Liberty Accounts

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Athene Systems Limited
Private Limited
IndustryComputer software
FoundedUnited Kingdom (1996)
Key people
Alan Wright (MD),
Paul Taylor (Director),
Neil Chadwick (Director)

Liberty Accounts is an integrated online accounting and payroll system designed specifically for small and medium enterprises in the UK. Also described as a software as a service or SaaS cloud computing application, Liberty is available to both business owners and accountants.[1] For accountancy firms it is available as a co-branded solution, including the firm's own visual identity and availability form their website.[2]


A second-generation online accounting system, Liberty was developed by Athene Systems Limited, along with Neil Chadwick — former Marketing Director of Easycounting.[3] According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), "This independent technology company has been coming up with innovative software solutions for business processes since 1996. Members of the team have worked for American Express, Black & Decker and Ernst & Young, and they been involved in offering online accounting solutions to accountants since the earliest days of the market."[4]

Athene Systems Limited was founded in 1996 by Alan Wright and Paul Taylor, who realised the potential of the internet as a means of collaboration between accountants and their clients. Development work on Liberty Accounts started in 2001, with the initial launch in 2003. Neil Chadwick joined Alan and Paul in 2006.[5]

Since 2004/05 the system has linked directly to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) portal for online filing of PAYE and P11D,[6] as well as facilitating IR35 income and expense association with contracts and employees.[4]

In 2009, Liberty Accounts was accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).[4]

Technical details[edit]

The Liberty Accounts system uses industry standard Oracle and Java (programming language) technologies. It delivers HTML in a cross-platform web browser environment, hosted in the UK in a secure data centre.[5]

Management tools[edit]

Liberty Accounts offers different levels of functionality, depending on the skills and training of the user – meaning that both accountants and their clients can work on the same records, at their own level.[7] This allows for closer and more ongoing collaboration between accountants and client businesses. According to accountant Ray Backler, "I work with my clients on a day-to-day basis using the online system and the current financial position of the business is always up-to-date, so it is obvious when additional work is required, and it's easy to make recommendations for additional revenue streams." [8]

Accountants can set up a separate area within Liberty Accounts where they are able to access to cross-client views and a range of reports, as well as highlight key tasks and event dates. "Global account settings can be enforced (for P11D classification, NIC classification, default VAT rates, and nominal codes for export to statutory accounts packages) from this control area, and the system can be tailored with the help of pre-packaged ‘roles’. These help members of the firm to manage their work efficiently, and make it easy for firms to control (and restrict) the menu options and structure available to clients." [4]

Data and functionality[edit]

Secure transmission of data for online transactions is via a Thawte SSL web server certificate. The visual treatment is similar to that found in the Windows environment, featuring a typical management snapshot, lists of outstanding sales and purchase invoices and the current bank balance. "The Windows-style drop down menus mirror desktop accounting packages...Reports are generated as PDFs almost instantly and displayed automatically. The presentation of reports and the range of report options look very much like QuickBooks, so there's instant familiarity for most accountants." [9] Transactions — such as invoices, bank entries or journals — can be posted singly or in batches.[9] "Liberty supports the use of foreign currencies for invoices and customer statements (and can automatically calculate and post exchange rate gains and losses) and as well as having built-in stock control and payroll, it is unusual in offering the tools required for P11D compliance (including section 336 claims)...It captures P11D-related information at a transaction level, pulls the figures together on screen and then produces an HMRC approved facsimile of the P11D form, for ‘one click’ electronic filing." [4]

Value Added Tax[edit]

Liberty was the first online accounting provider to offer VAT functionality, including transactions such as European Union acquisitions, and production of the European Community Sales List (form VAT 101). Standard and cash accounting VAT schemes are supported, as well as flat-rate VAT (calculated on a transaction basis).[4] According to David Harbron at the Fenchurch Group of commercial and residential property development companies: "When the UK VAT rate rose to 20% in the New Year, [I] knew that Liberty would immediately be updated to reflect the increase, and that the automatic invoices the Fenchurch Group had set up for its tenants would all go out with the correct VAT rate on." [7]


  1. ^ Head in the Clouds 2.0, Prof Nigel Lockett FRSA (23 May 2011), retrieved 15 August 2011.
  2. ^ The beancounter's guide to internet accounting, John Stokdyk (20 January 2009), retrieved 15 August 2011.
  3. ^ Cloud Accounting's Pioneers: Where are they now?, John Stokdyk (4 December 2008). retrieved 15 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Meall, Lesley (October 2010), Online Accounting Software: Chartech Software Product Guide p.13. Published by ICAEW.
  5. ^ a b Salter, Kevin. (November 2009), ICAEW Accreditation Scheme Financial Accounting Software Evaluation: Athene Systems Limited p.4. Published by ICAEW.
  6. ^ Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Online — software and online forms, retrieved 15 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b Leaping into cloud-based accounting and finance systems?, Lesley Meall (14 February 2011), retrieved 15 August 2011.
  8. ^ Life on accountancy's online frontier, Lesley Meall (15 June 2009), retrieved 15 August 2011.
  9. ^ a b Online Software Review: Liberty Accounts, by Nigel Harris, retrieved 15 August 2011.

External links[edit]

  • [1] Official website
  • [2] The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • [3] HM Revenue and Customs
  • [4] Prof Nigel Lockett, Professor of Enterprise and Director of the Leeds Enterprise Centre

at the University of Leeds

  • [5] FSN Publishing Limited
  • [6] BusinessCloud9
  • [7] Sift Media
  • [8] AccountingWEB