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Web Based Software recommendatioins

Best software for professional services Limited company with sole director with turnover below 500k

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We are looking to appoint new accountants and have a new question:

1. Why are some accountant firms only willing to work with specific software? For exmaple I emailed one in the midlands today and they said they ONLY work with FreeAgent so if we were, for, example with Xero, they would require us to change?

2. Which is the best software for a professional services limited company that only deals in GBP?

3. Is there any software that mataches Crunch's software options? We are only looking at Xero, Freeagent and Kashflow. We need to see out working progress profits, corproate tax liability, VAT liability on the system. We also need to be able to print off draft balance sheets, proft and loss summaries etc.

4. Is there a software that is more popular with the larger firms (by that I mean top 50 firms) than others?

Many thanks. Decided ot finally join this site as your comments are more helpful (and accurate!) than our current accountants!!

Replies (16)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Apr 2017 10:30

1. Why are some accountant firms only willing to work with specific software? For example I emailed one in the midlands today and they said they ONLY work with FreeAgent so if we were, for, example with Xero, they would require us to change?

So they don't have to buy and train on 50,000,000 different software packages ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 10:49

First of all not a helpful response! Secondly, surely the client (us) has to "train" to input the information. The accountant has to simply review the data.

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Replying to Limited Company:
RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Apr 2017 10:58

It was simply intended to inform, not necessarily help.

Whilst you may cast your doubts, I would respectfully suggest that my view is supported by the facts - as stated by yourself in the OP.

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accountant in london
By Accountant in London
21st Apr 2017 10:37

do look at quickfile.co.uk

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Replying to Accountant in London:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:14

Thanks will do

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By Tim Vane
21st Apr 2017 11:04

Here we go again. Rude from the start.
When will aweb start limiting membership to those it is supposedly aiming the site at.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:21

Sorry Tim do you mean? Or the person who responded to me? I was not being rude at all. The reply I received was unncessarily sarcastic and did not address what I was asking which was, why do some accountants limit themselves to to a particular software and not, suggested by the reply, why do they not deal with ALL software. I would not need to ask the latter question as it is obvious.

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By AgileAccountancy
21st Apr 2017 11:13

Most traditional accountancy practices are not tech natives nor do they probably have the skill set to manage the nuances of many different off the shelf cloud accounting packages. If you are referring to Crunch Accounting then they were founded by a technologist rather than an accountant and are the business model of the the future in my opinion.

A traditional accountancy practice will build their internal workflow around a single core product due to internal skills limitations, and the software providers also offer incentives for building up the user base.

This will include marketing contributions and have hurdle rates for lower cost per license based on user base (which does not need to be passed to the client!).

Therefore it becomes more profitable to focus on one product and easier to also provide a quicker customer experience so everyone should be a winner. I expect over the years firms will need to offer a few more options, plus there will be consolidation in the cloud accounting market.

Each Cloud product is also racing to build the best app environment to enable linking in of other data sources as well as outputting data to tools. For instance automatic bank feeds from various banks (they all have different standards) and companies offer various reporting options or workflow apps etc.

You can, therefore, build a collection of apps to achieve your requirements, whether this will be achievable from recommendations and implementation from your traditional accountant or you will have to build yourself is another issue.

If you are looking for a Professional services firm focused and looking at your points, you WIP will be linked to projects I assume so you would need an accurate project and resource management capability. I think this would be outside the scope of the 3 cloud solutions mentioned wihtout an 3rd paryt app approach. Corporation Tax you will find hard to achieve this, this is what your accountant is there for to compute.

One could setup a Chart of Accounts and business rules to achieve a good yard stick if you business was straight forward. VAT should be easy to track with all of those systems and be simple to review and accurate, again your accountant will probably need to review the 1st year. PL should be a standard function.

Regarding point 4 I do not have a strong opinion on this I am looking forward to see MS Dynamics Financials released into Europe which is a mid-tier product, also Sage Live looks good (well the Video marketing is!)

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Replying to AgileAccountancy:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:16

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a thorough reply.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
21st Apr 2017 12:04

Most people decide to support 1 or 2 main products as it easier for staff to become experts in those products.

There is about 20 cloud software products available plus a whole host of apps, so most firms would not attempt to cover all.

I have decided on Xero as my main tool for clients as it's a market leader IMO and will work for most clients I come across, although I would not insist on a new client changing if they were using another product and it was working well.

As a professional services firm you should drop Kashflow from your list and replace it with Exact as they have a version specifically aimed at your sector which will scale with your business. Xero and Freeagant will get you there but you may need a few add ons.

All software sites have a list of providers so it tends to work you decide on software then match it to an accountant who supports it as opposed to the other way around.

Also word of advice coming on a forum populated by mainly practicing accountants and stating "all the accountant does is review what I do" is unlikely to make you many friends as most will feel they do far more than that.

The Crunch model is a good one and if you like what they offer why not just go with them, although I am not sure what you think the Crunch software does that Xero or Exact would not do.

Fell free to PM me if you would like to discuss this further.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:23

Thanks. Will check out Exact and get back to you. Thanks also for the offer to PM.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:27

We were with crunch and their software was fantastic. The problem was their advice. I cannot begin to tell you how bad/incorrect/inconsistent their advice was, sometimes on BASIC issues.

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Replying to Limited Company:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
21st Apr 2017 12:37

I have not physically seen the Crunch product as it's only available to there clients but I would be suprised if it was better or had more features than market leaders like Xero, QBO or Exact.

You do not hear much bad comments about them as you mention although I suspect most on line firms deal with clients on a conveyor belt approach with relatively junior doing most of the work so if you want some ad hoc advice or something a bit more specialist I suspect that is maybe the trade off you get for what seem to be low monthly fees but you don't get the more personal touch.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:45

Spot on Glennzy. Crunch was pure factory line approach and it was not easy getting anything in writing or speaking to an accountant. They are cheap but as we all know, you often (not always) get what you pay for.

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Replying to Limited Company:
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By Matrix
21st Apr 2017 12:38

This time go for an accountant who you get on with and trust and don't prioritise the software. If you are a service company then I would recommend FreeAgent, but my clients also use Xero and QuickFile. I have never turned down a client due to software and sell my services on tax advice, bespoke services etc. However per above we can't be experts in all software.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Limited Company
21st Apr 2017 12:42

Oh we got on fine. The advice was just inaccurate. For example they told us for months that if we supply professional services (not goods) to a client outside of the EEA, we have to charge the cleint VAT. I pulled them up on this as i know from previous comapnies I have worked in that that is just not correct.

It is so difficult to choose a software. I note however that KPMG have just hooked up with Xero.

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