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Tech Lowdown: Xero Tax, bank transactions and direct debit

11th Apr 2019
Commercial Production Editor
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Tech Lowdown

Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest news and updates from the accounting tech world. 

This week, Tech Lowdown features FreeAgent’s integration with Starling Bank, IRIS’ spring release and the new Xero Tax.

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IRIS adds new MTD and compliance functionality

IRIS has recently announced its spring 2019 update, which sees the continuation of Making Tax Digital (MTD) functionality, changes to IRIS OpenSpace and the Accountant Go portal.

As part of the new release, IRIS has updated IRIS Time and Fees with a new WIP control panel screen and an actual vs budget comparison screen in IRIS to track fees against budgets across multiple clients.

The new updates also include additional security and encryption logs for files that may contain personal data and restricted access to clients. 

As part of its new Making Tax Digital functionality, IRIS has updated its Time and Fees export feature, which is now compatible with bookkeeping platforms such as KashFlow, Xero and Sage for a simpler VAT return process.

Data can be directly imported to IRIS VAT Filer from digital record keeping products, including Excel, KashFlow and Xero to centrally manage all filings.

”The improved functionality and integration are designed to improve workflows and ensure everyone can capitalise on the digital economy,” said Nick Gregory, IRIS software group's chief marketing officer.

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Starling Bank announces integration with FreeAgent

FreeAgent has announced a new integration with Starling. The integration with the challenger bank will allow FreeAgent users to link their account with Starling to pull their bank transactions through on a daily basis, saving time on business administration.

“With a new era of Open Banking just underway, we look forward to working with Starling to ensure that small business owners enjoy a seamless flow of data that enables them to run their businesses more effectively,” said Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent.

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Xero Tax in beta testing

Xero has rebranded Instafile as Xero Tax, following its acquisition in November 2018.

Xero Tax, which is currently in beta testing, will automate the process of tax filing and financial reporting. Accountants in the Xero partner programme can join as beta testers to provide feedback about the product and its features.

Later in the year, Xero will be building and testing different filing functions, including self assessment returns for individuals and partnerships.

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Practice Ignition launches new direct debit payments feature

Practice Ignition has announced a new direct debit payments feature for its UK customers. 

“The concept of bringing payments into Practice Ignition was initiated very early in our product development. We wanted to find a way to directly tie payments to your contracts, so that you could not alter one without the other,” said Trent Mclaren, the global head of accounting at Practice Ignition.

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Research reveals extent of UK small business owners’ problems with cash flow

Intuit QuickBooks has revealed the UK findings of its global research project “The State of Small Business Cash Flow”, which focused on the behaviours, attitudes and status of cash flow challenges experienced by small businesses and the self employed.

The survey revealed that 57% of UK small business owners have experienced problems with their cash flow, with over a third (38%) of UK small business owners unable to pay debts at some point. Additionally, UK small businesses have on average £31,055 in debts owed to them.

The QuickBooks research also found that UK small business owners lose £26,000 on average by being forced to turn down work.

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