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CRM Update - Is there a good system for accountants?

As a small but developing practice (3 users); we are currently reviewing what is available on the CRM side.  We use for accounts, VT Software and Taxcalc for Taxation.  Also require something that is compatable with Outlook.  It needs to have a centralised Calandar, Task List and act as a reasonable database for updating client records etc.  We have used ACT in the past but it can only be trusted on one machine and now we would prefer to move away from this product.

We are not adverse to using on-line software but would probably prefer to own it, if possible.

Any reasonable help would be gratefully received, we have had contact from Taxcalc about their hub system but (and we can concur) their focus was on managing the XBRL change and therefore not on developing this useful tool.  Does anyone know of the future developments concerning CRM etc?

Kind regards,

Stephen

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HQ4A

Hi Stephen,

You can try HQ for Accountants which is an online CRM system especially for accountants. It has built in fields for accountancy such as PAYE references, VAT number, Record System, Year End, PAYE period, Tax Office, Return Date etc.

Additionally it can be used to track your accountancy, paye, payroll, bookkeeping, annual returns etc and provide reminders when these jobs are due and inform you if they are taking too long and are approaching the HMRC deadlines.

HQ can be used to create a client history by linking emails, calendar events, notes, SMS and documents and these can be viewed in a time ordered sequence to give a complete history of a client.

You can integrate the email with outlook by just cc'ing the email to HQ, or better still use the integrated email client (from anywhere with web access) and have all your incoming and outgoing emails automatically linked to your clients.

Most CRM systems are moving online these days, even the older CRMs are moving online as the benefits become clearer. HQ was designed to be online from the outset, before it was fashionable. Even office applications and accounting applications are moving online with the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, Sage, Apple and Google seeing it as the way forward.

Anyway, take a look and see here. I am sure you can arrange a demo and trial.

Best regards,

Kryton

www.selestial.com

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Another vote for HQ for Accountants

I have been using it for several months and I concur with the comments above. It looks good as well.

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No workable demo
I found that the system demo on their website was little better than useless as there was no demo data and looked to have very little functionality. It looks not to have been updated for some considerable time, so doesn't help at all. I'm very put off by the only way of getting to see how it works is a live talk through with them - I'd much rather have a time limited demo version to play with at my convenience for a few days. I'm sure that their online demo sellers are fine people, but it's just something I've never done and never will do - I avoid talking to people selling me things like the plague. Other online systems give you a proper online demo version instantly at the click of a few buttons yet HQ want you to complete an enquiry form and they'll get back to you - not for me I'm afraid. I have a rule when buying software and that's that I must be able to be up and running straight from loading - if it needs a lot of training or setting up, then I walk away. I've already had my fingers burnt by buying ACCA practice manager and then Practicenet's Rapport, both of which I found practically impossible to use because they needed far too much setting up, so I'm treading very carefully for my next purchase of CRM!!! I can buy and use lots of other softwares straight out of the box, yet for some reason accountancy CRM systems seem to require far too much set up and training for no obvious reason.

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@Ken

Hi Ken,

Read your comment with a smile on my face. Send an email to the contact email (info) and I'll get a trial system set up for you and I promise all I will send you is the login information! - Of course if you do phone I can point out the  features that maybe you didn't find in the demo... ;)

Kryton.

 

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Some previous material on AccountingWEB

I was going to mention HQ for Accountants too, which we first heard about several years ago from Adrian Pearson, who was looking for a web-based system and when he couldn't find one set about enlisting AccountingWEB members to help develop one himself. It would be interesting to hear what members think of it.

Around that time I compiled an IT Zone guide to CRM software for accountants. It's now three years old so some of the suppliers will have chopped and changed (and new ones will have arrived), but if you want to get an overview of what's available it may provide a starting point for any search.

One of the comments I made then was that any system that pushes you to create a separate database to other records maintained within the practice will have an inbuilt handicap - and I have noticed that they can fall into disuse. If you have the inclination, it may be worth considering options that can bring the practice data into one place - in your case, TaxCalc now offers a module it calls The Hub, which may achieve some of your objectives (ask them what plans their are to take it further - you may find you can influence future developments).

Or look into systems with APIs or good export facilities that you might be able to "synch" with your tax programs in some way. (I'd be very interested in hearing from any members or developers who have gone down this route).

You can also click the "CRM" tag in the blue box above to look through previous articles and Any Answers queries on AccountingWEB.

Let us know how you get on.

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HQ4A is expensive

I have tried HQ4A before it was released and I had a demonstration done by Adrian Pearson. It is very good and it does a bit more than other CRM solutions as it is targeted for accountants. I waited until it was released before I made my decision but when finally it was released I found prices too high for a small practice. Before it was released I was told it will not be expensive and they will have packages where more users you have the cheaper it is.

I work with lots of restaurants and the payroll for many years in the industry has been fortnightly. HQ4A doesn't do fortnightly reoccurring payroll. When I asked the support they said I have to pay if I wanted an extra feature.

£20 extra a month for 1Gby storage space is way to high when for £5 a month you can get 30Gby with most online storage websites.

Integration with Xero, Kashflow and other online systems now days is very important. They said they will do it in the future but then probably will cost too much for users to pay.

I am using CapsuleCRM which is much cheaper and it is very customizable. It is far from perfect but combined with Google Apps (which is free) it does 99% what most CRM systems will ever be able to do for accountants. It does integrate with Google, KashFlow, Xero, MailChimp to name few.

If you want desktop software I came across Logical Office.

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CRM integrates with Iris, Digita, CCH and others

HI all

Taking advantage of your existing data is important for many, as the idea of updating multiple databases is tedious and long winded. Sorry for the plug, but hope some find it interesting. At Hosted Accountants, we have created CRM for accountants that has the potential to integrate with existing server based programs.

I hope this is of interest.

Regards

Ian

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Cloud based CRM

Hi Stephen,

I picked up on this topic as part of my desktop research in to CRM systems for accountants. I am the founder of a CRM software business called Monii.  The goal of Monii is to make business easy, efficient and more intelligent.

Whilst it's early days for us, we have had some really positive feedback about our product.  In particular, our users like the speed and simplicity of the software.

We have recently concluded our Evaluation Program with over twenty firms and there has been a strong interest from finance professionals.  We are keen to work with accountants in shaping the next wave of functionality for the software; in particular our third party integrations with practice management software and other popular cloud based products such as Xero and SageOne.

We're looking at specific ways to protect accounts from revenue leakage, helping them with new business generation and empowering them to forge stronger client relationships.

I would be interested to know how you finally landed on your CRM of choice; and what you find works well.  I'm also keen to understand if you have any 'tut' factors - things that could be better.  I'm always keen to ensure my team builds what the customer actually needs, not what we think they want.

If you, or anyone reading this would like to connect with me directly, I'd be grateful for your input and comments.

Regards,

Oliver.

 

 

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