Handling Unincorporated clients on the main Accounts workflow

It is always tidy to minimise the number of workflow systems that you have, it keeps the menu shorter and simplifies the process of making changes in the future. To that end it is often desirable to set up your Year End Accounts workflow system in such a way that it can cater for both Incorporated and Unincorporated clients.

This article discussed options for how best you might cater for Incorporated and Unincorported clients in the same workflow system (options 1 to 3) and some considerations should you choose to make a separate workflow system (option 4).

Generally speaking there are 4 main approaches:

  1. Single workflow / single route [Filings as job fields and deadlines filtered by client type].
  2. Single workflow / single route [Filings as stages and deadlines filtered by client type].
  3. Single workflow / two routes.
  4. Two workflow systems.

Where you wish to have a separate flow dedicated to Corporation tax then you should read this article.


1
Option 1:  Single workflow system / single route [Filings as job fields and deadlines filtered by client type]
This is how the Glide template 'Accounts & CT' is currently set up. There is a single workflow system and you only need a single route (meaning you can use route variation for another purpose), incorporated and unincorporated clients can both be active on this workflow system. Here's how it works:
  • By default we have 3 deadlines on this workflow route: Accounts Due CH, CT Return Due and CT Payment Due.
  • We also have 3 job fields that are date fields. There is one for each deadline and by default they are named: Accounts Submitted to CH, CT600 filed and CT Payment made / advised.
  • We set the deadline to be completed when the associated job fields are completed.
  • Crucially the deadlines are filtered to only apply to certain client types. This setting is found when you edit the deadline on the workflow elements tab of the editor, as follows:
    • Accounts Due CH: The client filter is set to Ltd/PLC/LLP/Charity Company meaning the deadline will only be generated for these client types.
    • CT Return Due and CT Payment Due: The client filter is set to Where 'Corporation tax?' field = YES meaning the deadline will only be generated for these clients. (See Note 1 below to learn more about how the Corporation tax? field works).
  • The above setting means that for unincorporated clients (indicated either by client type or the 'Corporation tax?' field) you will not see the deadlines on the job card. The job fields are still visible but they do not need to be completed.
  • The final recommended setting here is to ensure that the job can not be completed where there are outstanding deadlines. This is achieved by adding the Traffic light: No outstanding deadlines workflow action to any progress button that would take the job to completion.
2
Option 2:  Single workflow system / single route [Filings as stages and deadlines filtered by client type]
This option is very similar to the above (also consisting of a single workflow system and route) the main difference is that the filing of the Accounts and the Corporate Tax return are added as stages (either 1 combined stage or 1 stage per submission). The benefit of this is that in addition to the Deadline monitor widget you can also very clearly see those Accounts or CT returns that need filing on the stage progress monitor widget. The main potential downside would be where you can not reliable predict the order in which things happen. For example if you also have a stage to send the final set to the client, can you be sure that this will happen before/after you have filed them. If you are in control of the order then you can set up your workflow accordingly; however, if you client might ask you to hold back the Accounts until the deadline [etc] the this would prevent you from progressing the job. For this reason we would always recommend those firms that use the CT Payment deadline have this being completed by a date field unless you are happy to tick it off when for example you send out a letter advising of the liability. Here's how this approach differs to the above:
  • As above we have the same 3 deadlines on the workflow route: Accounts Due CH, CT Return Due and CT Payment Due.
  • This time just the 1 job field (again date type). This is called CT Payment made and would be useful where you wish to record this date. As noted above if you are recording the date the client actually pays this never fits nicely into a workflow. On the other hand you might be happy to tick off the deadline when you advise the client which would work well as a stage.
  • Assuming you go for the job field approach approach for CT Payment we set the CT Payment Due deadline to be completed when the job field is completed. The Accounts Due CH and CT Return Due deadlines can now be marked as complete when we pass through the relevant stage(s).
  • [This step is exactly the same as above] Crucially the deadlines are filtered to only apply to certain client types. This setting is found when you edit the deadline on the workflow elements tab of the editor, as follows:
    • Accounts Due CH: The client filter is set to Ltd/PLC/LLP/Charity Company meaning the deadline will only be generated for these client types.
    • CT Return Due and CT Payment Due: The client filter is set to Where 'Corporation tax?' field = YES meaning the deadline will only be generated for these clients.
  • The above setting means that for unincorporated clients (indicated either by client type or the 'Corporation tax?' field) you will not see the deadlines on the job card. The job field and the stages are still visible but the job field does not need to be completed. You can also add a progress button that allows you to skip past the stage(s) for the filing of Accounts and Corporation tax, call this something like "N/A - Unincorporated client". You can prevent this being pressed accidentally for the wrong client types by using the workflow action Traffic light: Block on client type on both the progress button that progresses through the submission stages and the button that skips them.
  • As above the final recommended setting here is to ensure that the job can not be completed where there are outstanding deadlines. This is achieved by adding the Traffic light: No outstanding deadlines workflow action to any progress button that would take the job to completion.
3
Option 3:  Single workflow / two routes
This option differs to the above two because we are choosing to introduce two variations of the workflow route, one for Incorporated clients and one for Unincorporated clients. You can see guidance here for how to duplicate a workflow route and allocate the appropriate clients to your new route. Here are some key points relating to this setup:
  • Your incorporated route would include the 3 deadlines. You can set it up as per option 1 (all 3 deadlines completed by job fields) or option 2 (Submission deadlines completed when passing through a stage), the difference is that only Incorporated clients will exist on this route so you do not need to bother with filtering the deadlines nor (in the case of option 2) adding progress buttons to jump the submission stages.
  • You now have 2 routes so this approach is likely to be good where you have very different approaches for Incorporated and Unincorporated accounts, for example if one goes into the pool and the other doesn't, or if one has a review stage and the other doesn't etc. You can literally vary everything from route to route, stages, progress buttons, workflow actions (target dates, job-holder changes, e-mail/SMS), alerts -> the lot.
  • Reporting wise you'll have both an overall progress monitor and also a route specific one, in addition the jobs report page will include all jobs but the secondary filters will include a route filter. If you are looking to progress jobs in bulk you shall need to click through from a route specific progress monitor.
  • Remember on the Incorporated route to ensure that the job can not be completed where there are outstanding deadlines. This is achieved by adding the Traffic light: No outstanding deadlines workflow action to any progress button that would take the job to completion.
4
Option 4:  Two workflow systems
The final option is to create a second workflow system. This is remarkably similar to the above except that the Unincorporated workflow will sit in an entirely different workflow system. This means that you would have a new option in your workflows drop down, would need to set unincorporated clients to be active on the new system and inactive on the old one. Here are some key considerations for this approach:
  • Only 1 workflow system can use the 'Next year end' trigger field, for UK users this would logically be the Incorporated workflow as it links with Companies House. You would set up a separate trigger field for the unincorporated workflow.
  • Reporting wise each workflow system will have an entirely separate set of widgets and a dedicated jobs reporting page.
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