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What Practice Management Software would you recommend?

What Practice Management Software would you...

We have around 300 clients at present and growing and whilst our Excel spreadsheets and Access database have kept us on track, and I am sure would continue to do so, I am also sure that we would benefit from a PM solution. However, I also know that if we pick the wrong one you can end up in a mess having spent lots of money, and time, and end up going back to square one because "the old way worked".

It has to be staff user friendly, so they feel the benefits and most importantly like using it, and if it can link in all physical client data files all the better. I'm not interested in going with the whole IRIS solution because based on a demo a few years ago it just costs an absolute fortune far outweighing the benefit in my opinion - or am I wrong?

I have a dream of a paper free office....... had that for years though (probably around the same time as dreaming that client's could bring their papers in on schedule when first asked). One out of two would be nice and I've given up on the clients!

Advice based on experience will be appreciated!

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By David2e
03rd Feb 2011 13:00

Would like to chat...

We'd developed the first stage of an Online Practice Management System, which some are using though we've had mixed interest and little feedback so far so development had been put on the back burner for a while.

It's something we'll be refining and enhancing over the coming months and I'd be interested in having a chat with you to find out just what you would want such a system to do for you.

If you're happy to arrange a chat sometime, please do drop me an email.

Thanks

David Toohey
The Accountants Circle

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03rd Feb 2011 14:02

Taxcalc?

Taxcalc were supposed to be bringing one out but the launch date is long passed - don't know whether they've given up or it's just being delayed.

Considering this is something that keeps cropping up on Aweb, and has done for years, and various people/firms have promised to develop something for small practices, it's amazing we're still stuck for choice with nothing but the likes of IRIS and Digita both of which are outside what a small practice needs or can afford.

Considering we can buy comprehensive tax software for £500, accounts prep for £130, payroll for £100, all from well respected and popular software firms aimed at the small practice, why on earth can't we get any decent practice management software - after all, it's just a database that's needed.

I've trialled loads of CRM products and none can do what is needed.  Some can't even do a simple task like repeating a task every week, month, quarter or year.  I tried ACCA practice manager which was a truly horrible experience, I tried practicenet which was hard to set up and use - certainly not useable straight from download which is what we expect these days.

I've even toyed with the idea of writing one myself - I could do the spec and just need a programmer to write the program.  It can't be rocket science can it?   

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03rd Feb 2011 14:15

Digita

 I use Digita for 200 clients. Their software is very good but I still use spreadsheets to do exactly what I want how I want it.

I would like software to provide reports in the QuickBooks way - a list of fields and you choose which to appear as columns on a report and records that can be sorted in any order with the whole report being memorised.

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By Kryton
03rd Feb 2011 16:24

HQ for Accountants

Forgive me for "blowing our own trumpet" but last year, Selestial Ltd, a software company based in the UK launched a product called HQ for Accountants. This is practice management software coupled with CRM capabilities and provides tracking of all your important tasks specific to UK accountants. It provides automated reminders for each of your clients for payroll, PAYE, Annual returns, Business Tax, Personal Tax etc.

The product has been in use for over 5 years and was originally designed for an Accountant who, like yourself, felt that they were outgrowing their Access and Excel spreadsheets.

Since the official launch mid last year, we have had very positive feedback from small practice and medium practices alike, and no client churn which is exceptional in the current economic climate.

The software is provided to users as a hosted service, which can be accessed from anywhere from any modern PC and even has a mobile application.

If you'd like to hear more, check out our website at www.selestial.com and click on the HQ for Accountants button near the top of the page.

 

 

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By stiga
04th Feb 2011 10:02

MS Outlook

I use Digita software but not the PM module. I've been using MS Outlook for years for contact details, work scheduling and reminders etc. Its a flexible solution and I can sync with my PDA.

Alan

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08th Feb 2011 11:50

Logical Office

You might also want to have a look at Logical Office.

It's focussed is mainly on the CRM/Paperless side of things, but it does have basic Time & Fees functions.

It can handle standard (engagement) letters, and can be used to set up automated communications for things like regular VAT and Year-end reminder letters (or emails).

It includes document scanning, and has plug-ins for Word, Outlook, etc.

http://www.logical-office.com/

 

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08th Feb 2011 12:11

QuickBooks

Although I am looking at the various Practice Man / CRM solutions I find that I can use QBks for:

- standard letters/e-mails, that can include database fields, (one can add extra fields to the standard customer fields for things like UTRs etc)

- time recording - which is much easier to run in real-time than, say,IRIS

- Fee estimates / billing, where it is possible to compare time to estimated, (time, rather than wasting effort analysing WIP)

This leaves workflow / deadline management to excel etc, and doc management to Windows folders etc, which is where the CRM solutions may save time.

