Member Since: 31st Mar 2009
30+years experience in practice and a little bit here n there on the dark-side.
20th Dec 2018
Is 2019 also known as Version 1811 (Build 11029) in the 365 programme?
The latest upgrade might have added some of the above but, since that happened:
a) Excel crashes if you try to "Print Preview Full screen" and
b) if you want to use the formula "=sum(A1:Z10)" to cover that range by typing =sum(A1. and moving the cursor to cover the rest of the range, Excel no longer recognises that it should change the full-stop to a semi-colon and does not Sum the range at all. Instead you have a cell with "#FIELD!".
The latter could simply be an option that they've changed to default the other way but I've not found it yet!
Why is it that most updates/upgrades seem to break something useful more often these days?
7th Nov 2018
The idea behind MTD is fine. The reality, having moved over 3 dozen clients over onto four various cloud systems is that the vast majority are ill equipped to use this technology, no matter how 'simple' the cloud producers make it (apps on phones don't do much beyond the extreme basics btw).
The correction facilities on one are appalling (maintaining the old desktop problems, rather than starting with a fresh database). The reporting on two others leaves more than a bit to desire. Another has purchase/sales ledgers where you are unable to see a true activity log without running a report out of the browser. I could go on for hours!
None of the cloud systems have been designed to be used by volume transaction operatives (i.e. accountants and their bookkeepers), yet this is who will be forced to use them most.
Of course, the real issue here is that the old crusties at the institutes made no effort to engage with the Fintech Cos to push for a sensible working solution for MTD. The Fintechs were left to make up their own ideas and are now fleecing everyone with those sub-requirement products. Oh, and where they don't do something, "there's always a bolt on from XYZ" neglecting to mention it might be £150 per month!
It's a bit like the railway - no one is over-seeing and no one taking control
30th Aug 2017
no, we become more useful (valuable) to our clients than being somewhere they simply consider a drop off point for a bag of receipts and a cost they could do without. We will have information to provide advice and guidance.
The software is merely the thing which allows them to do half decent bookkeeping and makes it a lot more difficult than older systems for them to screw up (if you put a little time into setting it up for them).
Of those using it, my trade clients are those where there's an unbelievable increase in communication and getting involved and *that* is making my profit margin 100% better in those cases as there's less chasing around and I can look through monthly and ask questions while they remember.
Re: smartphone - some, yes. But over the next 18 months most will be offered an upgrade.
30th Aug 2017
We have now moved 46 of our clients onto various cloud solutions, incl. Kashflow, Xero, SageOne and Waveapps (cos they wanted to!) and find them all very similar to use with each offering something that differing business types will find helpful. There is also a new landlord package (LL Vision) we are evaluating for those letting as none of the above truly caters for a letting 'business'.
Primarily we did this in anticipation of mandated MTD but have found there to be advantages both for us and clients:
1) They work across platforms and look the same;
2) Some have apps for smart phones - this is a massive thing as clients like to use this; for sales initially as they can issue on the job and check credit control with the bank uploads. They've then started to use for cash expenses (incl photos of receipts which will no longer get lost). A lot already paid around the same £ for an app to do the invoicing/quotes.
3) We have up to date info without having to rush post 6 months of info because the client now wants a mortgage application and needs management figures
4) It is possible to advise some previously inadvisable tradesmen on their financial position and help them save towards tax bills - they actually appreciate this and will pay to your client account if needs be - this'll be good when interest rates finally begin to rise again!
5) We get a regular income from the on-sale of the products.
The disadvantage is that, depending which one, posting large volumes can take substantially longer than previous software. The rapidfire/quick entries do speed things up or you could use imports but they also have limitations (e.g. supplier invoices where splitting by line item is required).
I wasn't looking forward to MTD previously but, as it's incumbent upon the solution providers to make the activation run smoothly, it should not be a concern to us when it arrives.
10th Aug 2017
The whole problem with these HMRC verification methods is that any crook worth their salt is more than able at assimilating the necessary data before signing a person up - P60s can be got hold of and passport numbers from various dark web sources.
