A new method of data collection is coming
The way data on the UK economy is collected is set to change according to The Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’), a move which should benefit small businesses. Gone will be the days of long, monotonous surveys on business activities and dealings, as HMRC data will now be the basis from which Britain’s statisticians work. It is believed using information from the tax man, as opposed to perspectives from the businesses themselves, will increase the accuracy of estimates on the wellbeing of the UK economy, as well as reducing costs for small businesses. A full transition should be completed by 2020.
Savings for Taxpayers and reduced costs for Small Businesses
The ONS foresees savings in the region of £720,000 a year for the taxpayer with electronic data collection and HMRC information, whilst private sector compliance costs could be reduced by 50%, with SMEs seeing the “most significant savings”. Currently, 45,000 surveys are completed on a monthly basis by businesses, equivalent to 55% of the UK economy, but the use of VAT returns for turnover figures enlarges this percentage, as 1.75 million firms fill these out every calendar month. Savings could be seen as early as 2017 when the ONS rolls out its electronic data collection programme for certain companies. Furthermore, the speed at which economic statistics are accumulated and their eventual completeness should be much improved with tax data use. This will assist policy makers, because a quicker production of an overall picture of the UK in regional business performance allows them to swiftly amend policies earlier than previously possible.
ONS director of national accounts and economic statistics, Nick Vaughan, said “These plans are part of a wider ONS agenda to develop new and better sources of data and keep producing the highest quality statistics possible.”
Time saved should reduce business costs
Having experienced at first hand the hassle of completing all these forms during my years in manufacturing, especially the data collection involved, I know that this will be a real benefit to small businesses. The time saved for small business owners will be better utilised in running their businesses and making money.