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08th Feb 2011 12:28

HQ for Accountants - not for us

Thanks for your link, I followed it and saw what selestial was offering.  For my business with 317 clients the cost would be £600 per year.  Too expensive for my modest palette.

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09th Feb 2011 09:17

BTC Software PM Solution

I have been using BTC Software's PM Solution for my practice management, personal tax return and corporate tax return software since its launch a few months ago and I can not praise it highly enough.  It has only been reelased in the last few months and has still some way to go before it is fully functional but I find it extremely intuative to use, it can store all documents electronically and also produces some of the standard documents such as 64-8s for you.  I have found it flexible from an operational point of view and extremely cost effective.  I can create and store standard letters that my practice uses and therefore dramatically reduce the time for producing each letter.  I used to try and keep track of everything with spreadsheets but there is no way I would go back to doing that after using this software.  The time this software has saved me has ment that I have not had to employ another person. 

P.S. Although it may sound like it, I am not on commission from BTC software although it would be nice!

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12th Feb 2011 21:05

APS

-- Yvonne Harper - Finance Manager Campbell Dallas LLP

You may want to have a look at APS Practice Management Software - www.aps-advance.com.

 

 

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By mm01
06th May 2011 18:57

Any updates?

Ive used ACCA Practice Manager in the past and have to say I found it brilliant after getting over the intial look and layout of it.  I particularly like the job tracking feature which automatically creates the letters at each step of the process. 

Im in the market for some PM software for my new practice and would have probably opted for ACCA PM but have heard on the grape vine that ACCA are going to drop and that the developers of the software "may" continue to support it....

So, is there any software out there that you can track jobs and automatically create letters etc.  I tried the trial of Absolute butunless Im missing something I couldnt see a way to do this? Timesheets and an automatic mail book would be nice too.

Ive had a look at the APS website but there isnt a lot of info on there so going to drop them a line but not sure if you can get a demo of the software.

Will have a look at BTC too but put off by the fact that you have to also tax their tax software.  Might be good though.

The one thing I have pretty much made my mind up on is to use VT for accounts production but havent decided on the tax software either yet although drumohr tax is leading the way at the moment.

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By chatman
06th May 2011 19:54

Logical Office

 Too small to use it myself but Logical Office has always looked very good to me.

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06th May 2011 20:59

Digita and Iris

I use Digita and I've had a demonstration of Iris.

You lose a lot of the efficiency of the software if you don't take all from one supplier.

Iris seems easier to get started but it is quite rigid so you have to be willing to work how it dictates to a certain extent. Paul Scholes would be able to tell you more about it.

Digita is very flexible and powerful but you really have to sit down and consider how to use it and/or get some training/consultancy if you want to get the most out of it. I'm hoping to find some time to dig into it but To Do List is pretty big!

I have a system which isn't efficient but it's easy. I have a workbook with different sheets for different services. I have columns for different stages of activity including chasing. Every month I go through and see what I can do now and what could be done if I had the data. I may have to sort the data by period end or deadline to understand what can be done or needs to be done.

I'll chase clients and record the chase in Excel if most of the data is outstanding.

I then enter in Word the information I want to consider for the next month. At the front I list what work I can do and any deadlines. I sort this work into the order I think I should tackle it. If I still need a small amount of information I put those tasks at the back of the Word document and update as information is received or I review for anything needing to be chased. I use Word because I find it's easier to make free form notes for different types of tasks. I accept there's a certain amount of inefficiency in my system but presently it helps me to focus on the work.

Hopefully, at sometime in the future I will see what tasks I do now can easily be included in Digita Practice Management and what other tasks can be done which I haven't attempted because it would be too difficult using Excel or Word.

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By chatman
06th May 2011 21:35

Same as Peter

I use a spreadsheet. 

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By mm01
11th May 2011 13:26

Spreadsheet

I currently also use a spreadsheet but as things are getting busier Im really looking for something that can run a report on deadlines and also create letters via a work flow function.

Apparently Im too small for APS so the hunt continues!

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11th May 2011 13:44

Digita does all you want.

If you don't want to spend time getting up to speed then Digita staff will configure the software for you.

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17th Apr 2012 11:29

Something else to look at...

 

I have written a cloud-based client management application especially tailored to accounting practices in the UK and would love to have some feedback from some real accountants! The idea was to create an application which would be useful for small to medium sized practices and would be intuitive to use.

It incorporates most of the features of other client management systems (a mixed bunch!) plus some unique features which I am hoping accountants will like.

