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Considering changing software

Considering changing software

Hi Guys,

With the January rush over I'd promised myself ro review the software to see if there's anything as good as Iris for about a quarter of the price.

I do find Iris extremely good and seamless, though.  Accounts production could hardly be easier, with the simple posting and 'batch control' system, although you cannot drill down. Accounts then go automatically into business tax, then click to export business tax to p'ship or sole trader tax returns. Iris support is generally ok, but commercially they don't seem very user friendly to deal with and allegedly have sneaked through a 6 month notice period which we all inadvertently agreed to.

Anyone using other software have any thoughts ?

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30th Jan 2013 17:24

Keytime

you could do worse than speak to Callum Macrae 0161 484 3500 at Keytime. A forward looking, cost efficient and (extremely) friendly software provider in the North.

I really can't speak highly enough of them and, to their credit, many others do, on here, too.

A phone conversation doesn't commit anyone.

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By cmacrae
01st Feb 2013 16:00

Keytime

Time for change wrote:

you could do worse than speak to Callum Macrae 0161 484 3500 at Keytime. A forward looking, cost efficient and (extremely) friendly software provider in the North.

I really can't speak highly enough of them and, to their credit, many others do, on here, too.

A phone conversation doesn't commit anyone.

 

Thank you for your kind words and yes, if you would like to speak to me and find out more then please feel free to give me a call. Also check out our website www.keytime.co.uk 

Thank you

 

Callum :)

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By bobhurn
30th Jan 2013 18:26

Absolute

We switched to Absolute a few years back and saved circa 80% on the cost of Iris; and have never looked back.  It's worth considering http://www.absolutetax.co.uk

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30th Jan 2013 18:56

VT and BTC

I tried Absolute a while back (switching from PTP) and really did not get on with it.  So after much deliberation I switched again to VT and BTC.  I am now very happy and the price is great too.

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By Glennzy
30th Jan 2013 22:00

Digita
I have just switched to Digita from Sage accountants suite and love it. It easily links accross all applications and has very powerful central hub to issus standard letters and marketing etc. it's cheaper than IRIS and I couldn't recommend it enough they have a download demo on there website

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30th Jan 2013 22:30

I'm going the other way

Considering moving to Iris, currently use VT and Taxcalc which are both very straight forward to use.

Reasons for moving are down to time and efficiency. I know with an integrated system which means common data only has to be input once and  allows accounts to be filed direct to Companies House, that I can do more in less time.

 

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31st Jan 2013 10:39

Thanks, everyone

Well, I don't think you'll be disappointed with Iris, Kent, it's a very good integrated package.  Just the expense counts against them, really, and the fact that they're not particularly user-friendly to deal with.

Thanks for the other responses, everyone, I think I'll have a look at Keytime and maybe Absolute (never heard of that one !). I actually tried Digita a few years ago prior to going with Iris but it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown; you had to go through everything with a fine toothcomb since it wouldn't do some things you'd expect it to do, e.g it didn't always automatically add back depreciation on tax comps etc. - but maybe it's better these days.

 

P.S. Just after posting this I cam across a good example of Iris being user-unfriendly.  The licenses are renewed quarterly and expire on 31st January, I have the renewal codes but hadn't got round to putting them in.  Now with anything like, say, insurance, it would expire at midnight tonight (31st), but not Iris - it's already locked you out !  Just what you need if you've still got the odd tax return to do.

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31st Jan 2013 07:53

I believe VT will soon have CH filing as standard?

So, I will certainly stick with them for accounts production as the export function only takes a few seconds anyway.

My conundrum is that I have served notice on the PTP corporation tax module and need to consider a replacement. I love their Self-assessment product but the CT one is not nearly as good and the capital allowances module is a PITA. Anyone got a particular recommendation for a CT module that works really well with VT?

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31st Jan 2013 13:01

VT and CT software

Steve Holloway wrote:

So, I will certainly stick with them for accounts production as the export function only takes a few seconds anyway.

