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Post Info TOPIC: VT and MTD
bk


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VT and MTD


Hi All,

Thought I'd share this. I read an article yesterday saying that a software company called Avalara is producing a free add in to excel for MTD. I've emailed VT and they have said that they feel it will be compatible with VT as a bridging software for submitting to HMRC. Here's the response I got from VT

"It looks like it will, I am not familiar with them but looking at the information they have just published it appears that they can pick up data from Excel which would mean it will definitely be compatible with the data extracted from VT Transaction+".

So eventually good news for VT users.

Debbie



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Debbie Brown-Kane

Oakmanor Accountancy

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Hi Debbie
Thanks for the news. Will take a more indepth look at this next week, but had a very quick look. Seems to be a US based software house. They are looking for Beta testers - would you consider offering? I dont use VT for VAT (I use Sage at the mo!).

Great to see someone offering it for free (although the cynic in me does say - how long for?)

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Joanne

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Thanks Debbie

Looks interesting. I've requested more details, available November apparently. Good to see not all are jumping on the money making bandwagon (looks to Sage and BTC in particular)

One slight quibble from their website

"Small enterprises using manual or spreadsheet-based records will not need to invest in approved accounting packages, and can use their existing records"

Er, isn't that rather defeating the object of MTD? Thought the records themselves had to be done in accounting software or spreadsheets, not manually then inputting the data straight into the VATfiler.

Hi Joanne

I'm waiting until after the budget but would be happy to beta test it once I know it's definitely going ahead. Only two clients on VT (one under threshold but likely to go over anyway if new contract comes off) and one on Xero.

Also presumably you could do a csv dump from Sage?



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John

Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Expert

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Logically, if any bridging software is to be generic and not tied to a specific package, accepting a CSV file for import is the logical approach. Which is what I'm hoping for.

Currently*, you can export the VAT return reports as CSV files - so you should be able to recreate the VAT return down to the last penny from the detailed report, which includes all the transactions. In theory, any piece of accounts software that can import CSV files could therefore be used to produce the VAT return from that data. It therefore follows that any piece of accounts software that is able to handle MTD can be used to submit a VAT return based on Sage data.

* The word 'currently' is an important one. I'm basing that on my version (which is 19; 2013). I wouldn't put it past Sage to quietly remove that export option if there's a chance people might use it to avoid their new MTD tax.



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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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VinceH wrote:

* The word 'currently' is an important one. I'm basing that on my version (which is 19; 2013). I wouldn't put it past Sage to quietly remove that export option if there's a chance people might use it to avoid their new MTD tax.


Can they do that? Certainly if the software is subscription based they could do an "update" but I understand both you and Joanne have perpetual licences, so would presumably have control over what you update?



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John

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I didn't actually mean they might do it to my version - I meant future versions, and very specifically those for which Sage happen to have an MTD module available.

But in theory, yes, they can do it. The software (like most these days) checks on their server for updates - it's long out of support, but they could very easily release an update that does add or remove certain facilities. Being on a perpetual licence doesn't itself mean they can't change the functionality of the software, and it's a long time since I read them, but their licence terms probably do give themselves permission to do it.

And a key point is the feature list that gets published on the website, etc., only ever lists the big general features, and doesn't go down to every last detail - so nobody can say they bought the software because of such a very specific thing like that, so they probably wouldn't be breaking any laws if they did.

It's very unlikely they'd be that stupid, though, because doing something like that would be very damaging to their reputation. (Although we currently seem to be living in a world where shit doesn't seem to stick to anyone but the little guy).

So, like I said, I was talking more the possibility of not keeping that export facility in versions that are concurrent with MTD.



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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Thanks Vince, something for you to watch out for certainly.



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John

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bk


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Hi Joanne, I need to look into this in more depth, but yes I would be willing to try the beta version as most of my clients are on vt currently

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Debbie Brown-Kane

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bk wrote:

Hi Joanne, I need to look into this in more depth, but yes I would be willing to try the beta version as most of my clients are on vt currently


You can be our guinea pig. Ive just got onto a PWC bridging software pilot test thing, albeit Im waiting for the authority of two of my clients to supply them with their VAT number.



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Joanne

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VinceH wrote:

I didn't actually mean they might do it to my version - I meant future versions, and very specifically those for which Sage happen to have an MTD module available.

But in theory, yes, they can do it. The software (like most these days) checks on their server for updates - it's long out of support, but they could very easily release an update that does add or remove certain facilities. Being on a perpetual licence doesn't itself mean they can't change the functionality of the software, and it's a long time since I read them, but their licence terms probably do give themselves permission to do it.

