Ahead of the formal announcement of the 2017 Software Excellence Awards shortlists on Wednesday 23 August, AccountingWEB can reveal that there will be a prize for Making Tax Digital systems.
Ever since the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride confirmed in July that the MTD timetable would be stripped back and delayed for non-VAT registered businesses, industry insiders have pondered whether there was any point in presenting an award for something that now won’t happen until 2019.
The topic was the focus of considerable debate among the judging panel that met to discuss some of ancillary Software Excellence Awards that will be presented on 19 October during AccountingWEB’s Practice Excellence Week.
In the end, nine developers put their products forward for consideration. In the light of the effort the put into developing these tools, and preparing their submissions for the awards, the judges decided it was appropriate to go ahead and celebrate their achievements in this area.
“One of the key things we’ve been telling practitioners and businesses about MTD is that it’s a mistake to sit back and wait for all the details to be fleshed out,” said AccountingWEB global editor John Stokdyk.
“MTD is going to happen eventually, and the infrastructure and outline workflows are already taking shape in HMRC’s pilot scheme. The judging panel wanted to encourage developers who were being proactive about the MTD challenge so that users will follow suit.”
Faced with the current MTD policy vacuum, the judges decided to consider whether or not actual users had their hands on the new systems, and how active the developers were in participating in the MTD pilot and implementing its application programming interfaces as they emerged.
Both Sage Accountant Cloud and the Clear Books Micro and Practice editions were entered for consideration. But since they were only announced in the week that the submission deadline for the awards fell, the judges determined that they had not been around long enough to make significant claims for recognition.
They will, of course, be eligible for the same award next year, when the competition is likely to be even more intense in the run up to MTD-VAT quarterly submissions from April 2019.
In the meantime, here is the shortlist for 2017 Making Tax Digital product of the year:
Receipt Bank was the first developer to hit the streets with a product designed for the MTD market. Offered as a free expenses capture tool for business people, 1Tap automatically puts expenses into the correct self-assessment categories. The data is fed to the Receipt Bank practice control hub, where the accountant will be able to work on the information and prepare it for submission to HMRC using their usual tax processing tools.
BTCSoftware has built its MTD functionality on top of its existing database structure and functionality to give accountant users an evolutionary path into the digital tax system. It had a user representative in the small group that helped HMRC test the submission gateway and currently supports all eight of the APIs that pre-populate Self Assessment returns within the software.
Gbooks has been actively involved in HMRC’s MTD trials and was the first to incorporate the tax department’s application programming data feeds (APIs) into its live software. While the full infrastructure has yet to be finalised, Gbooks users are already giving favourable responses to downloading taxpayers’ PAYE and benefits information along with their Class 2 National Insurance position.
Thomson Reuters Onvio
Onvio from Thomson Reuters is an all-new, cloud-based system designed to handle HMRC’s MTD compliance process. The suite includes an integrated mobile bookkeeping app for sole traders and landlords that links through to tools to categorise transactional data and compile it into updates ready for HMRC. Onvio can also import client data from other bookkeeping systems. Two accountants are using the system as part of the MTD pilot scheme.
Some of these products are part of practice management programs that have been rated by several hundred AccountingWEB users. For a more detailed comparison of all the leading programs and individual product assessments, visit AccountingWEB’s practice management software reviews page. Also keep an eye out for our MTD software reviews comparison, due in November 2018.
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Contributions from the AccountingWEB.co.uk editorial team.