The tax and practice software house formerly known as Digita has added an MTD for VAT module and is poised to launch a company formations companion to its Onvio online firm management suite.
At its Synergy conference in Hinkley today, the company set out its roadmap for Onvio, a long-term project to create an online suite with similar capabilities to the Windows-based Digita suite. For the time being, Thomson Reuters is charting a “hybrid” path, where it will progressively enhance the desktop Digita systems with cloud functionality. The specific modules taking customers in this direction are slated to appear between now and 2021.
Onvio VAT was the top priority for delegates at the conference looking to meet the requirements of the new Making Tax Digital regime for both business and advisers. “As a tax and practice software developer, VAT wasn’t our thing. But when we surveyed customers it was clear that we needed to add a bridging tool to the product,” explained Thomson Reuters tax product manager Mark Purdue.
Onvio VAT integrates with the rest of the suite, he continued. “You can save a VAT report into Onvio Docs and once you’ve imported it, you can send it to the client for a secure signature.”
As well as managing documents, Onvio can create specific project templates, When a new VAT job arrives, the user can specify the next due date and the work will automatically be added to their to-do list to recur quarterly. The software will then track the return workflow each quarter until the client’s approval is obtained, the return submitted and the job marked as complete.
AccountingWEB stalwart Nigel Harris was at the Synergy event and was most impressed by the “zero-effort time recording” feature in the Firm Management module. It passively records how long a user spends in each application, for each client and task. That data can be turned into a timesheet entry at the click of a mouse. “For firms still using timesheets, that could be a huge game changer,” he said.
The first phase of workflow development in Onvio began a few years ago with routines for income tax reporting under MTD. While that side of MTD has slowed, the project templates could be adapted for VAT.
New formations module
Next in the frame, due to go live this week, is ONVIO Formations, the developer’s first venture into company formations. It uses a six-step workflow going from the initial formation and registration with Companies House and follows through to the share register which can be adjusted to meet any mix of owners. The software also outputs share certificates, memorandum, and articles of association that can be stored and shared securely in the system’s online document portal.
Product manager Ian Cooper said the new online formations module “a perfect compliment to our hybrid strategy”. ONVIO Formations can run alongside desktop Digita tools, but share the data and documentation with clients.
“They can have access to all the documents in their portals. They can download, bookmark or send a link from there to anyone they want to send it to,” said Cooper.
ONVIO Firm Management
Thomson Reuters Onvio first appeared three years ago with the document portal opening the way to online practice tools. Thanks to the complications surrounding MTD, progress has not been as fast as the company intended, but there were signs at the Synergy event that the momentum was picking up.
During demo sessions, Cooper previewed the heart of the new system, Onvio Firm Management. An entry-level Essentials edition combining the client portal with basic tracking and billing tools will be available “between now and the end of the year”, he said. An Advanced version would follow with full task and workflow management and the ability to report project costs and fees against budget.
“We’ve kept our tinder dry so we could announce them all together,” Cooper said. “We’ve been collecting partner feedback to be absolutely sure that people with be pleasantly surprised with how feature-rich the first release of the product is.”
An Onvio Accounts module is also on the drawing board for release around the turn of the year.
Onvio is part of a global product development exercise to cover both common and local needs at three levels of user: essential, advanced and premium, explained Dave Pearson, Product Lead, Tax Professionals UK at Thomson Reuters.
“Different elements can be done globally and some locally. For Onvio Firm Management, there are a lot of consistent requirements across the globe, which allows us to get the functionality early without slowing down development of things like UK tax and accounts,” he said.
“We’re committed to keeping our Digita desktop suite compliant and competitive, but Onvio lets us do things we couldn’t do on the desktop, like collaboration, data requests and the document portal. We can integrate some of that into those desktop tools as we develop them, so all our users get the benefits of that new capability.”
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.