QuickBooks upgrades for Making Tax Digital

QuickBooks Smart Notifications launched at QB Connect 2019
QuickBooks Smart Notifications_AW
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International cloud accounting giant Intuit this week unveiled new Making Tax Digital for VAT features at QuickBooks Connect in London.

With just over a month to go, the developer is still adding the final touches to its Making Tax Digital (MTD) product suite. QuickBooks Online (QBO) has already been equipped for VAT filing and is supporting a number of early filers within the pilot programme. But the Submit VAT return facility has been beefed up with a feature called SmartCheck that reviews returns for common mistakes such as duplicate transactions or missing VAT codes.

The final VAT return screen also now has adjustment links on the seven non-calculated boxes within the return to allow for final tweaks before filing. Because it integrates with QBO, adjustments to the return will raise a journal entry that is fed back into the nominal ledger system.

Work is continuing to add a tickbox within QBO that will let users of the flat rate scheme report their earnings and VAT calculations under that option; this feature will be ready in time for the first wave of returns to be filed by the August deadline, Intuit executives assured AccountingWEB.

Like many other accounting software developers and HMRC itself, Intuit recognised that adjustments and the various special schemes surrounding VAT are almost possible to corral within standard bookkeeping tools. The developer responded to these requirements with QuickBooks Bridging Software which maps external VAT spreadsheets into the relevant VAT return boxes ready for filing via HMRC’s mandated application programming interfaces (APIs).

Both the MTD for VAT and Bridging features are included free in QBO subscriptions. The bridging program works on separate files, so each business filing a return will also need to have a QBO subscription to access it.

For practitioners, the QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) Practice Management module has also gained a new feature to support the MTD for VAT workflow. Smart Notifications will be added shortly to add VAT filing dates and work assignments based on each client’s reporting period.

The MTD announcements were the most topical and eye-catching announcements at QuickBooks Connect London, and were good examples of the Intuit approach to innovation, according to Intuit’s head of product for Europe, Shaun Shirazian (pictured above demonstrating Smart Notifications at QB Connect).

Shirazian was keen to emphasise the wider range of improvements that have been made to the underlying accounting platform. These included a Client Overview showing the state of each clilent’s books, connected bank feeds and apps, outstanding information required, unreconciled transactions and other profile information to help the adviser spot problems or points of interest.

These additional tools includes a Project Profitability feature showing the revenue and expenses of each project by drawing time and labour costs from integrated TSheets records to calculate profitability.

In the near future, QuickBooks will add Client Benchmarking using aggregate data to show accountants how their clients’ businesses are performing compared to their peers.

The new product roll-call at QB Connect included QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll for practitioners and payroll bureaux serving large and complex payroll clients.  And coming down the pipeline are other things like receipt capture, mileage tracking and integration with leading banks via open banking APIs.

Many of these enhancements were worthy of note in their own right, Shirazian said, but taken together they illustrated “the variety and breadth of innovation” that Intuit was putting into its platform.

“Key to that is being very close to customers, understanding the space they’re in and solving their problems first hand,” Shirazian said.

“We have troops on the ground in all the key countries - full cross-functional teams that observe, understand local conditions and compliance needs and work with accountants and small businesses. They get very close to the market and understand tax law inside out. That’s what helps us.

“One of the advantages of QuickBooks as a platform is it gives us the ability to find solutions in local markets, but lets us localise innovation that may have been developed somewhere else.”

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.


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28th Feb 2019 10:31

Quickbooks in this article seems to have decided not to mention the significant numbers of QB customers who very successfully use Quickbooks desktop, do not wish to move to QB on-line and who are very concerned that they are being left out in the cold on MTD?

Thanks (4)
to nigel7357
28th Feb 2019 10:43

nigel7357 wrote:

Quickbooks in this article seems to have decided not to mention the significant numbers of QB customers who very successfully use Quickbooks desktop, do not wish to move to QB on-line and who are very concerned that they are being left out in the cold on MTD?

