Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Updated: Software suppliers offer practical help

Accounting software companies have come forward with special offers, business support content and new functionality to help their customers through the difficulties caused by the coronavirus. This article highlights where you might be able to get some of that help.

8th Apr 2020
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Help for hard-pressed accounting software users
iStock_Helpline_Dean Mitchell

Already developers are reporting getting calls from accountants in distress who are looking to reduce their running costs as fees dry up. It’s a difficult decision to sacrifice much-needed income in any industry, but some software developers are responding with free offers and price holidays. Among them are AccountancyManager, Float and Liberty Accounts.

Price holiday and special offers

Updated 14 April 2020:

FreeAgent - FreeAgent is offering free licenses offer for clients with eligible NatWest/RBS bank accounts, and now has a Coronavirus small business support hub.

Futrli - To give its users access to its invoice protection tool, Futrli is offering three months free with Flow Pro (discount code COVID_AAD to access), and are increasing all of their existing account subscriptions to unlimited organisations for free to help with finances through this difficult period. It has also provided a tactics document for advising clients through the current crisis. 

Karbon - The accounting work management platform is offering a free COVID-19 rapid response kit which includes specialised UK templates.

Receipt Bank - The communications feature is now free for three months to partners, alongside a complementary product training session with a specialist.

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AccountancyManager - AccountancyManager this week announced that it would offer its cloud practice management tool free of charge to new customers for the next three months. Initially, AccountancyManager offered existing customers the opportunity to add new users free of charge for support and set up. After an overwhelmingly positive response, it extended the offer to all comers. “With the situation the way it is, people are looking at cloud software, so if we can make accountants and bookkeepers feel a bit more comfortable, it’s a nice thing to do,” said AccountancyManager founder James Byrne. “That’s what our company is about.” The company is also running free webinars and has published a three-part guide to running your firm from home.

BullGuard - The business security service is offering a free 3-month small office security license for up to 50 devices to provide cybersecurity to small businesses.

Chaser - The collections app developer has launched an emergency Cashflow Recovery Initiative to help UK businesses get cash in the door while maintaining customer relationships. The entire Chaser customer has been deployed to deliver the free service, which can include completely outsourced invoice chasing or support and advice to help companies do the collections themselves. 

Clarity - The cutting edge practice management platform is offering 50% off for three months to new clients of Clarity partner firms. A similar discount is available for existing customers who upgrade. 

Expend - The expenses payment card and accompanying app have been made available free for six months.

Float - Scottish cash flow startup Float was the first cloud software vendor to offer businesses experiencing Covid-19 difficulties an extended trial until the end of May. Float founder Colin Hewitt made the obvious point when announcing the offer that having tools to manage cashflow could be crucial at this point. “A business that has already made projections for alternative outcomes knows how much money it needs in the bank to survive and can, therefore, make better decisions in order to avoid the potentially devastating impact of COVID-19. We want to help businesses know exactly where they stand, and to help them make the right decisions for themselves, the business, and their staff,” he said.

Liberty Accounts - Liberty has paused all charges for not for profit customers and added a number of sector-specific features relating to Gift Aid claims and Charity reporting requirements. The payment holiday was announced on Friday. “This is in addition to the changes we have already made in our payroll to ease handling of COVID-19 SSP claims and Furloughed Employee claims,” Liberty’s Alan Wright told AccountingWEB.

Moneypenny - Communications provider Moneypenny is offering a free digital switchboard service to help businesses struggling to deal with the shift in call volumes.

Pento - For those UK businesses struggling to understand the new Furlough Job Protection scheme claims, Pento has built a free furlough claim calculator. Pento will be adding more functionality as HMRC releases more guidance.

Pleo - The payment card and expenses management solution will be free until 1 July for any new customers that sign up before 30 April.

Satago - Fintech and credit tracking specialist Satago is running a three-month free offer to accountants and businesses. The offer includes free risk assessment and credit control tools and immediate access to online invoice finance. Enter either NextThreeFreeACCT (for accountants), or NextThreeFreeSME (for businesses) in the promotional offer box to join the scheme. There will be no obligation to take up a long term contract.

