twitter facebook dribbble email

VAT is just the tip of the iceberg

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

As some of you may know the cost of VAT is increasing in the UK on January 4th, less than a month away. A couple of years ago this would have been alien to many, certainly in my lifetime the VAT had never changed, it’s always been 17.5%, right? But with the recession it’s yo-yo’d up and down the last couple of years, with the change always coming at the most inconvenient time of the year.

So with the fairly widespread coverage and lengthy time to prepare most companies will surely be well covered to deal with the change in VAT next month. Unfortunately for us this is a little idealistic. After previous experience the bright sparks at Bronco decided to act early rather than wait for the inevitable phone call on the 4th, our first day back to work after 2 weeks off, asking us to make the necessary changes to their ecommerce website.

But the change is simple, right?

Not quite. Sure in some sites it can be as simple as changing a variable in the database from 17.5 to 20, but for other businesses their prices are more carefully considered. The perfect example is the client whose best selling product is £99.99 including vat, do they want this and all their other products to update automatically so this price changes to £102.48 or does it stay at a customer friendly £99.99 with the company taking the hit on the increase?

Thinking ahead

The issue here isn’t the VAT increase, as much of a pain as it is, but it’s instead the forethought of some clients and some businesses. The fact that we fully expected clients to ring up in January about the VAT increase shows that some businesses simply don’t plan ahead, or if they do it’s without opening a dialogue with their web developers. It doesn’t just happen with the VAT changes but frequently any client change is expected instantly as they’ve planned it all out extensively in-house but not considered the developers when making certain decisions.

But you do get those that make a difference

In the coming week one client has asked for us to be involved in a strategy meeting with them to create a clear plan of action for 2011. This is so they can budget for the coming year and also get a handle on what work will be undertaking in the following months. Although this benefits the client much more than it does us it’s great to see a client willing to give the time to correctly plan for the coming year and involve the various stakeholders so that everyone is clear about what needs to happen. This is a true client/agency partnership and is how more businesses should be interacting with the people that give so much to the continuing improvement of their business.