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Simple Accounts Package

I have been looking for a simple accounts package to use, to try and tidy my partner’s accounts up, ready for the accountant each year. He is a builder and has an income and expenditure account done each tax year.

A friend has come across this website called SAMSTAX – Self-Assessment Made Simple (see www.samstax.co.uk). The site is a secure online accounting/record-keeping site, whereby clients who are in self-employment can record all of their business invoices and receipts etc on a single entry basis rather than using those complicated double entry packages.

They charge either a monthly fee of £9.99 or an annual fee of £99.99 (exc VAT), to use their online package and get various reports of my entries to take to my partner’s accountant, for them to use and make the necessary tax adjustments and complete his tax return.

Has anyone come across this site or used it?? It looks very straight forward as I’ve tried the trial version but want to get some feedback from the professionals who may have clients using it.

Anon

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Money Manager & Final Accounts
by Moneysoft at a single fee of £129 still get my vote and of this Homeworking site,

http://www.homeworking.com/discus/messages/16/31560.html?1199138423

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TC - I don't want your spreadsheet, but
would it be an idea for Accountingweb to have a space to upload spreadsheets etc. to?

Anything uploaded would be taken as is, and perhaps deleted after a modest time frame.

It would perhaps allow people good enough to offer something they have produced, not to have the hassle of being asked to send it to all and sundry.

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Simple Accounts package
I am a retired accountant, registered as an MIP with CIMA, and maintain a tiny client base of small charities and school fund accounts.
I have developed a spreadsheet based package into which details of Income and Expenditure may be entered and analysed. This automatically produces a running Income and Expenditure Account, suitable for audit, and it has a Bank Reconciliation facility. It is very user friendly. In its simple form it does not account for VAT. My accounting activities provide 'pin money' for holidays etc., so I would be looking a small fee for this.
If it is of interest, email me on [email protected]
Bernard Potter FCMA

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TAS Software
First let me declare my interest - I am the Head of TAS Software...

Secondly my recommendation, for easy to use accounting software I would recommend TAS. We've recently conducted research through an independent agency and ease of use emerged as our key strength. We have a range of products for businesses of varying complexity and I'd recommend giving us a call to discuss exactly what your needs are.

We've invested heavily in both the software and our service in recent years. I've dropped a customer comment into the paragraph below to give you an idea of what came out of the research...

"TAS is the most user friendly accounts software I have ever used but the best feature is its simplicity. I have never yet met anyone who didn't understand how to use . The level of support has recovered from the period of changeover to Newcastle and is now fantastic."

In terms of hard numbers we embed a survey in our software to find out what the users (rather than the person named on the account) think of the software and 40% score10/10, 60% score a nine or a ten.

Hope this helps

Matt

http://www.tassoftware.co.uk

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Can't resist
I can't resist adding my "two penneth" !!!

If you want a simple accounting system take a look at our "Prelude" system.

http://www.diamond-discovery.com/prelude.html

Roger Neale
Business Systems Consultant
Diamond Discovery Software Ltd

Contact me directly on 07791 983 567 or contact one of my colleagues on 0845 223 2170

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To Mike & others
A variety of approaches have been suggested which reflects the diversity of people. But if we don't move away from excel spreadsheets then accountants will continue to bear the additional labour and overheads caused by incorrect data entry and the menial task of copying/re-keying data into some kind of accounting system.

Here's an example of how online accounting can help both accountant and client. Imagine a client who sends invoices to customers. Imagine them producing their invoices easily in exactly the same system that you use (not a separate copy of it), then sending the invoices by email automatically, with all of the bookkeeping behind each invoice being done automatically according to controls that you have set up.

Could that save you time and help them produce invoices more efficiently? Would it reduce the issues associated with purchasing software plus upgrading it from time to time plus backing up the data on a regular basis? Might it stengthen the relationship between you?

What if the client were to progress to recording and managing their purchase ledger in the system too, saving you and them more time?

What if you were able to review and approval any entries made by the client to ensure they are correct before being committed to the accounts - would that help?

The internet give us the possibility of all this and a lot more, and at extremely low cost compared to installing software.

Mark Davies
www.e-conomic.co.uk

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Try Cashflow Manager
Cannot comment on the site you have requested, but have you looked at Cashflow Manager (www.cashflow-manager.com/uk) you can download a demonstration copy and try it before deciding to purchase. This is a simple bookkeeping system designed for small to medium sized businesses. No costly training courses and a telephone help line if you get into difficulties. Purchase licence outright, the only ongoing fees are for our Support Program, currently £50 pa.

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ask your accountant
That's not supposed to be flippant by the way. If you have an established relationship with an accountant then they will have a preferred route.

For instance : for my straight forward clients I give them an excel template to fill in. For the more complex ones I give them a copy of my software, VT Accounts. There is a simplified free of charge book keeping package that they can fill in and then we can use that to upload the data. But to be honest, all my clients without exception use this for one quarter and then go back to giving me the paperwork instead.

The key question I guess is : What motivates you to want to do this ? If it's an attempt at fee saving I would seriously ask what discount you are going to get before embarking on this course, and then weigh that up against the extra time that you will have to put in. Hope that helps, Mike

www.mpa.me.uk

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No More Now!
Sent cashbook to all those that have requested to now.

Sadly I won't send it to anyone requesting after this posting.

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Give them a template Ken..

..and you will find most of your problems disappear.