Whoever it is that devises these systems does not have the necessary capability to think like a criminal (nor do many other law enforcement agencies, come to that). In order to make a more secure system you need a white-hat hacker equivalent and some ex-cons that are 'going straight' and prepared to lend their experience.
With social media, you have people volunteering the responses to many security questions in public *with their name*! Phishers frequently post on (for example) Facebook a question such as "Which was your first school"/"what was your first pets name". The innocent imbeciles on there then reply! Of course, those charged with preventing fraud don't consider these sort of things anything more than a bit of fun.
The only real way to make this sort of thing more robust is a hardware option with maybe quarterly ROM upgrades through an invite only link. No system will be 100% but that is better than what we have now.
3rd Aug 2017
@djn24 we were told last week that they now expect this to be available in next couple of months. However, in the meantime, there are some reports available to download for Sage 50 which export into the format for SageOne import.
They look to cover most of those needed to enable a transfer if you have an hour to spare per client (ours are being moved onto the cloud drip by drip over 18 months, so not an issue for us).
We used to actively discourage the use of Sage 50 for reasons given elsewhere and the fact the people with 10% of knowledge (i.e. know where the 'corrections' button is) cause more devastation than it's worth.
SageOne in both the Accounting and Start versions are super for most clients and, with the App, allows them to do and see more than ever. Many are doing more of their own stuff and not asking for a fee reduction either!
It ain't a perfect product yet but they are listening and good stuff is in the pipeline.
No. I don't work for Sage but do shout out when something is actually useful for others to know :-)
2nd Aug 2017
I've just had the situation where a client of mine has been offered a role...
2) The council have put up the day rate from £500/day to £800/day to compensate for it being "within IR35". Hence increasing it by more than the amount they'll end up collecting in tax anyway!!
The whole system is broke even before its barely started.
Leaving the local taxpayers to obediently foot the bill for the council & contractors effectively bypassing the whole purpose of the changes
16th May 2017
Regardless, it is still not beyond HMRC to come up with a fair %age for low margin sales businesses. Even if it were 0·5% that would be just £10k tax due per annum on the highest £2m turnover businesses suggested be taxed under this regime.
Kier @ 0·5% = £20·5m which isn't far from the tax on the underlying items. However, you are talking about companies outside the scope of the £2m or less turnover. Companies over that size are frequently more complex and 1) they can afford to deal with the tax complexities and 2) frequently become structured so they are too complex to be taxed in such a simple scheme - hence the cross-over limit is essential.
Without time to investigate further examples right now, I expect those larger companies would be paying at least as much in net VAT and CT as under the sales tax equivalent.
15th May 2017
Dare I suggest it is the margin charged that is incorrect and the market ought to adjust to a more truthful figure for what the goods/service being sold are worth.
If a business were operating on a margin so tight, they probably aren't paying tax now. Is that really a sustainable business where it barely covers overheads (plus maybe some small amount of owners drawings/salary). What is the point of working so hard to return nothing of significance. If the owner was drawing £60k pa, then maybe.
Many clients who pass through accountants hands on tight margins, just covering overheads but drawing barely enough to live on are usually working as busy fools. It's not a business, that's slavery!
UK plc relies on this constant stream of idiots charging less than is necessary for myriad reasons, often because they don't think people will pay what they should. Frequently these were those with redundancies that unscrupulous franchises stung for upfront fees and strung out to die.
12th May 2017
How does that deal with differential profit margins re goods and services supplied?
A wholesaler may have high volume but low margin, a tax on turnover whilst in some ways simple would be :
a. a somewhat blunt tool, at say 4% it could easily take 40% of the profits of a wholesaler but only 8% of the profits of a sole trader accountant with limited costs.
b. once you start with different rates re categories (son of flat rate vat) you bring in the complexity re deciding appropriate rate.
HMRC must have sufficient data that could be mined, from SA/CT and iXBRL accounts, to ascertain reasonably accurate percentages of tax take from those figures for most businesses by now.
They would run an algorithm on all sub £2m turnover businesses to set the initial rates and have some form of independent appeal if they were considered outrageously wrong.
There will always be winners and losers in any change to taxation. Even HMRC couldn't cock[***] it all up with just the turnover figure to monitor, could they?