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Is anyone using Xero to file micro accounts & tax

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Hello 

I've recently set up an accounting firm and intended to use Xero to generate and file micro (FRS105) accounts and file CT600s. 

I am finding it a nightmare to get a template together that ticks the disclosure boxes for FRS 105 accounts (even just getting the registered office address and staff numbers in there!!). These disclsures don't appear in the ready made 'Micro company balance sheet' which I find really odd and to be honest showcking. 

Also, the 'micro company balance sheet' template is not in the same format as prescribed by FRS 105. I am so confused as to why not as its so very simple!!!

I'm really struggling because every time you contact support they take 4-11hours to get back to you and when they do, it still isn't resolved.

Someone please tell me you've done this already and have the answers. Please!!

Thanks 

Replies (45)

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By Debittomycredit
13th Oct 2020 14:56

Shocking* Not showcking!!

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By Andy556
13th Oct 2020 15:35

Not exactly what you asked but just thinking...

If you're a very new accounting firm I would suggest deciding the best software for your needs. Say Xero tax does work perfect (I'm not sure if it does or doesn't). Using this software would only be viable if every single one of your clients are on Xero.

For example, you would need one piece of accounts software to submit all your accounts ideally. You could use more but it's not practical. Say all your clients use Xero now it's perfect. What if you get a batch of clients who use Sage? You'd either need to turn them away, use 2 different software packages or pay for a Xero subscription on top of the Sage subscription just to be able to submit their accounts.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
13th Oct 2020 15:51

I am also a small, relatively new practice.

I watched an update about Xero Tax yesterday. To me it still looks clunky, and unfinished (eg, they were talking about choosing accounts so the iXBRL tagging is correct!), and it doesn't do a lot of the basics yet. They were promoting the fact it now fills out the Group Relief pages. How many of their target client base are even in a group, let alone needing group relief?

I use Taxcalc, it's not perfect, and is likely to be more expensive, but it's a well established product that already has all the functionality. I have clients on Quickbooks, Xero and Sage, amongst others, so I always have to import a TB to Taxcalc. Like the others have said, the time savings of the integration back to the Xero bookkeeping package is only useful if they were on Xero in the first place. Taxcalc have also launched a cloud based version if that's important to you.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
13th Oct 2020 15:52

You probably need to start looking at software whose main aim is to deal with a/cs prep and tax for accountants in practice. Xero's focus by contrast is on bookkeeping.

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By Debittomycredit
13th Oct 2020 16:00

Thanks every one for the responses so far.

I did consider software choice carefully before going with Xero. Have used the likes of Sage and CCH in the past. The draw of Xero was obviously that its free for Xero partners, and that it is advertised everywhere at the moment and extremely popular for bookkeeping.

There are Partner plans you can use with Xero. So say for example a client used Sage or spreadsheets as you rightly point out they may do (although I have found so far that everyone uses or wants to use Xero!), I can create a Xero ledger account for them for very little cost, which I can then use to submit their accounts & tax return.

The benefit for me is that I expect almost all of my clients will be using Xero and it is a fully integrated solution for these clients, including payroll. As a solo practitioner I didn't want the headache of loads of different softwares for each service.

I just thought Xero was going to be so much simpler to use for basic FRS 105 accounts than it is in reality!

I have just spoken again to Xero support and the answer from them was that the template reports need customising to include the basic disclosures and relevant balance sheet lines such as net current assets. Disappointing!

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
13th Oct 2020 16:18

Oh well, if it's free ...

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Rgab1947
15th Oct 2020 11:48

"....that everyone uses or wants to use Xero!"

I think you meant Quickbooks.

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Replying to Rgab1947:
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By Debittomycredit
15th Oct 2020 19:29

Definitely didn’t mean Quickbooks

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By SouthCoastAcc
13th Oct 2020 16:11

I wouldn't bother with xero for AP + Tax, use it for bookkeeping yes.

Also I wouldnt want to be totally dependant on one system, but that's me.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
13th Oct 2020 17:26

Sheesh if you are a professional accountant then use professional tools.

Its like a builder showing up from work with a tool kit from his mum got him for Xmas from the middle isle in Aldi.

If you are a tight so and so like me, then get VT, its cheap and works. I find Tax calc very clunky in comparison although I like their tax produt . Integration is a 'nice to have' but unless it saves you more time than it wastes not worth having.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
13th Oct 2020 17:24

. Double post .

