The man behind Rhino, Eugene Blaine

Eugene Blaine started his first software company, Atlantic Global, in 1993. He took the group public in 2001 on the LSE Aim market. Atlantic built and supplied software solutions to leading companies such as Barclays Bank, HSBC, Pfizer, GSK and Aviva.

In 2012, Atlantic was acquired by KeyedIn, a leading US cloud software company. Following the sale, Eugene retired (for three full days) before embarking on his latest venture, Rhino.

Rhino is one of four software providers on the HMRC’s making tax digital software supplier list for agents and self-employed, along with Absolute,  Forbes and IRIS.

The Leicestershire-based group capitalises on smart technologies. Eugene took the functions that people use in corporate systems, simplified them and customised them for the mobile phone. And the result is the Rhino Small Business App.

Working closely with small business

Eugene’s experience of growing several small businesses and working closely with other owners has been key. “Creating invoices and recording expenses was always the easy part and typically only accounted for 2 per cent of my time,” he says.

“Rhino focuses on the other 98 per cent of time that business people need to invest, to build new products, develop new services, win new customers, schedule staff and manage the critical day-to-day activities that can easily overwhelm a typical small business and impede growth.

“Rhino also creates invoices, records expenses and manages your finances  … but as an integrated part of managing those key operations.”

Key tasks in real time

Eugene adds: “Rhino utilises the customer’s smartphone to enable them to perform key tasks in real time, avoiding unnecessary delays and, most importantly, freeing up their evenings and weekends.

“In addition, the invoice document is electronically filed and can be accessed directly by your accountant to eliminate the need to maintain paper copies.” Rhino employs the same approach to all other business operations.

Having worked with world-leading organisations for over 25 years, Eugene knows the importance of adopting not just good but practical technologies to support the growth of those organisations. “Rhino doesn’t just help small business owners to grow their business; it’s about helping them to stay competitive in a fast-changing world while also helping to safeguard this key asset – the business – which, for many, will represent their single greatest investment.”

He worked closely with HMRC to integrate Rhino into its Making Tax Digital portal. In fact, Rhino was the first package designed for use by businesses (as opposed to accountants) to be approved for direct submission of returns.

Here’s a quick Q and A detailing the Rhino product:

Q1: Must I retain paper receipts for my expenses?

A:   No. HMRC no longer requires you to present paper receipts. They only need to have a copy that is readable. A digital copy is fine and is more reliable than a till receipt that may fade over time. Just use the app on your phone to photograph receipts as you get them.

Q2: How about invoices? Should I keep paper versions of those?

A:  No. The same applies. Just ensure you have legible digital copies. When you use Rhino to create your invoice, it’s already digital, is fast to retrieve and is stored forever, or until you choose to delete it. If you send your invoices by email (which we recommend) you may never need to print any out. Now that’s truly paperless!

Q3: Can I get my data out of Rhino at any time?

A:  Yes you can. Rhino has an Excel Export link at the bottom of every data list which enables you to quickly select and download the data stored in Rhino.  You will lose nothing. Any documents you store can be downloaded too.

Q4:Do I still need to fill out a Self-Assessment form when I use the Making Tax Digital portal for my direct returns submissions from Rhino?

A:  Good question: this is a great myth-busting opportunity. No, almost certainly not if your sole source of income is from your business. There are some exceptions, for instance HMRC puts different obligations on landlords with more than one property.

Q5: How compatible is Rhino with Making Tax Digital?

A:  Rhino Software Ltd, the company behind the Rhino Small Business App, was a primary development partner in building the MTD platform with HMRC. In June 2017, a Rhino user named Beth was the first person to submit a return to the MTD pilot programme. She used her app to do that. The MTD platform went live in March 2018.

Q6:  What does the monthly Rhino licence fee of £9.99 per month include? Is there more functionality available that costs extra?

A: The  licence entitles you to use all the functions of the package. Everything. There’s no additional functionality waiting to be unlocked through more expense. And no hidden costs. The only extra that attracts a further charge is for document storage where those documents are large. For example CAD files, graphics files, and so on. And that document storage charging structure is completely transparent.

Q7: Is my data secure?

A:  Yes it is. app was developed to the highest technical standards. As an additional precaution, we recruited an independent company that specialises in internet security to audit the app and website. Your data is stored in the cloud which means that you do not lose your data if you lose your phone.

Q8: Will Rhino use my data?

A: No. Simple and unequivocal answer. Rhino regards your data as entirely and exclusively private. We will only access your data if we are required to do so by the authorities.


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About the Author

Ian Moss

Ian Moss is the Editor of Accounting Insight News. He's been a journalist since leaving university and has worked for the Daily Mirror and Financial Times, among other media groups. Likes running, guitar, golf, dog-walking.

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