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Thomson Reuters readies Onvio for MTD

22nd Nov 2016
Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Thomson Reuters coders are preparing Onvio for MTD
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Developers at Thomson Reuters are working on Onvio Tax, a suite of new cloud tools to support accountants through the transition to the Making Tax Digital regime.

Onvio Tax will form part of the Onvio suite introduced earlier this year, which currently features a client portal and document management system. For the next MTD-capable release in 2017, Thomson Reuters will add a mechanism to receive bookkeeping data and analyse balances through to the category information needed to satisfy HMRC’s quarterly update requirements.

According to Thomson Reuters tax product manager Mark Purdue, Onvio Tax will be able to handle data from a range of sources. In addition to the bookkeeping import mechanism, application programming interfaces (APIs) will allow it to retrieve data from authorised clients’ personal tax accounts and from third party data feeds.

The program will carry out its own tax liability computations and file both quarterly updates and the annual declaration expected by HMRC.

Part of the Onvio platform is built around tasks and trackers similar to those in desktop Digita applications. Onvio Tax will come loaded with default trackers for tasks including MTD processes, but users will have the flexibility to adapt them how they like, Purdue said.

“We’re beginning to cross the lines between accounts production and tax compliance,” he continued. “Tax products of the future will recognise that blur. Even though the user uses different products, from the user experience point of view they won’t really notice they’re moving between modules – it will all work as one.”

Thomson Reuters has been working on building up its cloud-based Onvio portfolio since before MTD was announced, Purdue said. The system will be available for any practices that want to get involved in HMRC’s MTD beta testing programme and will be ready if the new regime goes live as planned after April 2018.

Jon Cooper, director of CooperFaure Accountants said his firm has been working with Thomson Reuters on the processes needed to support the new tax regime. He commented: “Our practice is already planning the move to Making Tax Digital and we are excited about the opportunities this presents to streamline the compliance process and provide an improved service to our clients.”

Thomson Reuters managing director Andrew Flanagan said: “We want to reassure our customers that we are developing the best solution in the cloud. It’s designed from the ground up with a very intuitive look and feel – giving us an opportunity to reimagine compliance solutions and workflows.”

Flanagan added that the company was committed to providing MTD-compliant tools for desktop users. “You don’t have to adopt Onvio if you don’t want to use it, but as individual elements of Onvio come online, you will have access to them as part of your Digita subscription. You and your staff will have access to them a year ahead of time.”

Reflecting the company’s soft launch approach, Flanagan was not ready to disclose pricing for the new MTD-capable Onvio tools.

“We will wait until we’re closer to selling it,” he said. “We want people to get familiar with what we have and make them more comfortable with the product. Actual sales will happen post beta.”

Replies (21)

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By Ian McTernan CTA
22nd Nov 2016 10:22

Didn't HMRC say software companies would be offering free software for MTD? That and other delusions being shattered...

Sounds like MTD will be pushed on us whether we like it or not, so I guess we'll all be looking at products to utilise to make our life easier.

What I want in a product isn't real time tax compliance. I want a product that allows me to enter details as and when and just submits 1/4 of last years figures for the 4 dead quarters and allows me to make actual entries in the meantime separately, and then we do the final submission with the real figures once we have got them all sorted (or received, in the case of bags of receipts and spreadsheet users).

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By johnkcound
22nd Nov 2016 10:25

Why does everyone accept MTD as inevitable?
Spread the word "Can't do it. Won't do it".

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By 0098087
22nd Nov 2016 10:40

Most of my clients wouldn't know where to start and who has time to show them. Mad idea, coming from an incompetent government given cover by the media

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By david wilks
22nd Nov 2016 10:47

We must not accept MTD as inevitable in the time frame suggested.
It would be interesting to know just what deals HMRC have done with commercial software houses.
If everyone affected refused to join the club at this time what could they possibly do?
Harra, my challenge to you is still out there.

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By JSJ54
22nd Nov 2016 10:50

I never thought I would have to use language like this to describe what has happened to the accountancy profession ...............

"We've been shafted".

Somebody is going to have to pay for this software. The government (HMRC) won't; most clients won't; so that leaves the accountants.

And I haven't thought about the time cost yet!

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By Joe Soap
22nd Nov 2016 10:55

"tools to support accountants through the transition to the Making Tax Digital regime" Ha ha ha

It will be no good unless it includes a big box of valium and a case or three of gin.

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By BristolTaxGuy
22nd Nov 2016 11:36

I'm not terribly confident about this - we're still waiting for Digita to get changes implemented in April 2016 to work!

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By North East Accountant
22nd Nov 2016 12:17

Who is going to be the first software provider to offer complete end to end software, which is what accountants will need to deal with MTD?

Website
App
Portal
Document management
Book Keeping
Accounts Production
Tax
Practice Management, inc Time & Fees
"Added Value" Advisory

Anyone?

