Starling Toolkit

Hey @samoc and team,

I assume you will have seen this today:

I know it’s not account agnostic, but I’m sure you’ve got some initial thoughts on crossover and threat? Perhaps you see other fintechs targeting products in this way as evidence that there’s a clear need for Coconut? It seems like the market is evolving fast!

Makes me think there’s even more traction in building a strong BI product for your market sector, as all these alternatives feel very transaction-based.

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Since I’m a Starling customer (using via True Layer for Coconut accounting), I thought I’d take this new Tool Kit for a spin to see how it compares to Coconut, here is my experience below.

Initial reactions, the email sells the features well, and wow 3 months free sounds great. It’s well marketed and enticing. So I allow sharing permissions in-app and sign up for the subscription.

Let’s dive straight in -
I quickly realised that this is a web only offering, having just signed up via the app, which I find very strange and backwards.

No mobile version exists, so the features needed to be really good to convince me, since the Coconuts mobile experince is one of the key reasons accounting is so frictionless.

The UI is simple, but extremely bland.

Invoices are very manual and there is no intergration with companines house search like in Coconut, which I find really useful since it pulls all the company info straight in.

Bookeeeping - wow stay away from that mess, you might as well use an excel spreadsheet.
You can add an external transaction - which I think is a feature still missing in Cocconut, since this can only be done as a total amount fo rall missing income.

Digital VAT submissions connected to HMRC seems like the only great feature here.

There’s no predictions for VAT estimations or a way to appply the same rate to multiple items. A new feature recently launch in Coconut which I absolutley love. I hope to see more of these AI predictions in the future.

Like Monzo’s business account this feels like a beta product that’s not ready for mainstream consumption. It feels like the big honchos upstairs just wan to tick a box to show their investors that they have Coconut features.

The consumer offering is very poor

Starting to wish I’d invested more than £10 on Crowdcube now ; )

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Thanks so much for this @Ben - really interesting to hear your perspective as a Coconut customer. Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, will share it with the rest of the team too :+1:

Nice write up @Ben - super helpful.

VAT Submissions + manual/external transactions are both on the cards for us before year end.

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Nice to see that the competition is lacking… I upped my investment from the 150 and ended up at 2k… LOL… because I know the guys at coconut will make it happen with all the new features and an early retirement for me if the shares get to Xero level. :rainbow::moneybag:

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@Ben If you use it…What’s the split transactions feature like in Starling Toolkit? its something I have to do all the time in 1Tap for my expenses reporting to my accountant but not being able to do it in Coconut yet means my tax estimate will be out so it’s less easy to work out what to put away.

Sorry I don’t use that feature. I use it in my personal Monzo account.

What’s the use case for business?

@Ben I think I may have called it the wrong thing, I wasn’t referring to the Monzo type split a bill feature. I think Starling call it setting an “allowable amount” to a transaction to affect the VAT & Tax estimate.:

For those of us that are self employed but work from home or use a service that is both for personal use and business (such as home internet, a mobile phone or anything shared use with other family members).

See also here for a similar request for coconut:

https://bite.getcoconut.com/t/split-a-transaction-claim-a

@Ralph Interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever had to use that feature. There’s then the potential issue of it not getting pulled in via Coconut if you use them together.

I manually calculated working from home allowances outside of Coconut in the past, using a spreasheet, but now the standard allowance has gone up to £26pm this dosen’t make sense for most. Simply set up a standing order for £26pm. It was always fiddly to work out.

When I did work this out manually, I accounted for it in Coconut like this:
I didn’t put my personal home interent through my business and then split it, I did it the other way around, so billed costs to personal account and then paid myself a% of the amount from my business account to offset this as a tax deductuble expense and pay myself back.

Maybe this is a better solution?