ePrivacy, GDPR and Brexit

We’re going to keep this as straightforward as possible…

In case you missed it, the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31st January. The UK is now in a transition period. Nothing has changed. When the transition period ends, nothing will change.

Clear? Good. Now we’ll go into a bit more detail…

The TASBooks market is based in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. As such, our market is based in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. If you trade with a country that is a member of the EU, you must conform to EU rules and regulations (such as ePrivacy and GDPR). The Republic of Ireland is a member of the EU. That means that we will conform to EU rules and regulations for our customers in the Republic of Ireland.

But what about customers in the UK? When we left the EU, all existing rules and regulations were rolled into one and transferred to the UK. As such, the rules and regulations that existed in the EU on 31st January continue to exist in the UK on 1st February. It means that in the UK our customers are protected by the EU’s rules and regulations and we must continue to abide by them.

Nothing has changed. To be honest, it’s made life easy. Instead of having two sets of rules and regulations to which to conform, we have only one. It would cost money and time to implement new rules and put into place new procedures.

What happens in the future is still a bit… vague, shall we say? If the UK agrees to stay close to the EU, then it should not prove to be a problem. If the UK diverges from the EU, we will have to abide by both EU rules and regulations (for our Irish customers) and any new UK rules and regulations.

In the meantime, we’ve already taken some actions to facilitate any future changes that may come to pass. First, we’re making sure that all of our data is held on servers within the EU. Our website is hosted on servers in Manchester but will be moved to servers in Germany in March. We use Office 365 and our data is held on servers within the EU. Our CRM of choice is HubSpot. They store data on servers in the United States and in Germany. These servers are regulated by the EU-US Privacy Shield. Our accounting and financial data is held on servers in the US. These too are protected by the EU-US Privacy Shield.

Secondly, we’re making some changes to the way in which we use HubSpot. We’ve used a variety of tools to get in touch with our customers over the years and data has been stored everywhere. We’ve decided to consolidate our customer data and our marketing data into HubSpot. In the future, all of our mail shots will come from HubSpot and will include the ability to amend or delete your communication and marketing preferences. We’re building new mailing lists and subscriptions to achieve this. We’re going to make it easier for you to opt-in to software updates but opt-out of marketing emails.

This work is ongoing. We’re trying do things with minimal interruption and without sending you mail shots by mistake. If we do – we’re sorry. We didn’t mean to do it. Please be kind.

We’ll let you know when everything is finished.

Making Tax Digital and beyond

It’s been twelve months since we launched our Making Tax Digital software for TASBooks and we thought it was time to step back, take stock, and let you know what we have planned for Tax Manager in the twelve months ahead…

Tax Manager has been a phenomenal success. Working alongside HMRC, we’ve been able to develop software that takes the hassle out of submitting a VAT return. The feedback from you – our customers – has been so a real boost; you’ve shared your experiences with us and provided us with some ideas for a little further down the road.

What’s most rewarding, however, is the money that’s been saved by all of you by using our software. We know that out software can save businesses over £200 on licensing and support every year. That’s why Tax Manager continues to attract new users every month.

But what’s ahead? Firstly, most (if not all) of our customers asked for submission receipts and we’ve already delivered on this. We introduced submission receipts to both Tax Manager and Tax Manager for MultiTAS. If you haven’t updated yet, you should visit our support section to download the latest version of our software. We have a few more ideas in the pipeline for how we can use these receipts, but we’re not going to reveal too much about them at the moment.

Second, we’re looking into ways in which we can streamline the entire process for those customers that have more ‘complex arrangements’ – such as exemptions or VAT groups – and make it easier to submit returns. We are looking to allow direct submission without the need to export returns. We want to make our software are easy to use as possible.

Third, there’s a new version of Tax Manager and Tax Manager for MultiTAS due to be released in the coming weeks. It includes new tools to combat fraud and augments the existing security checks between accounting software and HMRC.

Finally, one of the biggest issues has been downtime. We’ll be honest with you – HMRC haven’t exactly been forthcoming on this front but they are getting better. We’ve already added a Service Status page to the website and we’re adding some additional features. The home page on our website will include a ticker that features service updates and product releases. We’re also working on a notification system that will push an alert or message to users as soon as possible about potential issues from HMRC.

