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Practice software - that old chestnut!!

I am reviewing my practice software. Currently using BTC but maybe looking to change to Taxcalc

I am reviewing my practice software.  Currently using BTC but maybe looking to change to Taxcalc.  I'm looking for more out of my system - I'd rather not need lots of third party systems.

Has anyone made the switch?  How easy was it?  Was it successful?

What other options are there nowadays?  Cloud vs Desktop?  BTC won lots of awards recently but to me seems to have been left behind now - looking very tired with no update in sight.  We are finding that we need more and more third party solutions whereas Taxcalc has everything in one place - accounts, tax, co sec, co formation, GDPR, e-signing, money laundering checks plus a better practice management module to come (does anyone know any more??) and time recording.  It will house everything I need in one place.

Cost will rise seemingly from around £1500 per year (plus £500 for my time system, plus £1500 for e-signing system plus etc, etc) to around £3500 (all in with Taxcalc).

Any thoughts on this switch or any other systems I should look at would be appreciated.  I have used Iris and Digita before and they wil be too expensive for me and do too much in all honesty.

Thanks in advance and apologies for repeating this question.

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By marks
12th Mar 2019 23:12

We moved from IRIS to Taxcalc last July.

About 1/3 the price of IRIS and staff find it much easier to use.

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to marks
12th Mar 2019 23:31

Thanks. How was the migration?

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By marks
to nmprobinson
13th Mar 2019 23:31

nmprobinson wrote:

Thanks. How was the migration?

Fairly straight forward. Taxcalc pulled most of the data across for £100 eg names, addresses, UTR numbers, dates of birth, NI numbers etc.

Plus they also converted all the trial balances in IRIS into Excel format so was just a case of mapping up each client then importing in which was done at the start of each job for each client on taxcalc

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12th Mar 2019 23:21

What e signing software do you use that costs £1500

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to Glennzy
12th Mar 2019 23:31

MyDocSafe

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By marks
to nmprobinson
13th Mar 2019 23:32

nmprobinson wrote:

MyDocSafe

Look at hellosign. Costs £12 per month for unlimited e signing documents.

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to Glennzy
12th Mar 2019 23:32

It links to BTC which is handy. But it’s not perfect. Another reason for looking to change really.

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12th Mar 2019 23:55

I use Taxcalc but when I was looking I didn’t think there was much in it between the two

The e signing is chargeable at £2 per signature so I use Iris open space

AP And tax software are good and easy to use practice management is weak compared to Senta or Accountancy manager

By the time you factor in the time costs of switching I am not sure it would give you much more than BTC does currently

I use the cloud connect feature which I find lets me work anywhere but I think BTC also has that now

Taxcalcs link to Xero is only 1 way whereas BTC and a few others have a 2 way link

All the extra features in taxcalc are needed but I am disappointed that are chargeable extras as things like e signing should be a standard feature these days and not charged per signature

If your a big Xero user give it a year and then look at instafile which is free to partners which I am hoping will save me paying for practice software

You are way over paying on your e signing software

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to Glennzy
13th Mar 2019 09:48

Regarding the e-signing. We have 13 users. Not sure if that has any bearing on costings.

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13th Mar 2019 05:43

We changed from TaxCalc to BTC. Wouldn't change back.

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to Wanderer
13th Mar 2019 09:40

Many thanks. Why did you change? And what did you not like about TaxCalc?

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By Maslins
13th Mar 2019 09:47

We currently use Taxcalc, but just for SA/CT returns. Personally I'm not a fan of them drifting into lots of other areas. Better to do one thing well than lots of things badly. Having said that, we do use Taxcalc's AML.

Paying £1,500 for e-signing does sound ridiculous, it's seemingly a standard free add on to many things these days (though Taxcalc charge extra for it, which we don't use).

If you've got a few separate systems that all work nicely together, you may find it's not a forward step to move to one system.

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13th Mar 2019 09:52

What are others using for e-signing? Sounds like there are some free options that I am unaware of!!

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By PERMON
to nmprobinson
13th Mar 2019 11:05

You could look at eversign - Ive used it off and on and it seems fairly good.

