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What will you recommend?

I am considering which software to recommend to clients for MTD ITSA

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Has anyone made a decision of what software or app to reccomend to clients for making tax digital for SElf Assessment?

I have looked at many diffrent providers and as most of my clients are sole traders I am thinking of recommending the Coconut APP.  This is a mobile app and can work with their personal bank account so no need for a seperate one as with Quickbooks. Is anyone currently using this and what is your view? 

Thank you

Replies (54)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th May 2022 15:07

I don't see how any decisions can be made given 7 years on we are still 2 years out from it being live (and might well be for the next 7 years) and there is no software to look at.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Leywood
16th May 2022 15:23

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

I don't see how any decisions can be made given 7 years on we are still 2 years out from it being live (and might well be for the next 7 years) and there is no software to look at.

+1

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By pauld
16th May 2022 16:49

What is this MTD ITSA?

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Replying to pauld:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 10:04

MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By pauld
17th May 2022 11:25

What's the MTD stand for?

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Replying to pauld:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 14:33

Making Tax Digital

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By pauld
17th May 2022 14:44

I thought it might be Means To Destroy

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Replying to pauld:
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By NotAnAccountant2
17th May 2022 14:38

making tax difficult

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Truthsayer
18th May 2022 13:56

Whoosh!

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By MCV71
16th May 2022 17:01

I dread to think how much time I wasted planning and speaking to clients when this was first announced by Osbourne (remember him?)
So I won't be wasting any more time right now thanks

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
16th May 2022 17:04

For me Coconut is as good as you will need to deliver MTD returns whenever that is, but as others have said I wouldn't break your neck to put loads of effort in just yet.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 10:10

I am going to test it with a few clients and see how they handle it alongside ourselves. Many of my clients are desktop/laptop savvy but a Mobile app maybe more suitable as we are all tied to dam things every day.

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By Hugo Fair
16th May 2022 17:08

Do you (OP) have something to do with the product that you appear to be promoting here?

I ask because:
* their website is so poor that it doesn't even reveal the name of the business entity behind it, let alone any form of contact details or personnel involved - not a good sign;

* it only appears within the "Software in development" section of HMRC's listing of software packages (that aim to be) compatible with Making Tax Digital for Income Tax ... along with another 16 others (most of whom are at least previously known);

* as others say, when not even HMRC seem sure as to what the software will need to do (and many are as yet unconvinced that the deadlines will remain in place), you need to be a brave man - whether:

- as an Agent convincing your clients to adopt an unproven piece of software for use in a still unspecified application for a fluid legislative framework; or
- as a supplier claiming to know more than everyone else despite the lack of any such evidence on offer.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 10:24

I'm not promoting anything and have no connection to them, I'm asking if anyone was currently using it and if they thought it worked well with any of their clients.
I am trying to find a simple way to get clients ready for MTD because I know that they will leave it to the last moment. Even if MTD gets delayed again it would do no harm to get clients to keep better records. A quick online search came up with this,

Coconut has raised a total of $10.9M in funding over 7 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jun 8, 2021 from a Equity Crowdfunding round.
Coconut is funded by 13 investors. Crowdcube and Kuvi Capital are the most recent investors.

Doing nothing now will just make life much more difficult in the future if indeed MTD does start in 2024. I have yet to make any decisions on recommending a product, and clients are free to choose whatever they want. It was just a question, which is what this forum is about.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Leywood
17th May 2022 11:39

GARRY GREEN wrote:

Even if MTD gets delayed again it would do no harm to get clients to keep better records. .

What on earth makes you think that forcing clients to use any kind of app, even on their mobiles, will make them keep better records?

You are clearly believing the utter nonesense that HMRC put out there!

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Replying to Leywood:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 13:38

No one is forcing anyone to do anything! Should we not bother to try and help clients keep better records? or do you prefer the old carrier bag full of screwed up receipts?

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Leywood
17th May 2022 13:43

Making/asking clients to input things into an app will not improve the disorganised shove it in an old carrier bag type of client though will it. Maybe the odd one or two. The rest will enter any old sh*te into the app.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 14:38

I think you are probably ready to retire, whatever age you may be, as you seem so tired with it all.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Leywood
17th May 2022 14:53

I wonder why you bothered asking for opinions if you only want folk to say what you want to hear.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 16:48

I wanted opinions on this App or any others that people may be considering or using, I was not dismissing anyone's thoughts, just that you seemed to be very negative about this and sound jaded by the whole client/accounting process. If MTD comes when they say it will or after I would rather start to prepare clients for this change sooner or later.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Geoff56
17th May 2022 14:37

To be honest Garry, if it comes to a choice between a client trying to keeping digital records and making a complete hash of it, or the same client just giving us his paperwork to straighten out, I would choose the paperwork every time.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
17th May 2022 17:10

GARRY GREEN wrote:

No one is forcing anyone to do anything! Should we not bother to try and help clients keep better records? or do you prefer the old carrier bag full of screwed up receipts?

