Software Reviews: Accounts production goes cloud

Taxfiler Accounts Preparation - import from cloud
Taxfiler_Accounts preparation
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AccountingWEB’s 2018 accounts production software review reveals that practitioners are beginning to embrace cloud solutions to produce final accounts for filing with HMRC and Companies House.

The two government agencies have played their part in encouraging this trend, first by implementing iXBRL filing for company accounts and corporation tax submissions back in 2011, and more recently with HMRC’s Making Tax Digtial plans, which prompted a surge to cloud bookkeeping systems and opened the door to an online, API-based compliance regime.

AccountingWEB's software comparison is based on individual reviews of 11 accounts production programs that are drawn from the same survey data that decided 2018’s Accounting Excellence Software Awards.

Accounts production winner Taxfiler was one of the main beneficiaries of the cloud migration. The online tax-accounts production combination app had built up a 6,000-strong user base by the time it was acquired by IRIS in May. Capium, a full cloud practice suite, also saw its share of the survey population triple since last year.

Giants disrupted

Looking at the products in the running for this year’s Accounting Excellence Awards, some of the more established suppliers such as Wolters Kluwer, IRIS, Sage, Thomson Reuters and CaseWare suffered from these online incursions:

Product

Share

Av rating

NPS

Taxfiler

22%

4.73

87 

VT Final Accounts

11%

4.77

86

BTCSoftware

12%

4.76

86

TaxCalc

26%

4.75

85

Capium

  9%

4.73

85

Keytime

  3%

4.51

57

CCH

  3%

4.19

39

IRIS

  6%

4.11

24

In the desktop corner, VT Final Accounts is still a force to be reckoned with. It maintained its share of the survey sample and increased its Net Promoter Score (NPS) - but not enough to see off the Taxfiler challenge.

Although they also just missed out on the Accounting Excellence Software Award in this category, BTCSoftware and TaxCalc held onto their constituencies and improved their Net Promoter Scores in 2018.

Price is often a driving motivation for smaller practitioners, as one member explained earlier this year: “The idea now of a full integrated system is dying as there are so many standalone packages that can do their niche task better than the integrated packages can do and compete on price.”

With HMRC still keen to roll out quarterly updates for full Making Tax Digital – sometime after 2020 according to the current plan – the Taxfiler tax/accounts production hybrid could be the precursor of a new approach where final accounts become more of an output option within the accounting-compliance workflow. This is what happens in the USA, and is clearly part of the thinking behind the recent compliance initiatives from QuickBooks and Xero.

AccountingWEB members have already explained how they are planning new workflows around these processes. Rather than messing around with adjusting journals, accountants are using the accounting engine to make any changes and using that data to drive the final accounts output.

As the feedback from our accounts production software reviews clearly show, if small practitioners see an opportunity to streamline their software investments, they are likely to seize it.

If you are considering your options for final accounts production software, visit our latest Software Reviews comparison table. Detailed reviews are available for the 11 most popular applications rated by more than 1,200 accountants.

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

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.

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06th Dec 2018 10:57

I wonder whether the following phrase will come as a bit of a shock to some firms.

"final accounts become more of an output option within the accounting-compliance workflow"

The vast majority of Limited companies are micro entities and therefore able to take advantage of FRS 105. If they also use (or are starting to use) cloud accounting, and are therefore able to view their P&L and Balance sheet many times a year, it soon becomes obvious that the statutory accounts, that the profession has for so long relied upon for mystery and fees, are of little, if any, significance.

From discussions on here over recent years there are many firms who have not only ignored FRS 105 but have also resisted the move to cloud accounting and may also be the ones saying that the latest accelerant, MTD, will not happen.

Thanks (4)
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06th Dec 2018 13:14

There is also a point of being "forced" onto the cloud by MTD and "embracing" it. Let's not get confused, john.

Thanks (0)
to johnjenkins
06th Dec 2018 14:33

Or, where some see threats others see opportunities.

Thanks (2)
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to Paul Scholes
06th Dec 2018 15:37

Wonder if that'll apply to the HOC.

Thanks (0)

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