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Replying to North East Accountant:
Pillow May Ltd
By pillowmay
23rd Nov 2016 09:44

Alternatively they could provide full API so that we can choose our preferred best of breed software for each element and then integrate them together seamlessly. That would be even better in my opinion but it`s going to take some convincing to the larger software companies in particular of the need to be open and provide API.

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Replying to North East Accountant:
By Glenn Martin
23rd Nov 2016 12:44

Would you want everything in with one supplier including your website etc, as could be held to ransom at some point.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By North East Accountant
23rd Nov 2016 17:02

Glennzy wrote:

Would you want everything in with one supplier including your website etc, as could be held to ransom at some point.

If from one hopefully streamlined process from A to Z.

If from say 4 suppliers, with supplier 1 output to supplier 2 input, 2 to 3, etc, you can still be held to ransom by 4 suppliers now instead of just 1.

You are spot on, that there is some buyer lockin once you are into a software supplier and can be held to ransom.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
22nd Nov 2016 12:38

I am intrigued on how they can be working on this when we dont know what the spec is yet.

As per the first response, what is needed is a tool to generate 4 sets of data sufficient to avoid a fine, chucked into a dead hole, which are then ignored, and replaced by the real data.

That is the practical reality of the system of the proposals.

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By Tim Vane
22nd Nov 2016 12:53

Once again it appears that HMRC is sharing far more information with the software houses than it is sharing with the tax profession or businesses in general.

Just as with last month's IRIS revelations (https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tech/practice-software/iris-ceo-talks-te...) there is clearly a separate agenda here for the software houses and HMRC that we are being kept in the dark on, specifications being passed on where the profession is being kept entirely out of the loop. We now have several major software houses working on detailed software solutions to HMRC specifications with zero input from the rest of us.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
Jonathan@Aiteo
By [email protected]
22nd Nov 2016 15:23

Though, interestingly enough, I had a conversation with a product manager for a newish entrant to the cloud market who said they were getting very little from HMRC in the form of specs. So either they are prioritising the big players, or the big players are just talking themselves up. Possibly a bit of both.

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Replying to [email protected]:
By Tim Vane
22nd Nov 2016 16:30

There was a thread 2 months ago (https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tech/practice-software/iris-world-2016-r...) in which it was stated that 18 of the software companies were on the private (aka secret?) beta. AWeb were planning to ask HMRC who those 18 were, but I haven't seen any follow up, so I assume that HMRC (and the suppliers) are coy about saying who is involved.

It really does seem that the big suppliers may be heavily pushing the MTD agenda against the best interests of their users in order to put those self-same users over a barrel when it comes to needing software.

Your comment is particularly worrying since one would have hoped it would be the newer, forward-thinking cloud suppliers who were in the vanguard of the MTD approach, but it does seem that HMRC is dealing mainly with the established old guard, who have the vested interest in keeping the market closed and prices high. If the smaller newer suppliers who are currently shaking up the market and bringing the prices down are left to play catch up, the big boys can leap ahead again and keep the status quo.

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By david wilks
22nd Nov 2016 13:49

Of course we are being kept in the dark. A while ago I was asked by a researcher from HMRC what I thought of HMRC's software. When I replied "Not much" his response, which caught me off-guard, was "Would you trust commercial software more"? Like a chump I said I would in that whilst one is stuck with HMRC software one can pick and choose commercial software. Now I know why he asked that question.

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Adrian Pearson
By Adrian Pearson
22nd Nov 2016 17:24

@John Did you ask why TR have implemented importing from bookkeeping systems?

If only category totals are required to be filed each quarter, why not just let their accountant customers type in those (12) boxes?

Are they importing transactions or quarterly balances? Do you know?

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Replying to Adrian Pearson:
Tornado
By Tornado
22nd Nov 2016 23:08

This has been discussed before and the only conclusion that can be taken from the mandatory requirement to use prescribed software is that it will be able to transmit ALL transaction data to HMRC. Perhaps just summaries at first but it is pretty easy to remotely trigger software to deliver all transactions without the user realising it.

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Tornado
By Tornado
22nd Nov 2016 23:11

Taken from the Thomson Reuters website

"Since day one, we have been working closely with HMRC on the MTD initiative to discuss processes and software development in a structured way through discovery workshops, software usability testing and interactive sessions. The drive for better data received in a more timely way is seen as a cornerstone of how the government seeks to create and modernise aspects of its relationship with taxpayers."

Do you think TR have been 'advising' HMRC about MTD and if so, I wonder why?

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By AndrewV12
23rd Nov 2016 11:05

Another bloody one throws their hat in the ring....how may more. Some are seeing MDT as an opportunity, rest of us :(

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By North East Accountant
24th Nov 2016 08:46

HMRC will respond to MTD consultation in January 2017.

Plenty of time to get all sorted for April 2018....not.

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