Case Study - Susan Gompels OBE, FCA
Susan Gompels is a Chartered Accountant and sole practitioner specialising, although not exclusively, in the tax, accounting and financial affairs of medical professionals.
She trained in the City and having established her own practice, quickly realised that her business development and client care would be hindered by a lack of professional association and business networking opportunities. As a result, she founded one of the early local tax discussion groups for fellow members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) - a group which still regularly attracts 20-30 participants for informal professional update each month, and has done without a break since its inception in 1978.
Susan was elected to the ICAEW’s ruling Council and later chaired the ICAEW Disciplinary Tribunals. She is currently a member of the ICAEW Tax Faculty Committee.
In 1999, working with colleagues in ICAEW and CIOT, Susan was instrumental in establishing the ‘Working Together’ project with HMRC aiming to make the tax system more understandable and, more importantly, workable. Stretching across the tax profession, “Working Together, she said, “became a lightning conductor and an early warning system. It was a two-way process, providing essential feedback to HMRC on impending problems and suggesting joint solutions”.
Susan Gompels uses Digita Personal, Business and Trust Tax.
She said: “My practice is fundamentally a personal service and offers my clients a holistic review of their financial affairs in addition to routine tax and accounting services. In this personalised review area, I work closely with other professional advisers - solicitor, IFA etc. and Digita’s systems have proved very helpful in providing background data quickly and accessibly.
“Starting in 1984, I was an early small practice user and advocate of personal tax software and very loyal to my suppliers. However, in 1995 I ran into major problems when the system I had been using didn’t upgrade readily to a Windows platform. This coincided with the introduction of Self Assessment and having researched widely, I changed to Digita Taxability Pro which seemed securely based and working well in the Windows environment. I was a reluctant convert but I am very glad I made the change.
“The Digita software is exceptionally easy to use – a huge positive in being intuitive and allowing me to get on with it immediately, but perhaps with a downside in that I have not always exploited its functionality to the full. However, when I needed support, it was there. I have always felt ‘listened to’ when I’ve need to talk to Digita and 15 years on from acquiring Digita software, I’m still talking to many of the same people – a continuity which says a great deal about the ethos of the company and which is very comforting, particularly for a sole trader.
“The support came into its own when online filing became an issue. Along with other practitioners, I refused to file online until HMRC allowed attachments to be sent electronically with the online tax returns. However, once this principle was established and HMRC included attachments, I actively supported HMRC to promote online filing.
“For my own practice, I needed the practical reassurance for the first online filings – and I asked Digita’s guidance, requesting ‘just a 10 minute slot’ from the Digita’s support line. In the event, the support was first class and the whole thing took all of 3½ minutes! It was remarkable and could not have been easier. The simplicity of adding schedules is excellent.
“Digita’s software is very effective for my practice. It not only offers the functionality I need but provides the confidence that all is accessible, accurate and presentable for my clients.”