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Which Software to chose for complete practice solution

Hi

I have worked 15 years in practice and 10 years in industry. My current directorship is coming to end at the end of the year.
And rather than take another job I want to return to practice and set up my own company as always had about 20 clients
I looked after part time.

I have always been A sage man, but in the last 10 when I have been out of the practice side of things a few other players seem to have come along.

I currently use Sage compliance kit for 20 clients which has personal tax, business tax accounts production which costs about 1500 per year.
I expect to get up to be serving 80 to 100 personal tax returns and about 50 sets of accounts for sole traders and small companies.
The cost of sage goes up quite rapidly once you increase your numbers.

I have been recommended to use TaxCalc by a few other practitioners I know and I have seen Digita advertised on here along with Iris.
I need something that is easy to use as I don't particularly want to spend loads of time re training.
Also the practice management side of things would be useful client management, time recording etc. marketing mail shotting

Can anyone give advice on what they would choose as there seems to be a move a way from Sage these days and I would value
Your experiences of similar sized businesses to myself.
And also what sort of budget I should be allowing to buy the software in that will do the job, and what are service levels and technical support like.

Also I would prefer a cloud based solution but most providers seem to be keeping away from hosted solutions, although I beleive TaxCalc
Are working on it.

Any comments and advice greatly appreciated.

Replies

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Iris

As far as a "complete practice solution" is concerned, I can't think of much that Iris can't do and I've heard rumours that V12 will include a coffee & tea making module but it won't be cloud based or hosted I'm afraid.

Iris is costly but, even at our reduced size, 75 clients and 2 people, it still saves me far more in the cost of another staff member I'd need without it.

The complexity of the core accounts prep & tax modules of any system are, I think, still too heavy for a cloud based solution but they are bound to come.  In the meantime you can pretty much host anything.  Iris provides its own hosting or you can use many others, we went with Hosted Desktop UK.

Happy to chat via PM

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By Glennzy
20th Nov 2012 01:21

Thanks Paul
Can I ask what sort of money a 75 client Iris package would cost.
Also is the core data base in it useful for marketing etc.

I had been looking at Digita which looks very good and I am waiting on a price back for it.
But I don't know anyone else who,uses it. The database and client data filing looks very good.

Cheers

Glenn

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Glenn

Hi Glenn - because each element differs per practice (number of clients etc) and we don't use "time & fee" it's best you give them a call to get an idea of price.  Almost certainly you'll end up with a starter pack which covers the basics of accounts/tax/automail & bits with it being based around the number of business clients so SP 75 for example covers up to 75 business clients and 150 personal tax returns.

In the early days however I think they might to a light version?

The database enables you to search on practically anything, eg any client with turnover > £X or with penaion contributions and so for direct mailing for specific news it's been great.  As all our marketing has always been to existing clients (to generate recommendadtion), I've never thought of it for marketing to non clients but you could set up potentiual clients.

Cheers

Paul

 

PS: search for Peter Saxton he uses Digita

 

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Costs do vary....

Give them a call, and then haggle down any licence fees. The same advice applies for many of the larger software companies.

The smaller ones (BTC, Taxcalc, Keytime, etc) usually have clear pricing on their websites which makes it a bit easier.

Dan

www.hostedaccountants.co.uk

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20th Nov 2012 20:50

Iris is great but expensive. VT/BTC combo is popular
Iris has a higher cost than everything else but I find that the integration it offers saves a lot of cost. It's a lot more noticeable in a multi staff environment than on your own though and potentially a cheaper offering would be suitable. VT/BTC is a popular choice and should cost less than £800 per annum. BTC's practice management is good for template letters and recurring task reminders (VAT quarters for example) but it has no time tracking or invoicing modules. VT's bookkeeping package is much better than its excel based final accounts one, I believe BTC can import self employment data directly from VT Transaction + (the bookkeeping one)

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By Glennzy
20th Nov 2012 22:58

Thanks for responses guys its giving me a few pointers. I don't like when software Is priced by number of clients. It's like a tax on your own success. Licence fees to me should be based on number of users or Licences etc.

It's worth spending a bit of time doing some research before choosing as its costly changing once you are into it.

I notice that no one recommends Sage as a practice solution.

Regards

Glenn

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By Gilly
21st Nov 2012 09:16

VT/TaxCalc/Moneysoft

I use VT for bookkeeping and final accounts, Taxcalc for all tax returns and Moneysoft for payroll.

VT will export personal and partnership info to a lot of tax packages. Taxcalc Pro suite cost £400 + VAT and will do SATR, CT600 and partnerships. Moneysoft makes payroll easy for £112 + VAT pa.  All can be used for an unlimited number of clients.