My conundrum is that I have served notice on the PTP corporation tax module and need to consider a replacement. I love their Self-assessment product but the CT one is not nearly as good and the capital allowances module is a PITA. Anyone got a particular recommendation for a CT module that works really well with VT?

I did the same last year and for the same reasons although went the whole hog and also binned the SA product (even though we loved it) because it was all becoming just a bit too pricey for us.

Can only give you a negative recommendation, though. We moved to BTC and I really quite like their SA offering which isn't too dissimilar to PTP Tax Platform and without all the hassle of the FBI module. Just can't live with BTC's CT product, however. It's spreadsheet-based, many VT users seem to like it (based on previous threads) but I find it confusing, clunky and worryingly "un-solid" in look and feel, nothing like as slick as VT.

At one time VT were talking about integrating CT functionality into their accounts workbooks, and obviously there's a lot of potential synergy there. All reference to that on their development roadmap seems to have disappeared, however, so presumably nothing happening on that front in the foreseeable future which is disappointing as I like you am in the market for an easy-to-use, preferably database-driven CT product.

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By MBK
31st Jan 2013 13:40

An interesting theme emerging

We use CCH for both SA and CT.

Their SA product is fantastic - really quick to use and gilitch free. Their CT product, by contrast, is a mess -  although not as much of a mess as it was a couple of years ago.

Amazing really, because CT is so simple compared to SA - you'd have thought it would be the easiest of the lot to get right.

 

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31st Jan 2013 14:49

I think that is the problem!

The CT product requires little development and that's exactly what it gets. With PTP, at least, it costs the same as the self-assessment product but the latter has all of the different taxes to integrate (which it does wonderfully well). The most complicated I ever get on CT is a long return to disclose director's borrowing. I do, however, want a bomb-proof FBI function (which PTP has) and a product that produces professional looking output.

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By marks
31st Jan 2013 22:27

VT and Taxcalc

I use VT for accounts and tax calc for tax returns.

Having previously used IRIS for 15 years when worked with CA firms as employee i actually prefer tax calc for its simple step form completion taking you through all the screens.

Heard that VT has online CH filing coming onstream sometime this year but I am thinking of looking at taxcalc account production so have a full integrated system for only about £300 a year more.  So will probably take the 1 month trial at some point in the next few months.

Regards

Mark

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01st Feb 2013 16:15

@Steve Holloway @Eddystone

I have around 95 clients of varying sizes. I sub out some bookkeeping/accounts prep work but I finalise, sign off and submit everything. I would like to take on another 30-40 clients gradually and keep the same processes in place.

CH accounts filing facility through VT would help but its the time savings of having an integrated system which are attractive to me.

I'm only two years into my practice so I'm becoming more efficient all the time add to that better systems and I'll be able to increase my practice size (and profits) whilst not having to increase my workload (time wise) or overhead too much.

The cost increase of moving to Iris would easily be covered by gaining just 2 more (of my ideal) clients.

 

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By bobhurn
01st Feb 2013 19:27

Absolute is owned and run by Tim Good (he formerly of PTP).  It was Tim's involvement that caused me to consider it initially

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02nd Feb 2013 11:18

Caveat Emptor

The OP has mentioned a 6 month notice period but certainly as far as PTP/Iris tax products are concerned there's a 90 day period of notice required to avoid what is called an "auto-renewal".  This means that you are contractually bound to renew unless you give at least 90 days notice before termination. I suspect that this clause in their licence agreement breaches the Unfair Contract Terms Act but I guess they play a numbers game with unsuspecting customers.

The moral of the story is to give notice on each contract with them around 3 and a half months before the renewal date and if the product and price is satisfactory to renew again with a new contract.

I personally find the PTP/Iris tax products excellent (including the CT module) although I could save a few hundred pounds by moving to Absolute.

To summarise, an excellent product but an awful company.

 

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