Sage sees dramatic increase in the number of accountants turning to the web for support and filing online in the new era of the connected accountant
Manchester, 30th January 2013: Business software and services provider Sage UK, has today revealed that more accountants than ever before are turning to the web as they search for advice and guidance in the run up to the loomingself-assessment deadline on January 31st. In recent years Sage's dedicated self-assessment support line has experienced increased call volumes as the deadline approaches, but this year enquiries to the website surged resulting in fewer inbound calls than previous years. This increase is reflected by the number of tax returns filed online through Sage software this year, which has risen by more than 3% compared with the same period last year*.
HMRC is continuing with its crackdown on late filing and with an estimated 850,000** failing to file in time for the online deadline of January 31st last year and 3 million people still facing a £100 this year, more accountants than ever are logging on to avoid receiving penalty notices. At the same time the increasingly online-focused accountants in practice have never had so many support resources at their fingertips to help them through the filing gateway.
In addition to setting up a dedicated support line which will again stay open until midnight on the 31st January, Sage has expanded the range of support it offers online leading to an increase in traffic this year. The Exchange portal now features a Q&A of the most common queries from past years, live webchats with tax experts, video guides and interactive tools to set accountants in practice in good stead to file ahead of the deadline. As a result, calls to the Sage self assessment hotline have dropped by 10% year on year, while over three times as many people are accessing guidance articles on the online support pages since November.
Most popular issues which accountants are experiencing when filing their self-assessment tax returns include:
- Questions around filing online through the HMRC gateway;
- Student loan repayments;
- UK Savings & Investments;
- Capital Gains;
Jim Scott, managing director of Sage Accountants Division commented: "In what is a crucial year for the software industry, the self-assessment deadline marks the first in a series of key dates and at Sage we have provided the most comprehensive support structure for our customers. It's no surprise that accountants are hitting the web for guidance on filing as the entire profession has become increasingly digital. Mobile, cloud and collaborative working are key priorities for clients and accountants have responded by embracing them."