Alex Combes, cloud technology manager at Buckinghamshire-based accounting firm Ad Valorem, outlines the technology his firm has been getting to grips with over the past month.
We class our practice as hybrid, not 100% cloud, but we have made a significant move towards this migration to the cloud eco-sphere over the past two to three years. This is widely down to the emergence of Xero and other cloud accounting software aimed at SMEs that was initially designed to be cloud software.
There was never a “we saw the light” moment for us. It was actually when of our prospects expressed interest in moving to us and going onto Xero, and our sales team explained it was already an area of expertise! After a week of serious training we slowly migrated until 2016, when we launched AV Cloud and my job as ‘cloud technology manager’ was created.
As we are into April and the beginning of a new tax year, I have spent a lot of time in the last month helping our clients to process their end of year payroll. In other systems we have used across desktop and cloud platforms, there has always been an additional submission after the final RTI has gone through.
Xero (as with everything else) has simplified this further and built this into one submission run within the final month of the payroll calendar year. Xero payroll is not a one-size-fits-all model and we don’t tend to recommend this to companies with over five employees. However, the simplicity at which a payroll can now be run by anyone with no real experience is powerful software.
As I have mentioned Xero payroll does not come without its flaws. At the time of writing, there are still only two options for Xero pension sync. Hourly-based companies will find themselves entering all of the hours on a monthly basis if they can’t get their employees to do this themselves (harder than it sounds in practise). They haven’t quite managed to tune the HMRC responses into an end user’s language, so without an accountant in place these could be quite tricky to decipher.
In my best BBC voice: “other payroll software providers are available”. However, I wouldn’t put any of my clients through the headache of trying to master systems designed for experienced accountants. This is where Xero specifically exceeds in the market place. The usability and accessibility to a wider market of end users has driven them to UK market leaders in the cloud, the additions of payroll, expenses, projects and HQ further prove that they are not slowing down any time soon.
About Alex Combes
Alex started out on the accountancy path straight out of school but decided after AAT to pursue technology instead. Ad Valorem identified that technology would be an integral area of the future profession and made the decision to form AV Cloud. Alex oversees all cloud based technology for Ad Valorem as well as running the Cloud department