New mobile apps to help small firms with record keeping

New mobile apps that will allow small businesses access to simple record keeping accounts on the go are to be produced by commercial software houses, following consultation with HMRC.

Aimed at small businesses and the self-employed that have a turnover below the VAT threshold of £77,000, the apps will provide links to related record-keeping guidance, helping businesses to maintain good records and estimate what their tax liability may be.

Working in partnership with the Business Application Software Developer Association (BASDA) and independent developers, HMRC has facilitated the development of the apps - the majority of which will be free and available for use on Android, iPhones and Windows phones. It is hoped that other apps will be developed for use on Blackberry phones in the near future.

Whilst the apps will allow users the convenience to check business records as and when they choose, HMRC has stressed that they should only be used alongside existing tools and programmes.

According to David Gauke, exchequer secretary, the apps will tackle the Treasury's commitment to tax transparency in a 'very direct and practical way', saying: "They can help SMEs feel more confident about their record-keeping and provide a direct link to the business's finances, freeing up time which can be better spent on the day-to-day running of the business."

Naomi Ferguson, HMRC's director of business customer & strategy, said: "More and more small businesses use Smart phones as part of their business. These apps will provide the opportunity to keep track of records on the go, wherever business people are. Record-keeping is often an add-on to day-to-day running of small businesses and the apps will hopefully help to make it an integral part of the business.

"We are really excited to see the arrival of the record-keeping mobile apps. The consultation with the software industry has been a positive process and has led to a number of high quality apps being available. We welcomed the opportunity to work with them to help customers with their record-keeping responsibilities and access our guidance."

Although the apps meet specification requirements, HMRC has stated that it has not carried out any formal security testing, and users are encouraged to ask suppliers about the security aspects of the applications they before they plan to use them.