That is a false dichotomy. There are a whole range of levels of record-keeping between perfect digital records and a screwed up bag of receipts.

You are also making the demonstrably false assumption that digital records will automatically be better. I have worked with a few clients that are not computer savvy. There are plenty of ways of [***] up digital records, and I have seen some true works of genius on that front.

But, to get back to your original question, why do you think this particular app is most suitable?

You say it will work with a personal bank account and Quickbooks won't. Not used Quickbooks recently, but my recollection of it and other digital platforms is that they will "work" with whatever bank account you link them to. You will just have to a lot more analysis of personal expenses if you link a personal account. (plus exclude from a balance sheet if you do one for sole traders). Most software also offers a mobile version as well.

So I am not seeing anything in what you've said that makes Coconut better than other cloud platforms. If you're asking for the opinion of others, you really need to explain your own better.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 18:43

I never said it was better or more suitable! I was asking if anyone else had experience of using it, and yes there would be more analysis if using a personal account with other software like Q/B, apparently this App lets the client allocate the business income and expenses and hopefully they can be trusted or not, to allocate a true expense to the business. I also never assumed that digital records will be better than the paper receipts, rubbish in rubbish out is always the mantra whatever you use. I for one don't want to see MTD but if it's going to be forced on us by HMRC what else can we do but comply. I myself am over retirement age and could stop but I don't want to yet. I would be happy to get my clients ready and not dump them by selling the business. Many of them have been with me for 20 years and I have a responsibility to them.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
18th May 2022 08:27

GARRY GREEN wrote:

I never said it was better or more suitable!

You said you looked at many providers and were planning to recommend it. How is that not you saying you think it is better and more suitable than other providers you looked at?
Quote:
yes there would be more analysis if using a personal account with other software like Q/B, apparently this App lets the client allocate the business income and expenses and hopefully they can be trusted or not, to allocate a true expense to the business.
Still not seeing how connecting a personal account to this app is any different from doing the same in QB. Perhaps you aren't explaining it well.
Quote:
I also never assumed that digital records will be better than the paper receipts
When Leywood questioned the wisdom of pushing all clients on to an app you said.
Quote:
Should we not bother to try and help clients keep better records?
and when Leywood pointed out that paper bag clients are unlikely to keep better records with any digital option you said
Quote:
I think you are probably ready to retire, whatever age you may be, as you seem so tired with it all.
so, despite your protestations to the contrary, it sure seems like you have drunk the MTD Kool Aid from HMRC.
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Replying to stepurhan:
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By GARRY GREEN
18th May 2022 12:54

Nothing of the sort! it's coming like it or not. So stop winding people up, it's very tiresome! we are not in a courtroom!

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
18th May 2022 13:08

Then stop making posts with sentences ending in exclamation marks! Especially if those posts are treating people as idiots for posting entirely reasonable interpretations of your words! You are the one that is winding people up by doing this!

We are not in a courtroom, we are in a public forum. If you are going to respond aggressively to other members of the forum, you have to expect similarly aggressive responses back. If you want others to show you respect instead, then you need to respond in kind.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By GARRY GREEN
18th May 2022 13:36

I will use whatever I want to, you are not the grammar police. You see, people like you just like to make a simple question into a lengthy augment by picking holes in what someone says, so I really will not respond to to you any more.

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Leywood
18th May 2022 15:55

GARRY GREEN wrote:

it's coming like it or not.

Is it though?

Do you know something that the rest of us do not?

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By DKB-Sheffield
16th May 2022 18:50

To be fair, I'm in no rush to jump into bed with any software for MTD.

MTD aside... your post does intrigue me, however. Coconut seems 'new' and my experience of a great number of'new' providers is that some will -inevitably - disappear (or be swallowed up). A delay to MTD, a last minute major change in requirements, or simply HMRC refusing to continue recognition, is enough to send small(er) providers down the river. Like 'em or loathe 'em, the big players are a more secure bet for the long-run. I certainly wouldn't wish to block shift clients to any software that may not be around in 18 months!

I'm also confused at the comment that QBO doesn't work with personal bank accounts? Aside from spending a great deal of time trying to convince clients not to use a personal account for business (and being against any suggestion given by a software provider that this is 'ideal'), I can assure you QBO works with current accounts, credit cards, loans - be they business or personal.

