Lucy Franklin, MD of Accordance VAT, tells Accountancy Age why Europe still matters, what she thinks of the changing role of the accountant, and why flexible working is so important.
Lucy Franklin became managing director of Accordance VAT earlier this year, at a time when the country faces Brexit uncertainty and the profession is going through rapid change. Here, she shares some of her thoughts with Accountancy Age on how to find opportunities within that transformation.
What are the main challenges the business faces at the moment?
The big one for Accordance, like many other businesses, is being prepared for Brexit. We’re in a situation of not knowing whether or when it will happen, and what form it will have if it does! We specialise in cross-border VAT, so our purpose is to really drive greater harmony and trade for our clients across Europe. So, this is a challenging time. Nearly fifty percent of our clients are based in the UK; the rest are mainly based in the EU and the priority for us is making sure our clients are set up in case of a no deal.
We also have many EU nationals who are valued employees at Accordance, so we also need to be emotionally as well as operationally ready. Beyond that, implementing the right tax technology strategy and making sure the business is fully responsive to forthcoming major EU wide VAT legislative changes is also high on our agenda. Because of Brexit, many people talk as though Europe is a dying entity, already consigned to the past, irrelevant to the future and so on. We absolutely don’t see it that way. Whether the UK is in or out of the EU, Europe is a huge trading area: the opportunities are enormous. We want to ensure that we help our clients get the most from their European journeys because we are proud to be a deeply European company.
“Because of Brexit, many people talk as though Europe is a dying entity”
What has your approach been towards MTD?
We specialise in cross-border VAT, so most of our clients have until October to comply with the new requirements. We’re currently supporting clients with data reviews – the focus is on general VAT compliance and compatibility with our MTD filing solution. In the context of an increasing trend in tax digitisation it’s been a great opportunity to have wider conversations with clients about the importance of clear and consistent data. Tax digitisation requirements are…