These include:

- If you sign up a company or other organisation you and members such as directors or shareholders want to sign up too, they are linked to the company but keep their own details 

- A tax and other tasks schedule is produced automatically based on accounting start dates and

these can be updated as to their status and the dates on which they are completed.

- There’s a “Due Soon” (i.e. To Do list) produced which shows the user what tasks and for which clients are due in the next 60 days.

- The application is Cloud based, so there are no downloads needed. I realise that there is some debate about this, and that some accountants, especially those working on their own prefer to have their data on their own desktop or laptop, so obviously this is not going to suit everybody. 

- Multiple contacts can be added for each client. 

If you’d like to take a look at it (please do!), it’s available at www.clienttax.co.uk where you can also see screenshots and a video. Nothing as yet is set in stone and I am open to any suggestions!

 

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By PAMDILL
the_drookit_dug
02nd May 2013 14:41

Practice Management Software

CompanyReturnsSoftware wrote:

 

I have written a cloud-based client management application especially tailored to accounting practices in the UK and would love to have some feedback from some real accountants! The idea was to create an application which would be useful for small to medium sized practices and would be intuitive to use.

It incorporates most of the features of other client management systems (a mixed bunch!) plus some unique features which I am hoping accountants will like.

These include:

- If you sign up a company or other organisation you and members such as directors or shareholders want to sign up too, they are linked to the company but keep their own details 

- A tax and other tasks schedule is produced automatically based on accounting start dates and

these can be updated as to their status and the dates on which they are completed.

- There’s a “Due Soon” (i.e. To Do list) produced which shows the user what tasks and for which clients are due in the next 60 days.

- The application is Cloud based, so there are no downloads needed. I realise that there is some debate about this, and that some accountants, especially those working on their own prefer to have their data on their own desktop or laptop, so obviously this is not going to suit everybody. 

- Multiple contacts can be added for each client. 

If you’d like to take a look at it (please do!), it’s available at www.clienttax.co.uk where you can also see screenshots and a video. Nothing as yet is set in stone and I am open to any suggestions!

 

 

I just tried to look at this site, however it is not loading, have you taken it down?

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CompanyReturnsSoftware
30th Jul 2016 21:39

do you still run this software? Sounds good.

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25th Jul 2012 11:20

I would love to see an application that would give me a birds eye view of all clients, relationships, tasks, logins, dates and more.

 

So for example:

 

ABC LTD is run by 2 directors, J smith and A Jones. We do both their SA100 returns, but J Smith  is also involved in a partnership called XYZ with Mr A Clive.

In J Smiths tax return we do the employment page, the dividend page and foreign rental page. In A Jones return we just do the employment and dividend pages.

ABC Ltd has its payroll done by us, also its quarterly vat and the annual 363.

 

What I would like is to be able to see this in an organised 1 screen manner, with each stage of the job marked complete/incomplete.

I would like to be able to project this job into my workflow i.e diarise each event (and perhaps for each member of staff).

 

I would like to be able to add custom fields for all the small bits of info you need i.e government gateway logins, company house authentication codes, vat quarters, 363 dates etc.

The option to see work due in the next X days would be good too.

 

Once we address the relationships each clients has, the work involved, when it is due, what stage it is at and the ability to add custom fields then we are perhaps getting somewhere.

 

oh, did i mention that the system would be setup to auto-email the clients for info etc? :-)

 

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By isameet
07th Oct 2013 05:44

Firmzen- Online Practice Management for Accounting firms

Hi everyone,

Disclaimer: I'm the founder of Firmzen, which is an online practice management solution for professional services firms, especially those running accounting and tax consultancy practices.

I've tried reaching out to some of you over a private message, but thought it's best to put out a message for everyone. A lot of what has been discussed in this thread is addressed by what we've developed and we're actively working on improving our software constantly and quickly to become one of the most relevant practice management softwares for small / mid-sized firms.

We're basically a startup based out of India and this is what we're working on - Firmzen.

 

Firmzen  is an online practice management software that focuses on the following broad areas:

Workflow management: Document several processes and automate generation of recurring tasks based on such processes for several clients. This eliminates a lot of repetitiveness / redundancy in terms of task tracking. A major chunk of your to-do list self-generates every year, with inline procedural references for your staff.

 

Client communication / collaboration: Schedule email / SMS[1] reminders for your clients / teammates. Effectively, the process of reminding people involved when due dates approach - can be put on autopilot. That apart, you get to offer your clients an unprecedented level of IT-enabled experience and transparency using Firmzen's client collaboration piece, whereby you can basically allow your clients to login to Firmzen and look at the status of their work / invoices / make payments online / download relevant documents / make additional service requests.