I've only had to use VT's helpline a couple of times in the last 3 years, and they've been excellent.  Taxcalc were very helpful with a couple of questions I had.  Moneysoft hasn't thrown up any problems in 4 years. 

All are easy to use, although with any software there is the odd moment of wondering 'how on earth do I do that!' and 'Oh wow, wish I'd discovered that function three months ago.'  Or maybe that's just me.

As a sole practitioner I don't feel I'd gain much with integrated software, but the one thing lacking is a CRM/workflow management/practice management element.  

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21st Nov 2012 10:32

software solutions

Hello

Over the last 6 or 7 years I have used the following, here are unbiased comments form a fellow sole practitioner

PAYROLL

PTP - brilliant why did they drop it?

IRIS - why did I bother see SAGE below

SAGE - too complicated, too expensive

ABSOLUTE - pretty good, still using it, but no sign of RTI pilot  - they say they will be ready "in time"

INTEGRATED PACKAGES

PTP - started with this, left when they went to IRIS, needed to "tweek" a few things at the time.

IRIS - functionality can't be beaten, but in the end far to expensive for me.. Help line rubbish ( my opinion ) Accounts formatting got me into a problem with Cos House. Co secretarial can't be beaten. Wish I coul

ABSOLUTE - using at the moment for final accounts, CT and SA. Promised integration to payroll never materialised. Help Line BRILLIANT. Co Secretarial rubbish ( my opinion). Problem with retrieving saved documents and have to rework tax returns ( YAWN!)  Doesn't do group accounts, so looking at VT and thanks to Scotttwright ( above )now looking at BTC ( why haven't I heard of them before).

CONCLUSION after 7 years, I'll get it right one day .

 

 

 

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
21st Nov 2012 20:27

Which ...

amosprophet wrote:

Hello

Over the last 6 or 7 years I have used the following, here are unbiased comments form a fellow sole practitioner

PAYROLL

PTP - brilliant why did they drop it?

IRIS - why did I bother see SAGE below

SAGE - too complicated, too expensive

ABSOLUTE - pretty good, still using it, but no sign of RTI pilot  - they say they will be ready "in time"

INTEGRATED PACKAGES

PTP - started with this, left when they went to IRIS, needed to "tweek" a few things at the time.

IRIS - functionality can't be beaten, but in the end far to expensive for me.. Help line rubbish ( my opinion ) Accounts formatting got me into a problem with Cos House. Co secretarial can't be beaten. Wish I coul

ABSOLUTE - using at the moment for final accounts, CT and SA. Promised integration to payroll never materialised. Help Line BRILLIANT. Co Secretarial rubbish ( my opinion). Problem with retrieving saved documents and have to rework tax returns ( YAWN!)  Doesn't do group accounts, so looking at VT and thanks to Scotttwright ( above )now looking at BTC ( why haven't I heard of them before).

CONCLUSION after 7 years, I'll get it right one day .

 

... IRIS payroll, payroll professional is excellent .

IRIS don't penalise success on number of clients, they just offer an affordable version for the small practice.

Once you hit a certain number you go on the full monty with unlimited clients and just pay by concuurent users (not absolute numbers). The costs of the additional users are much less than the initial, so say accounts production is £1200 per year, an additional user would only be around £200 per year. It would be quite feasible for 4 or 5 people to work on a 2 user licence as  you only need to access the system to post the figures and fiddle with he notes. and when you are working in business tax you won't need to be in accounts and vice versa, so as long as you log off when finished there are no real problems.

 

 

 

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21st Nov 2012 16:20

RTI transmission in Absolute payroll

Tools / user setup /advanced  / enable RTI submission

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21st Nov 2012 16:33

RTI and Absolute

Thanks Dave

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By AS44NG
26th Nov 2012 19:02

Cheapest option for a small practice

... in my opinion:-

VT accounts, just renewed at £150+vat for unlimited clients

Keytime personal and corporation tax, generally £110+vat per ten individuals/companies.

Payroll, do not use anything but Payroll Manager by Moneysoft at £112+vat for unlimited clients/employees.  So simple to use, unlike Sage!  Criminal to use anything else in my opinion.

 

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26th Nov 2012 19:12

IRIS + Moneysoft

My pennyworth - I use IRIS and Moneysoft. I'm a one man band. They work well for me as I aim to maximise the £ I get for my time. I don't do bookkeeping or management accounts.

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By Old Greying Accountant
26th Nov 2012 20:37

Well lock me up ...

AS44NG wrote:

... in my opinion:-

VT accounts, just renewed at £150+vat for unlimited clients

Keytime personal and corporation tax, generally £110+vat per ten individuals/companies.

Payroll, do not use anything but Payroll Manager by Moneysoft at £112+vat for unlimited clients/employees.  So simple to use, unlike Sage!  Criminal to use anything else in my opinion.

