QuickBooks update offers a raft of new features for small businesses

(Image credit: Pexels)

QuickBooks, the high profile accountancy software package that focuses on small businesses, has added an income tax estimator feature as part of a sizeable new update. 

The tool, which provides a dynamic real-time insight into what kind of tax bill the self-employed can expect could be hugely useful for businesses that need to keep a very close eye on their financial affairs during the coronavirus crisis.

The income tax estimator is the main attraction of the QuickBooks autumn product release, but the chunky update also includes other improvements. There’s a new tagging feature, a beefed up employee portal along with a PayPal integration offer. Professional accountants also get their own new feature in the shape of a month-end review tool.

With over one million taxpayers missing the January 31 deadline for self-assessment this year and getting a £100 penalty as a result, the tax estimator tool is a welcome arrival. Self-employed workers also have more hurdles to overcome, with Covid-19 support grants that include the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to include when they file their returns.

Using the income tax estimator tool though they can track both their income tax and National Insurance contributions dynamically. They’ll subsequently be able to get a real-time overview of their current tax position from data that has been uploaded into QuickBooks Online. It’ll form part of a bigger picture of business activity that’ll include VAT and payroll stats.

QuickBooks update

Intuit, which owns QuickBooks, has also engineered some other useful options that will appear in the update. A new tagging feature lets small business owners monitor incoming and outgoing transactions dynamically. Much like the estimator tool, the tagging capability will let users customize the real-time information so that they can get a much more realistic picture of their business transactions.

Elsewhere, users of QuickBooks Standard Payroll will soon be able to make use of a new Workflow portal. Available at no extra cost, the self-service portal allows employees to dip into the system and view their own payslips. The system can also be used to display rotas, timesheets, leave requests and also covers expense management. The feature is likely to be popular given the fluid employment arrangements for many during the ongoing coronavirus chaos.

Intuit has also announced a limited tine PayPal offer, which allows small business owners to save up to £100 on fees when they activate the PayPal app before November 10.

Intuit’s QuickBooks Online Accountant package also gets a new feature in the shape of the Month End Review tool. Professional accountants can use this to create custom workflows, client checklists and build in automatic checks to help with producing better reports. The system automatically flags any missing data issues too.

Other newly announced features for QuickBooks include automatic tax code updates in both Standard and Advanced Payroll, Nest pension integration, which will also appear in Standard Payroll alongside Advanced Payroll where it already features. Finally, QuickBooks users will be able to enjoy quick and easy access to TSheets, allowing easy management of hours worked by employees via the Time tab.

Spencer Jensen, Head of Product at Intuit QuickBooks UK, said: “Small business owners have never faced such challenging circumstances. With so many other areas requiring focus, the burden of admin can be an unnecessary drain on time and resources. That’s why we are constantly updating and evolving our offering to remove as much of this burden as possible, making financial management efficient and effortless.

With the Self-Assessment tax return deadline coming up in January, making the necessary preparations now will help small businesses to get on the front foot. Our unique tool allows business owners to see real-time income tax estimates, meaning there are no nasty surprises and they can build this into their cashflow.”

QuickBooks is releasing the updates now in order to give small business owners a head start on getting prepared for the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) campaign, which will be rolled out for the income tax year starting in April of 2023.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.