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Is QBO causing problem with new clients?

Is QBO causing problem with new clients, particularly those who have been previously unrepresented?

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Hi all!

Is anyone else finding that Quickbooks and their advertising policy of the last year or so (ramped up more recently) is creating real problems for businesses and their financial admin.

I have used Quickbooks in its various guises for over 15 years, but I am really getting worried about the records QBO users are producing when they don’t have support and follow the adverts of 'Don’t worry! “Thanks teeny, tiny hardnosed QB people!”
The experiences I am having are showing that QBO users are at high risk if they are selected for investigation in a way I can only compare to the loan schemes cases that are costing taxpayers thousands in penalties and interest.

I’ll give a couple of examples:

  • Quickbooks says not to worry about payroll.
    The employer hadn’t submitted the EPSs because Standard payroll doesn’t do it automatically so hadn’t recovered SMP etc correctly so were being chased for debts. They hadn’t realised all the rules behind NLW so had been underpaying and hadn’t followed any Workplace pension rules because they had heard it wasn’t appropriate for them.

  • Client had been producing sales invoices and then making the most of the Banking functionality. Quickbooks suggests ‘Sales’ so they click accept, it suggests rules for wages and salaries, but doesn’t match that off against the payroll journal meaning that the bank looks reconciled but debtors and creditors (including payroll related) are doubled!

  • Latest one today. I just need a tax return produced, please. Ok, so you’re self employed, will you be providing your accounts and the breakdown of debtors/creditors/depreciation/disallowed expenses, expenses eligible for AIA and FYAs?
    “What? I use Quickbooks so its all done isn’t it?” The business expense sections clearly include personal transactions, include fully some personal expenses that should at least be aportioned and there are again duplicates where they have been using the banking tab.

If I’m honest, HMRC have got an open goal! Pick all businesses with turnover under eg £50k and without an agent on file.
That’s not how its meant to be. Software should be supporting the business owner and not put them at risks like this.

I just wondered if anyone else has had the same experiences or if I have just been unlucky?

Thank you!

Replies (23)

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Slim
By Slim
08th Apr 2021 19:38

Ha yeah when unrepresented new clients come to me and tell me they are using QB I know exactly how it is going to end.

I had a classic a couple of days ago, on social media some smart [***] was telling other BTL'ers to register for VAT so they could reclaim everything and anything.

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Replying to Slim:
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By david_dbu
08th Apr 2021 20:42

I suppose its digitised the man down the pub! Plus the software is facilitating it and allowing it to go on where accountants would be the gatekeeper in the past to protect clients from themselves.

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Replying to david_dbu:
Slim
By Slim
08th Apr 2021 20:58

Yeah. You'd have thought it would be like shooting fish in a barrel for hmrc.

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Replying to Slim:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 09:03

It is sad though, because it's actually the taxpayer I feel sorry for. Most of them think they are doing it right as most lay people would especially since Accountants (including me) advertise their association and accreditation with QBO so it must be a good system - right?

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By Open all hours
08th Apr 2021 21:27

We were discussing similar in the office this aft. Would be fun if HMRC posted some of the rubbish they find on ITRs on social media. Might make a few others think?
Seriously considered reporting QBO to advertising standards some time ago but was advised that due to our professional relationship with them it couldn’t be done.
Reckon they take marketing advice from a guy in the pub though.

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Replying to Open all hours:
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By DaveyJonesLocker
08th Apr 2021 21:41

They definitely need reporting. They are actually lying about how simple their software makes things.

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Replying to Open all hours:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 09:10

I was considering the same sort of thing, but as I said to Slim, I worry about the stress it would cause on those taxpayers, many of those won't be the chances but just think the software is making it easier for them and so what it is saying must be right.
We all have clients who suggest things I'm sure, and not out of trying to avoid, but just thinking they can claim and just need to be guided round to the right way of thinking.

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Replying to Open all hours:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 09:28

.

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By SXGuy
09th Apr 2021 07:54

It's not just qbo it's all of them.

Had someone ask where they tag their universal credit payments to on their bookkeeping software yesterday

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 09:18

Completely agree, but QBO seems to have gone that one step further and pushing that they can do everything with no need to stress because they deal with everything and that the business owner doesn't need to know detail.
I do agree though, and if they see that QBO are successful why wouldn't they push it a bit further!

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Julian Webb
By JulianWebb
09th Apr 2021 11:11

Hello david,

All my Clients are on QB but I would say none of them could operate it on their own without an accountant. HMRC have made things so complicated I think most non accountants will not be able to run the books themselves without help. QB actually makes most things very easy BUT one needs to understand how it works.

I would say if your clients have not got an accountant helping them each month with everything they will get into a total muddle. I'm sure this is the same for Sage and Xero.

