Hi, I posted a question on here around July after being finally pushed over the edge by Sage.. I have only ever used Iris/Sage and was unsure which way to go..
After much thought, taking into account the feedback on here and testing out free trials I now use VT for accounts production, and BTC for tax.
I was initially a little unimpressed with VT - I didn't like the fact that it didn't really like journals with description on a line by line basis, I couldn't get a meaningful nominal ledger. But then I decided to utilise VT+ as my actual input method, once I had a TB I was happy with I then simply transfer to VT - quick and easy and no journals in VT. I then had a sensible nominal ledger in VT+, and I have actually been quite impressed with some aspects of VT+ - not least that it remembers what you have posted before. So, I used it to input directly from a clients cashbook on a month by month basis rather than totalling in excel as I would normally do. The next time I entered motor expense it knew exactly where I wanted them to go and auto filled for me, small things amuse small minds.
I find I need to be a little more 'careful' with VT as regards to presentation, but it is very easy to amend and the straight forward to use. The xbrl function also works very well.
Has it shaved loads of time in preparation compared with sage accounts porducition, probably not, but is it harder to use, no, do the accounts look cheaper - no - In fact, I nearly wasted hours altering the template to 'look' like sage accounts. I refrained, and how surprised was I when the client exclaimed how much easier they were to read than their previous accountants! (looked like iris accounts) - so not the format I am used to, but apparently better for the client, needless to say I have not touched the template.
A couple of quirks to bear in mind transferring to BTC, which may be down to my lack of knowledge - doesn't take out disallowable expenditure and I nearly had depreciation in as an expense on first tax return! But, works very well - I really like the practise solution program. I have used SPS, and had recently bought a tailored accountants version of sage act which I was really dissapoointed in. I like the fact that the tax returns are stored on the database and I can pull up a list of progress on all clients tax returns.
Again, is it saving me preparation time, hard to say, I suspect it may actually, but only a little. Is it more cumbersome/cheaper - no way, I find the xbrl so much better and I really like the submission process. I have tailored the cover letter to be a signed declaration without too much trouble, though I dont think the standard letters will be so easy to amend. At the present moment I am keeping my letter templates outside of BTC, I will look into this when I have more time as that will enable me to store client letters within the practise solution porgram.
As for cost - well you don't need me to tell you that have at least halved my software costs and have the confidence that I am not going to get hammered as my practice grows.
Downside, I have e-mailed a couple of queries to BTC, both small and not important. Have not received a reply to either e-mail. I have not chased up as not really important, they were just 'wonderings' however, does leave me a little uneasy about when I have an important query.