... and throw away the key, but you won't prise EARNIE out of my hands!

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By AS44NG
26th Nov 2012 22:14

.

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

AS44NG wrote:

... in my opinion:-

VT accounts, just renewed at £150+vat for unlimited clients

Keytime personal and corporation tax, generally £110+vat per ten individuals/companies.

Payroll, do not use anything but Payroll Manager by Moneysoft at £112+vat for unlimited clients/employees.  So simple to use, unlike Sage!  Criminal to use anything else in my opinion.

... and throw away the key, but you won't prise EARNIE out of my hands!

 

So be it.  I sentence you to an inferior product for the rest of your days.  Take him down.

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EARNIE vs Moneysoft

AS44NG wrote:

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

AS44NG wrote:

... in my opinion:-

VT accounts, just renewed at £150+vat for unlimited clients

Keytime personal and corporation tax, generally £110+vat per ten individuals/companies.

Payroll, do not use anything but Payroll Manager by Moneysoft at £112+vat for unlimited clients/employees.  So simple to use, unlike Sage!  Criminal to use anything else in my opinion.

... and throw away the key, but you won't prise EARNIE out of my hands!

 

So be it.  I sentence you to an inferior product for the rest of your days.  Take him down.

 

What experience do you have of EARNIE? It is aimed at a completely different market to Moneysoft.

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27th Nov 2012 19:20

Moneysoft reports are poor
My experience of moneysoft is that its great for small uncomplicated payrolls with no or very few deductions beyond tax & NI. Its SMP functionality is somewhat lacking and the reports such as employer summary are inferior to other offerings (particularly with several deductions such as pensions, employee loans, attachment of earnings) I can find no report which shows every single deduction individually in order to then prepare a weekly or monthly sage journal.

In terms of getting the information INTO it the only problem I've run into is multiple middle names.

What comes out I find unsuitable for a professional organisation to send to the end client and would either: A) extract and re-format in excel or B) pay more for better software which would depend on the number if payroll clients.

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By Old Greying Accountant
26th Nov 2012 22:46

You stick with your Fiat 500

I'll drive my Rolls

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By Old Greying Accountant
27th Nov 2012 09:22

I've used ...

... Earnie for @ 20 years, since its DOS days.

I use it as payroll bureau software for a number of clients with various sizes of payroll, in the way I imagine the OP would (although don't know why we got on payroll as not in the OP!)

It is intuitive, easy to use, has a vast array of standard reports available in many different output formats, you can save default printers for each report (useful as I use a different printer for the security payslips), it is very easy to create import and export charts to transfer in from other systems or out as required and the support is second to none.

I have no experience of Moneysoft, but why should I, EARNIE ain't broke ...

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By Old Greying Accountant
27th Nov 2012 19:38

Ah well ...

... with EARNIE you get an accounts link so you can specify which payroll heading goes to which SAGE nominal code, dept code etc and then export a journal ready to load in to SAGE!

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Not just EARNIE...

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

... with EARNIE you get an accounts link so you can specify which payroll heading goes to which SAGE nominal code, dept code etc and then export a journal ready to load in to SAGE!

 

EARNIE isn't the only software that offers that feature of course (insert sunglasses emoticon here)

And assorted detailed and summary reports designed to make bookkeeping easier also don't necessitate higher cost than Moneysoft (insert another sunglasses emoticon)

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27th Nov 2012 20:22

@scottwright

i have just been doing a lot of SMP related payrolls on moneyssoft and have no problems with  reports , i can run full reports - go to payroll summary and go to drop down box and chose extended

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28th Nov 2012 21:11

Reports

carnmores wrote:

i have just been doing a lot of SMP related payrolls on moneyssoft and have no problems with  reports , i can run full reports - go to payroll summary and go to drop down box and chose extended

Oh, I think yours understood me. I'm aware of the extended report and my issue with SMP was separate to that. With SMP it calculates it monthly paid employees over a quarter as 4 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks when using the internal calendar thing. To do it the "proper" way by dividing the SMP weekly amount by 7 and multiplying by days in the month you have to mess about entering it in other screens.

My issue with the extended report is that it doesn't include all of the deductions (which one would assume is the purpose of such a report).

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By Old Greying Accountant
28th Nov 2012 20:04

Probably not ...

... I know EARNIE, it does all I need, is easy to use and I am happy with the cost.

I know SAGE, I don't like it.

I am aware of the old PTP product, pre IRIS ownership, weighed it against upgrading to EARNIE windows and you know who won.

I don't know anything about the others, of which I am sure there are many fine examples, and some not so fine, but I wouldn't presume to slate that which I have no knowledge of.

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06th Mar 2013 10:43

have taxcalc any rti provision does anyone know

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