It is a pleasure to have secured this Adjournment debate on the exciting topic of accounting systems in cross-border trade. I know the House is racked with anticipation for this debate, as shown by the packed Benches, so I am looking forward to it.
I have to admit that, because of the potential for there being debates on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill this week, I thought that cross-border trade would be a hot topic, and that this Adjournment debate would provide an opportunity for colleagues, especially those from Scotland and Northern Ireland, to talk through some of the issues in greater detail. Obviously, events have overtaken us and we are not quite in that situation, so I will continue with the debate but take a slightly different angle. I shall talk about the development of accounting systems, and refer to some of the work by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on Making Tax Digital, and about HMRC’s support for small and medium-sized businesses. I refer Members to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
While on secondment from Marks & Spencer, I had the great fortune to work for the Prince’s Trust’s Accounting for Sustainability project, which is dedicated to using accountants to try to help to solve social and environmental issues. Indeed, His Royal Highness Prince Charles believes that accountants are the key to saving the world: by changing the data that is used in day-to-day business and in organisations, they can help to steer better decision making—