Member Since: 20th Sep 1998
Stephen established his general accountancy practice in 1986 to help individuals and small businesses become more successful. Stephen is an Independent Certified Practising Accountant and Fellow member of The ICPA and member of the IAB. He was a TAS Software accounting partner and used TAS Software since 1995. In 2012 he became a Xero Certified Advisor with the strong belief that Xero Accounting software was changing the way accountants interact with businesses. Never looked back.
A visit to an Accountants' Exhibition in London's City area back in the 90's Stephen discovered a young Sift company promoting a new website called AccountingWeb. Since then he has been a regular subscriber.
3rd Aug 2018
I had an SA client drop off our list last year after the SAR was submitted so no pressure. Client stated not by them. Waste of time contacting HMRC so waited to see if client was reinstated. Nope. So for this year's SAR applied for authorisation online again. Advised client. Password received and away we go again. Just a pain but this is the simplest way to sort it out and move on. HMRC and IT just don't sit well together. Roll on MTD!
19th Jul 2018
I have used Dashlane for a few years now. For one device it's free but I pay USD30 per year and it syncs the passwords across all my devices. It can generate strong passwords for you of which the format and length are customisable. Also has secure notes section for keeping all sorts of other sensitive info safe and organised. Also holds your payment cards and will populate fields when paying online for your basket of goodies. Also it will alert you if a website suffers a data breach and prompts you to change your password. Finally it keeps an eye on your passwords with a dashboard so you can see their status, good, weak, used more than once, etc and helps you change them. You no longer need websites to store your card details or for browsers to store your passwords. So much more secure. It's brilliant. Wouldn't be without it now.
I nearly forgot. There is a business version which allows work colleagues to share passwords.
5th Jun 2018
Agree with Paul Scholes. We've used Iris Openspace for many years for tax returns and accounts. In April we told all our payroll clients that we would be using it for their payroll documents as well. We continue to send the usual emails that the monthly payroll has been completed along with any notes but without attachments or personal or employees' data. These reports are uploaded to Iris Openspace. We gave clients no choice in the matter and all have accepted without criticism.
In the cases where we email payslips from the payroll direct to clients' employees these are now encrypted (which I understand is optional but I feel happier doing it this way). Again no choice and no negative feedback.
20th Jul 2016
Successfully logged in. Still no recent PAYE notices even though received an email yesterday telling me I had some. What is recent? Old system you could search by entering dates and type. New system defaults to "recent" with no facility to change search dates. Not exactly progress is it.
20th Jul 2016
Cannot log in to agent account this morning either. Had an email yesterday saying there were PAYE notices for me. logged ok but no new messages - typical! Tried to log in today to check again but got got caught in the log in loop.
13th Jun 2016
Don't forget TaxCalc is ideal for a small practice. We use it.
3rd May 2016
We charge depending on the client, number of employees, turnover of staff, how much we need the hassle, etc. We charge for monthly payrolls from not enough to loadsamoney. For weekly payrolls multiply by 4. We've stopped doing weekly payrolls as they are too much trouble. And finally charge separately for the auto enrolment additional duties.
14th Apr 2016
We're in our fourth year with TaxCalc having changed from Digita. No regrets. They have reduced prices for lite users all displayed clearly on their website. Excellent products for the smaller practice.
5th Apr 2016
Last time I was there was a few years a go now but they had blocked up the letter box and were not accepting mail. I'm not sure if its still open but last I heard it was being used as training centre.
5th Apr 2016
MoneySoft, NOW & NEST
We have used Moneysoft for two years and pleased to say it was a big improvement on our previous RTI payroll. Shame its not in the cloud though. We staged one client last October with a payroll of just under 50. We discussed with the client and opted for NOW. There was no fee back then but currently NOW charge new sign ups support at £20pm ex vat for over 5 employees where the bureau uses their microsite, £12.50 pm ex vat for 1 to 4 employees. For employers who do not use a bureau its £36 pm ex vat.
NOW's pension is a net pay arrangement so it doesn't benefit low earners as they don't get the tax relief. NEST uses a tax deducted a source arrangement so everyone pays contributions net of tax and NEST claws the tax relief back from the government (remember stakeholder pensions?). NEST is much more beneficial for the lower paid.
Our next client to stage will be in July and has a mix of lower and medium paid. I have signed up for a NEST account and will give this a try. Our client wont want to pay NOW fees anyway. Moneysoft have published a guide on how to use the new (Feb 2016) NEST web direct service which integrates with their payroll so should be a lot easier.
I agree with the OP that the NOW microsite is clunky. We had our first upload total rejection on 29 Feb and after much analysis I found it was a "payroll period" problem. Changed the payroll period dates on the microsite and it worked. Then had the same problem at the end of March. Same cure. 29 Feb seems to have thrown the payroll periods out of sync a by a day or two.
Recently had a look TPR site and found only seven master trusts had achieved master trust assurance status. Despite receiving regular emails from many more pension companies all claiming to be master trust types I would only consider ones that achieved the assurance status. NOW and NEST have plus five others (sorry, can't remember them all). TPR website list them all and explains what this means.