How UK Taxation Is Dealing With The 4th Industrial Revolution

With Brexit negotiations growing more heated and important than ever before, most of the UK’s attention is being diverted towards the ongoing conversations taking place in London and Brussels. An even more important seismic shift in how the UK functions is coming in the form of the 4 th industrial revolution, however, which is presenting serious challenges in regard to how we organize our economy and collect our taxes.

Here’s how UK taxation is dealing with the 4th industrial revolution, and what financial professionals, accountants, and government workers alike should be preparing themselves for.

The dawn of a new era

It can safely be said that the 4th industrial revolution is essentially the dawn of a new era in business. While the 3rd industrial revolution is widely considered to have been the wave of digitization and automation that swept over the globe in past decades, the 4th is coming to be viewed as a massive change in the ways that we view digital technology and industry in an interconnected world. As billions of people connect to the internet and international economies grow vastly more interdependent on one another, an entire new chapter of economic history is opening up before us. This poses many challenges and opportunities alike to the UK.

As the frantic negotiations and manufacturing crises surrounding Brexit have illustrated, for instance, age-old questions surrounding tariff regimes, import restrictions, and how trans-national industries will be governed are resurfacing. Regional disputes between the UK and the EU are likely to continue into the near future, and other negotiations with different countries could heat up as well. If the nation is to survive the 4th industrial revolution intact, it needs to re-examine its taxation system so that it’s flexible enough to endure the forthcoming shocks.

So, what has the UK done so far to modernize its taxation system? Thus far, we’ve failed on virtually every front; our Making Tax Digital plan has stalled as of late, largely due to the political headaches surrounding the modernization of any complicated government system. Though HMRC has been publishing updates and posting new information about Making Tax Digital this year, it’s safe to say that relatively little meaningful progress has been made thus far.

This should serve as a wakeup call to financial professionals in the UK. As the international economy grows more complex and interconnected, a more thorough and fair tax system will be crucial towards the sustained well-being of the UK. If UK accountants and financial professionals don’t start addressing problems associated with the 4th industrial revolution soon, they’ll soon be left behind.

The UK has reformed before

The good news is that the story of the UK is essentially one of continuous reform, both in political and economic matters. The mere idea that the UK isn’t flexible enough to adjust to the 4th industrial revolution is laughable – the only real question is whether there’s enough political will to push through the changes needed to protect the country’s taxation system from forthcoming disruptions. Whether the UK can device systems of taxations for emerging economic trends, like the widespread adoption of robotics, for instance, could be the deciding question as to whether it will thrive in the long-term.

Politicians have already entered the political arena armed to the teeth for a fight against automating technologies. Pledges to “tax robots” and “stymie negative automation” are now fairly commonplace throughout the UK. Turning these taxation ideas into a reality, however, will require intense political bickering and electoral and regulatory victories that don’t come easily nor often. Nonetheless, the 4th industrial revolution is already spreading around the globe like wildfire, and the longer the UK waits to modernize its taxation system the more it
will suffer.

If the UK’s tax scheme is to adequately deal with the 4th industrial revolution, some hard questions must be answered. What is and isn’t an automating technology, a robot, or a piece of “job-stealing” software must all be decided, to name but a few. Whether we’ll tax these technologies (and the rates at which we’ll tax them) will also be contentious debates that will demand the attention of a public not necessarily willing to give it. Similarly, tax breaks will need to be negotiated for innovators, who are essential members of the UK economy that keep it up-to-date and competitive on the international stage.

As the massive conversation surrounding the rapidly encroaching 4 th industrial revolution takes place around the UK, financial professionals and accounting gurus will need to offer their expertise so that the public can make well-reasoned decisions. More introspection surrounding advanced digital technology is desperately needed, and the public needs to start deciding if they’d like to subsidize (or heavily tax) certain emerging industries. UK taxation and regulatory bodies have been slow to embrace the 4th industrial revolution thus far, but pressing questions will soon be demanding everyone’s attention.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Workload and Relieve Stress at Work

Being a hard worker isn’t a bad thing, but there’s a big difference between working hard and working too hard.

It doesn’t matter whether you work as a teacher, office worker, dancer, accountant, doctor, or any other profession out there – we’re all at risk of working a little too hard sometimes. And that isn’t good for you or your employer, as feeling overworked can leave you burnt out and damage your productivity.

Not only that, but it’s also bad for your health. Lots of research has indicated that being overworked can affect your sleep patterns, preventing you from getting the 6 hours of sleep you need to keep your body functioning correctly. This can, in turn, put you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. In fact, one study even found that people who work longer hours have a 40% greater chance of suffering from coronary heart disease.

It’s important, then, to take steps to manage your workload and make sure you’re not working too hard. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

1. Don’t Take Work Home with You

If you work in a high-pressure job, it can be difficult to ever really leave the office. Even after you clock out, you might find yourself checking emails, chasing up responses, getting a head start on the next day, or just running through a checklist of things to do in your head.

None of this is healthy, as you’re essentially working at home. The end of the day really needs to be the end of the day, so get everything that needs doing done before you finish and don’t put it off until later. If you find there just isn’t enough time to do that, talk to your boss – your workload is too high.

Another tip to help you to achieve this is to set up automated email responses for when you’re out of work. That way, an automated reply will be sent to any emails you get informing them of your working hours.

2. Stop Being a Perfectionist

Try to resist the temptation to make everything perfect. This can make each task take longer than it needs to and extend your working day. If you find you’re working significantly more than 40 hours per week, you need to cut

it down in whatever way you can, and if you can’t reduce your workload, you can at least get through it quicker by taking less time over it.

If that doesn’t appeal to you because you like to do a good job, then you need to explain that to your boss. Tell them that they have to choose between quality or quantity and that you can only keep up your current level of performance if they reduce your workload. If they can’t reduce it, then you’ll be forced to spend less time on each task so that you finish work on time.

3. Take Your Breaks

Your lunch hour needs to be your lunch hour. It’s for eating, relaxing, and letting go of work. Don’t work through it in any circumstances. Not only is this not fair for you, it probably won’t help you to get any more work done anyway, as it will leave you burnt out and your productivity for the rest of the day will suffer.

In fact, not only should you take your scheduled breaks, but you should also take regular small breaks throughout the day. If you’re starting to feel stressed, take 2 minutes to breathe and relax. Go to the toilet or walk around the office. Just taking those few minutes to step away from your work can really help to reduce your stress levels.

4. Work Smarter not Harder

If you find your workload is too high, it probably is. You might need to change the way you approach work instead of aiming to get as much done as possible. The way you do this will depend on the nature of your job, but take some time to think about how you could reduce the amount of work on your shoulders.

This might mean you’ll have to outsource where you can. For example, if you work in internet marketing, a solo ads vendor might be able to help you with your campaign whilst reducing your own workload. If you’re a teacher, you might want to share lesson plans with a colleague. If you’re a graphic designer, perhaps investing in some new equipment will speed up your productivity and let you get more done faster.

5. Consider a Career Change

If none of the above is viable or helping, it might just not be the right job for you. Sometimes, that’s a hard reality to face, but it’s important to face it regardless. If you don’t, you might regret it later on in life.

That doesn’t mean you have to hand in your notice tomorrow, but start researching different career options and come up with a plan of how you can make the transition.