This is the issue we are facing at the moment. We have desktop software and we are looking to find an alternative to a cloud based system strictly because of MTD. We want to store our data locally on our servers not in the US.

Also, scary to read recently that almost 40% of companies still unaware of the changes needed for MTD compliance.

Thanks (2)
By Dandan
to nigel7357
03rd Mar 2019 18:05

QB desktop 2019 is only available through subscription.

However, I was quite pleased to hear that some clients I have spoken to have decided to carry on with their older desktop version (pre 2014 ). They will use bridging software- something very easy to do , given that QB exports the VAT Summary to the same excel cells every time and there are over 100 bridging software available .

Thanks (0)
28th Feb 2019 10:55

I'm pretty sure the latest version of QB desktop is MTD compatible.

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to BryanS1958
28th Feb 2019 11:35

I am told by Intuit that Desktop Pro 2019 will be MTD compatible by an update within the next two weeks.

Thanks (1)
28th Feb 2019 11:24

Good to see that QB are offering advance payroll products for practitioners, but it would be good if they got their existing products fully working first. I have two QB clients where the only employee (director) has ceased employment in the year and there is no facility within QB to report that the payroll has ceased or to do a payroll year end with an EPS notifying that the scheme has ceased - I am told by their support I have to re-input everything into another non QB product to be able to achieve what I need to do!! Sad 8-(

Thanks (1)
to Arlene0612
28th Feb 2019 11:54

Try Employees/RTI/Submit Final Submission.
That also asks if you have ceased as an employer and is your last submission before 5 April.

Thanks (0)
to Nigel Burge
28th Feb 2019 17:00

Mine is the payroll within QuickBooks accounts - I only have a choice of payroll or employees - there is nowhere to select RTI. I'm guessing you are on the external payroll?

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28th Feb 2019 12:09

It would be nice for QB desktop customers to be officially contacted by email from intuit that QB 2019 desktop will be compatible for MTD and exactly how and when it will work for VAT submissions that will shortly be due. At the moment it is very easy to do by literally just pressing the file VAT on-line button - will this be the same?

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28th Feb 2019 12:24

I have two clients both using QB Desktop.

One has over 50 entities running QB Premier Accountant which we updated from v2017 to v2019 this week. We have been filing VAT via QB for the last couple of years for all entities, usually without any hitches.
QB categorically informed us that v2017 version with latest updates installed is MTD compliant, and better still v2019 is also MTD compliant.
I am concerned however that all online MTD references by QB seem to focus on QBO and hardly any reference is made on QBD. But they insist all is in hand!

The other client has QB Desktop 2016 running appx 15-20 entities of which just a few file vat returns, 1-2 of these are filed via QBD, the others by Auditors as agents (who will not have QB filing capability post MTD so they have requested we upgrade QB to the relevant MTD compliant version). From my convo with QB re the first client I appreciate we will have to upgrade this client as well but have yet to discuss this with QB, fingers crossed the client will not have to encounter massive costs re the upgrade.

PS, QB Online's charging structure is strictly based per user and company numbers thereby making it economically unviable for both clients; QB Desktop is typically based on user no licences only. And we prefer internal server anyway.

Thanks (1)
28th Feb 2019 15:06

Hi all - thanks so much for the feedback. We will be supporting MTD filing on QuickBooks Desktop versions after 2016. We will be emailing you the latest release for you to download by the end of March 2019. If you are on an earlier version please contact us at 0808 168 4245 to talk through which version is best for your needs. If you don't know which version you are on you can hit F2 on your keyboard to find out. We are also hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 5th at 11:00 am called 'What Making Tax Digital means for QB Desktop Users'. You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/2GRGIuO

Thank you,

Thanks (0)
to sshirazian
02nd Mar 2019 13:11

Hi Shaun
Thanks for the response; can you please clarify:
- you state "supporting MTD filing on QuickBooks Desktop versions after 2016"
- My client has Pro 2016, will they just need the release or will they need to upgrade?
Thanks again.

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to vraithatha
04th Mar 2019 08:51


They will need to upgrade in that situation.


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