Crunchers Accountants

Crunchers Accountants

EPOSNow vs Vend vs Shopify

Archive for April, 2017

EPOSNow vs Vend vs Shopify

We are edging ever closer to an integrated world and for retailers one obvious link to make is between the EPOS system and the bookkeeping.

In this blog we compare the three front runners in Xero / EPOS integration – EPOSNow, Shopify and Vend.  With all these systems a lot depends on the hardware and the level of functionality.  We have based our comparison on the following scenario:  A delicatessen, 4 employees, one register, 700 items of stock, stock management, bar code scanner, Xero integration and support.


The basic idea with EPOSNow is that you make an upfront purchase of the till, the touch screen, card machine and thereafter you only pay for Xero integration and support if you want them.  In our experience both usually are required/ desirable and as extras  these cost £25/month each.

The hardware and the software is robust but perhaps not the most elegant and the upfront cost of touch screen register, till and card machine is £1,199.

Functionality includes stock management, reporting, and a healthy roster of add-ons.  We like the Xero integration which includes posting payments to the correct bank accounts / cash.  What it will not do is deal with Ecommerce, nor will it keep customer details.

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In the Vend model hardware is not included and the product is the software which for our example delicatessen costs £79/month or £708 if you pay annually.  The software works on PC or Mac and there is an iPad app however there is no Android app and they do not recommend to use with an Android tablet.  The cost of getting a till, receipt printer and other hardware is likely to be around £300.

Sales and payment integration with Xero is excellent.  It supports mobile and contactless payments which is great and provides an online store and order management.  Customer support is included as standard.

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The Shopify model is also on a subscription basis with our delicatessen would need the £79/month version.  In a twist on the charging, Shopify integrates card payments into the system taking 2.6% of transaction costs.  The software is supported on a browser or iPad/ iPhone and includes the same functionality of Vend for online store and customer database.

We have had more problems with the Xero integration mainly in the area of cash payments but otherwise it works well.  Customer support again is included as standard.

Where Shopify really excels is in its online store.  In fact there is another way to look at the subscription which is to see it as an incredible eCommerce platform that also allows for EPOS with integrations into Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest and other platforms.  When seen this way the cost is extremely good value.

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Clients tend to go with EPOSNow on price but we have found that with the Xero integration  and customer support which they find is essential, the costs are similar.  In terms of interface and reporting there is no doubt much more work and love have gone into the Shopify and Vend systems.

As for choosing for these two, at the level of our delicatessen there really is not much to split them apart but at the next level if another shop were to be added it starts to look like Vend pulls ahead, giving much more functionality around multiple locations and inventory.

Budget Report

As the dust settles on the last Spring Budget, we look at the key changes for small business and some reminders of changes in the 2016 Budget that take effect from 1st April.

Business Tax
Corporation Tax – Corporation Tax has reduced to 19% from 1st April 2017.

VAT – VAT registration threshold increases to £85,000 from today and the deregistration threshold is now £83,000.

National Insurance – this provided created the biggest waves on budget day with the Chancellor announcing increases of Class 4 NICs for Sole Traders.  The Chancellor has since backed down on these.  However his reasoning is that whilst it is the right thing to do, the Government belatedly wishes to respect the commitment made in the manifesto not to do this.  One must therefore assume this change is pencilled in for after the next election.

Business Rates – business rates has become a hot topic for business tax with many ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses complaining that they seem to be singled out for punishment.  The Chancellor announced a cap on rates rises to £50/month for small businesses losing their rate relief with special rates relief introduced for pubs.

National Living Wage – this now rises to £7.50/hr from April.

Making Tax Digital – Plans for quarterly reporting and paying taxes has been postponed to April 2019 for businesses with turnover less than the VAT threshold (£85k), however for the April 2018 remains in place for sole trader businesses with turnover exceeding the VAT threshold.

Personal Tax
Personal Allowance – this was increased as predicted to £11,500

Tax Bands – The Basic Rate band has been increased to £33,500 which when combined with the personal allowance of £11,500 means Higher Rate tax now kicks in at £45,000.

Dividends – there was bad news for company shareholders.  The dividend allowance will be falling to £2,000 from April 2018.  This year it remains at £5,000.

ISAs – the ISA limit increased to £20,000 per year to encourage saving.

Trading Income Allowance – anyone making less than £1,000 profit from trading will no longer be required to pay tax on that income or even declare it.

Property Income Allowance – similarly if profit from renting property is less than £1,000 in the year there will be no requirement to pay or declare this income.

Capital Gains Tax – the Capital Gains Tax Annual Exempt Amount has increased to £11,300.

Rental Income
Interest Deductions – a big change comes into effect for property income with deductions for mortgage interest being replaced over the next 4 years by a ‘Tax Reducer’.  Instead of subtracting the amount of interest from the rent, the Tax Reducer works thus: first profit is calculated on the rental income without deducting interest, then a reduction is made for the interest paid capped at 20% of interest paid.

As previously indicated the change does not come into full force immediately by is being phased in between this year and 2020-21 tax year.  It also does not apply to holiday lettings or commercial property.

The Economy
The Government is bullish on growth for this year with forecasts up from 1.4% to 2.0%.  Growth is also forecast for the next four years albeit slightly depressed figures from the 2016 budget.

This was not a budget to send shock waves through the country.  However we do note that the Government seems to be steadily chipping away at tax savings for small business owners.  Perhaps this is inevitable with the rise of the gig economy where the difference between a zero hours contract salary and freelance work is getting blurred.  The impression is that the Government is concerned to see tax receipts disappearing as more and more people end up self employed or incorporating a small business.  We suspect many small business owners would ask why more focus is not put on our large corporate cousins.