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By Maslins
to nmprobinson
13th Mar 2019 13:31

Historically we've been using Echosign. Cost used to be cheap as chips, though it's now part of Adobe and cost has rocketed. Bizarrely they seem to keep us on the old tariff though :-)

We use Senta for practice management which has inbuilt e-signing capability, no extra fee. We had a few niggling issues with it, but use it fine for a few things now.

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By marks
to nmprobinson
13th Mar 2019 23:35

nmprobinson wrote:

What are others using for e-signing? Sounds like there are some free options that I am unaware of!!

IRIS openspace is free. We didnt use it, even when using IRIS as clients didnt like it.

We currently use Hellosign, costs £12 per month for unlimited signing. We just have one login so only one person can be logged in at a time but that not a big issue as not like we are sending documents to be signed every minute of the day.

Tends to be my client manager that send the documents for signing so she just tends to be the only one that uses Hellosign.

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13th Mar 2019 10:33

Not free but we've used Doc-safe, which is a different company from Mydocsafe, for ten years or so with no complaints. Always very quick to respond to (rare) queries and good to deal with.

We use Taxcalc for accounts prep, having switched last year, but I think that there are issues with over-disclosure in the company accounts. We now end up transferring lots of headings to "other creditors" before going to press otherwise there will be separate lines in the notice for corporation tax, VAT, directors loans and a number of other things that don't need to be shown separately. I also don't like the use of effectively a single directors loan account (with each transaction flagged with the relevant name) Have a good look at it before you commit

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to Cloudcounter
13th Mar 2019 14:41

Yes we noticed the over disclosure to - I can tell you many accountants who didn't which is more worrying and frustrating to tell prospects that their current accountants have over disclosed.

But we also found a work around it and are eagerly awaiting this update in the software, it definitely is the one downside.

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By Tross
to Cloudcounter
21st Mar 2019 10:38

I noticed the issue with the over-disclosure too - having just moved from Iris to TaxCalc - and there is actually a fix on the notes screen. If you are on the Creditors Due Within One Year section you can uncheck a box to stop showing a breakdown of creditors. Doesn't appear to be something you can put as standard across the practice yet, unfortunately.

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21st Mar 2019 13:07

nmprobinson wrote:

We are finding that we need more and more third party solutions whereas Taxcalc has everything in one place - accounts, tax, co sec, co formation, GDPR, e-signing, money laundering checks plus a better practice management module to come It will house everything I need in one place.


I'm no longer a fan of having everything in one place. That was how the old-school providers (Iris, CCH, Digita, etc.) operated and they've become dinosaurs. They'd be great at a some things and lousy at others. One of the advantages of cloud software is how easy it is to get one piece of software to talk to another. For example, QBO links its final TB to Taxfiler, GoProposal links the details collected in a new client proposal to new client set-up in Senta, etc.

I see advantages in having final accounts production and tax returns in the same product (eg TaxCalc or Taxfiler), but the practice management (PM) facilities in these products (and as provided in the main b/k tools like Xero & QBO) are nowhere near as sophisticated as in the bespoke PM tools, such as Senta, Accountancy Manager or Karbon (which seem to be the three most favoured cloud PM tools at the moment). So I'd look for a PM tool that is separate from your compliance (tax/final accounts) and bookkeeping software. I'd want the PM tool to include a client portal with e-signing, deadline tracking, CRM, etc. and possibly MLR checks. Co sec work could be in the PM tool, but bespoke co sec tools like Inform Direct are getting great reviews from AWEB users.

Finally, the cost of many of these best-of-breed tools is very much lower than the large suites, so you will often pay less in total, as well as getting much better options, by splitting the services into separate software tools.

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23rd Mar 2019 11:31

I used PTP Accounts Production in industry, but now use Taxcalc in my own practice (as Iris was far too expensive) and I was already used to Taxcalc for tax comps. Taxcalc isn't as flexible as PTP - in PTP you could effectively alter every note & layout - Taxcalc is more restrictive. Also Taxcalc AP (at the moment) can only cope with ndividuals / partnerships / ltd cos - useless for members' clubs, etc

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23rd Mar 2019 12:15

Thanks so far everyone.

What accounts productions software does allow clubs, charities etc? Other than the expensive ones like Iris?

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