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Bright BTCSoftware

Bright Group bolsters compliance with BTCSoftware acquisition

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Irish developer Bright Group has added influential tax and accounts production player BTCSoftware to its growing roster of options for accounting professionals.

5th Oct 2022
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Announced this morning, Bright Group’s acquisition of BTCSoftware is in line with newly appointed CEO Kevin McCallum’s ambitions “to be the answer to any question an accountant can ask from a software point of view”.

Founded in 1999 by Rob Ellis and Ian Katté, BTCSoftware offers a full desktop-based accounting suite, including accounts production, corporation tax and self assessment tax return modules, along with a practice management tool. 

The Addlestone-based developer recently moved towards taking its full compliance and practice management suite into the cloud with the launch of its new self assessment solution for agents, BTCHub ITR.

Ellis will join Bright as their new Product Director – UK Tax alongside Paul Oldridge who will take on the role of Commercial Director – UK Tax as part of the acquisition.

The purchase of BTCSoftware is another piece in the puzzle for Bright Group to hit its stated goal of delivering an end-to-end cloud practice suite with compliance tools for the UK and Irish market. 

In March of this year, the group brought cloud practice management tool AccountancyManager into its growing portfolio. It is also rumoured to be months away from launching Surf Accounts in the UK, while the much-anticipated cloud version of payroll tool BrightPay will be available in the early part of next year.

Bright Group formed in September 2021 following a merger between BrightPay parent Thesaurus and Relate software and has grown significantly over the past 12 months, in part thanks to an injection of funding from accountancy-focussed private equity house Hg Capital.

Welcoming BTCSoftware to the group, Kevin McCallum said that one of the first steps in the working partnership will be to support the rollout of the BTCSoftware MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment solution, “combining their expertise in Making Tax Digital with our resources to bring a product to ease the process for accountants and their clients.”

AccountingWEB view: The great accounting software consolidation continues

The acquisition of BTCSoftware is the latest in a string of smaller, independent, mostly specialist developers being reeled in by bigger players in the market, as the pendulum swings back towards all-in-one software solutions and away from a range of ‘best-of-breed’ tools patched together.

Accounting software giant Sage has splashed out on AutoEntry, GoProposal and Futrli, Access Group recently acquire Fathom, while fellow Hg stablemate IRIS has bought Senta, Staffology, Taxfiler and AccountantsWorld.

This has left some AccountingWEB readers feeling pessimistic about the outlook for accountants in the software market, in terms of competition, the pricing of the tools that remain and the level of support they may receive. Given past experiences of large software houses buying smaller ones, who can blame them?

However, on this occasion, there’s room for optimism. Acquisitions in the accounting software space tend to be for two main reasons: to remove a competitor from the market, or to grow market share/revenue – or both! While the BTCSoftware move may tick the ‘grow market share’ box, from a more important strategic point of view it offers Bright a piece of the jigsaw they didn’t have before: a functioning tax and accounts production tool.

For BTCSoftware, merging into Bright Group without an existing product to compete against and with development funding available represents a genuine opportunity to take its product to a wider market.

While Bright now has its suite pieces in place, the next part is perhaps the group’s most challenging: integrating them together as a coherent end-to-end package without alienating existing subscribers, who according to AccountingWEB’s quarterly Insights survey consistently rate Bright’s products amongst the best on the market.

5 October 2022: This article was updated to add quotes and an AccountingWEB analysis

 

Replies (20)

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By 401K
05th Oct 2022 11:57

I'm so disappointed. I have committed so much time and energy avoiding the large faceless software providers. I am or was pleased with BTC.
I just hope they don't start tinkering with it straight away.

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By TaxEvader
05th Oct 2022 12:21

Oh no , the best thing about BTCSoftware was the support team. These larger companies don’t have the support response rate like these guys and remote connecting to your machine was very helpful when in need of help during deadlines . If that changes I’m gone .

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By Paul Crowley
05th Oct 2022 12:36

BTC was on my possible replacement checklist, a checklist of only two, as I have only seen positive comments.
It feels like anything people like gets bought up, then the negative comments start.

