Taxfiler answers practice management concerns

Taxfiler practice management coming soon
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Like many software products before it, Taxfiler’s practice management module is going to take longer than initially expected to arrive.

First announced at Accountex in May, the launch of Taxfiler’s new practice management module took on extra urgency in recent weeks after the developer informed customers that its pricing structure would increase from a base rate of £10/month to £20/month for up to 30 clients. The cost for unlimited clients has gone up to £199/month for 10 users. The single user package remains at £10/month, up to 10 clients.

“Where’s the practice management function that was supposed to be included from July?” asked AccountingWEB member ohgoodgodno on 4 July. “If I’m paying for it, I’d at least like to have a look at it.”

When AccountingWEB put the question to Nick Gregory, chief marketing officer at Taxfiler's parent company IRIS, he replied: “Following the announcement of Taxfiler Practice Management in May 2019, we’ve been working on its availability for customers. This was anticipated during this month.

“However, these timings have been extended a little following feedback from customer walk-throughs to ensure the integration is frictionless.”

The developer is inviting a number of customers to participate in early beta testing during August in anticipation of a full roll out in October, Gregory added.

Based on code developed by Farnell Clarke in Norwich, the Taxfiler module is positioned around a central client record containing compliance data, relationships and activity. It includes a facility to send automatic alerts to clients about forthcoming tax and compliance deadlines that feed into practice task lists.

These initial features will be included in the monthly subscription, along with MTD for VAT tools, more bookkeeping integrations and links to the IRIS OpenSpace document portal. Other features such as email may be added in the future as optional extras.

The response from AccountingWEB members to the news was mixed. Yelsnew’s view on all the new features was, “Don’t want, don’t want, don’t want and don’t want. Thanks!”

But other accountants were more sanguine about the price increase and the addition of new features. “It’s a major factor in me staying with Taxfiler,” wrote legerman. “Been thinking about [practice management] for a while and had already started looking when Taxfiler announced they were adding it. Taxfiler’s new price is still at the very low end of the market.”

AccountingWEB regulars carnmores and andy.partridge both saw the need for practice management tools and were willing to pay Taxfiler extra to get them. “Nobody likes price increases,” wrote Partridge. “Taxfiler has been ridiculously cheap. With the increase it still is. Practice management software in 2019 is not ‘whistles and bells’ but a standard tool for many practices.”

The episode stirred up debates around Taxfiler’s business model and the IRIS acquisition of 2018.

As well as its online functionality and ease of use, Taxfiler’s pricing has played a big part in its rapid growth. Figures from AccountingWEB’s annual software survey confirm that Taxfiler's upward trend has continued since the acquisition, with the product adding 50% more ratings compared to last year’s poll in the tax category.

IRIS marketing chief Nick Gregory responded: “The Taxfiler price rise was the first in the company’s history. Since the acquisition by IRIS Software Group, there has been an accelerated investment in our cloud-based compliance software. We’ve doubled our product development capacity and increased customer support to service our growing customer base.

“We have taken the opportunity to realign our packages according to practice size enabling us to continue offering great value for start-up firms and build the functionality practices require as they grow.

 “The investment in Taxfiler continues to focus on development and customer support, to deliver quality solutions to meet the requirements and challenges of micro-practices. And these requirements are growing. Accountancy professionals are increasingly demanding fundamental integrated tools on which they can build their businesses.”

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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18th Jul 2019 06:13

Just one thing to clarify John, the prices you mention are not quite correct, we have unlimited clients and only pay £30, the £199 is for 10 users. Still great value for the money imo

Thanks (1)
18th Jul 2019 10:42

"customer walk-throughs to ensure the integration is frictionless." Oh, how I love corporate-speak.

Thanks (4)
18th Jul 2019 10:54

Pity I can't understand it!

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to Vallery Lee
23rd Jul 2019 11:39

agreed absolute tosh....

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By Paul_J
18th Jul 2019 10:55

So aside from the practice management stuff, has anyone seen the MTD for VAT or Open Space integration features yet, or are these still suffering from a bit too much chafing as well?
We've signed up for the new plan but our last invoice on the old basis runs to later in July, so I was wondering if TF are being sticklers over that or just not releasing anything on time?

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to Paul_J
18th Jul 2019 11:35

Hi Paul - I have seen and used the MTD for VAT function within TaxFiler and it's worked nicely. A bit like everything MTD related, read the instructions carefully, then re-read them, check the process and for me it's worked first time submitting a return via MTD for a newly registered client.

I'm keen to learn more about TaxFiler's Practice management stuff, having just had a 30 day Senta Trial I've put this on hold as I await to see what the final TaxFiler product looks like.

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18th Jul 2019 11:53

When I first went onto taxfiler I spoke to the owner to say how great it was and what great value it was. He was refreshingly frank in saying he was making money at that price and it wasn't that Taxfiler was cheap but that the big boys were expensive and were making a killing. Don't blame him for selling as he must have made his fortune. But I now find that I am paying twice as much and the number of clients allowed has fallen by 40%. To get the same number of clients as allowed under the old scheme would see a price increase of 200%.

