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Stayed loyal to VT

However with the pandemic my attitude is shifting

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When I started out the advice on suitable software from the faithful was brilliant. Like a lot of sole practitioners I used  a combination of VT / Moneysoft and gradually introduced cloud based Taxfiler / AM as my DBMS but now during the pandemic I believe that the sands are shifting full throttle towards all cloud based solutions and I don't want to be left behind although I've embraced some cloud solutions. 

The price for VT is fabulous - £150 plus vat and I still think it's a great product, I've been paying the same amount since 2012, loyalty sometimes doesn't result in small 15% increases. 

However, I require additional functionality (apps) and speed preparing quarterly managment accounts, final accounts and additional services which VT can't handle.

I have a number of clients who still send me / drop off  bags of receipts, I don't want them spending money on postage anymore and taking time out to post or deliver documents if they don't use a door to door courier service. The new normal for now is working remotely anywhere in the UK and definitely less face to face meetings in the office.

With MTD income tax round the corner I think the need for instant cloud accounts production access is now imperative and would give me a quicker turn around that unfortunately VT just can't deliver.

I have been looking at the reviews for Xero, Quickbooks and Clearbooks and there appears to be different camps for favouritism, I'm looking for a subscription that my smaller clients could stomach, fees - £250 - £400 plus vat and something that is easy to use for clients.

At the moment I am leaning towards Clearbooks (uk software provider?) because I believe it' s cheaper at £6 per month per client, could someone clarify this as accurate and are there partner discounts for Accountants that could be passed onto clients.

I like the look of Xero services but although look’s great for me I want simplicity for small clients, can they understand the basic elements of the software with minimal training.

I would also appreciate if someone could describe the fee structure of auto entry with the credit pricing, this seems a bit vague. If I have 20 receipts a month, five pages of monthly bank statements and 20 sales and purchase invoices what would that cost a client per month using auto entry. My clients want fixed easy to understand subscriptions.

Receipt Bank pricing seems a bit clearer but I’ve read that the price is steep for smaller business clients thus leaning towards auto entry if I could understand the pricing structure.

In summary, as this is a lot longer than I anticipated when I started the post.

Appreciate advice from anyone who changed from VT to Clearbooks and the advantages / disadvantages of the change.

looking for some advice on how it was for you changing to cloud based entirely and how your clients accepted or resisted the change and the additional subscription costs, did you absorb or pass on all or part of the cost.

How did you work out the price of auto entry by ditching paper expenses / receipts etc.

I noticed in previous threads that Paul Scholes was a supporter of Clearbooks which isn't a bad recommendation as I believe he was a highly respected contributor on this forum.

 

 

Replies (14)

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By Crouchy
14th Sep 2020 15:16

we use clear books and love it, we use other software such as Xero and quickbooks online becuase clients want them, but I'm not really sure what the fuss is about with them, I find both less user friendly, but they have great adverts

all these packages are predominantly bookkeeping and VAT packages, you'll still need somthign for year end accounts

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By Wanderer
14th Sep 2020 16:04

Marky wrote:

I have been looking at the reviews for Xero, Quickbooks and Clearbooks and there appears to be different camps for favouritism, I'm looking for a subscription that my smaller clients could stomach, fees - £250 - £400 plus vat and something that is easy to use for clients.

At the moment I am leaning towards Clearbooks (uk software provider?) because I believe it' s cheaper at £6 per month per client, could someone clarify this as accurate and are there partner discounts for Accountants that could be passed onto clients.

Have a look at Pandle @£2.50 per month.
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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Marky
15th Sep 2020 11:39

Hi Wanderer,

Had a quick look at Pandle and probably will take the 14 day trial.

Is the sales invoice function basic or can it handle different unit costs and transaction lines, separating the sale for a detailed view for the customer.

These would then feed through to a detailed profit and loss account with different income elements of the sale.

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By Marky
14th Sep 2020 16:36

Really surprised that final accounts are not part of the package with Clearbooks, that's very disappointing. Do you hold onto VT for the accounts

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By Marky
14th Sep 2020 16:41

Thanks for the Pandle recommendation, I 'll have a look at it. The subs price wouldn't put small clients off, do they produce accounts?

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By Matrix
14th Sep 2020 18:48

FreeAgent is free if they have a NatWest or Mettle account. Small clients who do their own bookkeeping use this quite happily. There may even be final accounts included now.

I use VT where bookkeeping is in excel and also for final accounts for all clients.

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By In a Daze
14th Sep 2020 21:03

We have been 100% cloud for over 3 years now. I suggest you are already way behind the curve.

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Replying to In a Daze:
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By L Haldane
17th Sep 2020 11:12

What are you hoping to achieve from this smug remark Daze ?

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By Marky
15th Sep 2020 09:02

Does anyone have a handle on auto entry pricing.

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By Duggimon
15th Sep 2020 12:05

If I was looking for a replacement solution for the poly-bag-full-of-receipts clients, it would be a spreadsheet they can list all the receipts in that I can then import into a software package of my choosing.

If they don't keep books and never have, there is no benefit to them of a cloud system. There's undoubtedly benefits to you if they just upload the stuff directly, but you have the knowledge gap there where people who have never done bookkeeping are confronted with a double entry system with endless scope for making a mess.

I might be too prone to handholding but I'm happy with just removing that first step of getting the receipts into a digital format, and retaining control of how they're entered into whatever system I'm using.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Marky
16th Sep 2020 13:35

Yes, I agree with most of your reply Dugimmon but with MTD income tax coming down the road the poly brigade are never going to turn up five or six times per year to make sure they comply with the compliance guidance. Surely introducing cloud even if it's to upload a bank statement or take a picture of some receipts is a better way forward and you can pick up as much of the process based on the competency of the client.

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By AustinA
17th Sep 2020 10:50

I'm also going to look at Pandle for bookkeeping. I already use Taxfiler to produce accounts from TB onwards, file at CH and produce tax returns. Price is gradually going up but still very competitive and user friendly. Their tech support is via email but they always reply within the hour and are tenacious until it is fixed or explained.

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By Rgab1947
17th Sep 2020 10:51

I use a combination of;
Xero and Quickbooks for all bookkeeping. Both work well and in QB there are different levels of subscription depending on complexity/functionality required.

For final accounts and tax I use Capium. Its OK but not that cheap.

All of these are cloud based and all can be linked so no need for importing TB's etc.

I use Dropbox for file sharing (I am 100% paperless).

I do not have or want clients who have boxes of receipts. Its easier for them to upload direct into Xero/QB (all you need is a smart phone). Receiptbank is also useful for uploading. All other docs are Dropbox uploading. If they cannot do that simple job they are not to be my client.

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By JD
17th Sep 2020 11:57

Marky

Looking at the second part of your question....

''looking for some advice on how it was for you changing to cloud based entirely and how your clients accepted or resisted the change and the additional subscription costs, did you absorb or pass on all or part of the cost''.

We started off with clients for whom we were completing VAT returns. They are already used to having a quarterly bill, needing to bring things up to date on a regular basis and so transferred to cloud easier. It provides an opportunity to establish your workflows and systems.

Once you start going down the food chain to non VAT registered clients you will start to get much more resistance. We have been working through these by focusing on newbe clients and those close to the VAT thresholds.

I do think that it is a case of selecting one package and sticking to it. You will get far more out of one package that you know well. But the big question is do you want to insist on all clients using it or they become non clients.

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