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BTCSoftware boots up cloud tax solution

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BTCSoftware has moved a step closer to taking its full compliance and practice management suite into the cloud with the launch of its new self assessment solution for agents, BTCHub ITR.

10th May 2022
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The software as a service (SaaS) self assessment application, BTCHub ITR (Income Tax Return), plugs into the software firm’s core BTCHub, which currently has practice management functionality and its online VAT module.

BTCSoftware’s chief product development officer Paul Oldridge told AccountingWEB that the cloud ITR product has been developed with Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD ITSA) in mind.

“As with our MTD VAT product,” said Oldridge, “the BTCHub framework happily accommodates MTD ITSA and the necessary HMRC API workflows.”

One major advantage of the cloud tool is its ability to operate on multiple browser tabs, rather than from within one tab, Oldridge added.

The company has no plans to phase out its desktop products and has put its desktop database in the cloud, so users that want to use the cloud ITR module while using other BTCSoftware desktop products can do so, providing the company hosts their database. A change in either cloud or desktop data will be automatically reflected in another, Oldridge confirmed.

At the moment the company’s pricing strategy is that the cloud versions of its products will cost the same as its desktop software.

Comprehensive compliance

“We’re hearing from the practitioner market that there is a serious appetite for a modern, comprehensive SaaS compliance solution,” Oldridge told AccountingWEB. “There are bookkeeping products offering bits and pieces of compliance but many practices need more than the cut-down version.”

BTCSoftware’s existing cloud VAT product has also been redesigned to match the design of the new SaaS income tax product, although its engine and service layers remain unchanged.

Next on the slate for release into the cloud are the vendor’s accounts production and corporation tax modules, which are currently being put through their paces by focus groups. Once their feedback has been incorporated into the respective applications, BTCSoftware plans to release them in the autumn.

In terms of MTD ITSA, Oldridge added that later in the year it will be looking for users to pilot the company’s product. “HMRC hasn’t got their APIs fully functional yet,” he said. “It’s hard to get individuals on the programme at the moment, so we’ll let the dust settle.”

For accountants attending Accountex 11-12 May, BTCSoftware will be demonstrating its ITR cloud module on stand 560.

Cloud evolution

The BTCSoftware move to full cloud marks another turn of the wheel in the evolution of cloud accounting.

Early cloud enthusiasts may point out that the vendor is a little late to the party, given cloud accounting tools have been with us for over a decade, while AccountingWEB’s own Insight research has shown a gradual but steady decline in user satisfaction for the likes of Thomson Reuters, TaxCalc and BTC.

However, the desktop-cloud software landscape is more nuanced than many LinkedIn influencers like to portray it. Many early cloud adopters sacrificed functionality and product flexibility for the freedom cloud allowed them, but it didn’t convince every accountant. To take a slightly obvious example, BTCSoftware’s enthusiastic userbase, which has propelled the Addlestone developer to win seven AccountingWEB software awards in the past five years, wasn’t convinced enough to abandon their desktop solutions for the temptations of the cloud.

The greatest challenge for the new full-cloud BTCSoftware may be to sell its suite to a new generation of practice owners brought up on best-of-breed, mix-and-match solutions while keeping their existing fans onside.

This also feels like another ingredient to throw into the best-of-breed vs full suite debating pot. While cloud practitioners bolt together dozens of cutting-edge applications, with the advantages and disadvantages this entails, solutions like the ones now proffered by BTCSoftware may offer practices looking to the cloud for efficiencies a more fully rounded option, particularly with MTD ITSA looming large over the profession.

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By Hugo Fair
10th May 2022 15:38

Understatement of the year by a software vendor? ...
“HMRC hasn’t got their APIs fully functional yet,” he said. “It’s hard to get individuals on the programme at the moment, so we’ll let the dust settle.”

However, the most interesting aspect is almost glossed over ... "The company has no plans to phase out its desktop products and has put its desktop database in the cloud, so users that want to use the cloud ITR module while using other BTCSoftware desktop products can do so, providing the company hosts their database. A change in either cloud or desktop data will be automatically reflected in another."
This isn't technologically innovative ... but IS exactly what many practitioners have been waiting to hear (despite the blandishments of the 'pure Cloud' promoters).

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