one that could also be scaled depending
on the size of company HCI was offered to.

Initially the target market was small employers with fewer than 50 staff. But
now firms have offered schemes for companies with as few as four employees and
up to 1,250.

Stephen Slater, a partner at RMT, said the profession was ‘ideally placed’ to
provide this type of IT advice to clients. ‘We’re seen as the most trusted
advisers, and businesses are looking for ways to incentivise staff,’ he said.

Technical knowledge was also not a limiting factor for accountants, said
Slater, who should be encouraged to offer the scheme to clients.

Cabinet minister David Miliband had been involved in promoting the scheme,
and said it provided the ‘perfect opportunity’ for organisations to help improve
workforce skills and save money at the same time.

Under the scheme, the client’s business should be VAT registered. VAT can
then be removed from the costings, providing there is some intention of business
This can be demonstrated if the clients provide employees with training
materials, either electronically or via a CD.

For more information on the home computing initiative go to

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