From 1st April this year, the government’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ (MTD) programme became law for over one million VAT-registered businesses earning more than £85,000. Dictating that tax records are kept digitally, and requiring businesses to submit VAT returns using MTD-compatible software, the new rules are indicative of how an increasing amount of business processes are transitioning to paperless methods. 

Over the past 20 years or so, business interactions with customers have come to take place faster, with more precision and in more personal ways than ever before. Thanks to things like free-to-use email services and the extreme popularity of on-line portals and social  media platforms, the digitisation of consumer-facing processes is often very rapid, thanks to the fact that customers are likely to already be tech-savvy. 

Initiatives like MTD mean that many businesses simply cannot ignore digital transformation, and they will no doubt wonder which other processes can be digitised, and what their digital priorities will be.

One thing to bear in mind is that, if something can be digitised, it doesn’t mean it always should be. Many customers still prefer physical mail for certain types of communication, for example, so going digital is rarely an all-or-nothing affair. In addition, any digital data relating to customers must be kept securely and used responsibly, so businesses must consider their ability to provide customers – and regulators – with evidence and assurances of security and compliance. 

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