Share this content
33

Any recommendations for client management software

We want to migrate our current system to the cloud

Didn't find your answer?

We currently use Drive from Relate Software to look after the practice side of things.  While Drive does offer a lot, the downsides are that it is server based and doesn't integrate with anything.  I've recently confirmed that depsite suggestions this product will never go to the cloud, which means we will be looking for new software to cover all aspects.  I expect we will have to use a couple of different softwares to do the same job but have no issue with this.

We currently do use Practice Ignition, and are in the process of setting up or at least attempting to set up xero practice manager to help with job management and processes although there does there does seem to be plenty of competition for this process management side of things.

From a customer communication point of view is where we are struggling to find something suitable, currently we have all practice wide email, texts, scanned documents and more all in one place.  What does anyone else use for this side of things?

Replies (33)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By chrisjbrown
04th Aug 2020 17:23

I can definitely recommend Senta. It is 100% cloud and integrates with both PI and Xero (which we also both use). We trialled Accountancy Manager and Senta but Senta was easiest to use and more customisable. We did also look at XPM but found it a bit clunky and didn't have all the features we were looking for.

It will handle all your client communications such as emails, texts and documents. You can also upload documents for e-signing with clients and customise the folder structure on a client by client basis.

The support team are great too - very quick to respond and constantly rolling out new features. Definitely one to check out.

Thanks (1)
blue sheep
By NH
04th Aug 2020 17:29

You have to try Accountancy manager - signed up a new a client yesterday, I kid you not the whole process took less than 5 minutes from the call with the client to sending out LOE/T&Cs and email to previous accountant (which will now automatically keep sending every 7 days until we hear back). 15 minutes later the client had signed everything and given us all the details we needed using the portal.
Just one of the things I love about it, it took me a long while to try it but I am sold

Thanks (2)
Replying to NH:
Egg
By EGG
05th Aug 2020 08:52

I am looking for something that does this - a question for you, do you have to upload your own letter of engagement templates and keep them updated or does AM do all of this for you?

Thanks (0)
Replying to EGG:
blue sheep
By NH
05th Aug 2020 09:08

By default AM has ICAEW approved LOEs but you can amend those templates as required, I used to dread the half hour it would take me to compile them

Thanks (1)
Replying to NH:
Egg
By EGG
05th Aug 2020 09:42

Sounds like it is worth it just for the time savings on LOEs alone - I am ACCA so assume just tinkering with references etc. would be enough as they seem to all work from the same overall wording now.

Do you just select the services to be provided and generate?

Are the LOEs updated regularly by AM?

Sorry for all the questions but good to get first hand feedback rather than sales speak.

Thanks (0)
Replying to EGG:
blue sheep
By NH
05th Aug 2020 09:58

tbh, I would suggest you just try the 30 day free trial, there are so many features and they are in no way pushy, I think they realise if they just leave you to try it yourself for a while you will get to rely on it so much you will be hooked, thats certainly what happened to us - email [email protected]

Its very very rare that I find software that exceeds expectations but for me this is the biz

Thanks (1)
Acc
By jonock
04th Aug 2020 18:10

I agree Senta. Xero pracxtice management was very confusing for us even though we are established Xero users. Senta is very quick, can be customised and covers everything in one place and integrates with Co house, Xero, Practice Ignition etc.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Lucy N
04th Aug 2020 18:29

I trialled Accountancy Manager and Senta and have stayed with Senta for the last two years. I really like it and the electronic signing of documents makes tax return season a a lot easier. It is very customisable as well so suits my practice well. There are pros and cons on both AM and Senta so maybe try both for a free trial?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Lucy N:
blue sheep
By NH
04th Aug 2020 18:56

I did the same and went with AM as I found it much more user friendly, agree with you try both

Thanks (0)
Elliott Chandler Picture
By elliottchandler
04th Aug 2020 19:43

Any software that is currently server based can be moved to a cloud/hosted environment with the technologies available from Microsoft, namely Windows Virtual Desktop. You don't have to limit yourself to SaaS solutions that often have limitations themselves.

