Mercer & Hole

CCH OneClick proves a lifesaver on Making Tax Digital for VAT at Mercer & Hole

Mercer & Hole is a modern firm with roots going back to 1905, when it was established by the founding partner, William Mercer. Today, there are four Mercer & Hole offices: London, St Albans, Rickmansworth and Milton Keynes.

The firm has 21 partners and 225 members of staff, who work with a strong base of private clients and with business clients in a range of sectors.

Mercer & Hole has been using software from Wolters Kluwer for over ten years, employing the CCH Central suite in its compliance work for accounts production, tax, trusts and audits. CCH Practice Management and CCH Document Management have also been introduced to support workflow and information exchange.

The potential of new software

With Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) on the horizon, the firm needed a bridge from existing systems to HMRC and chose CCH OneClick as the solution.

Giving the backstory, Clare Ruiz Palma, Mercer & Hole Business Systems, explains, “In the course of business we receive data from clients in a number of ways, some more secure than others. We initially saw CCH OneClick as a solution for secure document sharing, with the potential to reduce the volumes of paper that accountancy firms are prone to generate. It does indeed do all this, but at a Wolters Kluwer roadshow I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much it could help with MTDfV.”

Support throughout the project

Since Mercer & Hole’s CCH OneClick project took off in early 2019, Clare has found Wolters Kluwer very helpful in offering support and guidance in interpreting HMRC requirements and implementing the software. She says,

“In addition to the roadshow events, there was always someone on the technical side whom I could approach for answers to my questions. Wolters Kluwer also helped us greatly in educating our client base, by providing written materials and YouTube videos aimed at businesses over the VAT threshold and therefore subject to MTDfV.”

As Clare is keen to stress, it wasn’t a one-way street:

“Wolters Kluwer welcomed our feedback and were proactive in taking our input on board. It’s good that they listen.”

Keeping on top of VAT

So far, CCH OneClick is mainly used within Mercer & Hole’s Outsourcing department. In this expanding area of the business, around twenty staff across the firm handle bookkeeping, VAT returns, payroll and management accounts for clients. They took part in HMRC’s VAT pilot and have begun using CCH OneClick to prepare and submit clients’ VAT returns.

With a direct link from CCH OneClick to a client’s HMRC digital VAT account, Outsourcing teams can easily grasp clients’ VAT liabilities and the status of payments, and also check if a client has received a refund. Clare notes,

“CCH OneClick keeps a data archive that rounds up all activity on intelligent dashboards, so it’s much easier to monitor our workload and keep on top of VAT for a large number of clients.”

The view from the client space

Dan McCabe, Team Leader for Outsourcing in the St Albans office, gives the client’s perspective on CCH OneClick:

“We have a lot of overseas clients who don’t have and don’t intend to buy software that’s compatible with HMRC, so CCH OneClick has been a lifesaver in providing a bridge.”

He and his team have found the software very straightforward: “It’s very user-friendly, so we haven’t needed much support at all.”

While Dan and his team work with larger corporate clients, for whom MTDfV is not a big issue, some of the firm’s Outsourcing teams work with smaller clients, such as farmers, who are wary of adopting digital bookkeeping. He says, “Every client is different. You have to make the process as simple as possible for them and CCH OneClick supports different ways of getting to the final nine numbers.”

Extending CCH OneClick across the client base

Mercer & Hole is now extending the benefit of CCH OneClick to other, non-Outsourcing, clients and has recruited volunteer clients for a pilot.

Open integration within CCH OneClick has been a real driver behind this. It connects with clients’ different bookkeeping packages, such as QuickBooks, Sage and Xero, to accept data without having to export or manually type data. The team will then check the data and submit the return on the client’s behalf.

Key benefits for Mercer & Hole

  • A secure portal for exchanging data for MTDfV and other information with clients

  • Bridging software that can be used flexibly to align with the way clients work and their preferences regarding working digitally

  • Support for Mercer & Hole and its clients in introducing a new way of working

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CCH OneClick

CCH OneClick is a secure set of cloud tools accessed in one place, built for practices and their clients. Connect, communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere, on any device.

CCH Central

CCH Central is an environment in which modules within the CCH software suite can intelligently share information, and it makes that information available wherever and whenever it’s needed.