VT ceases development of Transaction+

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Bookkeeping and accounting software developer VT Software announced that it will halt the development of VT Transaction+, its small business bookkeeping tool that often operates as a front end to its final accounts package.

The announcement was confirmed by a short announcement on VT’s website and pinned the reasons for its decison on Making Tax Digital: “VT have decided to do no further development work on VT's bookkeeping package, VT Transaction+.

“The government plans that all VAT returns for businesses with a turnover over the VAT registration threshold must be submitted via MTD from April 2019. As a consequence, VT Transaction+ will no longer be suitable for these businesses.”

The news was flagged up in Any Answers on Sunday by AccountingWEB member Jo Nokes, who had received an email from the developer.

“I love this product, and now I have to work out what to replace it with,” Nokes wrote.

VT's decision was met with a chorus of shock, grief and disappointment: “I do the vast majority of my clients bookkeeping and all through VT so will now need to either switch and pay for additional QuickBooks, Xero or other solutions,” commented Chris Ash.

As Ash suggests, the decision is an unforeseen consequence of the government's enthusiasm for online tax filing and record-keeping. Since MTD was first announced in March 2015, AccountingWEB's member surveys have revealed a startling shift towards cloud accounting platforms and expense capture tools, with more than four out of five practitioners reporting they now support clients on cloud accounting platforms, up 50% on last year.

Even with the current policy hiatus and adjusted timetable for introducing VAT for MTD, the dwindling core market presented an unsustainable future for VT’s desktop bookkeeping tool.

This was very much the view coming from other specialist tax and practice developers.

“I don't think it changes our situation,” said Sion Lewis, CEO of IRIS's accountancy division*. “I spent yesterday at IRIS World and this is an end-to-end journey we are taking accountants on. There is no compromise there - we’ve got to go digital. I think VT is the first casualty of that situation.

“You need deep pockets to innovate and transform technology nowadays.”

According to Steve Checkley, commercial director at TaxCalc, we might potentially see further disruptions like this in the accounting market "but not from the well-known brands" he said. "Niche products will need additional development and if these companies originate from other countries, they may feel that the cost of actively developing their products exceeds the benefits."

Ed Molyneux, CEO at FreeAgent added: "As the landscape changes, with MTD and GDPR coming along, accountants will need to make sure the software they are using is putting the right amount of investment into keeping their products up to date."

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04th Oct 2017 19:46

I am disappointed having been a VT user for many years. RIP VT.

Poor form having to find out via Aweb though. You should have emailed us all!

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By Doris
to Kim Jong Un's Hair
05th Oct 2017 10:56

Sat here in shock!
I also use VT for most of my clients and this is the first I've heard, thanks VT!!
Will be interest to see software what old VT users move on to...........

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By mabzden
to Kim Jong Un's Hair
05th Oct 2017 12:15

KJUH, you don't seem to have much luck with software. Weren't you also a Iris OpenTax user?

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to mabzden
05th Oct 2017 18:40

No, taxfiler. I wouldn't touch Iris with a barge pole.

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By Eric T
05th Oct 2017 09:48

HMRC's push to have small business go digital results in businesses already using a digital platform losing that platform.

Hmmm - I wonder if that is what HMRC really wanted?

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05th Oct 2017 10:46

I'm not a techie but I would have thought VTs spreadsheet looking interface/conversion would have been ideal and perhaps even easier to convert to HMRCs requirements than some of the larger competitors

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to andocsky.aol.com
05th Oct 2017 11:02

I too am quite surprised that VT cannot (perhaps don't want to) come up with an interface/conversion.
All this arsing about. I was with Drummohr, then with Iris on the cloud, now on Keytime.
All because HMRC think they gonna get more money out of the small business. The real irony is that MTD will never work for the small business, if, in fact, it's not binned.

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05th Oct 2017 11:13

What a shame! I find VT so easy to use, following with interest as to what other affordable solutions people are going to choose now.

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05th Oct 2017 11:27

Clear Books are currently trialing something called 'Clear Books Micro' which looks very promising.

It appears in the browser like a spreadsheet with (currently) sales invoices, bank receipts and expenditure and, we were told, is going to be free for clients to use, and will link into the full Clear Books package, allowing accountants to file quarterly MTD reports as required. The accountants link is for a nominal monthly fee (£1 per month was suggested, but I don't know if the fee has been finalised so please don't hold me to that).

The software is very much in BETA format right now (I've signed up to be a BETA tester) and looks to be a worthy alternative for clients that like to use spreadsheets.

Hopefully Clear Books will make an announcement in due course including dates to roll this out as I can't wait to get my spreadsheet clients using it.

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05th Oct 2017 11:41

I am still confused! VT has a number of products, so which one ceases to exist? Is it one product out of many, or the entire VT software?