That’s it. We’re sure that over the next twelve months somebody out there will suggest a feature. If we can do it and if it would benefit everybody, then we’ll add it to the list.

Christmas 2019 – Support Availability

It’s Christmas. Again. If we hear the letters M, T or D one more time…

We know that some of you will be working over the Festive period and will no doubt uncover a variety of bugs, glitches, hiccups and quandaries that, well, quite frankly, should not be there. With that in mind, you’ll want to know what our plans are for Christmas (aside from turkey, brandy butter and port – not together, obviously).

  • We will close at 5pm on Friday 20th December and re-open at 9am on 6th January 2020
  • To allow human batteries to recharge, during this time we will operate a reduced support service
  • Email support will be available on 27th December, 30th December and 3rd January. We will respond to support requests as quickly as possible but please note data issues, help with software upgrades and software installation on new computers and such like will have to wait until the New Year
  • We will not be undertaking any new development work until the New Year.

All that remains is to wish all of our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (if we don’t speak to you beforehand) – we really appreciate your business and support.

Christmas 2018 – Support Availability

How on earth did that happen? It’s Christmas again. No, seriously. Where has the year gone?

We know that some of you will be working over the Festive period and will no doubt uncover a variety of bugs, glitches, hiccups and quandaries that, well, quite frankly, should not be there. We’ve had some gems over the years – there’s easily a blog post in there for the New Year…

With that in mind, you’ll want to know what our plans are for Christmas (aside from turkey, brandy butter and port – not together, obviously).

  • We will close at 5pm on Friday 21st December.
  • From 24th December onwards, we will still be answering emails and responding to support calls so if you need assistance please phone the normal numbers.
  • Please leave a voice-mail and someone will call you back (voice-mails you leave get emailed to us no matter where we are at that time).
  • We will not be undertaking any new development work until the New Year.
  • We reopen at 9am on 7th January 2019.

All that remains is to wish all of our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (if we don’t speak to you beforehand) – we really appreciate your business and support.

MultiTAS 5 released with new features

After months of hard work (and more than a little shouting at the computer), MultiTAS 5 has been released.

This is a major update to MultiTAS, building on a lot of the work that has gone in 4, and includes a raft of new features that have long been on our customers’ wish lists. We really were listening.

So, what are those new features? Here are some…

  1. Purchase Order Entry. This has been on our to-do list since version 3.5 (at least) and we’ve finally added it. Now… a little bit of expectation management.  There are no frills and fancy bits. There are no bells and whistles (for example: multiple locations, supplier specific price lists).  It’s purchase order entry, pure and simple.  The bells and whistles and whatnot will follow in subsequent updates.
  2. Address Lookups. This has been on most customers’ wish list since, well, forever. With MultiTAS 5 you can now search a database of addresses and automatically populate fields with the correct data. It mostly goes in the correct places!  It’s only available for UK addresses at the moment. We hope to add Irish addresses in a future update.
  3. Improvements to Purchase Order Printing. There have been some issues with this in some releases and many of our customers have been in touch with requests (compatibility for this or that, additional information, etc.) We’re pleased to say that MultiTAS 5 addresses these issues and a few others besides.
  4. Product Movements Report. Our revamped report now offers greater clarity, functionality and insight for users.
  5. Improvements to Customer Statements. With MultiTAS 5, we’ve added the ‘Remember these settings’ marble you see elsewhere in the software. So set your filters then double-click the marble and they will be saved for the next time!
  6. Bug Fixes. This goes without saying that there are minor bugs and glitches that appear from nowhere and never disappear.  Well, we’ve fixed them. Most of them. Oh, ok. We’ve fixed the ones we know about. If you find any others, please don’t be shy in letting us know…!

You’ll also notice that we’ve refreshed the look and feel of MultiTAS. Out with the old multi-coloured (and slightly distorted) logo and in with a new logo in keeping with Infoplex’s branding. We’ve also given the toolbar icons an overhaul to keep things “on point” and “on message”. Yes, we’ve been reading a book on buzzwords.

So there you have it. MultiTAS 5 is available for download now.

Cleaning your TASBooks database

Is TASBooks a little slow? Is it a bit sluggish? Is it taking you longer to run a report or find a record than it used to?