I can use this to say "Hi" not sure i have seen you post before. Don't be put of the the somewhat brusque response from old miseries like me. We can be quite helpful as well as very very very grumpy. Mostly grumpy. I only come on here to take a 5 minute break from the mindless tedium of doing this stuff for the past 20 odd years and having to be polite to paying customers. So all the rude comes out on here....

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
13th Oct 2020 22:02

Good post & well said.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
14th Oct 2020 11:27

Yep.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
13th Oct 2020 22:08

About 80% of my ltd clients are on Xero. I use Taxcalc at the moment and have looked a few times over the last 2 years about moving to Xero - the ledger subscriptions I would need would probably roughly balance out with the software savings, but I’m then left with an inferior product for virtually no £ saving. Xero is a bkpg software. Even their payroll module isn’t great (we always have pension issues with it - if memory serves, the pension is only calculated when you action the payrun, so to get it approved by a client you have to complete it first, then reverse & resubmit if there’s any errors).

If I was you, I would get either TaxCalc or VT, although I think I’ve seen on her that VT tax isn’t great. TaxCalc have a subscription for micro-practices.

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My photo
By Matrix
13th Oct 2020 22:27

Maybe Xero isn’t ready yet. You shouldn’t have to play around with notes and disclosures. It sounds like a false economy.

When I set up I found this forum indispensable so do a search for software. Generally it is hard to find an economical integrated solution, most regularly mentioned products tend to do one thing very well.

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By sumo69
15th Oct 2020 10:16

Sole practitioner - VT for Accounts £150 + VAT annually, Taxfiler for all tax compliance £240 + VAT.

No getting stressed as it all works and takes me about an hour from final TB to have FRS102/105 accounts and CT600 with comps ready for sign-off by my client.

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Replying to sumo69:
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By Andy556
15th Oct 2020 10:30

Why use VT if you're paying for Taxfiler? Taxfiler does accounts too included in the price

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Replying to Andy556:
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By Matrix
15th Oct 2020 13:46

I will let Sumo answer for himself/herself.

However I do the same. I have not used Taxfiler for accounts because I am so happy with VT. It doesn’t take long to put the tax comp figures into Taxfiler and attach the accounts and so I don’t think there is much lost integration.

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Replying to Andy556:
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By sumo69
15th Oct 2020 17:51

Taxfiler accounts are very poor on disclosures (FRS102) and a PITA to amend the templates - I hope they pay some attention to this as the product would be unbeatable if they sorted this, rather than the half-baked practice management software they added a few months back.
I would rather spend the £150 on VT and save a whole load of grief - after all its only an hour or so of chargeable time.

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Replying to sumo69:
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By Andy556
15th Oct 2020 18:10

Good point, I do waste quite a bit of time on the disclosures.
Never used VT so I can't compare but I will look

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Replying to sumo69:
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By Debittomycredit
15th Oct 2020 19:36

What are the FRS105 accounts like on Taxfiler? I’m tempted to bin Xero and try this since Xero can’t even manage a ref office address in their formats. I only deal with micro companies currently so it’s just the 105 accounts I’d be doing

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Andy556
19th Oct 2020 17:20

Can't fault Taxfiler for this. Just expect price rises each year because it's IRIS.
There will be someone new to the market soon I assume to take advantage of the new space

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Replying to sumo69:
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By Youareatit
15th Oct 2020 22:34

Same here.

Cannot be fiddling about with Taxfiler. Dump into VT, super quick. Attach to Taxfiler. Job done.

OP, dump Xero, stop trying to do it on the cheap. Crap in, crap out.

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By Guilford Accounting
15th Oct 2020 10:38

I had high hopes of Xero Tax but it took so long to launch that I'm sure they've had more problems with it than they expected; it's far from the finished article at the moment and has too many glitches.

I am in the VT Final accounts/TaxCalc cohort; had hoped to move on but have decided to stay with them. I think Xero may have bitten off a bit more than they can chew although they'll probably get there eventually - question is will we give them another chance?

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By raybackler
15th Oct 2020 10:40

I use Taxfiler for accounts and tax returns. Previously used VT for accounts and TaxCalc for the tax returns. Taxfiler does both and is cheaper. No problem with VT and TaxCalc though, except they aren't integrated with each other, like Taxfiler.

