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Mtd digital records if client changes agent

Just thinking through how this will work!

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yet another mtd thing that’s confusing me! Has anyone an answer to how this will work? Currently all my vat registered clients keep manual records and aren’t exactly technology sort of people. It looks likely they will give us paper records and we are going to use a package (likely clearbooks) to keep the digital records and do the vat. Was just pondering though if the client then changed agent at some point or we decided to cease trading how are those digital records handed over to the client? If say we can download the information on to usb to pass on to client, surely without the software it would be useless wouldn’t it?! How would they have access to it if required by themselves,  a new agent or Hmrc?? I’m sure there is a simple answer but I’m not exactly tech savvy and it’s thrown me! Someone please stop me worrying about this!! Thanks 


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16th Sep 2018 08:18

You’d transfer the subscription to the client/new accountant.

Hopefully this will be irrelevant ... MTD4V might still get blocked if enough people say what a carp idea it is ...

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16th Sep 2018 09:02

Doubt the client/accountant would then be willing to pay a subscription to a programme they won’t be using though for 6 years just to preserve digital records. If I printed off the list of invoices/sales each month that had been entered digitally (and used digitally for the vat return) and gave these to the client I’m guessing as it’s now in paper form it wouldn’t satisfy Hmrcs insistence it is kept digitally? So many issues they just haven’t considered or am I jut over thinking?

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to puds2015
16th Sep 2018 09:58

puds2015 wrote:

Doubt the client/accountant would then be willing to pay a subscription to a programme they won’t be using though for 6 years just to preserve digital records.

Tough luck. Complain to HMRC.

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16th Sep 2018 09:36

Surely the data will have been submitted to hmrc so they shouldn't have any problems accessing the info they require.

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16th Sep 2018 09:49

But it’s only totals that are submitted to Hmrc- not the actual digital records of invoices? Isn’t it? It would be me as the agent that had the records held digitally to submit to Hmrc the totals rather than the client.

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16th Sep 2018 10:30

I think you've got it pointed the wrong way. The digital records belong to the client, not the agent. It is the client's requirement to keep them and they are therefore records of the business. If you, as the agent, maintain these records for the client then it is up to the client how to handle it when they move to another agent. I am not sure why you are paying for the subscriptions etc - I would recommend that the accounts are setup in the name of the client and the client is billed directly - then you have no issues over what happens when your client leaves. Make sure your LoE covers this.

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By SXGuy
16th Sep 2018 10:43

Export to csv. Import back to another software. Quite simple.

No need to transfer licence, use same software etc. Just simply export /import.

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to SXGuy
16th Sep 2018 14:45

This ^^ is the answer.

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to SteLacca
16th Sep 2018 15:39

Many thanks

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to SXGuy
20th Sep 2018 12:38

I don't think you will even need to re-export the .csv (unless its a mid-year swap)- its a digital storage -what more could HMRC ask for [sic]?

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By Matrix
16th Sep 2018 10:56

You should ask Clearbooks how long they would give the client read only access if they decided not to keep the subscription.

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16th Sep 2018 10:59

With clear books it seems that the client has access to micro but the accountant has access to the agent version which is where you make the adjustments/submit vat and that is the paid for service so that has to be billed to the agent. Thanks for the answers though- I’ll ask clearbooks. If it can be downloaded as csv file I guess that’s the answer.

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17th Sep 2018 09:56


Read the guidance

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17th Sep 2018 11:09

Hi Puds2015,

Karina from Clear Books here. I'm not sure whether you use Clear Books Micro or Clear Books Large, so I'll cover them both off!

For clients on Clear Books Micro, our support team can 'de-link' the client facing online spreadsheet from your Clear Books Practice account. That means they would still have full access to their records in Micro free of charge. When the client selects a new agent, they are welcome to set up a £5 per month Practice account of their own. That will allow them to link together with the client and submit VAT returns.

For Clear Books Large, the client can either opt to be made the new owner of the account (setting up a new billing arrangement) or they can ask for a new accountant to be made the new owner of the account.

If the client wishes to export the records entirely, you are able to do so via CSV download. It's a quick and simple process.

In all instances, all we need from you as the accountant is written instructions on what you'd like to do!

I hope this helps,

Thanks (5)
21st Sep 2018 13:35

It's a valid point that I've raised before. What would happen if the client was using Quick Books, Sage or Xero? Would these too give read-only access for HMRC's 6-year required period?

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By Tornado
22nd Sep 2018 14:17

Keeping records will be dead simple if you use the Spreadsheet approach.

I have used bespoke spreadsheet accounting books for years, both for my clients to use and for those records that we maintain for clients.

For clients that do it themselves, they make entries into the spreadsheet cash book for a month and then email that file to us for checking and correction (almost all require some form of correction) and then the updated file is sent back for the next month to be entered.

Those records we maintain for clients in-house are usually updated monthly or more frequently from source records that clients give to us.

All spreadsheet accounting books are created specifically for each client to automatically include any special accounting treatments for that client and also to provide monthly and quarterly summaries for VAT based on the client's VAT scheme.

The spreadsheet also provides cumulative totals of sales and expenses for the year as it progresses.

VAT submission is simply copying the figures from the ongoing summaries into the HMRC VAT Portal or when MTD for VAT does eventually happen, the bridging software will pick up the relevant figures from the existing boxes.

By keeping a copy of each months spreadsheet file, there is a cheap and easy record of the month by month progress and if necessary, a current month can be completely discarded and a new current month started.

When it comes to providing information to anyone else (legitimately) then it is a simple process of just sending the latest spreadsheet or if HMRC want to see the entries, then they can have a copy of the year they want to check. Of course, information can be provided in CSV files but there is no point in that as if you have Excel, then you can open an Excel file anyway.

All of this is digital, costs only the price of basic Excel, is not committed to the Cloud or any particular supplier and is relatively easy to teach to clients.

So whilst I think there is zero chance of MTD for VAT becoming mandatory on the 1st April 2019, I am not bothered either way. It is nearly business as usual.

Why complicate matters when there are easy solutions

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By SXGuy
to Tornado
24th Sep 2018 10:11

That's great that spreadsheets work for you, but for me, what online accounting has done is open up the possibility of direct bank feeds and auto tagging.

The client only need to use it so far as to generate invoices.

Everything automatic about your method is done the same way, but it reduces reconciliation and error correcting down dramatically.

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