 

Invoicing (including recurring) & Collection tracking: Invoicing module integrated with task management - so you can cover the entire flow of work - right from workflow planning to allocation and tracking, to billing. Firmzen shows you the amount of completed work per client that you are yet to bill for. That ensures all your time and effort is accounted for. Thereafter you can generate Invoices linked to tasks / time / expenses or completely independent. We're working on integrating this module with other accounting softwares[2].

 

There's a gamut of other abilities that Firmzen comes with. For those seeking additional details, I'd request you to go through http://www.firmzen.com or get in touch with me directly at sameet[at]firmzen[dot]com.

 

Regards,

Sameet

LinkedIn Profile | Firmzen.com

 

[1] SMS reminder support for UK region is coming soon

[2] Integration with QB, Xero is on the pipeline. We're seeking recommendations from the industry on other preferable integrations that should be prioritized.

 

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By WA
21st Aug 2015 13:36

How much?

Dear Sameet,

 

What is the cost of this software?

 

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22nd May 2014 17:36

PracticeFlow: New UK-focussed Practice Management System

If you are looking for a practice management system which makes the tracking of hundreds of deadlines simple, is easy to use and is cloud-based then I'd like to invite you to take a look at PracticeFlow, a system which we are developing in partnership with accountants in the UK, for accountants in the UK.

Our insight (and let me know if you agree) is that hitting 100% of deadlines for all of your clients is key to succeeding as an accountant—missed deadlines cost money and erode customer trust. With tens to potentially 100+ clients, each with deadlines related to payroll, VAT, end-of-year returns spread throughout the year, tracking those deadlines can quickly exceed what is feasible with Excel spreadsheets, and that's when mistakes are made.

The system is being improved constantly—it may be of interest for you to become involved in this as if you are unhappy with the current offerings out there then this is a chance to shape practice management software that is being tailored specifically for accountants here in the UK.

Any questions please let me know by PM or through the site.

https://www.practiceflow.co.uk

Stefan

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By PAMDILL
27th Jun 2014 17:00

Comment on prices

shaflidason wrote:

If you are looking for a practice management system which makes the tracking of hundreds of deadlines simple, is easy to use and is cloud-based then I'd like to invite you to take a look at PracticeFlow, a system which we are developing in partnership with accountants in the UK, for accountants in the UK.

Our insight (and let me know if you agree) is that hitting 100% of deadlines for all of your clients is key to succeeding as an accountant—missed deadlines cost money and erode customer trust. With tens to potentially 100+ clients, each with deadlines related to payroll, VAT, end-of-year returns spread throughout the year, tracking those deadlines can quickly exceed what is feasible with Excel spreadsheets, and that's when mistakes are made.

The system is being improved constantly—it may be of interest for you to become involved in this as if you are unhappy with the current offerings out there then this is a chance to shape practice management software that is being tailored specifically for accountants here in the UK.

Any questions please let me know by PM or through the site.

https://www.practiceflow.co.uk

Stefan

 

I just had a quick look and it looks good, however the pricing is an issue, I have at the most 10 clients in any one period, however I have 3 part time staff, it looks in your scenario that i would be paying at least £50/pcm which is rather ott pricing.

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04th Aug 2014 05:22

Pricing

Firstly many thanks for the feedback on the pricing, we are a new solution on the market and thus far we are supporting practices that have around 50 company clients and then 100+ individual clients (i.e. directors of the 50 companies).

As practices come in all shapes and sizes our pricing should reflect that, and so today we are releasing new pricing that we hope does a better job of fitting the needs, and budgets, of smaller practices.

The Professional package now allows for 30 clients and 5 user accounts for just £15/month. Beyond that, as your practice grows up to 60 clients and 10 staff members (or freelancers) then the price is only £25/month. Our aim is that in using our product to track deadlines, your practice should be able to handle more clients and avoid any late fees for missed deadlines, leading to a real return on investment every month.

The new pricing is available here.

Very happy to discuss this and all things PM if anyone would like to get in touch: [email protected].

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By WA
25th Aug 2015 16:04

I am trying out practiceflow

Is there a way to import client list into the system?

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14th Jan 2016 13:19

Importing clients into PracticeFlow

WA wrote:

Is there a way to import client list into the system?

Sorry for the very late reply here, but yes it is possible to import a client list, and it is generally very straightforward to do so.

The easiest way is if you email us a list of company numbers—we will then pull the client details direct from Companies House.

When adding in individuals, we can either provide a template Excel file to fill out or we might be able to import your data as is—the best thing would be to get in touch with us and we will discuss options for that with you.

Certainly the company number route is by far the simplest, and will get you up and running quickly.

 

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21st Jan 2016 16:36

Xero
I am thinking to move to xero practice manager and their financial system, what do u say about xero?

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