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.
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.
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:
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.
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.