FreeAgent unveils a host of new features
FreeAgent launches final accounts report, along with a host of other features including new audit trail report, Corporation Tax CT600 form, cashflow projection and Payit.
It’s been a little while since we've heard any major FreeAgent announcements, but it appears to have just been waiting to spring several new releases on us at once.
Final accounts report
As part of its larger project to support final accounts and corporation tax submissions, FreeAgent has released final accounts report, which can be exported as a PDF.
The report is automatically generated from clients’ final accounts reports with all form boxes pre-filled from data within FreeAgent, meaning users rarely need to enter any additional information.
“This is leading to being able to support filing for final accounts and corporation tax,” FreeAgent co-founder and CPO Roan Lavery told AccountingWEB. “That has always been the end goal – to support that submission through FreeAgent.”
“We’re really excited about this one, it’s been a long time coming. None of our competitors are doing the same thing – Xero have got a product that can integrate to end-of-year filing, but it is not built on top of the core bookkeeping/accounting system.”
Corporation Tax CT600 form
Proceeding the static report for FRS 105 micro-entity final accounts release in August, FreeAgent has released its corporation tax CT600 form for micro-entities.
Similar to the final accounts report, the CT600 form is automatically created in the system with all boxes pre-filled.
Neither final accounts of Corporation tax CT600 report have the capability for filing yet, but this functionality is in the pipeline for later releases. “We have actually done some tests submissions to Companies House for final accounts,” added Lavery.
“We’re going to be wrapping up real submissions with end-of-year workflow for practices and their clients, and that’s the big piece we’ve got left.” The end-of-year processing workflow will then provide a simple and easy workflow for accountants and small business clients.
Clients will be able to prepare final accounts, Corporation Tax and end-of-year reports for accountants to review, add any supplementary notes to clients for review and signature, and make the submission to Companies House and HMRC.
Audit trail report
FreeAgent has released the first version of its audit trail report which allows accountants to track key changes made to client invoices and bank transactions, along with information such as when the transaction or invoice was created, updated or deleted, and who made the change.
The report also allows users to drill down into individual changes and search and filter by date range and user, to find out what changes have been made to a client’s account and by whom. Once the transaction or invoice is located, users can then expand the individual action to view the full history and pinpoint original and related transactions.
FreeAgent plans to cover auditing of all the different parts of the system over the next few months and has plans to add and export report option to the audit trail.
“In its default state, it shows every single change that has happened over all transactions,” added Lavery. “Actually one of the big challenges that we had was working out how we're going to cope with the amount of data that's in there. We have launched export capability for VAT reports which has been a very highly requested feature.”
Cashflow projection software
In December, FreeAgent will be launching a cashflow management tool that includes a 90-day near-term forecast aimed at sole traders and self-employed clients. Like the reports, the forecast is fully automated using data already existing in FreeAgent, and so requires no extra work for the accountant.
The FreeAgent’s cashflow projection software calculates dynamic tax liabilities that includes upcoming tax bills such as VAT and includes payroll data within the calculations.
Primarily the cashflow software uses Open Banking and tax capabilities to highlight warnings if it detects cashflow will drop below zero within the 90-day projection. The module then offers a series of actions to take such as following up invoices to bring the income forward.
“We want it to be an early warning system for people if they've got near-term cashflow issues, and allow them to take immediate action to remedy those,” said Lavery. “By design, we’re trying to be much simpler and automated, so you don’t have to put in manual entries and scenarios etc. We’re trying to pitch at the core market of small businesses who wouldn’t traditionally invest in complex cashflow forecasting models.”
“We’re in the middle of building in some flexibility to allow people to toggle transactions on and off if they want to exclude things in the cashflow. So there’s a wee bit of flexibility in there, but we are trying to keep it as automated as possible.”
Beyond the December release, FreeAgent will be looking at leveraging other Open Banking possibilities to bring in banking areas such as standing orders, direct debit, future date payments and adding manual events.
PayIt through NatWest
Currently only available to NatWest customers, PayIt allows customers to initiate payments within FreeAgent for bills they have within the system. Typically these will be supplier invoices where payment details are entered in FreeAgent, which allows NatWest and RBS customers to make payments without having to go into their bank account.
The feature works best for people using NatWest or RBS as their premier bank account and will require PayIt to be authorised with their bank first. Using Open Banking technology, PayIt automatically reconciles the payment with the bank feed. The service is free for FreeAgent users.
“This technology isn’t limited, we can open this up to other banks,” commented Lavery. “We need to work through governance issues but our intention is to be available to all of our customers regardless of who they bank with.”