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By Rgab1947
15th Oct 2020 11:43

Xero is not really an AP product. Its bookkeeping with tax more if a sole trader.

Bite the bullet and get proper AP/CT software.

If too much then try a spreadsheet. I bought a AFS spreadsheet from Excell-skills which generates a full FRS102 from an imported TB. Cost I think is £60 (I bought a full set of spreadsheets at £180 ). One off. You can adept the spreadsheet and it has all that you need. Slimming down to FRS102 Schd 1 or FRS105 is easy.

Its automated with formula.

How to tag it iXBRL for CH and HMRC I do not know as I use dedicated AP for that

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Replying to Rgab1947:
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By Debittomycredit
15th Oct 2020 17:48

Thanks - I am talking about the Xero tax product aptly named ‘Xero Tax’ which is their AP product. Not Xero bookkeeping

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By North East Accountant
15th Oct 2020 15:06

We presently use Sage Accounts Production (SAP) and Sage Accounts Production Advanced (SAPA) for final accounts. We have also used Sage Final Accounts Online (Sages cloud product) and Xero Tax.

At the minute it's OK for accountants to use SAP, SAPA, Taxcalc, VT, CCH etc or whatever they fancy.

But what about when MTD proper hits.

As sure as night follows day at some point HMRC will want all transactional data.

Even if they don't want this from day 1, HMRC want 4 quarterly updates followed by an end of year activity submission.

As we all know there can be tons of adjustments to do as part of the final accounts so either all the present Final Accounts packages will need to have some ability to enter these adjustments back into the book keeping software or be able to send the final submission from there.

Also, when it happens be able to include all transactional data in the final submission.

Due to this I think proper MTD will kill the current desktop final accounts and tax product market, hence why we all need a top notch cloud end to end bookkeeping, final accounts and tax product.

Sage had a chance launching Sage Final Accounts and Tax online 3 years ago but they have done practically nothing with this, it's an MVP only and getting no better. Links with Sage Business Cloud Accounting.

Xero Tax have made a shaky start and have some way to go.

Quickbooks - don't have any.

It's all there for someone to get this right and dominate in this space.

Who will it be?

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Replying to North East Accountant:
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By Debittomycredit
15th Oct 2020 17:50

Couldn’t agree more with this!

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Debittomycredit
15th Oct 2020 17:51

Although it doesn’t help at the moment with trying to use Xero Tax haha! It’s clearly not ready yet for what they are advertising it to do

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Replying to North East Accountant:
By Charlie Carne
15th Oct 2020 18:15

North East Accountant wrote:

Quickbooks - don't have any.

Who will it be?


QBO integrates in both directions with Taxfiler, so you'd be able to use them together when MTD for SA kicks in, though I suspect that QBO will be able to file the quarterly MTD submissions, with Taxfiler handling the year-end full return (if one were still necessary under the new regime for simple sole traders).
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Replying to charliecarne:
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By North East Accountant
15th Oct 2020 19:27

I would have been happy with Taxfiler before. Now it's owned by Iris not so keen.

Iris have a reputation for racking up their prices constantly so it's not a big enticement to go to Taxfiler when you know the price will jump up very year by crazy amounts.

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Replying to charliecarne:
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By North East Accountant
15th Oct 2020 19:27

I would have been happy with Taxfiler before. Now it's owned by Iris not so keen.

Iris have a reputation for racking up their prices constantly so it's not a big enticement to go to Taxfiler when you know the price will jump up very year by crazy amounts.

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Stephen Quay
By squay
15th Oct 2020 15:14

I've been a Xero certified advisor since 2012 for a our small practice. I decided not to use Xero Tax as it's simply not finished. No support for sole traders, partnership accounts and the related tax returns, just FRS.105 and FRS.102-1A companies and CT600s. Why would I want to setup and learn another software with limited capability (yes I know it's free but my time isn't). I have used TaxCalc for several years and have just renewed again. It's easy enough to export a csv from Xero and import into TaxCalc AP (by the way we don't use the direct import, I prefer to merge code and description fields using the concatenate function in Excel and then import - told TaxCalc how to do it but they didn't want to know).

It's rather a similar to the payroll scenario. I don't use Xero payroll either. We use Moneysoft as I need to process payroll for clients not in Xero. In 2012 Xero didn't have a working payroll so we looked elswhere. I need to cover all our clients.

