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Tech Lowdown: VAT checks, HMRC ‘spy tool’ and Zoho

6th Aug 2019
Marketing manager
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Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest news and updates from the accounting tech world. 

This week, developers have been announcing tools that help clients check their VAT returns before submitting them to HMRC, as well as visibility tools that show individuals the information that HMRC holds about them.

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QuickBooks offers new VAT check tool

QuickBooks has released a new tool to automate VAT checks. As explained by the company, SmartScan can identify duplicate expenses and invoices, flag inconsistent VAT tax codes and cross-check highest value transactions.

The add-on is designed to help users find errors in their VAT returns in seconds. According to the latest QuickBooks research, half of all UK small businesses have filed incorrect VAT returns to HMRC, even though business owners spend almost an hour and a half checking each VAT return.

According to the study, only 27% of businesses felt confident when filing to HMRC. Of those who made mistakes, 27% overpaid and 18% were fined because of their mistakes.

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BTCSoftware releases new HMRC ‘spy tool’

BTCSoftware’s new visibility tool lets users access a record of all the information that HMRC keeps on them and their clients. As well as helping individuals get their tax returns correct, the new tool will let them ensure the accuracy of the records that HRMC has on them.

The information can be accessed with a UTR (for marriage allowance and national insurance data) and NI number (for state pensions, benefits, allowances and employment). BTCSoftware has extended its client details screen to accommodate these fields.

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Napier expands AML offering with AI analysis

Compliance tech specialist Napier has incorporated machine learning into its latest product release. The new Intelligent Analysis technology works natively with the Napier Transaction Monitoring solution and can also be integrated with other AML platforms.

The AI-powered help users identify suspicious financial behaviour, reducing false positives and false negatives. New dashboards compare a customer’s expected versus actual behavior, allowing financial institutions to act rapidly on any suspicious activity.

The platform analyses transactions for anomalous patterns that could otherwise be excluded from typical rule sets. 

“Rules alone are not enough; harnessing machine learning and automating processes in AML is the only way institutions will be nimble enough to spot suspicious activity as it happens,” said Julian Dixon, CEO of Napier.

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Zoho beefs up invoicing, purchasing and CRM integration

Zoho’s August product update includes a mixed bag of enhancements for users in different roles and countries. Here’s a brief overview of some of the core changes that will interest accountants:

  • CRM integration – new categorisation tool in the accounts setup allows the entity to mark clients as individual or business customers.
  • Set credit limit for sales orders - if the customer exceeds their credit limit while the user is creating or updating a sales order, a warning can be triggered from the Customer Credit Limit Preferences control.
  • Item headers in invoices and estimates - Transactions can be assigned to different headers in invoices, recurring invoices, and estimates by adding an item header when creating a new transaction. Headers can be dragged and placed above any item and will be retained on final PDF printouts.
  • Bulk update projects and reporting tags on invoice line items - Projects and Reporting Tags can be associated with the line items in an invoice, and with line items in multiple projects.
  • Multi-level purchase approvals – Zoho’s Purchase Approval Preferences has been upgraded to handle multiple purchasers

See Zoho’s August product update for more information on the new features in its latest release.

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