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MTD Bridging Software - the Answer?

What bridging software to use

Like many AccountingWEB readers I have resisted advising my Excel clients to buy cloud based MTD compliant bookkeeping systems in the hope that some suitable Bridging software would become available.  I think I have now found the solution!  It’s produced by Neilson James Technology and costs £36 per year.  I downloaded the free trial version from the website and registered as a dummy business client.  I easily set up the required Excel template and uploaded my data from this onto the bridging software on my first attempt.  I contacted Neil Cuthbertson who is the software developer and he told me that after months’ of development their pilot has been accepted by HMRC, so they are up and running.  I had previously been directed to various commercial offerings where I would have had to subscribe as agent and send in VAT returns within 30 days of the month end for all of my Excel clients.  This retrogressive step is hopefully not required now, as with Neilson James Software the client can continue to submit his own returns once I’ve assisted him if necessary, to get set up. This software only uploads the 8 boxes from the VAT return so in its present form it will not upload all of the underlying business transactions onto the HMRC website.  I seem to think a requirement for all the data to be uploaded has been deferred or cancelled now.  Maybe readers can confirm this.  Also to be compliant in the long run I will need to do a bit of work to get the Excel template to extract the VAT figures automatically from the basic spreadsheet.  I’m no Excel expert by I don’t anticipate too much difficulty in setting up a suitable digital routine to do this.  Readers views would be appreciated.

 

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10th Dec 2018 16:37

Well that’s not a blatant plug at all is it?

It’s hardly revolutionary. There are a number of established software providers providing bridging software so I think I’ll stick with my current provider.

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to Tim Vane
10th Dec 2018 16:59

@Tim, to be fair to the OP I think its a genuine post.

This has been trailed on here before, I seem to recall the 'actual' price was a lot more than £36, which was a "from".

MTDfV really doesnt do a lot, its just a different way to flick the same numbers to HMRC. All the pain is in getting the numbers in without typing them.

Im going to wait until the market settles down a bit before choosing a provider, I think the "bonanza" software company who have been pushing this who expect to feast on us rich accountants are going to a miffed what a bunch of tight XXXX's we are.

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By akr129
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
11th Dec 2018 10:22

Thanks for putting a word in for me. I am a Chartered Accountant sole practitioner seriously looking for some suitable and affordable Bridging software and I have no connection with this or any other software house. I did query the price and £36 is for a client version. I couldn't find any add on charges. Of course an agent version is more money and how much more depends on how many clients you are taking a licence for.

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to Vitaliy
10th Dec 2018 19:54

Now that IS a blatant plug.

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10th Dec 2018 16:51

akr129 wrote:

I seem to think a requirement for all the data to be uploaded has been deferred or cancelled now.  Maybe readers can confirm this. 

Correct.
akr129 wrote:

Also to be compliant in the long run I will need to do a bit of work to get the Excel template to extract the VAT figures automatically from the basic spreadsheet. 

Incorrect, not in the long run, it has to be like that for the very first MTD VAT submission.
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to Wanderer
10th Dec 2018 17:33

Wanderer wrote:

Incorrect, not in the long run, it has to be like that for the very first MTD VAT submission.


Vat Notice 700/22 says that during the soft landing period digital links are not required for everything.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70022-making-tax-d...

3.2.1.1

I am recommending to my MTD Pilot clients, however, to work on setting up the digital links from the start as it makes life easier.

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to johnhemming
10th Dec 2018 17:45

In the circumstances described by the OP that exemption doesn't apply:-

HMRC wrote:
For the first year of mandation (VAT periods commencing between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020) businesses will not be required to have digital links between software programs. The one exception to this is where data is transferred, following preparation of the information required for the VAT Return, to another product (for example, a bridging product) that is API-enabled solely for the purpose of submitting the 9 Box VAT Return data to HMRC. The transfer of data to this product must be digital.
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By Tornado
to Wanderer
10th Dec 2018 18:31

How on earth are they going to know whether there are digital links or not and do they have anywhere near enough staff to check this sort of thing or the money to pay for such checks?

Whilst Accountants will do their best to get clients to comply, there will be hundreds of thousands of non-represented businesses who have no clue at all about this requirement for digital links, let alone learning and using accounting software.

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to Tornado
10th Dec 2018 18:44

Don't disagree with anything you say. I'm guessing that there will be something in the process by which you have to confirm that you have complied with the regulations / all the digital links are in place.
The money to pay for the HMRC checks will no doubt be generated from the disproportionate fines they will levy for non-compliance!

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to Wanderer
10th Dec 2018 18:32

Wanderer wrote:

In the circumstances described by the OP that exemption doesn't apply:-


That is the narrow issue of how you take data from say a spreadsheet and put it into a bridging system. If you just retype it then there is really no sense in this at all. All they are saying with that is that the final step of putting data into a bridge has to be computer digital and not human digital.
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to johnhemming
10th Dec 2018 18:39

That is what I thought the OP was referring to. Maybe not then.

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to Wanderer
10th Dec 2018 19:19

Wanderer wrote:

That is what I thought the OP was referring to. Maybe not then.


HMRC are not going to pass an MTD computer system which simply allows users to type the 9 boxes into another interface.

They do check out a demonstration of the system as well as checking that the correct data is returned to them from submissions. For the first few live submissions in the pilot the software house tells HMRC what the figures should be and HMRC check.

The wider issue of digital links is from say the vat register through to a summary spreadsheet or indeed taking a csv file from say old versions of sage and linking that to a summary spreadsheet.

That can wait although when I deal with people I try to solve that at the same time as getting the submissions done.

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By akr129
to johnhemming
11th Dec 2018 10:57

Thanks for that. I've been looking at the Microsoft Excel help and it seems to me that I need to name the cells in my Client's spreadsheet where he's worked out his VAT as VATbox1; VATbox2 etc. I've then need my VAT template spreadsheet to find the data. I've found a link on Microsoft's Help https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-an-external-reference-li... which tells me how to do this. Am I on the right track here?

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By daniel_
to akr129
11th Dec 2018 13:33

You're looking for Named Ranges. Just select the cell and type VATbox1 into the Name box which will display the cell reference e.g. 'B6' to the left of the formula bar.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/define-and-use-names-in-formula...

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to akr129
11th Dec 2018 16:49

akr129 wrote:

Am I on the right track here?


I don't know because my software works differently. This page explains how to link spreadsheets and other accounting systems to the API on my software:
https://www.vat.direct/workflow/w/standardform/DigitalLinks

I have had a glance at some of the other offerings and they are all quite different as far as I can see.

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