Photo of DataDear to offer FREE bridging software for UK VAT return – Making Tax Digital

DataDear to offer FREE bridging software for UK VAT return – Making Tax Digital

DataDear has recently launched the FREE bridging software for submitting the UK VAT return under the Making Tax Digital obligations.  Now you can choose to solve the MTD problem by using DataDear to connect to Xero, QuickBooks Online or HMRC directly.  DataDear has already been approved by HMRC after having successfully submitted real VAT returns using this solution.

This is part of our commitment to help accountants maximise the benefits along the digital journey and easily comply with the new digital filing obligations.

Whilst discussing whether to deliver this solution, my message was simple – “Nobody has ever uploaded a spreadsheet without opening it at some point … if the data is being entered in Excel I have seen no compelling reason/benefit in leaving Excel to file elsewhere”. 

That’s why building a simple integration to HMRC and providing this tool free of charge was an easy decision to take for the team.  DataDear is built on a powerful platform and I thank the product team in their agility to develop this smart solution which I’m sure everyone will love using.

What is bridging software?

Bridging software allows customers to digitally link their data directly to HMRC through their new API, This can help all businesses, from the smallest with few transactions, to the largest with more complex arrangements or edge VAT schemes (E.g. Retail and margin), as well as providing a solution for businesses who are using old legacy software that isn’t MTD compliant.

What do our customers want?

Working with our partners, we learned the following;

  1. Although moving your record keeping onto a cloud accounting software normally brings a heap of benefits, you shouldn’t consider moving solely for MTD purposes.
  1. As soon as the complexity of transactions dials up, most off the shelf software simply cannot handle it well.
  1. Most spreadsheets design and structure varies considerably, but all contain something resembling the current 9 box submission details and calculations.
  1. Importing these spreadsheets into another piece of software or website, to map across the data for filing is an unrequired additional step, they will need to open the spreadsheet to review before uploading.
  1. Direct filing from Excel is the ideal solution, providing a workflow close to the current filing process.
  1. It cannot feel like a stop gap solution.

Point 1
We don’t feel millions of businesses should be forced into using software just to comply with MTD. Instead, they should review the current offerings, and move once they see other benefits for their organisations.

Point 2
True, I’m yet to see any software handling edge VAT schemes beautifully… some can’t even cope at all but you can normally get by with a work around or two. This is where the flexibility of Excel simply cannot be matched.

Point 3
Whether used as a means of solely keying in transactions, or for full business and
operational working these must be relevant to the users, and their individual requirements, meaning of course not too many are the same in the market. However, they all have cells resembling the submission details required as they’ve used this information to calculate their VAT in the past.

Point 4 & 5
We couldn’t agree more, we are yet to see any value in completing this
additional step, which is why we haven’t surfaced our HMRC digital links on our web dashboard, we built it directly in Excel. So you no longer have to leave the software you’re in, with the data you need, to file your return, few steps saved, replicating the existing process, confidence restored!

Point 6
This is the hardest part to address, as our crystal ball is playing up, we simply do
not know how legislation will change in the future. Instead we have focused on what we can control, building our solution without using any soft-landing leeway, we have provided the mandatory digital link between software packages. We can already handle full transactional information being passed compliantly between Excel and Xero / QuickBooks Online. We are confident if the roll out goes as expected, with transactional information being required some time soon, that we’ll be able to deliver directly from Excel too, and if not, we’ll certainly be able to help you moving into a cloud package at this stage.

This gives our partners an option to work with clients who like to enter their data within Excel, but the practice completes the accounting and other tasks in the FMS, a long term solution giving your clients a choice, but enabling the practice the reap the other benefits too, pretty cool hey?

What are you going to deliver?

This feedback has enables us to build a solution that’s;

  • Simple and sits directly in Excel
  • Will require no change to current spreadsheets, simply link the 7 boxes
  • Can handle businesses of all sizes, and all VAT schemes
  • Easily enable VAT filing for businesses on non MTD compliant software
  • Long term compliance – Fully compliant post soft landing period

How does it work?

  1. Create a free DataDear account and install the DataDear add-in.
  2. Download the DataDear HMRC Direct VAT Return template from the dashboard and add it to your Excel VAT working file.
  3. Link the cells within our template to your 7 boxes (the other 2 auto calculate).
  4. 1-click submit the VAT return directly from Excel and receive a confirmation from HMRC straightaway.

How much does it cost?

£0, absolutely nothing, free of charge. Yep, you heard it right. When considering pricing for this solution, we kept coming back to our vision and commitment of helping accountancy firms and professionals adopt the benefits of going digital, and sweeten their experience between cloud accounting and Excel along the way. As this has no interaction with any cloud accounting, it doesn’t feel right to charge for it. We hope that when the time comes to scale your usage in Xero and QuickBooks, we’ll be there to help you on that journey, just like we have done here.

How do you get started?

Simply set yourself up with a DataDear account by using the Free Trial green button.  TJump into our templates library and download the HMRC MTD workbook, it’s live and ready for any early adopters requiring submissions as early as April.

More Questions?

  • Will DataDear be compliant after HMRC’s “soft landing period”?
    Yes. We have
    built our DataDear solution to provide the ‘mandatory digital link’ from day 1, meaning that the software is already compliant after the soft-landing period.
  • Does that include the “digital link” from my Legacy/ERP/accounting system to excel?
    Yes, exporting data from your systems constitutes a digital link.
  • Can we use this solution for Sage 50 and VT clients that aren’t upgrading to the latest version?
    Yes, as long as you can export a VAT summary report, (or the data required to make this up) we can submit this information directly to HMRC.
  • What about adjustments?
    If adjustments need to be made, these can be done
    in the spreadsheet so long as the adjustment is clearly labelled and stored for at least 6 years.
  • How long will this be provided for free of charge?
    We are committed to
    providing our solution for the 9 box summary VAT information free of charge – forever.

Have any questions? Visit the DataDear Community Forums to learn more about the Making Tax Digital and to ask ask questions.