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Gather your sole traders' accounting data in minutes this tax year

26th Sep 2022
Brought to you by
coconut logo
Coconut’s simple bookkeeping and tax app is specifically designed for sole traders, helping them...
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

It’s notoriously difficult to extract accounting information from sole traders—and with the 2021/22 Self Assessment deadline looming, you may well be bracing yourself for the resulting “January madness”. But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? We explore how, by tapping into the benefits of Open Banking, you’ll be able to gather your clients’ data in a fraction of the time it usually takes.

Black and white image of a stopwatch next to a laptop keyboard

Now that October is almost upon us, there are just four months left until the 2021/22 Self Assessment deadline. Which means one thing: it’s cat-herding time.

As any accountant or bookkeeper with Self Assessment clients is undoubtedly aware, sole traders are notoriously unforthcoming when it comes to supplying you with the accounting data you need to do their tax returns. It’s the main reason for the infamous “January madness” that practices experience year after year. 

But instead of going through the rigmarole of asking, chasing, and chasing again for the information you need, what if you could access that data in a matter of minutes?

And instead of having to sift through a mixture of crumpled receipts, invoices, and bank statements, what if all of that information was digitised, in one place, ready to process?

With Coconut, that’s exactly what you’ll get. By tapping into the benefits of Open Banking—the foundations on which Coconut is built—you’ll be able to gather your clients’ data in a fraction of the time it usually takes you. Here’s how.

Gather your clients’ accounting data in minutes

Coconut’s simple tax and accounting software comprises two main parts: an easy-to-use mobile app for your clients, and a straightforward web platform for you.

See all the information you need in one place

Once your client has downloaded the Coconut app, they’ll be directed to connect their bank and credit accounts via a secure Open Banking connection. We support over 25 of the leading bank and credit card accounts. 

In a matter of minutes, they’ll be able to see all of their transactions from all of their accounts in one place. And you, their accountant, will also have access to this information via the Accountant Platform. 

Coconut software on laptop and mobile screens

Unmuddle business from personal transactions

One of the biggest challenges with sole trader clients is that 79% of them use a personal account for some (or even all) of their business transactions. By ingesting personal and business accounts to the same place and making it easy to categorise these transactions through a combination of automation and manual review, Coconut helps you and your clients unmuddle their finances significantly faster.

Retain as much control over the bookkeeping process as you like

We know that different accountants give clients varying amounts of autonomy. Some worry about leaving their clients with too much responsibility—after all, the accuracy of the numbers you submit to HMRC relies on the quality of the data your clients gave you in the first place. Others are happy to entrust bookkeeping tasks to their clients, and just handle the filing. 

The beauty of Coconut’s software is that it’ll work for you regardless of how you work with your clients. Once your client is set up on the app, they’ll be able to do all of the following in just a few taps:

  • scan and save receipts in the cloud,
  • categorise allowable expenses, 
  • send and track digital invoices,
  • unmuddle different streams of property and/or self employed income,
  • track cashflow month to month, and
  • know how much tax to set aside.

But all of this functionality is also available to you via the Accountant Platform—so if you prefer, you can take over the bookkeeping the moment they’ve connected their bank feeds to the app.

The important thing is that you have the accounting information you need in your hands, without endless back-and-forth via email or phone.

Save time with streamlined workflows

Coconut’s software also offers a number of other features that will make it even easier for you to gather and organise your sole traders’ information for their 2021/22 tax return:

  • Review and recode transactions: For accountants with clients who have categorised transactions themselves, our software makes it easy for you to review (and if necessary, amend) them within the Accountant Platform—to ensure complete accuracy. 
  • Categorise transactions in bulk: If your client has a number of payments to the same merchant, you can bulk categorise the transactions to save time.
  • Add manual transactions: The software makes it easy for you or your client to add an adjustment or a transaction that’s missing from their books.
  • Split transactions: If your client incurs an expense for both business and personal reasons, you can manage this easily by ‘splitting’ the transaction.
  • Add back CIS deductions: If you have any clients who are subcontractors on the Construction Industry Scheme, you can reflect CIS deductions on their transactions in a couple of taps—to ensure that their income totals are correct for their tax return. 
  • Query transactions: If you ever need to query one or more of your client’s transactions, simply select the ones you have questions about within the Accountant Platform and paste them directly into your communication platform of choice.
  • Run reports: Once your client’s data is organised, you can run the necessary reports and submit their Self Assessment using Coconut and your tax filing software.

The result is a highly efficient and streamlined workflow that will save hours of your time when preparing your sole traders’ tax returns. In the words of Jamie Trowell, Founder at Tax Ninja: “Coconut’s workflow means I spend 10 mins per month on my full-service clients rather than 45 minutes.” 

An ideal trial run for MTD ITSA

With Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment on the horizon, it won’t be long before you’ll need to ensure that all of your sole trader clients are using a digital product. Coconut’s accounting and tax software has been built from the ground up to meet the needs of MTD ITSA clients and their accountants—so you’ll be in good hands when the time comes. 

But whilst the changes don’t come into effect until April 2024, the 2021/22 tax return season is the perfect time to trial and get used to Coconut’s software with some or all of your clients. Doing so will help you get to know the tool inside out, making the ultimate transition an absolute breeze.

Rolling out Coconut with a small segment of your clients now can also help you win over any of your more change-resistant ones later, as you’ll have case studies and success stories you can draw on from your first wave of clients.

We also listen very closely to our Coconut Accountant & Bookkeeper Partners’ needs and requests—so by becoming a Partner now, you’ll even be able to inform our product roadmap over time.

Get started with Coconut

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the ways in which Coconut can help you streamline and optimise your practice’s workflows. 

The best way to get a feel for the Coconut app and Platform is to book a short call with our team, in which we can show you how both work, and answer any questions you may have.

We’re also running time-limited deals for any practices who sign up to Coconut and invite their clients before the end of October! Don’t miss out.

Book a Call