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.”