 Uku - To help ease the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, practice management software provider Uku is offering both its pro package and its personal online training for free until Septemeber.

Xavier Analytics - As well as running a three-month 50% discount, Xavier has launched an initiative called Turn the Tide to help accountants with efficiency strategies and tips and techniques to support their clients.

Zapier - If your organisation is working on the frontline of the coronavirus response, either in health care, protective equipment supply or non-political humanitarian efforts, the app integration platform is offering free Starter plans through to the end of this year.

Remote working initiatives

IRIS - IRIS has introduced a Fast Track Service under which its hosting division will switch clients from desktop software to hosted versions “in days, rather than weeks”. The hosted option is available for users of Sage, Digita, CCH, TaxCalc and other practice systems as well as IRIS products. In the next month or so, the company also said it would make its IRIS Engage client communication system available free to accounting customers. A free guide on running a payroll bureau from home is also available.

Thomson Reuters - Thomson Reuters told AccountingWEB that it is offering customers a temporary hosted version of its Digita tax and practice suite and that temporary licences and pricing will be available.

Business support initiatives

Updated: 23 April 2020:

Coconut - The digital bank has been focused on lobbying the government to provide additional measures in supporting the self-employed. Its Campaign for self-employed income support during COVID-19 also provides up-to-date information and analysis on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and offers a free self assessment calculator to help complete 2019/20 tax returns.

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There are hundreds of webinars, PDF guides and other sources of advice coming out of the industry, including many detailed on AccountingWEB’s Industry Insight page. Here's a brief selection of ones that have caught our eye.

BrightPay - True to form, BrightPay has been pumping out educational material for customers on dealing with the different payroll aspects such as furloughing and statutory sickpay. These resources have been compiled in its BrightPay Covid-19 resources hub and are very useful for anyone who wants to check the detail of all the different procedures.

Capitalise - Offering free digital training to accountants until June to help them support small businesses looking for finance.

Capium - Tips on how to communicate with clients about the crisis.

Expend - Has launched a #KeepBritainGoing campaign,  involving accounting apps such as Float, Chaser, iwoca, esme, Judo and Pento, to provide SME's with a community hub providing relevant support, advice, offers and news.

Kefron - Hosting a webinar on Wed 8 April on how to run a virtual finance department.

KeyPay - Details for furloughing staff under the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS).

PaperLess Europe - Running free 

QuickBooks - The US giant is providing direct support to the World Health Organisation and local disease control centres, but also has a hub of regulatory, business continuity and employee protection guidance to support its customers.

Sage - The Sage coronavirus hub includes an assessment tool to help businesses work out which support initiatives apply to them. The developer also runs daily live webinars offering more detail about the financial support available from the government.

Wolters Kluwer -  The company has created a hub for COVID-19 resources for tax and accounting professionals, including information on remote working, secure online communication and managing practices remotely. 

Xero - The global cloud accounting platform has opened Business Continuity Hubs in each of its main regions. These sites include links to government information sources and portals where business customers can apply for small business relief. Xero also has a range of webinars covering working from home, business continuity planning and keeping track of cash flow. On the last point, the company has added access to Hubdoc to the Xero Business Edition package.

Thanks to App Advisory Plus for compiling many of the offers and support packages we have included on this page. Let us know if we’ve missed any out!

Replies (2)

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By meadowsaw227
03rd Apr 2020 12:33

Iris has sent me my next quarters invoice today and the cost has gone up yet again, this year by nearly 7% , now costing me £8,800 net vat p.a.
Thanks IRIS .

Thanks (5)
avatar
By tedbuck
09th Apr 2020 13:54

Agree with Meadows plus a few things on the invoice which need explaining- emailed for explanation a few days ago but no response as yet - but then Iris Accounts department has never been very transparent - perhaps they should invest in a bookkeeping system. Any recommendations?

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