Even if my clients made all 6 of those errors, I bet I could fix them all in less time that it takes to sort out a bank rec in Sage that the client messed up!

I basically give my clients 2 choices:

i) Use the excel template I give you.
ii) Get a bookkeeper.

Hopefully most will progress to option 2 anyway.

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Excel - argh!!!!!!!!
I can't actually believe that some accountants prefer their clients to use excel rather than a proper package. I hate clients using excel and strongly advise them against it.

I prefer them to use a package and with say an hour's training with me showing them exactly how to enter things, there are usually few problems come the end of the year. I often see problems with clients from other accountants or who havn't had an accountant as they've not been shown how to use the package properly. It is a matter of training. We use various packages, quickbooks, winweb, vt, kashflow, depending upon the clients' needs - no problems with any of them.

When I've been given spreadsheets, they're almost always absolutely full of errors, some of which are incredibly hard to find. How about...

1. Clients who "hide" rows and columns either intentionally or by accident, perhaps thinking they're deleting the information - totals still include them.
2. Clients who enter numbers as labels, perhaps by entering a £ sign in the cell, so that the number "looks" as if it is included, but actually isn't added in the totals.
3. Clients who can't link figures from one place to another, so manually type in a total of one column into another cell - forgetting to change it when the column changes.
4. The total absence of any cross-checking or sanity checking without being manually entered on the spreadsheet which results in totals not cross-balancing etc.
5. Clients who simply "copy and paste" a spreadsheet from one month or year to another and forget to delete the transactions.
6. Adding a new colum or row and forgetting to change the resulting calculations/totals.

I also find spreadsheets very hard to analyse - i.e. to breakdown say repairs and renewals, you often have to follow a backwards trail to find the underlying entries, and then there is often no narrative as to the purpose of each transaction. With a package, you can usually drill down and hopefully the client will have put a brief narrative, so you can feasibly just do a quick printout to get your analysis.

Virtually all of these errors come from a basic lack of mathematical and/or spreadsheet knowledge with is endemic.

The worst case is a client, who was actually a maths teacher, who set out everything in a spreadsheet, all perfectly and tidily formatted etc., and then proceeded to give me paper reports as he couldn't work out how to save or email the data!. I had enormous problems as the columns/rows never added up. I tackled him about it and it turned out he actually used a calculator to add it up as he didn't know how to enter calculations - of course, after he'd run his calculator over it, he made changes and forgot to recalculate. What a plonker!

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Performance
I use Firefox and it worked fine. Neither did I notice SamsTax's performance to be rather slow compared to other online systems.

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stuart
I hope your joking.

even with training and the best will in the world we would prefer our clients to use excel over a package in 9 out 10 cases.

its so much easier to correct mistakes and manipulate data, it makes the jobs alot quicker and easier to prepare.

those clients that do use a program package usually mess it up and end up paying higher fees as a result

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Online is good, but....
....be careful of over simplification. While SamsTax looks very straightforward, it requires someone to enter income and expense entries to the correct categories, so mistakes can occur if an accountant/bookkeeper does not have oversight of the data before it is entered, leading to an awful lot of unravelling to do at tax return time.

For very little extra, you could provide your partner with a "proper" online accounting system that doesn't require them to think like an accountant, but which the accountant can use to ensure that there are fewer errrors (resulting in less work all round). And, into the bargain, your partner can raise crisp, business-like invoices to customers, with all of the bookkeeping behind each invoice is done automatically.

Is the business VAt registered? If so, does it use the standard scheme or another one?

Have a look at www-economic.co.uk - there are already 14,000 small businesses and 3,000 accountants/bookkeepers using this, so it's proven.

On a separate note, I found SamsTax's performance to be rather slow compared to other online systems, and while it works OK in IE it seems to struggle with Firefox.

Mark Davies
www.e-conomic.co.uk

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Use MYOB
MYOB is a simple package where you can also erase wrong entries.

I have a copy at £50 if you want this after trying a downloabdle trial

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Beware programs..

It's a damn sight easier to correct mistakes in Excel than it is in a bookkeeping program!

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Beware Excel
I hate clients using Excel - there is too much scope for them to make mistakes. (See 4 below)

1. Have you asked your accountant if he has a preferred program (beware if the answer is Sage).

2. If the answer is Excel ask him for a template.

3. If he doesn't have an answer look for another accountant.

4. Any good accountant must prefer the figures in a program provided the input (by you!) is accurate and you check the figures regularly to make sure they are correct.

www.3ca.co.uk

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Excel seconded
A big advantage of Excel over and above any not widely used accounting package is that virtually every upto date accountant uses Excel.

Therefore if your records are in Excel they can be eMailed to your accountant for review.

If there are any errors in the records it's very easy for your accountant to put the records right for you, or to advise how to do this yourself.

On the other hand, using an unknown online package could present all sorts of problems for your accountant unless they are one of the very few accountants experienced in that particular package.

In my experience using an Excel based spreadsheet tailored to your particular business could work very well for you, based on my experience with my clients.

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Excel
Might not be what your after but use excel to create a cashbook to summarise income and expenses.

Assuming you already have it, it wont cost a penny and you'd be surprised how many would prefer this to you using a 'proper' computerised package.

I jave a proforma excel cashbook - send me your email details and I'll send you a copy

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excel

 hi..i am new on here..

could you possibly send me the excel cashbook as its just what i really need also

many  thanks

patricia

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