This is something that we hear a lot at Infoplex. Obviously, there are lots of reasons for this. Over time, you’ve saved lots of transactional data that you only used once or twice. If you’re like us, you’ve built up multiple copies of files and lines of code that you’ve never even used. You have records that are out of date – customers have moved on, products have been discontinued and suppliers have changed.

In these circumstances, the best solution is to start again. Build a new company from scratch in TASBooks. Think of it as a ‘factory-reset’ for mobile phone.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy that. Can you imagine having to re-enter all of those records? Your customers, your suppliers, your products, opening balances and orders. Everything would need to be re-done. And let’s not even think about Dynamic Discounts…

That’s where we can help you with (drumroll, please) our new TASBooks Data Migration service.

Our new TASBooks Data Migration service will:

  • Analyse your TASBooks company data
  • Identify which data to migrate
  • Work around you to ensure minimal disruption
  • Work alongside you to clean up your data
  • And, of course, migrate your data.

Our new service will launch sometime in June. We’ll tell you more about it closer to the time and explain in greater detail how it all works. In the meantime, if you want to sign up to be notified when we launch this service, head on over here to let us know!

GDPR and Infoplex

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what type fo business you run.  Let’s be honest. There’s no escaping it. What are we talking about? The EU’s new data privacy laws – the GDPR.

We hear you. We’re as fed up with it as you are. No, really. We’ve given up hope of having any semblance of a normal life for the next month or so as we work towards compliance. We are not immune to it.

That’s why we’ve been sending out emails right, left and centre to all and sundry in the last weeks. It’s just one element in our GDPR strategy. Yes. We have a strategy. Quite frankly, we’re as surprised about it as you are.

So, what is it exactly that we are doing? Glad you asked…

  1. Consent for marketing. The new rules mean that we are not allowed to get in touch with you to advertise new products or services unless you tell us that we can. We can contact you about software updates. We can contact you about security patches. We cannot contact you about our products (such as MultiTAS or eTAS) unless you say “Yes please, Infoplex. Tell me more.” We cannot tell you that we’re offering a 25% discount unless you say so. That’s why we’ve emailed everybody we know to make them aware of the changes and to ask them to agree to hear from us. So far, we’ve sent out 4 emails and if you haven’t already seen one, then maybe check your junk mail folder. It may have slipped in there.
  2. Updating our privacy policy. The GDPR is there to make things clearer for you and for us. It will make it easier for you to see what information we have about you, how we obtained it and what we do with it. From our perspective, it makes it easier for us to know what we can and cannot do with it. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, we’ve updated our privacy policy. We’ve ripped out the boring legalese and made it as simple and transparent as possible. It tells you who to get in touch with at Infoplex to discuss your data (Hello Douglas! *waves*), tells you what types of data we may have about you (contact details, technical data, etc.), what we do with it, where we keep it and what you can tell us to do with it.
  3. Accessing your data. Taking the whole simplicity and transparency theme a bit further, we’ve come up with nifty way to help you gt in touch with us and find out what we know about you. With the help of our friends at Paperform, we’ve built a simple online form that you can use to contact Douglas and ask about your data, make any corrections to if there’s a problem with it or even delete it.
  4. Helping you with your database. This is a funny one. We realised that when you get in touch to discuss a problem, we usually hop on to your computer, rummage around behind the scenes and fix the problem with TASBooks. We’ve always assumed that you know that we do this – not least of all because it’s in the Terms & Conditions. How else are we going to fix the problem otherwise? We’ve now tightened up on and it has a real impact upon you. From 25th May, you will be required to fill in a form online before we can help you. The form makes clear that you are asking us for help and that you consent to our accessing your database to help you. If you do not fill in this form, we will not help you. It doesn’t matter if you have a support contract or not. You have to fill in this form first.

That’s about it really. If you’re familiar with what your business is doing for GDPR compliance, then you’ll know that there’s a whole raft of measures in the background that are also being implemented. That’s what we’re doing to. Privacy assesments. Risk assessments. Shopping lists. Oh! You were paying attention. That’s good to know.

These are the steps that will impact you the most. These are the steps that are designed to help you as much as they are us. Fingers crossed, everybody, that they don’t change their mind again next year!