IRIS accountancy suite will incorporate the prepopulated data generated through the HMRC API once the Revenue flips the switch scheduled for the 14 April.
The integration means that IRIS will be an early adopter of the Making Tax Digital functionality, enabling all IRIS accountants to inspect their clients’ data. When HMRC releases the APIs, a new digital tax tab on the client dashboard in IRIS OpenPortal will be populated with the client's data and this data can be pulled directly into the client’s tax return and tax calculations.
Speaking to AccountingWEB earlier this week Sion Lewis, CEO accountancy division at IRIS, said: “Offering this service twelve months ahead of the April 2018 mandate for businesses with turnover in excess of the VAT threshold will enable accountants to become accustomed with the MTD functionality... It's vital accountants are familiar with these systems as early as possible, rather than undertaking training once MTD becomes mandatory for the entire client base.”
The APIs will reveal data HMRC holds on the client. This data includes: Class 2 NIC, marriage allowance, individual benefits, individual tax, individual income and individual employment.
Beside HMRC’s column of information, the accountancy suite lists the calculation held in IRIS using information already obtained. The accountant can then compare the information, and override HMRC or take the value HMRC has already declared before submitting.
Capability used in the 90s
Steve Cox, IRIS CTO, said that a form of this capability was available in 1990s but was taken away when File By Internet (FBI) was introduced in the late 90s (circa 1999).
“Back in the days of Electronic Lodgement Service (ELS), HMRC used to send the client’s Statement of Account (SoA) information via email to the agent/accountant”, said Cox
“Software vendors used to automate the collection of this data from an email into the tax products, meaning they had access to their clients’ statement/tax position within the software for the next tax year. Whilst this wasn’t as detailed as the information that accountants can now get access to via IRIS’s pre-population of tax information, it was something that accountants regularly used.”
IRIS October releases
The pre-population of tax data heralds the first phase of IRIS’s MTD plans. The software house has scheduled an MTD app for Kashflow to be released in a couple of weeks. However, IRIS’s big MTD play is likely to be in its October release: an MTD module that will fit inside the IRIS practice suite.
With the module, practitioners can wield value-added analytics and reporting, workflow management, job tracking, data mining, and communication tracking, all powered through the MTD-sourced data.
Lewis expects the new functionality will free accountants to add value through high level advisory services. “It's about getting accurate, timely data at your fingertips for the accountant, rather than looking around for it,” he said.
“The reason I think that's really important is that it enables accountants to get on and do more advisory work with the client, as opposed to chasing paper and looking for data.”
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.