Intuit has announced a new bridging software solution that will let businesses transfer Excel-based VAT calculations into QuickBooks’ new end-to-end MTD for VAT software.
The announcement of Intuit’s bridging solution is certainly welcome. The anxiety over the role of spreadsheets in MTD has been pronounced. Just earlier this year, the confusion prompted AccountingWEB’s global editor John Stokdyk to ask ‘Where is the bridging software to plug the MTD gap?”
The original MTD proposals cut spreadsheets out of the loop entirely. It was only after intense lobbying by the profession that HMRC yielded, thus coining the neologism ‘bridging software’. This bridging software would fix the spreadsheet conundrum by digitally linking a spreadsheet to HMRC via an MTD-ready software product.
Clear Books Micro, for example, replaces a client’s Excel spreadsheet with an equivalent, free online grid program to record sales, cash in and expenses, while TaxCalc’s VAT Filer app will import VAT data from a spreadsheet to feed an online MTD for VAT submission.
QuickBooks’ solution is more akin to TaxCalc’s method, allowing businesses to simply stick with Excel, rather than replacing it. It will be tacked onto QuickBooks’ suite of MTD-ready software and will be accessible to those with an active QuickBooks Online subscription.
According to Shaun Shirazian, Intuit’s UK head of product, the solution has been brewing in the background for some time. “All throughout our customer conversations, the one thing that kept popping up, again and again, was spreadsheets. There are small businesses that have been using Excel for years to manage their finances, who simply aren’t ready to move to the cloud quite yet.”
Shirazian said he hoped the bridging software would help assuage the anxiety that MTD has caused among accountants and their clients. He added that the bridging software could cater for both simple small businesses and bigger businesses with complex VAT affairs, thus appealing to finance teams, too.
“The exciting part now is once the product is out in the wild, we’ll see how it fares and it ends up being used. It could be that it becomes popular in a way we haven’t foreseen. We’ve made the user experience as easy as possible.”
The announcement kicked off Intuit’s Making Tax Delightful campaign, an event and marketing programme aimed at educating businesses about preparing for MTD.
QuickBooks Online is MTD-ready, and the company has successfully submitted MTD for VAT filings to HMRC as part of its beta programme. This bridging software will form part of the package.
About Francois Badenhorst
I'm AccountingWEB's business editor. Feel free to get in touch with comments, tips, scoops or irreverent banter.