Bright announces cloud tax, proposal and CoSec productsby
Accounting software group Bright continues to bulk out its suite of cloud products, adding a tax solution BrightTax and announcing the arrival of proposal and company secretarial tools.
Available now, accountants can access client information via a web browser to work on and submit individual tax, corporation tax and VAT returns to HMRC, and also file annual accounts to Companies House.
Via BrightTax, users can import data from bookkeeping software providers such as Xero, Sage and QuickBooks, tag returns with iXBRL data and automate aspects of financial reporting.
The new tool also allows users to switch between self assessment and corporate clients, without leaving the client management hub.
BrightTax will roll client details such as dividend and pensions information over from one year to the next, and pre-populate tax return fields by pulling in available data from the likes of the FTSE-350 dividend database. The software also offers a client task list with an auto-collapse function that minimises entries once client work is finished.
On the accounts production front, users can create year-end accounts with limited company (FRS 102 1A and 105) templates. Accountants can import trial balance data from a bookkeeping package, allocate to ledgers, create journals if things haven’t been entered correctly, then build the required balance sheets for Companies House and HMRC.
In terms of migration, BrightTax and BTCSoftware’s dual-access database aims to avoid insecure exporting of critical client documents and provides access to features yet to be built in the cloud without additional costs (for example charity accounts, which is still in progress for BrightTax).
BTCSoftware’s desktop solution will keep its current name branding and continue to be updated alongside government legislation.
In terms of pricing, BrightTax starts at £433 a year. At the time of launch, BrightTax will not have full feature parity with the BTCSoftware desktop tool, with trust and partnership tax returns awaiting migration to the cloud.
“We’re in the process of evolving: the desktop product has 14 years of work in it so it’s never going to be exactly the same,” Bright product director of UK Tax & Compliance (and former BTCSoftware CEO) Rob Ellis told AccountingWEB. “We’re building BrightTax out based on what the customers want next, and focusing on the functionality accountants need for returns.”
Proposal and company secretarial products
Bright also announced that it will soon be releasing client proposal and company secretarial (CoSec) tools.
The vendor describes BrightPropose as “an enhanced proposal software, enabling users to create bespoke branded proposals for clients and prospects in minutes”.
Expected to compete in the same arena as the likes of GoProposal by Sage and Ignition, BrightPropose will be released to AccountancyManager users first as an expansion of their existing onboarding functionality but will be available to new users later this year.
Bright CoSec is at an earlier stage of development but is expected to follow a similar path to the software offered by BTCSoftware’s desktop CoSec tool, including features such as full statutory books, Companies House e-filing, and production of Dividend Vouchers, company minutes and resolutions.
All about the integrations
After receiving backing from private equity house Hg Capital in 2021, Bright Group has embarked on one of the most ambitious and challenging programmes of acquisition and integration the UK market has seen in recent years.
Bright has now assembled a range of accounting products, bringing together BrightPay, Relate, Surf, AccountancyManager and BTCSoftware, and has now set about the task of putting this diverse stable of tools in the cloud and integrating them as part of a coherent offering for accountants.
“Ultimately our vision is for Bright to be able to service all the software requirements that UK and Irish accountants, bookkeepers and payroll bureaus have from us as a single provider,” Bright Group CEO Kevin McCallum told AccountingWEB.
“We’ve already brought together four businesses with their own offerings and have plans to continue to develop new products and extend functionality, as well as bring more existing businesses into the Bright family. However, it’s important to note we will maintain the users’ right to choose their suite of tools and won’t disallow integrations with other software,” continued McCallum.
As previous accounting software market consolidators such as Sage and IRIS have found, bringing best-of-breed tools under one roof is one thing, but successfully integrating them and then articulating their purpose and market fit to accountants is another. However, McCallum is confident that the group’s vision and strategy are geared up to deliver.
“The point of Bright is to bring our hero products together and integrate them,” he said. “We’re aiming for a unified user experience, look and feel across BrightTax, BrightPay, BrightPropose etc, with the ability to jump from one product to another seamlessly. Ultimately, it’s all about the integrations.”
McCallum described the ultimate end-to-end journey for Bright’s accountant customers, from onboarding clients to feeding data from a bookkeeping tool into the group’s tax and accounts product for reporting and filing, all while keeping tabs on workflow status and issuing prompts and reminders via its practice management tool.