Member Since: 1st Feb 1998
AccountingWEB’s Editor at large has been with the site since 1999, rising from news editor to editor in chief, global editor and head of insight. As a roving editor, he continues to investigate the profession's use of technology around the world. He devotes his spare time to technology history and an oddball collection of stringed instruments.
Editor at large AccountingWEB
29th Sep 2021
Welcome to the world of productivity hacks, Hugo. To give Dave his due and considering the applications he's describing, I think Dave has done pretty well at explaining new concepts without dishing up too much jargon.
Which phrases are causing you confusion? We'll try to adjust the pitch of Aweb articles to make them more accessible, but if you're stumped, you could probably find out more by searching AccountingWEB, Any Answers or even out on Google.
Rather than closing your ears to his new ideas, the one idea you could take from Dave's article is open your eyes to the potential of all these new apps and do a little exploration of your own. Who knows, with the extra time accountants have gained to prepare for MTD ITSA, you might find tools that will help you move clients to the new regime?
13th Aug 2021
You can say what you like, Bryan, so long as it stays within the boundaries of the Defamation Act and our site rules about denigrating fellow professionals.
To be honest, the kind of assessment you've given of the the relative advantages/disadvantages of Xero vs QBO is really useful and I expect other readers who pass by here will appreciate your views.
I make no secret that Gary Turner is one of my longstanding contacts in the industry who has kept me informed and entertained through the years. But I also have professional "friends" at Sage, Intuit, IRIS, Dext, TaxCalc, CCH, BTCSoftware, AccountancyManager etc etc etc. Our job here is to stay in touch with as many people in the industry as we can so we can bring their insights to you on the site when the occasion arises.
Some of my fellow commentators on the software scene have been speculating about the reasons for Gary's departure ever since the announcement last month that he was leaving, without an obvious successor lined up to replace him.
Some of the moves that have been coming out of Xero since that announcement have been more than "tone deaf" as some AccountingWEB members have noted. Xero appears to have turned the screw on its app partners by increasing its commission from sales through the app marketplace, and many accountants were angered that Xero has started to market services directly to their clients:
I was wondering if Gary might have been uncomfortable being the frontman for a new, no-holds-barred approach the market from a company that famously likened its early adopter strategy to that of a shark. However, Will Farnell reports that after seeing his feedback on LinkedIn, Xero's accountant channel relationship managers have promised not to send out the offending emails.
So, even without my old mate Gary around, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to discuss the pros and cons of Xero and other cloud apps here. Please keep the comments coming - but try and make them informative and useful to other readers, please.
6th Aug 2021
Great work Makbul. I really enjoyed that one too from this side of the screen at AccountingWEB.
At the time of publication I added in the latest figures from the Olympics medal table (now at 18 golds and 58 overall), which brings the Gold ratio down to £12.46m, just a whisker above the Beijing peak.
The ratio comparison is an instructive place to start, but to bring a little pedantry to the comparison, perhaps we should adjust the ratios to allow for inflation, which could suggest we've reached more of a steady-state investment level over the most recent games.
Whether that will hold up post-Covid remains to be seen. I'd also endorse some of your observations about the Olympic legacy and public health too. Given the levels of obesity prevalent in the UK - and how that contributed to a significantly increased mortality rate during the pandemic - might all of those millions have been better applied to stimulating grassroots sporting activity among the wider population?
22nd Jul 2021
Thanks for all the flashbacks down memory lane, everyone. The quote that stands out for me came from a senior executive at another software company who complained, "Whenever Gary Turner farts, you write about it."
He has been so ubiquitious in recent years that I can see where they were coming from. But it also reflects how Gary successfully followed the Dennis Keeling principles of software media relations:
1. Have an opinion, preferably fresh and interesting
2. Be willing to stand up in public and express it.
It's surprising how far those principles can take you, and how few technology execs apply them. If some of us are waxing a little nostalgic, it might be because there will be fewer quotable sources to turn to in the near future. But I'm sure Gary will still be around to dish out morsels of his unique wisdom for a long time to come.
15th Jul 2021
Oh dear... it sounds like an interesting concept, but in their enthusiasm to define and categorise the world of cloud apps, MS has gone down rabbit-holes of jargon that have very little meaning for actual users in the real world.
The first thing I thought when I heard about the Cloud PC idea was that Microsoft was introducing an equivalent to a Chromebook... Anyway we live and learn, and at least I can tell you the difference between SaaS, PaaS and DaaS now.
15th Jul 2021
One other question that may have been missed in the original article: Q - Are you thinking of bringing client bookkeeping in house to ease the transition and expand the client base?
This is a sub-question of the one about building up a lower-tier service line to cater for MTD ITSA and the inevitable laggards who will struggle to comply with digital record-keeping requirements.
There's been a very visible shift in this direction from entrants to our Accounting Excellence Awards over the past 4-5 years and initial samples indicate that momentum may have picked up again this year.
Talking to the people who have done it like Lucy Cohen and Rebecca Benneyworth, it provides an opportunity to whack in expenses capture and cloud bookkeeping linked to bank feeds, plug it into an MTD preparation and filing tool and work towards a "hands-off" automated process. There are several webinars that touch on this approach including this one:
... and several more MTD software available via the AccountingWEB Live On-Demand page:
FreeAgent, Xero Tax, Capium, Nomisma, QBO/Taxfiler and Sage all look up to the job for this approach (with added expenses capture apps where necessary). If you've already tackled it, it would be great to hear you're observations. As a follow-on, we'll try to pull together practical suggestions and software recommendations into a separate article.
15th Jul 2021
Note that the Nomisma product leader said the "target" was to be fully compliant. He's obviously got experience of HMRC policy quirks and the occasional frustrations of software development.
That said, it is a public declaration of intent to comply and I'm happy to accept that on face value.
15th Jul 2021
Update from Nomisma on their plans... I didn't have time to check all the facts before publication, but Nomisma's product owner Ashleigh Hall got back to me to confirm that the target is to be fully MTD-compliant by the end of the year, so that customers have a year to refine their processes before MTD ITSA filing becomes mandatory.
"We've already built digital links between our bookkeeping and payroll modules, which automatically populate annual self-assessments for employments, self-employment, partnerships and dividends," Hall wrote.
"Workflow is going to be key, so we've designed an end-to-end workflow process which will be adapted to quarterly submissions."
15th Jul 2021
You make your point well, John, but so far I haven't heard anything from VT Software about its plans for supporting ITSA filing - it's a good prompt for me to give them a call about that.
You're also right that there will still be some twists and turns in the MTD plot, but I would think it advisable for practitioners to plan ahead for the scenario as it stands. That's why I thought it was time to start the discussion with my water-testing article.
I'd also be curious to hear what your thoughts were when VT said it was planning to cease development of its VT Transaction+ bookkeeping package back in 2017. They rescinded that decision in the light of customer demand, but I think it justifies my primary focus on cloud-based solutions to the MTD ITSA challenge.
If you have hundreds of personal tax clients reporting every quarter, how are you going to input all their transactions to VT?
17th Jun 2021
The picture selection was my responsibility, not Charlie's. I'm sorry if several of you found it offensive, but as with headlines we try to use images that grab people's attention while giving a clue to some element of what the underlying article is trying to communicate.
As a headline and basis for an illustration, "Anti-MTD argument based on false assumptions" posed a bit of a challenge, so I looked to see if I could find something that worked to illustrate "blinkered".
I'm sorry my picture selection may have crossed a line of acceptability and will bear that in mind when preparing items for publication in the future.