Thanks (3)
18th Jul 2019 16:31

Instead of focusing development on the core product, which hasn't changed much in the past 18 months, they have increased prices, trailed an add-on that no-one asked for and then failed to launch it on time.

A good lesson in sticking to the knitting.

Thanks (4)
18th Jul 2019 16:32

Still no option to delete double-posts, I see.

Thanks (1)
18th Jul 2019 17:18

And still can't change the headings on accounts. Very annoying. They need to step up a bit.

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to anthonystorey
23rd Jul 2019 11:41

I am over this now ! I explain to clients its all because of automation . I attach a spreadsheet if they are desperate which happens very rarely

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By Jonti
18th Jul 2019 21:45

Used Taxfiler for three to four years & it is excellent. At the time spoke to the owner and said I just hope you don’t Sell up to Iris. Loved FreeServe payroll years ago (think it was called!), Iris took it over, pre RTI ...... absolute catastrophy when year ends failed ( yes I have a long memory, so do my clients). Used Drummhor for years and loved it, hey presto out of the blue we got put onto cloud from desktop version without fully appreciating it (embarrassing I know). Rebadged as Iris and it was so slow I could not believe it worked for anybody. Taxfiler came to the rescue and we love it, functions well, good and not the customary rude support you get elsewhere.

So I’m on my guard like lots of others I imagine.

Doubled in price. The promised and unwanted upgrades not available. Would never trust Iris for accounts production for sure after their payroll & tax software “improved products”.

I looked for the MTD functionality but can’t find it, so thanks tdculverhouse for the news that it IS there.

I will take some persuading not to look elsewhere.

Thanks (1)
to Jonti
23rd Jul 2019 11:38

I agree, god do i remember the Freeway debacle one hopes they learnt from their experiences, they got away with it they should not have.
for MVD the first thing you do is enter the VAT number in the details section and the VAT tab will appear and off you go and link via the agent services account

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By thacca
19th Jul 2019 07:56

I've used the MTD function for VAT and it works well. Only problem is I do not need it. We do not prepare VAT Returns in Excel. All the bookkeeping software we use has MTD filing built in.

I've used the accounts software and, frankly, I think it is poor. You cannot post a journal! The absence of journals means you have to produce the TB elsewhere. For us that elsewhere is often VT. As VT produces final accounts there is no point in transferring the figures to Tax Filer.

The live links to bookkeeping trial balances from Tax Filer accounts is an innovative development which I can see the merit it. However the cloud bookkeeping software we use the most is Kashflow and the link to that doesn't work properly currently. I told them around the beginning of the year about this and it still isn't fixed. I find that strange as Kashflow is in the Iris camp so you would think that would be the one they would prioritise.

I don't have a need for Practice Management as I already have a solution I am happy with.

The old Iris Open Tax product had a nice feature where agent authorisation requests could be sent to HMRC from within the software as opposed to logging on to the HMRC portal. That would be an improvement I would like to see.

In conclusion: I am paying double the price for the same product. I would welcome a reduced pricing option for tax returns only of say £20 per user per month. Which would still be a 33% increase on what I paid previously..

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20th Jul 2019 14:11

Typical IRIS! I have used taxfiler for a few years and was a great product at a good price.

Hey presto IRIS takeover and you get a DOUBLING of the price for basically the same product plus add-ons that nobody wants or asked for. Yes DOUBLING of the price! On what other universe would a supplier do that.

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By c.szpak
22nd Jul 2019 10:58

As for MTD, if you enter the clients VAT number on the client page a new tab "VAT" will appear. Then just follow the prompts.

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to c.szpak
26th Jul 2019 18:46

Good to know, Chris. I just tested it. If you then delete the VAT number from client "details" page, the VAT tab disappears, which is nice.

I like Taxfiler, but I find the lack of development of the core product (as opposed to PM and other unnecessary things) and poor communication with users very frustrating. If only Taxfiler had a way to easily and cheaply inform their users of new features; perhaps by using some sort of electronic mail system......!!!

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By Jan CM
22nd Jul 2019 11:09

I have been using Taxfiler for a few years now and have found it meets all my needs, is easy to use and was great value for money. Was a little shocked to see such a price hike, but appreciate it is still at the lower end of the market on price compared to similar products.

However, I'm now paying the higher price and am unable to access any of the new services. I was promised that I would be able to file MTD VAT returns, but am completely in the dark about what Taxfiler's current position is on this, or how to access it from my account. It certainly doesn't seem to be self explanatory and I've checked the help centre... no mention of MTD for VAT? I have one client, whom I need to file via add on software. I was hoping to use Taxfiler, but it looks like I'll need to look elsewhere, as the deadline for submission is looming!

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to Jan CM
22nd Jul 2019 11:27

Jan CM wrote:
I have one client, whom I need to file via add on software. I was hoping to use Taxfiler, but it looks like I'll need to look elsewhere, as the deadline for submission is looming!

You need to remember to enter the VAT number for the client. Without the VAT number none of the MTD stuff will work.

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