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to Cantona1
05th Oct 2017 11:48

I presume this is just the bookkeeping product, the accounts filing product VT final accounts would I hope be continued as I'd think there will be a continuing market for this

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to Cantona1
05th Oct 2017 12:14

No product ceases to exist and all will be maintained. However, assuming MTD comes to fruition, it will not be implemented in our bookkeeping package VT Transaction+. VT Final Accounts is not affected.

From a commercial point of view, VT Final Accounts has always been the mainstay of our business.

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By simsonj
05th Oct 2017 15:45

Unless I am being thick all that is required is a (cheap and easy) product to link VT Transaction to other software with a digital gateway to VAT with HMRC in much the same way as VT Final Accounts links with Corporation Tax submission software providers.

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to simsonj
05th Oct 2017 16:12

These things are rarely easy. You need to make them not only fool proof but damn fool proof. Much of the development time is often spent trying to break the application and ensuring that if it does break it does so elegantly and doesn’t pull everything else down with it. I’ve dabbled with these things in the past and failed.

As the core VT Transaction software is freeware, apart from the obvious benefit of linking it to the main program (used my accountants) there can’t be much of a commercial reason to develop MTD-ness for the bookkeeping software.

I can see VT’s logic. It’s a niche bit of software and the rules for MTD are far from final. Who knows when (or if ever) MTD will be rolled out to smaller traders which must be the core market for VT. Although I don’t use VT (I tried it a few years ago and found it didn’t suit my way of working) I applaud them for saying ‘this business is not for us’ - the future might just show them to be visionary.

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to ccaspell
06th Oct 2017 13:24

ccaspell wrote:

These things are rarely easy. You need to make them not only fool proof but damn fool proof. Much of the development time is often spent trying to break the application and ensuring that if it does break it does so elegantly and doesn’t pull everything else down with it. I’ve dabbled with these things in the past and failed.

As the core VT Transaction software is freeware, apart from the obvious benefit of linking it to the main program (used my accountants) there can’t be much of a commercial reason to develop MTD-ness for the bookkeeping software.

I can see VT’s logic. It’s a niche bit of software and the rules for MTD are far from final. Who knows when (or if ever) MTD will be rolled out to smaller traders which must be the core market for VT. Although I don’t use VT (I tried it a few years ago and found it didn’t suit my way of working) I applaud them for saying ‘this business is not for us’ - the future might just show them to be visionary.

Yes, agree with this.

I'm only guessing like everybody else but might not VT's logic be something along the lines of this:

* We're a small, pretty much boutique software developer
* Therefore we don't have deep pockets
* So we're not going to waste resources fannying around through 97 versions trying to hit the moving target that is MTD
* If MTD ever does see the light of day (and that's a big if) and if HMG haven't gone back on their commitment to allow spreadsheets by then (a distinct possibility IMO as wouldn't trust the sneaky boogers as far as I could throw them), then and only then will there be a market to create an interface between spreadsheets and HMRC and / or VT can step back into the market at that point in time.

Warm? Cold? What do others think?

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to adam.arca
06th Oct 2017 14:22

@ adam.arca - yes I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. With Xero announcing today that they are NOT going to provide a free MTD version (and why should they?) I think that many more software providers will follow suit. The whole MTD ship is seriously holed below the waterline so I guess that the big question is how many buckets are HMRC/HM Treasury going to provide to prevent it from sinking completely.

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By chatman
05th Oct 2017 19:19

I'll still use it to get my data into VT Final Accounts.

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By chatman
05th Oct 2017 19:21

.

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By chewmac
05th Oct 2017 22:05

VT Trans+ was rarely updated anyway in my experience. There was no need to. It's an outright purchase product so we can still use it to keep books and transfer to VT Final Accounts.
VT says it's not ceasing to exisit but to be developed- so seems you can even still recommend it to clients where suitable.
I'm not seeing any real change- at least from my point of view

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to chewmac
05th Oct 2017 22:45

VT was written in VB( Visual Basics) -a language which is not designed for web development. Even Microsoft is trying to ditch it. Five years ago, I had predicated Desktop application will gradually give away to cloud. Machine learning and AI are moving rapidly to mainstream. If a government has decided to be in a cloud, no-one can mess around with him/her- you just need to follow the order.

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to Cantona1
06th Oct 2017 08:48

Governments may decide to do this and that but that doesn't mean people have to follow. Just look what's happening in Spain.
I do not think MTD will be rolled out to the small business. There are too many obstacles, the main one being the business itself. It is time this Government learned that there are high techies and low techies and it's the low techies that supply a good deal of their income.

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to chewmac
07th Oct 2017 01:06

chewmac wrote:

VT Trans+ was rarely updated anyway in my experience. There was no need to. It's an outright purchase product so we can still use it to keep books and transfer to VT Final Accounts.
VT says it's not ceasing to exisit but to be developed- so seems you can even still recommend it to clients where suitable.
I'm not seeing any real change- at least from my point of view

VT transaction + has been a godsend for me over the past 15 years, as has VT Accounts. I still use VT+ for preparing accounts from incomplete records / once a year type clients.