Thanks (1)
Accounts and Returns logo
By accountsandreturns
05th Aug 2020 10:20

We use AccountancyManager in our practice and would definitely recommend it to other firms. We find the system helps organise our tasks and deadlines and improves client communication as we can send text messages or mass emails from within the system.

The system is cloud based, integrates with Xero and improvements are happening all the time. The support team are really approachable, and they don’t charge for their time.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By DavidWatson
05th Aug 2020 11:09

Are you using Relate for Accounts Production and Tax? If so you are looking for an integrated solution that does everything or just looking to change the CRM aspects of Drive? Also could you share a little about your firm, number of clients and staff. I used to run a large hosting business that supported a hundreds of practices and thousands of users. But not sure now that Hosted Desktop is not at a bit of a tipping point where even large practices could get by with a hybrid of Microsoft 365, Saas based booking keeping and Practice Management. The only stumbling block is the ability to find decent compliance software that is either SaaS based or could in some way be delivered without the expense / complication of hosting. Happy to have a chat if you like.

Thanks (0)
Replying to DavidWatson:
avatar
By firtrees
07th Aug 2020 12:12

We use Relate accounts production and Drive, not the tax.

Hosted desktop is ok, we currently have access to a terminal server type setup but as Relate are not developing Drive there does not seem to be any future in it for us and well for any forward thinking accountants either.

Thanks (0)
Replying to firtrees:
avatar
By PERMON
07th Aug 2020 13:02

I'm a bit surprised that you seems so certain that Drive is not being developed - I would have thought it is Relate's core product (albeit for perhaps slightly larger practices) . When I spoke to them some time back there was talk of a Drive lite which would be cloud based ? Perhaps these plans have been shelved.

Not sure where you are based but in Ireland they would have a goodly size of the accounting practice market for some at least of their products.

Thanks (0)
Replying to PERMON:
avatar
By firtrees
08th Aug 2020 12:38

I am based in Northern Ireland. We have been using the product for ten years.

They did have Drive almost ready for online but it was shelved about 6 months before launch (2 years ago) and they have moved to creating a very lite version which is supposed to be coming to market in October, however it is very lite and does not take any data from Drive not have much integration with anything else. I know product development takes time but this is really taking the proverbial.

Once we move from Drive we loose all access so also need a product that can maybe convert historic info, not sure how they will work with their new product as it takes nothing from Drive.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Jdopus
05th Aug 2020 14:04

Like the posters above I've found Accountancy Manager to be a fantastic system. My only gripe with it is that the e-signing function is portal based and you can only get e-signatures if the client sets up an account to login to your accountancy manager portal. Trying to get clients even to reply to an email is enough hassle much less getting them to set up a login and ring me every year when they forget their password so I prefer to use adobe e-sign for that side of things.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Jdopus:
blue sheep
By NH
05th Aug 2020 14:13

Precisely our situation as well, in fact just this morning I suggested to development at AM that they remedy this, its annoying to have to carry on paying for Adobe sign.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By North East Accountant
06th Aug 2020 09:34

Does anyone worry about making the likes of AM or Senta such a key part of their operation when these Companies have such small Balance Sheets?

Or is it just me?

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
By acldemac
06th Aug 2020 10:14

It is just you.

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
By djn24
06th Aug 2020 11:00

North East Accountant wrote:

Does anyone worry about making the likes of AM or Senta such a key part of their operation when these Companies have such small Balance Sheets?

Or is it just me?

I have thought the same too tbh.

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
avatar
By PERMON
06th Aug 2020 11:59

I suppose the question then is - can I / how do I get my data if for some reason I no longer wish to use the service ( for whatever reason).

Thanks (0)
Replying to PERMON:
avatar
By North East Accountant
06th Aug 2020 14:45

That's the rub....... the answer is that you can't.

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
blue sheep
By NH
06th Aug 2020 14:55

are you sure about that, or are you guessing?

