BTCSoftware achieved an impressive hat-trick at the Accounting Excellence Software Awards this year, carrying off the tax, practice management and practice suite prizes in the face of competition from a new generation of rivals.
The rise of cloud accounting was a consistent theme in this year’s awards and while it continues to cater for the needs of its desktop customers, BTCSoftware is steering a path towards online solutions as it prepares for the new Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime.
BTCSoftware founder and director Rob Ellis commented, “We’re developing a new cloud platform for MTD. Going forward, it won’t just be for VAT, but everything. Behind the scenes it uses the same database as our desktop products, which connect to it via VPN [virtual private network]. So you have a desktop product with data in the cloud that gives customers the flexibility they want.”
The online BTCSoftware Hub uses the same database to drive the MTD for VAT process and in time all the other accounting and tax functions will be added to the online platform, Ellis added.
Practice management surprise
Ahead of the big night last Thursday, BTCSoftware executives acknowledged that it would be hard to retain the tax award they shared with TaxCalc last year, especially with growing competiton from the likes of Taxfiler, Capium and AccountancyManager.
Practice management looked to be a particularly competitive category with Senta and Practice Ignition in the mix. But where other practice suite developers TaxCalc, Sage and Thomson Reuters lost some of their users to the cloud insurgents, the core of BTCSoftware users stayed loyal.
Ellis and his team have been working very closely with HMRC during the MTD pilot and pressing ahead with the cloud platform and data integration using the tax department’s APIs. The practice management and suite awards were a pleasant surprise following the company’s victory in the tax category, but the implication is that customers are getting a streamlined experience from their practice tools.
The intention at BTCSoftware is to continue that trend as users migrate online and the profession as a whole shifts to the MTD environment.
“Practices are going to have a migration period where they have self assessment clients, VAT clients and MTD clients,” Ellis said. “They’ll need self assessment and MTD for some, but not for others. They don’t want to move all clients to MTD at once, but in different phases. The Hub is very focused on VAT returns at the moment, but if users store client data there, it’s linking to the same database as the other desktop modules.”
Most BTCSoftware customers are still using desktop products, but existing BTCSoftware customers get access to the Hub for free. As a result, the pickup of the Hub has been strong, Ellis said.
“The MTD for VAT platform will be used to give existing clients a solution and to attract other practices and large businesses because it will work for them too,” Ellis said. “Where they are not using the practice management software, the objective will be to try and move them onto a fully digital suite.”
After it has implemented the online practice management features, BTCSoftware plans to bring across other tax regimes as they evolve. “Unless they cancel MTD, we’ll leave the old tax regime behind on the desktop and develop everything new in the SaaS product,” Ellis said.
About the Accounting Excellence Awards
Sponsored by MyFirmsApp, the Accounting Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements of ambitious growth-oriented firms and technology suppliers. Now in their eighth year, this year's voting culminated in our 2018 awards evening on the 20 September at the InterContinental London, Park Lane and in the Software Reviews that will soon follow.
About John Stokdyk
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.