Basically, I'm not in any rush to shift any existing 'software' clients, or new ones to Coconut (or others). A very quick look at the pricing for Coconut is no more inviting.

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By seitler
16th May 2022 23:32

I have been using 123 sheets for Vat MTD so am hopeful their ITSA solution will be as reasonably priced, user friendly and as easy to use

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By Duggimon
17th May 2022 11:01

How can you recommend software to meet the requirements of MTDfITSA when we still don't know what those requirements are?

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 13:36

I am NOT recommending, I'm asking if anyone has used this before, please read my post correctly!

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Replying to GARRY GREEN:
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By Leywood
17th May 2022 13:45

So perhaps what Duggimon shouldve said was:-

How can you think of recommending software to meet the requirements of MTDfITSA when we still don't know what those requirements are?

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By Matrix
17th May 2022 13:52

I have never looked at Coconut but Elaine Clark is involved so I expect it will be worth looking at. In answer to your question, we will recommend FreeAgent if/when the time comes.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By GARRY GREEN
17th May 2022 14:35

Thank you for actually answering the actual question and not being negative.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
17th May 2022 14:58

For me as business advisers it is up to us to advise and support clients to keep better books in order to have a better handle on their finances.

Why would you want your staff to sit and go through a bag of invoices every January?

Instead of using MTD to beat people into submission there are many reasons to get clients to behave better.

Atrhur for instance is not a landlord app for MTD its a product to help you be a better landlord that will also allow you to file your MTD submissions.

The app allows the tenant to contact you for repairs, you can instruct trades people from it who update the progress of the repair improving your landlord service and saving you time from ringing around plumbers and moaning tenants.

As accountants we would surely want to work with those that want to do things better.

Coconut allows the client to see his tax bill accrue and understand his income and profits useful for mortgages and compliance with VAT registration limits etc. It will also do your MTD submissions but that is a bi product of what it was built to achieve.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Hugo Fair
17th May 2022 15:43

That's it in a nutshell ... just not the "it" that I suspect you intended.

If you have a landlord as a client who (without any thought of the possibilities of MTD) has identified a need for the functions you describe in the App ... then by all means go for it.
However if no such need exists, then MTD becomes the sole reason & is not enough!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Hugo Fair
17th May 2022 15:49

Oh and "It will also do your MTD submissions but that is a bi product of what it was built to achieve" is disingenuous.
Whilst I don't know the developers (let alone what was in their minds), you can be absolutely certain that they wouldn't have been able to raise the funds that they have - without positioning the whole project under the MTD solution banner.
"I've got this idea to make life a little easier for landlords .. how many? .. not sure"!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
17th May 2022 16:22

I dont that is actually the case, Arthur was developed for letting agents to allow them to manage large numbers of properties for their landlord clients. In turn they have built out the functionality so tenants and landlords can also connect. They have built a link so you can export the data into accounts software for those who are professional landlords, MTD link is now something it will do and is far cheaper than a full blown accounts package to do.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
17th May 2022 16:27

Its also often a case of people do not know what they need until it is shown to them. Most people if shown a way that will make their lives easier would take it up. I think a lot of accountants assume there clients are happy with a bag invoices they throw together once a year but I would be suprised if that is the case in reality

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Replying to Glennzy:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th May 2022 16:58

Glennzy wrote:

Its also often a case of people do not know what they need until it is shown to them. Most people if shown a way that will make their lives easier would take it up. I think a lot of accountants assume there clients are happy with a bag invoices they throw together once a year but I would be suprised if that is the case in reality

I cant speak for other accountants but this is precisely the sort of thing I discuss with clients. Most of them are happy if what they have does the job for us and them. Those that want to change, naturally do. I am not deliberately holding anyone back out of some perverse desire to waste my own and clients time as is the implication from on high with MTD.

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Replying to Glennzy:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th May 2022 16:02

@Glenn. I am all for better client records. We spend a lot of time and effort on that in our business.

This has nothing at all to do with MTD, and nor do I dangle that 'threat' to modify client behaviour.

For some clients the best records ARE a letter in the post with a wodge of paperwork, especially for our older organised clients who like paper. Our 100% 'paper' clients are exclusively over the age of retirement, probably average age of mid 70's.

For others, its a set of PDFs doing the same thing. These tend to be younger, probably average age of 60 and quite frankly its usually more work as the labelling is often poor.

But once you get above about 25 bits of paper, I will ask for a (decent) summary in excel or word.

Once I get above 50 lines per annum, I will insist on this, or send them off to a bookkeeper

When I get over 250 lines I will talk to them about software.