I get that VT + is a 'bought' product and we can still continue using it, but with development ceasing, there will come a day when VT+ will no longer be compatible with new operating systems.

Moneysoft used to sell a cracking piece of practice management software (Office Manager from memory), but they stopped developing it. They continued to allow it to be downloaded from the website, but try firing it up on anything newer than Windows XP and it won't work.

Sadly, it seems VT+ will go the same way. I for one will miss it very much.

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to Manchester_man
08th Oct 2017 16:48

Manchester_man wrote:
I get that VT + is a 'bought' product and we can still continue using it, but with development ceasing, there will come a day when VT+ will no longer be compatible with new operating systems.

I'd be absolutely lost without VT, so I have already got a couple of old redundant XP computers sat in my spare office with VT loaded on, licence activated, and ready to go just in case the time comes when a new version of windows means VT no longer works.

I've done the same to keep a working version of Lotus 1-2-3 which I have up and running on an old IBM PC Dos machine from the 1980's!

I'm no luddite and have up to date PCs and software too, and am an avid Cloud accounting fan, but I still like using old software when it's actually easier/quicker to use than modern day equivalents. Excel is a fantastic piece of software, but I can still do a 3 year set of monthly forecasts and cash flows far quicker by using Lotus back-slash keystrokes than by clicking a mice, so why not!

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to Ken Howard
18th Oct 2017 23:35

Supercalc

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to carnmores
19th Oct 2017 08:47

I remember using supercalc on (I think) my old 464 which has to be at least 35 years ago, maybe more.
There was an old saying that MS Dos was for men and windows for wimps. How things change./dir

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By stanbu
05th Oct 2017 22:43

I am disappointed as VTT+ is so easy to use and is a favourite amongst my clients. Perhaps VT are being a bit short sighted. If there was an annual renewal fee of, say, £50, this might provide sufficient funds to support development for MTD including filing of VAT Returns.

Alternatively, VTT+ can export a Trial Balance to a spreadsheet so perhaps that could be used as a route to MTD.

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to stanbu
08th Oct 2017 16:24

I dont think that the owners of VT realise how widely used the product is. I haven't used VT final accounts for years but its bookkeeping product is perfect. It was the forerunner for importing data.
By downloading the bank into csv and uploading into VT meant that you can do a mass import which wasnt available with any other package. The trick was also to import the sales into say sales and petty cash and then move to debtors so everything could be imported quickly.

Unfortunately had they offered an invoicing function on their cashbook as I suggested eight years ago, like quickfile they would now have a million clients, because clients are only interested in producing invoices, the accounting is for the accountant.

However I don't know the complexities of doing this, the resources they had available and the overall size of VT.

Like many OPs it just feels sad that such a clever and innovative piece of software loses its shelf life quicker than perhaps it should.

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to peterdell
08th Oct 2017 16:52

peterdell wrote:

Like many OPs it just feels sad that such a clever and innovative piece of software loses its shelf life quicker than perhaps it should.

I felt the same in the late 1990's when CSM went bust after their disastrous conversion from Dos to Windows. Up to then Auditman was a fantastic bit of kit for very quick data entry and simple accounts preparation. CSM ruined it. Luckily, VT seemed to grasp the nettle and created their own version, which I've always thought was loosely based on Auditman in terms of fast key-stroke data entry. Mouse click entry is always going to be far slower when you're entering large numbers of transactions.

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to stanbu
08th Oct 2017 16:27

2

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to stanbu
08th Oct 2017 16:26

2

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06th Oct 2017 15:16

Let's take another view. If no company had anything to do with MTD (like VT) the package (IF it ever came about) and training would have to be free.

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08th Oct 2017 16:03

Can't say I am overly surprised given the way accounts and tax law is developing, however I do want to say a big thanks to VT and all the people working at VT for giving me a good living over the past decade. VT+ is a top product and meant my business could compete with the bigger firms. Hopefully your people can be deployed elsewhere.

Best of luck and thanks again.

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14th Oct 2017 14:18

I started a thread a week or so ago, when I first heard about VT giving up the idea of adapting VTT+ to MTD. I wanted to know if any other software could compare for the ease of data entry. Specifically, it's the importing via a csv file, the ability to move entries from one account to another, to match off entries, to change periods, to export as an excel file, what other software can currently do these things. I've used Xero and QB, and it all seems so laborious by comparison. Still wondering!

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By chatman
to Jo Nokes
14th Oct 2017 14:23

Importing and exporting to and from Xero is very easy; so is matching off entries, and moving large numbers of entries from one account to another. I am a big fan of VTT+ but I prefer Xero.

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to andersonhenry620
18th Oct 2017 15:44

Please do come back when you've got less time.

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21st Oct 2017 21:26

Perfect opportunity for someone like taxfiler to add a VAT module just to act as a filing tool with HMRC.

VTT+ calculates the VAT return totals, export to clipboard, import to Taxfiler (like the TB at present) and file!

Not giving up on VT till I have to.

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