I remember when the VATMOSS stuff kicked in and how grateful I felt that I was out of the accounting software industry. Now that we’re getting close to having a billable tier for Supdate, I’m having to look even more closely at it. What a complete and utter mess!
We’re using Stripe for all of our billing. I’m dead impressed by how feature-rich their service has become. It deals with all of the subscription and recurring billing stuff really nicely – so no need for something like Chargify in the mix.
So I hoped Stripe would have a solution for me to determine the correct VAT amount to charge a customer. Unfortunately it appears they don’t, although they link to to four services that they say might help.
Quaderno & Octobat for invoicing
Taxamo and Avalara for “tax rates and assuring compliance”
So I thought I’d look at each in turn to work out if they’ll do what I need.
What I Need
Payments are being dealt with by Stripe. And (of course) KashFlow is doing the accounting and filing. The main thing I need is to ensure I’m charging the right VAT amount and to keep the relevant records to be compliant. With the minimal amount of coding from me.
I want the user journey to be as fluid as possible.
A nice-to-have would be something that can take Stripe data and create invoices from it for customers to retrieve/receive.
Another nice-to-have would be integration with KashFlow so I don’t have to code it or manually import sales data.
So let’s get started.
Pricing: £16/mo for up to £8k/mo sales
Their site says:
Taxamo is built on a RESTful API which easily allows you to connect your platform to get real time tax calculation, reports and invoicing.
I felt more confused by this service than any of the others. Their website says a lot but doesn’t tell you much. The entry level pricing ominously says “1 Supported region” and there’s lots of talk about their 4-step process. As far as I’m concerned, the fewer steps the better!
I couldn’t see how this would sit in our app so I quickly moved on to the next service.
They seem to have quite a few products covering different aspects of tax, from calculations to filing services. I *think* the one were looking for is AvaTax:
Instantaneously calculate sales tax in more than 12,000 taxing jurisdictions with our REST API.
Sounds about right. But good luck finding pricing info. With none evident, and judging by the big-name logos in their customer list (Adida, Xerox) I’m assuming that neither the price or product are suited to smaller business.
So on to the ‘invoicing’ applications. These are instantly more compelling because they promise to deal with one of my nice-to-have’s
Their pricing link is buried in the site footer. On most SaaS websites this is the second most visited page after the home page, so it really should be more prominent!
Entry Level Pricing: $29/mo. 250 Transactions, 2,500 API requests
Quaderno have their ‘Checkout’ product which is very similar to Stripes checkout.js. The key difference being that their form asks for your country and VAT number so as to apply the relevant tax percentage. Behind the scenes it keeps a log of all of your data for reporting purposes. So that’s the VAT headhache dealt with. But how about the invoicing?
There’s integration with Quickbooks and Xero, but not for KashFlow. This is because the integrations are done via Zapier, and KashFlow isn’t plugged in there yet.
Pricing: Free for first 10 monthly invoices, €0.30 for your next 50, then €0.15 or less for any more
I like their pricing model. Like Quaderno they have a ‘checkout’ product that mirrors a lot of the Stripe Checkout functionality but adds in the VAT Moss stuff, so that’s the main requirement taken care of in a nice fashion.
Invoices can be exported, so they can be imported into KashFlow.
Either Quaderno or Octobat would do the job. Both responded quickly to support queries. I’m pulled towards Quaderno as it seems on the surface that it’d be less work. But I prefer the Octobat pricing model.
Have you gone through this process before? How did you deal with VATMOSS? My preference would be mass non-compliance – let the SMEs revolt.