QuickBooks announces autumn accounting features
Before the big announcements expected at GetConnected Virtual 2020, QuickBooks has introduced some new features to keep users ticking over. Updates include an income tax estimator and a month-end review tool for accountants.
QuickBooks has released four new features and updates ahead of its QuickBooks GetConnected Virtual 2020 on 29 October.
The updates are designed to improve business management and to present all the tools available within QuickBooks in one place, Intuit head of engineering Ben Brown told AccountingWEB.
“You don’t need to go and use 20 different products, integrate them all together and deal with the complexities, you can just log into your normal QuickBooks and access all of this functionality,” he said.
The QuickBooks month-end review feature is specifically for accountants and aims to help workflows and reduce overall admin. The self assessment feature helps answer clients who want to know their estimated tax bill, how they will pay it and what to set aside in order to pay future liabilities.
“Regarding month end review and income tax estimator, we’d love any small businesses or accountant out there to give us feedback to improve these tools as we put out more versions.”
Month end review for accountants
Launched within QuickBooks Online Accountant for all its practitioner users, the month end review tool lets accountants build step-by-step workflows, client checklists and personal reports for each client. Missing data is also automatically flagged to identify and resolve client issues or anomalies.
At the end of each month, accountants can go into the tool and a number of different checks to carry out. They can investigate the checks to make sure the data is correct and make adjustments to customer books. “Once they’ve completed that they can hopefully close the books and have complete confidence that those checks are fully satisfied,” commented Brown.
“Accountants often have lots of processes to follow at month end. They often need other tools to track those processes or to understand what those processes should be for each client. Month end review brings this all into one place inside QuickBooks. From one single piece of software, they can see all the tasks required for a customer to make sure that their books were up to date for month end.”
Checks range from basic bookkeeping checks to looking for duplicate transactions or transactions that have large or small values. “In the coming months, we want to make this more intelligent,” added Brown.
Income tax estimator
The income tax estimator, currently at the beta test stage with live users, allows businesses to look at all of their books for the year, segregated by the groupings that HMRC provides and the box numbers provided on the self assessment forms. Each estimated figure is shown against the boxes, including allowables and disallowables, providing an overall income tax estimate. A National Insurance Contributions estimate based on existing QuickBooks data is also provided.
“What we focused on with this early beta version is getting something in front of [small businseses] that helps understand what is allowable and disallowable, what kind of income tax is due and how they can submit that kind of income tax,” said Brown. “In the future, they’ll be able to submit to HMRC. But this focuses on understanding expenses that are allowable breaks to HMRC”
The estimator uses an inbuilt calculator compliant with tax guidelines based on HMRC regulations for the correct business’s calculation for class two and class four National Insurance Contributions.
The single screen within QuickBooks tracks income tax and National Insurance contributions in real-time, showing the owed value is alongside VAT and payroll figures.
“Within seconds of the page popping up, it tells them exactly what their what their self assessment,” said Brown. “As long as they’ve been categorising their transactions as they go along and been working with their accountants to make sure it's all correctly categorised, then it's immediately available with no extra work to do.”
With the new features are still in their beta test versions, QuickBooks is looking for any feedback to improve both the month end review tool and income tax estimator.
Employee self-service workforce portal
The self-service workforce area allows employees to access their payslips securely through the QuickBooks workforce portal.
“This is something that we’ve had in our advanced payroll for a little while,” said Brown. “Now we’ve been working through our backlog and we’ve finally got around to this in our in our standard payroll.”
The portal allows small businesses to track and organise payroll details for employees and furloughed workers. The portal pays statutory sick pay and shifts furloughed workers returning to work bacl onto normal payroll.
Rather than sending out payslips every month, employers provide each employee with a login to the workforce portal. “It just makes that whole process a lot easier and stops the employer from having to do all that extra admin,” added Brown.
Workforce portal is included within QuickBooks Standard Payroll. The employee portal within QuickBooks Advanced Payroll also includes rotas, timesheets, leave requests and expense management. The portal will also provide historic payslips for employees.
“This is the start of our workforce portal [and] means we can add new features over the coming months and years. Once we’ve got access to give documents and information to employees, it will then be easier to do that with other pieces of information as well.”
Cashflow tagging feature
QuickBooks’s new cashflow tagging feature enables small business owners to label and create custom categories for incoming and outgoing transactions in real-time.
The feature, available in within the QuickBooks Labs menu in Settings, can create bespoke insights into income and outgoings to improve business financial transparency.
Limited PayPal offer
QuickBooks’s partnership with PayPal currently saves small business owners up to £100 when the PayPal app is activated through QuickBooks before 10 November.
Upon activation, customers are reimbursed for up to £100 on PayPal fees. The partnership also gives QuickBooks customers special rates for accepting credit and debit cards via PayPal.
Other QuickBooks updates
- Automatic tax code updates in payroll: HMRC’s tax codes are now automatically updated in Standard Payroll as well as Advanced Payroll.
- Nest pension integration: Nest pension automation is being rolled out to Standard Payroll in which QuickBooks calculates pension contributions and automatically send them to Nest.
- Easy access to TSheets: TSheets can be accessed directly through QuickBooks, through the Time tab.