Which MTD software should you pick?

6th Feb 2019
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Are you and your clients ready for Making Tax Digital? When MTD first hit our radars, it seemed a long way off but that April 1st deadline is fast approaching and many practices aren’t fully prepared.

If you’re one of them, you’re left with the difficult decision of which MTD compliant accounting software to choose.

At this point you may well be feeling overwhelmed; your clients aren’t exactly thrilled about the new legislation, you’re worried about the cost implications of overhauling your current systems and you’re still catching your breath after the madness of the January self-assessment rush.

Oh, and there are 60 HMRC-recognised MTD software providers to choose from. (Cue panic.)

Not to worry, we’re here to help.

Since there are so many providers out there, we’ve narrowed down what you need to know to help you choose the best small business accounting software for you.

1. Pick the right level of access for your clients.

Who are your clients?

The Collaborative Client.

Perhaps you specialise in a hands-on type of client. Those business owners who are pretty tech-savvy and prefer taking a collaborative approach to their accounts.

The Hands-Off Client.

Or maybe your roster is packed with the shoebox aficionados who hit you with an overflowing box of receipts once a year and would rather just leave you to get on with the rest.

The Excel Lovers.

And then there are those in the middle who are perfectly happy with their Excel spreadsheet, thank you very much, and would rather not have to change.

Of course, the chances are, your core client base is a mixture of all three personality types — and the main concern is how to keep all of them happy after April.

When choosing your MTD software provider, it’s important you first look at who your clients are and how you can make MTD work for them.

The Collaborative Clients are a tech-savvy bunch and will appreciate full access to their cloud accounting software: they don’t want to have to go through you every time they want an up-to-date view of their tax bill or their expenses for Q3. The Excel Lovers will be over the moon if they can stick to their spreadsheets for accounting — what they need is a system with an online spreadsheet connected to MTD-compatible software.

And Hands-Off clients who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age? They need a digital solution that is as simple as possible, and so do you. Practice-only accounting software, where you have full control of the client’s bookkeeping, is going to be the best solution here.

So when it comes to choosing small business accounting software, the key is to find a multi-level system, like Clear Books, that will allow you to serve all of your clients in a way that suits them. It’ll make the move to MTD much smoother for you and your practice and you’ll get major brownie points for providing each client exactly what they need to make the transition to MTD easier.

2. Choose the most cost-effective solution for the long-term.

For many people, accountants and small business owners alike, the potential cost of becoming MTD compliant is still the biggest objection to the change. The fact that it’s coming at a time when the political landscape, and its effect on business, is so uncertain doesn’t help.

So it’s vital that you find the most cost-effective way to ensure your MTD compliance.

Market-leading pricing with Clear Books Practice Edition.

Because Clear Books is the only software provider to offer such flexible access options, they’re also able to offer the lowest cumulative cost of online accounting software subscriptions for bookkeepers and accountants. You can choose the level of access you need, whether practice-only access is sufficient for your client base or whether you want to increase efficiency by giving clients the option to enter basic bookkeeping into a free Clear Books Micro spreadsheet for only £5 per month, per client.

Free training.

Clear Books also wants to save you the cost of any training you might need to make the most of your new software, which is why they provide their partners with a free training session at their headquarters in London. They’ll walk you through the software’s various features to help you get the most from the technology and give you the support you need in any areas you’re struggling with, making Clear Books the affordable choice now and in the future.

3. Choose an online accounting software that offers you the support you need.

Whether you and your clients are tech-savvy or a bit old-school, the move to MTD and cloud based accounting is likely a huge change. And tackling any problems that arise as you get to grips with new systems will take up valuable, billable hours.

Tackle this from the start by quizzing any potential software providers on how they support their customers. The last thing you want is crickets any time you reach out to your provider for tech support. Check out online reviews to find out whether previous customers are happy with the level of support provided and consider whether you’ll be just another number or whether you’ll have the personal support you need when making such a huge change to the way you run your practice.

Clear Books are definitely fans of the personal touch, and from the moment you make your first enquiry, they’ll give you access to a dedicated Account Manager who can help you determine which solution is best for you and your clients. Once you start using Clear Books software, they’ll still be there, offering free technical support via phone and email to help you through the transition and beyond.

Choosing any new software is a big decision and when it comes to MTD the tight deadline and the sheer number of options doesn’t make things any easier. Every practice is different so the main thing is to consider how you’ll want to use your MTD software, making sure that the provider you choose offers the different levels of access you’ll need for your specific clients.

Want to know more about how to choose the right MTD software for your accounting practice? Clear Books made a video just for you!