I agree with others on here that I don't like all my eggs in one basket. When you have software that works well and that you are comfortable with (and the fee is reasonable) why would you change? Xero Tax may be free but it's incomplete and unfinished. I am happy with things as they are and by the time it's fully functional I'll have retired!

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
15th Oct 2020 15:18

Xero Payroll - aaargh! I used to hate having to use this for a client.

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Andy556
15th Oct 2020 18:13

I refused haha it was awful to start with. Don't know what it's like now, they didn't get a second chance.
Note to any software company reading this - don't release a half a**ed product, if you spent time and effort making it then at least wait until it's ready before you release it. Exactly what happened with Xero payroll and apparently again with Xero tax

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Replying to Andy556:
boxfile
By spilly
15th Oct 2020 21:37

I’m having to use Xero payroll for the first time as new client insists they want to continue with it.
It’s hideous in comparison to Moneysoft. And yes, the pension function is still wrong as I found to my cost this month with a new qualifier. Nothing kicked in until after the payroll had been actioned, meaning it all has to be rolled back and rerun - ridiculous waste of time.

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Replying to spilly:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
15th Oct 2020 23:06

That’s why we refuse to use it.

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Replying to Andy556:
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By Debittomycredit
16th Oct 2020 07:54

How long ago was it that you gave it the first chance out of interest?

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Andy556
16th Oct 2020 08:08

I gave it 2 chances. First when it was released then the second about 9 months after that to give them time to sort the initial issues.
It was bad both times, and from what I've heard it's still not not great now

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Replying to Andy556:
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By Debittomycredit
16th Oct 2020 08:38

Ok thanks for getting back to me. That’s quite concerning. I have only just started a payroll offering and intend to use Xero, but have heard a lot of good things about Moneysoft so may have to turn to that. Appreciate this feedback from everybody.

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Andy556
16th Oct 2020 09:15

MoneySoft is great, I can't fault it. There's no competition from a price point of view. It's not as modern and the payslips look old fashioned but it does everything you need perfectly.

BrightPay is also good, it looks more modern but they bumped up the prices last year so that could be a deciding factor when you're first starting.

Xero payroll is very poor in comparison to both of these.

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By Alex_XeroSupport
19th Oct 2020 17:09

Hi - Alex from the Xero Tax support team here.

We’re sorry to hear about the frustrating experience you've had.

It sounds like you may have been using the Xero Report Templates feature as part of your accounts production process, and this is where the manual work has stemmed from.

While you could use report templates to create an annual accounts report, this isn't necessary as it would involve additional work. You should find producing compliant FRS 105 accounts directly in Xero Tax to be a more straightforward experience. A lot of the information you've mentioned should be automatically included within the filing to save you manually adding it.

If you've raised a support case with us, could you please let me know your case number (CX reference), and I can follow up with the support team to make sure we get this sorted for you.

Alex

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Replying to Alex_XeroSupport:
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By Debittomycredit
19th Oct 2020 21:22

Hi Alex

And FYI for everyone else as I’ve made massive progress with Xero support since Friday and resolved most of my issues with it now.

I was indeed using the Practice reports when I opened this thread.

I contacted Xero support early on about the trouble I was having and went back and forth for days with messages trying to resolve issues (with a very nice lady I must say but we just weren’t getting anywhere). She didn’t mention anything about using the Xero Tax module or ask why I wasn’t using that. I would also still say here that it’s really strange Xero has a ‘Micro company balance sheet’ template within the practice reports that looks nothing like a micro company balance sheet page. That’s where the confusion started!

I happened to contact support again on a different issue and that’s where it was picked up that I should be using the Xero Tax tab instead.

Most (not all) of my issues are now resolved and I’m really hoping to persevere with it because the hassle of updating your tax comp separately for every accounts adjustment is really tedious. And risky as it is easy to miss things that way. Now I’ve had a go with Xero it’s really handy for adjustments as you just reload and it updates.

Alex thanks for taking the time to respond here. I usually wouldn’t post on a forum however I was just at my wits end with it last week and getting nowhere sorry!

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Replying to Debittomycredit:
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By Alex_XeroSupport
20th Oct 2020 11:10

Hi

No worries - let us know if you ever need any assistance again, happy to help!

Alex

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