And a key point is the feature list that gets published on the website, etc., only ever lists the big general features, and doesn't go down to every last detail - so nobody can say they bought the software because of such a very specific thing like that, so they probably wouldn't be breaking any laws if they did.

It's very unlikely they'd be that stupid, though, because doing something like that would be very damaging to their reputation. (Although we currently seem to be living in a world where shit doesn't seem to stick to anyone but the little guy).

So, like I said, I was talking more the possibility of not keeping that export facility in versions that are concurrent with MTD.


Hi Vince

I always so no to the updates when they pop up on screen due to the fact that Sage can have their wicked way with my software which might render it completely unusable.

You mentioned (somewhere), I think (sorry my head is very sore!!!!!!) about extracting VAt returns in excel. Ive only ever seen the VAt retrun reports, including the detailed repot, in PDF. Can you advise how you get it in excel please?

TIA



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Joanne

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Hi Joanne,

You can also turn the updates off completely IIRC - but you've already found the setting that puts you in control, so if I do remember correctly, you must already know that. :)

Right, extracting VAT returns. As is often the case, I'm on the wrong computer, so this is from memory, but...

When you run a VAT return, or view a previous one, etc, you need to go through the motions of something none of us ever do now because we want to save paper: Click on the Print button.

From there, you should see the usual report generator options including not just print or preview, but also save as or export (and possibly email). Choose the save as/export option (whatever wording Sage uses for it) and you can choose the type of file you wish to save as. It should show the same options as any other report - and if memory serves, Excel is one of them. (In fact it must be, because I send statements to one client's customer in Excel format). More generically, there is also a CSV option, so you can import into anything that can take CSV.

There should be three possible reports as well - the VAT return, the summary, and the detailed report.

In theory, any one of these alone could be used to import the figures into something that can submit VAT returns (possibly with some tweaking of the data to suit whatever it's being imported into) - although for MTD, it will almost certainly need to be the full detailed report (because IIRC, the point of MTD is interrogation of the software for more detail).

I haven't looked myself as yet, but I imagine the data in the CSV file for the detailed report is going to be literally just a raw dump of the transactions that make up the VAT return - so just loading it as is won't give the VAT return. Whether that's the case for an Excel export is another matter. Just try it and see what happens.

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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OMG Vince - its so simple. Just never ever thought of the 'save as' when I get to the export part!!!!!! To be honest, never given it a seconds thought to you mentioned it the other day.

Thank you so much.

The detailed report in excel still shows the headings and info on a VAT box by box basis, so will be easy enough to view, although I think the formatting will be interesting when its dumped into bridging software given the merge options that Sage present reports in and all the blank bits you get when you unmerge the data (or maybe thats just me being more of a numpty technophobe).

When the detailed report is dumped into csv it is as you say just the raw data dump, although there is a column for what box it would appear in, but there does appear to be some random double counting (or such) going on. Ive not interrogated the data enough to know if it would be easy enough to extract it this way - one for when there is more time (if ever!)

Thanks againbiggrin



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Joanne

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VinceH wrote:

In theory, any one of these alone could be used to import the figures into something that can submit VAT returns (possibly with some tweaking of the data to suit whatever it's being imported into) - although for MTD, it will almost certainly need to be the full detailed report (because IIRC, the point of MTD is interrogation of the software for more detail).

I haven't looked myself as yet, but I imagine the data in the CSV file for the detailed report is going to be literally just a raw dump of the transactions that make up the VAT return - so just loading it as is won't give the VAT return. Whether that's the case for an Excel export is another matter. Just try it and see what happens.


As far as I'm aware, it will only need to be the VAT return itself that needs exporting. No doubt that will change further down the line but all that's happening from April is that the HMRC API will receive the figures from the boxes.

I'm going to beta test Avalara so I'll let you guys know how I get on.



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John

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Hmm. I'm 99% certain that at some point when I was reading detailed information about MTD, it did say that there would [sometimes/under certain circumstances] be cases where the submission system at HMRC would feed requests back to the software and the software would then respond by providing the underlying detail.

We know they've scaled back MTD somewhat - so it's quite possible that has also been scaled right back to just the VAT return itself. If that's so, that's excellent; it means using alternative software as a bridging solution becomes easy as pie.

However, at the same time - again, if so - it also reaffirms WITH SPADES that what Sage etc are trying to pull is an outright con.

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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