Once we are over about 1000 lines per annum I will insist on software unless their excel is excellent.

If you drew a graph with "volume of transactions", and "client tech ability" that would roughly map who will / wont benefit.

The issue with MTD is forcing those who would not benefit from software onto unsuitable methods. For some practices of course they may not have any low tech / low volume clients and cant understands that others do. I have a disproportionate amount as they are shed by a local firm who forces all business onto software however unsuitable, leaving others to pick up.

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By DKB-Sheffield
17th May 2022 18:06

As with all MTD ITSA threads, there is a distinct suggestion amongst some that ALL clients want MTD, ALL clients will benefit, and ALL clients will find it easy. This then drags up the suggestions that any accountant who feels otherwise is deliberately trying to stand in the way of progress, is a dinosaur, doesn't have their clients' interests at heart, doesn't have an understanding of their clients' needs, and should (perhaps) retire.

On that basis (being against MTD), I would be classed under the second "banner". I am not agin progress, am very comfortable in my IT capabilities, I am not standing in my clients' way, I know and understand my clients, and am some way off retirement. Perhaps it is time to step away as the mark of a good accountant is no longer 'knowledge and experience' but, who uses the best apps/ software.

That said, I can count on one hand the number of clients who may see some benefit from MTD, have only a few who would benefit from regular software entry (that aren't already on software), and have a vast number of clients who will (never) be able to use accounting software efficiently.

Bad use of technology is worse than no use of it at all. The best app is only as good as the user and if they're not up to the task (or indeed, can't be a***d - which is more likely), the results will be unfavourable - and likely take longer to fix. And "no", we're not software trainers (which for some may start with "switch on your smartphone/ PC"), we're accountants! If we devote more time to training reluctant bookkeepers, than to actually doing the job... clients will ultimately lose out (although the benefits of MTD ITSA will clearly outweigh that loss?!)

There are some good plumbing, electrical, mechanic(ing) apps out there, but it doesn't mean I can be a professional tradesperson. And if I make a half-hearted attempt to bodge-fix my boiler using an app, don't think for one minute the gas fitter will come and say "I'm glad you've done half a job wrong, it's made my life so much easier"!

Basically, I do not see why MTD is a benefit. I do not see why HMRC are so desperate for everyone (regardless if practicalities) to use accounting software (or any electronic system for that matter). And, aside from the software providers, I cannot see how forcing someone to use software - particularly when it is not right for them to do so, or they simply can't (or can't be bothered to) use it properly - is going to benefit anyone (HMRC included).

It's simply not all about whether software is a good thing (we must ALL agree that it is - unless we want to go back to handwritten ledgers). It's the mandatory requirement, and the suggestion that the use of software is of benefit to all, and the misguided belief that software will automatically lead to everything being accurate!

If this makes me a dinosaur who is out of touch and should retire, sobeit. Personally, I prefer the term 'realist'.

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th May 2022 09:07

Bang on BKD

My job is to get clients to do their records in the most efficient way for them and us.

The "how" varies for each client.

if you go down the "one size fits all" route and demand all your clients use X or Y then a lot of them will go elsewhere or be really cross being forced to use something inappropriate.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Leywood
18th May 2022 15:58

+1

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By Jo Nokes
18th May 2022 19:22

+1

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By adam.arca
18th Jun 2022 09:37

Yep, agree with IRSKTB and others, that’s bang on, DKB.

That pretty much echoes my thoughts and my position on all this, just much better expressed!

A mission statement or manifesto for those of us who are MTD sceptic without being knee-jerk about it. We’d like to engage in a debate with the powers that be about the merits (or lack thereof) of MTD but are frustrated at every turn by the bulldozer attitude exhibited by said powers.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By Leywood
18th Jun 2022 10:09

Plus the bulldozer tactics of some of the software companies who are jumping on the hmrc bandwagon.

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By coffee15
17th May 2022 21:05

I have started thinking about the software package that I will consider recommending.

The main software that I use daily is Sage and VT, however, several of my clients have started using QB so it has forced me to learn how to use it. So I will be recommending to those who want to use a software package, one of these products. For many clients, it will not be a good idea for them to attempt this, so I will continue to process all their data as I currently do.

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By Marmite
18th May 2022 11:15

I have been using Coconut for several months and clients find it very easy to set up and use - 10 mins. The Accountant's portal allows quick and easy resolution of the usual"problems" when clients keep their own records.
We are mentioning MTD to clients but that is not our main reason to request clients use software. We promote the benefits to them - not HMRC

From our perspective, regardless of MTD ITSA we see the benefits of using these type of apps to help improve workflow efficiencies.

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