Must admit - I too find it more interesting than annoying. I think its good that our country is trying to bring itself in line with some of the other countries in the world that already have this system in place.
I think its an opportunity for us as bookkeepers to end up being even more helpful to the one man band type small business that is going to struggle with this.
I do wonder how some of the old school accountants are going to cope with it - if they don't move with the times, they're going to lose out. I also feel that the bookkeeper and accountant roles are going to become much more integrated - but that this could be more beneficial all round for those that embrace it.
I think HMRC are also trying hard to get it right and make things easier for us. They might not always get it right.....but they're trying. I also don't agree that they're trying to by pass agents - If anything, I feel they're perhaps trying to put more responsibility onto us really.
As far as encouraging people to do their own accounts without needing a professional such as us - people have always been able to do this, but I believe there is still always enough people out there running businesses that are not of a mind to work out how to do it themselves, so they'll always be plenty that turn to us for help.......if we're friendly and knowledgible enough, we'll never be short of work.
Thats my thoughts...........