Cannot remember the name now but we started with a good set of software
Then SAGE bought up 4 small software houses (inc ours) and shuffled bits all around. Completely ruined, support became useless as the employees did not understand the shuffle.
I think Sage just gave up on it.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Susan Keane
05th Oct 2022 16:27

Still worth a try before you write them off just because they've merged with strategic partners

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By North East Accountant
05th Oct 2022 17:00

Was it these 4 you were on about?

CRM-Disappeared
Apex-became Sage Accounts Production
Hartley-became Sage Accounts Production Advanced
Ibis-became Sage Personal Tax

We still use all 3, they are not sexy, but they all are Ronseal products....they do exactly what they say on the tin.

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Replying to North East Accountant:
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By Paul Crowley
05th Oct 2022 17:31

Sounds right to me
I think it was CRM we had, but only because IIRC the name was initials, not a name.
Our experience of the takeover was ........unfortunate
The sales and billing was also challenging

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Oct 2022 14:15

The smaller the market, the higher the prices we all pay.

Bad news whoever you use right now.

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By Paul Crowley
05th Oct 2022 16:30

@Tom
It would be nice if from time to time there was good news.

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By Postingcomments
05th Oct 2022 22:31

A lot of you raved about BTC. Well, they have now sold out like everyone else.

This is the obvious road with demanding that bigger and bigger barriers are erected around things (eg self emploment) - it takes bigger and bigger companies to be able to stand a chance of meeting all the various rules (/being big enough to tell the government to get lost).

The self employed having to pay £x pcm to these software houses is the thin end of the wedge. Plus all the other rules and regs in their business. Keep hammering these wedges in and keep hammering people down and the government will eventually get its way - all of us "plebs" on PAYE (with sub inflation pay rises) and their mates making all the money from running businesses.

We have (highly paid - by us) representatives like Ray who come on here and tell us to "get a grip" (whatever that actually means) and telling us all to embrace this future. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it doesn't lead to a good place for us. I just don't want more rules than are needed. I just want to do my work, earn my money and be left alone. If I'm alone in this view, fine. Get gripped by Ray and embrace your digital future - and whatever prices the 3 remaining software houses demand at that time.

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Slim
By Slim
06th Oct 2022 10:17

Needs to be a crowd funded (accountant funded) software package, it wont be perfect but I'd support it

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Replying to Slim:
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By [email protected]
06th Oct 2022 10:43

I'd go for that , but who's got the time to set the project up

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By AndrewV12
06th Oct 2022 11:07

IRIS are notorious for buying up small independent Accountancy and taxation software Providers.

They took over Tax filer and the subscription has gone up 300% +

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By rmillaree
06th Oct 2022 12:08

Sigh drummohr iris shambles revisted no doubt.

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By tedbuck
06th Oct 2022 16:58

And I thought it was just me who thought all the software houses were going down the pan. I had need to seek advice from IRIS support and it was totally useless. They couldn't solve the problem so I had to use a work-around. Didn't help that their command of English was also pretty poor.

Their software and service used to be fantastic when we first used them - now it would score 5 out of 10 at best. That's digital progress for you.

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By Philysis
06th Oct 2022 20:44

https://hgcapital.com/our-portfolio/

worth a look in their quest for worldwide domination . All the key people are models like photos and eye candid for the camera but all Ruthless vultures using monies from city of London , check spiderweb Netflix.
if accountancy owners pushbacks to this rubbish and adopt basic tools this investment will collapse

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By Philysis
06th Oct 2022 20:44

https://hgcapital.com/our-portfolio/

worth a look in their quest for worldwide domination . All the key people are models like photos and eye candid for the camera but all Ruthless vultures using monies from city of London , check spiderweb Netflix.
if accountancy owners pushbacks to this rubbish and adopt basic tools this investment will collapse

Thanks (0)
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By Philysis
06th Oct 2022 20:44

https://hgcapital.com/our-portfolio/

worth a look in their quest for worldwide domination . All the key people are models like photos and eye candid for the camera but all Ruthless vultures using monies from city of London , check spiderweb Netflix.
if accountancy owners pushbacks to this rubbish and adopt basic tools this investment will collapse

Thanks (0)
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By Paul Crowley
07th Oct 2022 09:26

Tom
Is it worth having an article looking at the few surviving software houses for accountants ( not general products that clients use) that are not in bed with HG Capital?

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