Waterloos: Tax and accounting laws change too often

Covid-19 pandemic accelerating digitisation and automation of accounting.

Bart Waterloos, managing partner of VGD SlovakiaBart Waterloos, managing partner of VGD Slovakia (Source: Courtesy of VGD Slovakia)

While accounting paperwork will look the same after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, accountants, like other experts, will have to embrace a new normality. Due to more home office operation both on the side of accountants and clients, there is a greater focus and direction towards the digitisation of accounting, said Bart Waterloos, managing partner of the VGD Slovakia tax and accountancy audit company.

The Slovak Spectator spoke with Waterloos about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the accounting sector, their clients, digitisation, automation and more.

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on the accounting sector in Slovakia? Does this impact differ from impacts in other countries?

Bart Waterloos (BW): The impact on the accounting sector is the same in every country, that is, we all had to increase the speed of our roll-out plans regarding digitisation. The Covid-19 pandemic led to certain habits changing nearly overnight, whereas otherwise this might have taken months if not years. Further, I think that the entire accounting sector is trying to find the right balance between the benefits of working from home and the advantages that a real office provides in terms of training, creativity, company culture, etc.

TSS: What are the most frequent accounting problems with which companies turn to you during this time?

BW: Currently we see clients that need support with their cash-flow management because their activities, whether it is running a shop, restaurant or a hotel, are not allowed and therefore they have no revenue; but in many cases they still have several fixed costs that need to be covered. Then it is important to set up good reporting and manage all the cash.

Unfortunately, we also have groups and individuals that turn to us to support them in the liquidation of their company, because they no longer have sufficient financial means to continue with their activities.

Further we have several questions regarding all Covid-19 related legislation, e.g. the postponing of tax payments and other contributions, and financial support measures within the First Aid packages, although these support measures are clearly not sufficient for several businesses. Clients need guidance because they lack stability from the state in these highly uncertain times, since the legislation and support measures are too often changed overnight, missing important aspects, and they are not clear at all. We try to support our clients with the preparation of clear manuals and documents, as well as organising webinars on these topics.

And we noticed a lack of qualified accountants, so there is an extra need to support clients in this, e.g. via outsourcing or temporary assignments.

TSS: How will accounting look in the post-Covid era and what will be the main changes compared to the pre-Covid era?

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