I

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Replying to JulianWebb:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 14:26

I totally agree.
Software is great and making processes easier is fantastic, but if you don't know what effect your click or automation has on the records, or what is and isn't allowed.

I always support my clients with QBO, Xero, FreeAgent etc to get it set up to run efficiently for them. Producing invoices, receiving payments and sending auto reminders, checking bills due to be paid etc, but make it very clear what should and shouldn't be done.

If a business is unrepresented and only gets in touch with an accountant 3 months before a due date, they could have 18 months of records that could be wrong and need unpicking (and mostly, redoing!)

I must say I am glad and saddened that I am not the only one experiencing this.

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By carnmores
09th Apr 2021 16:43

This is nothing other than an attack on Intuit. Many of your comments (misinformed or otherwise) apply to any online or even desktop software

your points

1. entirely your clients fault, it's not magic they have to take some responsibility or should be receiving guidance from you.

2. this is fairly basic stuff but it is is easy to post a receipt direct to sales rather than match it to the original invoice. one of your jobs should surely be to check this, thats why you are engaged.

3. for goodness sake isn't that what we are meant to do. i have never seen a client who hasn't had some private stuff go thru their accounts. perhaps you should consider using accountants tools so that reposting becomes a doddle.

your comments re clients without agents is preposterous. i suspect that still a small proportion of unrepresented people use QBO or other software and to suggest that they have all got it wrong is a misstatement

I suggest that you engage fully with your clients, and point them in the direction of online video support if you don't want to do it yourself.

I agree wholeheartedly with Julian

Nick

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Replying to carnmores:
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By DaveyJonesLocker
09th Apr 2021 18:01

Intuit is getting the flack because they’re the only one going full on advertising just take a pic and the software does it all for you.

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Replying to DaveyJonesLocker:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 19:03

Absolutely. I agree that the role of the accountant is to fix errors and guide and support.
I comment on Intuit as they are the ones advertising so heavily that it is easy.
The represented users are fine. It's the unrepresented that I feel for.

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Jo Nokes
09th Apr 2021 18:52

You are perfectly correct that we who have clients on QB, or Xero, owe them a duty to clear up any missteps in entering data. But have a care for thousands of unrepresentative traders who think it’s easy, when that is far from the case

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Replying to Jo Nokes:
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By Paul Crowley
09th Apr 2021 21:15

Well if taxpayers choose to not engage a professional........

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Replying to carnmores:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 19:10

Thank you for your response, but your points regarding it being my job to ensure they are doing it is right is absolutely true.
This post was put up to find out if others are encountering the same experiences as I am.

This is not an attack on Intuit. I understand and agree that this is a potential problem with all software providers but Intuit is where I most regularly find the most serious errors with prospective clients.

I am speaking about the unrepresented however I am also not saying that ALL of the unrepresented users' submissions are wrong.
There are many very competent people who could do there own submissions and use the software as they should, with caution.

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Replying to david_dbu:
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By carnmores
09th Apr 2021 19:23

First accountantd need to check clients accounts on a regular basis, with online they should always ask for access, this way accountants can nip problems in the bud. I have one client when I failed to do this as they had a very successful quarter and it was too late so I am all to aware.
Second it is wrong to single out QBO just because you think they advertise more.
Third I have a client with a £6 mill turnover and they use it very successfully
Fourth the old rule holds good garbage in garbage out.
Fifth always tell your client that it doesn't do everything and care is needed

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Replying to carnmores:
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By david_dbu
09th Apr 2021 19:49

Absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with you.
All of your points are correct and I follow the same processes to care for my clients as you clearly do.

The original and continuing reason for the post is for exactly as you say in your 5th point.
A good accountant will ensure a client knows and understand that care is needed and software doesn't do anything. Intuit (as others) don't make that point, and the unrepresented taxpayer doesn't have that accountant to warn, guide and monitor as both you and I do.

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By Paul Crowley
09th Apr 2021 21:25

I saw something suggesting 50% of tax returns go in submitted by taxpayer unrepresented by a proper agent
I suspect that is the reason that agents see so few tax enquiries

I do not fix the brakes on my car
But there are a lot of videos that show me how
People make their own risk choices

I have no client who, if they chose to submit from software, would have submitted anything like a proper set of accounts.
Even simple VAT ends up wrong

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Thomas654654
10th Apr 2021 09:49

Couldn't agree more. The reason we can be confident that a majority (not all) of people will be getting it wrong on their own is through experience not assumption

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Replying to Thomas654654:
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By david_dbu
10th Apr 2021 10:56

Absolutely. Not all, but certainly a large enough proportion that it is a problem and something that needs to be addressed.

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