By AAT Comment News Budget 2013: why we need an SME-friendly Corporation Tax rate 18 Mar 2013 As the accounting profession gears up for the Budget 2013 this Wednesday, we ask three AAT members in practice (MIP) what long lost aspects of the profession – be they policies, practices or people – they would bring back if they could Jenni Frost MAAT: A small-business friendly corporation tax I miss the Corporation Tax rate in place when I started working. Zero per cent on profits up to 10k was great, and a real boost to small businesses. At the same time, I also miss the 30% main corporation tax rate we used to have; it’s now 24%. The government has decided to cut the tax for the biggest companies, which makes a great headline of introducing tax reliefs for UK businesses, but it’s another case of helping the better off at the expense of the ‘little people’; at the same time small companies rates have increased. I work almost exclusively with small companies and these changes have impacted my clients. I would like the government to bring back Corporation Tax rates that benefit small businesses. In times of recession with a lot of people out of work, it makes sense to encourage start-ups and new businesses with lower tax rates, and not give tax breaks to those making higher profits. Henry Cooper FMAAT: Skills to back up technology As much as I reminisce about the past, I can’t help thinking that the technology we have today makes life – and my job – so much easier. Before we had the helpful tools we have today, you had to do everything manually. But that also forced you to understand what you were doing and verify the accuracy of the outcome to avoid making mistakes. The downside of relying on technology to do everything is that anyone can call themselves an expert in something without actually knowing what they’re doing! Just because people have learnt to operate certain tools, doesn’t mean they have the skills to actually verify whether or not the input – or output – is correct. Progress and technological development is fantastic but we need to make sure that we still give the training and knowledge of why certain things are done in a certain way. We can’t rely on technology to do this for us. Dawn Clarkson FMAAT: Real life interaction I appreciate the virtues of a lot of things being done online these days. But I also think that when it comes to the increasing use of webinars for example, we’re really missing out on live interaction with other people through our profession. I’ve built my business on talking to people face-to-face and building real-life relationships. Through eye-to-eye contact, I’ve been able to grow and form productive relationships with my clients and peers. You simply can’t do that online. Also, for me as sole owner of a practice, leaving the office and driving or taking the train to a CPD or networking event is when I find time for creative thinking. If you don’t do this, you risk getting caught up in the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day work, and you’re less likely to find time to think creatively about how to grow and develop your business. AAT will be commenting live throughout the Budget announcement this Wednesday on its Twitter account. AAT members can also access a range of responses and reactions on a dedicated Budget 2013 page. AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.