Thanks (0)
Replying to NH:
avatar
By North East Accountant
06th Aug 2020 15:42

At Accountex on 1st May 2019 I asked the top men that very question. James Byrne at AM and James Kilford at Senta.

AM - no data in the timeline can be extracted.
Senta - some (but not all) data can be exported to CSV, but I wasn't clear what.

Of course, this may have changed by now and I'm happy to be corrected.

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
blue sheep
By NH
06th Aug 2020 16:04

the data in the Timeline is basically copy emails and a log of system changes so I cannot see ever wanting to export that anyway, I take your point that once you are tied into a system it is probably tricky to port that elsewhere but that would apply whatever system you use.
In the meantime for us anyway it is saving a lot of time and making us more productive

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Software Seeker
06th Aug 2020 15:11

I'm on my second year of subscribing to AM, and I still haven't started really using it. I think it actually does TOO MUCH, and each time I look at using it I get so bamboozled with all it's functions that I just close my laptop and promise myself "I'll look at it tomorrow". Then tomorrow never comes. I continually oscillate between giving up and "I'm going to do this!". It's quite frustrating, really.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Software Seeker:
blue sheep
By NH
06th Aug 2020 15:28

I can see why you might feel that way, the one thing I would say to that is that you do not have to turn on all the features there are things that it does that i don't think we will ever use, if I was you I would choose one thing you want to improve and just start using it for that. For us the main improvements have been with client onboarding, keeping a track of everyone's tasks/wip, using the portal for some but not all, and some of the automation (eg automatically reminding clients to pay ct)

Thanks (0)
avatar
By pauljohnston
06th Aug 2020 18:15

We use Senta and would not go anywhere else.

You need to think about the future. According to those that know automation is the single biggest way to improve profits. Therefore any software you now consider much have API functionality

Thanks (0)
avatar
By firtrees
07th Aug 2020 12:50

Has anyone use logical office?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By firtrees
07th Aug 2020 12:51

Has anyone used logical office?

Thanks (0)
Replying to firtrees:
avatar
By PERMON
07th Aug 2020 13:14

I use Logical Office ( sole-practitioner ) but was using the Lite Version which did not have workflows - as I am in Ireland I doubted the applicability of the workflows to Ireland although I'm told they now have an Ireland specific VAT workflow. It is for me (without workflows) a bit of a manual process e.g. generating a new event for each VAT return or Tax return. For me LO's advantage is that is easy to generate customised Word documents as well as emails - the cloud PM's seem to assume that all client communication is by email. It is also server based but I believe they do offer cloud options.

At the moment I am vacillating between sticking with Logical Office or going with Accountancy Manager / Senta . Of the two AM is easier to set up out of the box, Senta is a lot more customisable ( but at the cost of spending time customising the jobs/tasks to suit your practice processes).

Thanks (0)
Replying to PERMON:
avatar
By firtrees
08th Aug 2020 12:42

Thanks for your response, do you have any staff? Why did you not take the workflows? Do the workflows automatically generate these events?

LO seems to automatically generate a lot of stuff, which to me means a lot. We use a lot of online products and do our best to make life easier for clients as well as ourselves.

Thanks (0)
Replying to firtrees:
avatar
By PERMON
10th Aug 2020 11:50

I'm based in RoI . No staff - although I did have when I originally went with LO's previous version. The main reason I did not take the workflows is that I doubted whether they would cover the specifics of the RoI taxes systems (different year-end , payment dates etc.). As I mentioned I believe they now cover at least Irish VAT but don't know about Self-Assessment etc. As you are in NI the UK based workflows may well be suit your setup.

As I understand it the workflows , after the initial set-up, do generate the events but you may have to manually run the workflows (depends on your setup) - I would recommend you discuss how this would apply to your case directly with LO before committing. For me the plus points on LO are the ability to generate word docs/email from templates within LO and also the fact that LO provides a clear structure to filing these and any other files you wish to drag into the client file.

You could PM me if you specific queries.

Thanks (1)
Share this content

Related posts