This year’s Accounting Excellence Software Awards confirm that the rise of cloud accounting and the “MTD effect” are continuing to shape the technology habits of UK accountants.
Out of 51 nominees for the 11 software categories at the 2018 awards ceremony at London’s Intercontinental Park Lane tonight (20 September), 27 were cloud products, demonstrating how online applications have reached a tipping point within the accounting profession.
The Accounting Excellence Sofware Awards are based on the UK’s biggest independent business software survey, with more than 12,000 individual ratings. Using customer feedback to determine the winners is what makes these awards so important and the on-going software survey presents a unique opportunity to assess what is happening on the profession’s front lines.
Just to confirm the cloud trend, ratings for the third-party apps that plug into accounting engines more than doubled in this year’s survey. Our add-on nominees include representatives from the debt management and online finance community – Chaser, Satago and Capitalise – while payment specialists GoCardless and Stripe both increased their share of the vote in the 2018 survey.
The user numbers may have grown, but Chaser came out ahead in the user vote to win the category again this year. Online applications won seven of the other 10 categories, with FreeAgent and Xero sharing the plaudits from business users and practitioners in the small business accounting award categories.
BrightPay and BTCSoftware proved that desktop developers still rule the roost in the payroll and practice software categories respectively. BTCSoftware almost made a clean sweep by winning three awards on the night for tax, practice management and suite of the year, but to show how far the cloud has come in practice, the online tax application Taxfiler carried off the accounts production prize.
There was another surprise in the forecasting, planning and analysis category, where the new cashflow-focused forecasting app Fluidly pipped more established, advisory applications. By applying machine learning to one of the key pain points of small businesses, Fluidly also earned the Innovation of the Year Award to crown a remarkable debut year.
There was also an award for Xero UK managing director Gary Turner as the Accounting Excellence Software & Technology Pioneer of the Year. Establishing himself as one of the industry's most outspoken figures during the past year, Turner has not shied from publicly challenging HMRC's assumptions around Making Tax Digital (MTD).
The MTD effect
In spite of the friction it has caused within the profession, the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative has been very good for the software industry over the past 2-3 years. AccountingWEB survey data shows that cloud accounting has doubled since George Osborne first floated the idea in his 2015 Budget speech. Expenses capture apps and practice management software also benefited from the surge.
But since Treasury minister Mel Stride MP responded to pressure and announced last year that he would scale back the implementation of MTD for income tax until 2020 at the earliest, the momentum has dropped away, with fewer accountants showing up to rate data and expenses and practice management applications in our survey this year.
Long-term help for software buyers
The Accounting Excellence Software Awards are the first phase of a much wider project. AccountingWEB uses the information it collects to inform the online community about all the leading products. Starting from next week, our new Software Reviews will give accountants practical help to make more informed buying decisions – based on other accountants’ feedback and ratings.
Until then, the story is all about our nominees and the ultimate winners, who will be announced later this evening. Congratulations to all of them for making it to the top in a very competitive software market.
2018 Accounting Excellence Software Awards
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Nominees: Kashflow, QuickBooks Online, Xero
Nominees: Capium, VT Transaction+, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, Sage 50 Accounts
Nominees: Exact Online, Pegasus, Sage 50, Sage 200, SAP Business One
Nominees: Capium, Moneysoft, The Payroll Site, Xero Payroll
Nominees: AutoEntry, FreeAgent mobile agent, QuickBooks, Xero Expenses
Nominees: Capium, Keytime, TaxCalc, Taxfiler
Nominees: AccountancyManager, Capium, Practice Ignition, Senta, TaxCalc
Nominees: BTCSoftware, Capium, TaxCalc, Taxfiler, VT Final Accounts
Nominees: Capium, CCH, IRIS, TaxCalc, Thomson Reuters
Nominees: Adaptive Insights for Finance, Float, Futrli, Spotlight Reporting
Nominees: Capitalise, GoCardless, Satago, Stripe, TSheets
Nominees: AccountancyManager, CCH OneClick, Countingup, Sage Personal Tax Account Viewer, Tax Cloud
Nominees: Nathan Keeley (MHA Carpenter Box), Steve Cox (IRIS Software Group)
About the Accounting Excellence Awards
Sponsored by MyFirmsApp, the Accounting Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements of ambitious growth-oriented firms and technology suppliers. Now in their eighth year, this year's voting culminated in our 2018 awards evening on the 20 September at the InterContinental London, Park Lane and in the Software Reviews that will soon follow.
Keep your eye out for Software Reviews
AccountingWEB’s Software Reviews use the same data collected from the Accounting Excellence Software Awards survey to provide the independent, trusted peer-to-peer advice accountants have been crying out for. The reviews launched in September 2018 with three categories: data & expense management, practice management and forecasting, planning & analysis (FP&A) software. Further categories will be rolled out over the following months, including accounts production, small business accounts, mid-market and enterprise accounts and Making Tax Digital for VAT software.
About Accounting WEB
Contributions from the AccountingWEB.co.uk editorial team.