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What software do you use in your practice?

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I am a sole practitioner and I have been using KeyTime for a couple of years now since it changed from Iris.  I have payroll, accounts preparation, personal and corporation tax modules.  I like to have everything with the same provider as I find it easier.  I pay around £1.5k annually (I think but it's very difficult getting any information out of them until it's time to renew and I've been adding lots on through the year as my needs change).  I find the service terrible and payroll is DREADFUL!  I have an issue at least once a month with payroll - employees disappearing, whole clients being locked down, wrong submissions going to HMRC....the list goes on.  What does everyone else use?  Cost isn't an issue, I need something robust and efficient and easy to use. I've done a google search but I can't really find any other options?!


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By SteveOH
19th Nov 2018 11:44

I'm not really a fan of integrated software so I can't make any recommendations there.

I would, however, think about making payroll a stand alone option. I would highly recommend Brightpay. It works perfectly and I have never had any problems with it. I cannot comment on their helpline as I've never had to use it; the software is so easy and intuitive to use. On the odd occasions when I have come across an unusual situation, their help screens are comprehensive and always provide the correct answers.

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By Maslins
19th Nov 2018 11:50

Tends to be a divide on this between the "all in one" advocates (data syncing between payroll/accounts/CT/SA) and the "best of breed" advocates.

We're in the latter, though being honest a large reason is price. We currently use:
- Taxcalc for CT/SA returns, don't use it for accounts.
- VT for accounts.
- FreeAgent's inbuilt payroll functionality, with occasional use of PAYE basic tools for more complex things.
- Senta for practice management.
- Front app for email sharing between teams.

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19th Nov 2018 11:57

I agree with SteveOH. Brightpay is by far the best payroll software I have ever used, with few bugs, intuitive interface, and good support, all for a low price. Perhaps you should rethink your commitment to integrated software, as every package I have seen is over-priced and inferior in quality to standalone products. For tax software and accounts preparation, you can't go wrong with Taxfiler, which is cheap, reliable and simple. If you switch to Brightpay and Taxfiler, you will save about £1,000 per year, and get better software. For book-keeping, VT is by far the best system I have used, being simple, fast, cheap and correctable.

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19th Nov 2018 12:14

I don't suggest a 'all-in-one' software system as it will have unhelpful restrictions in some form or the other.
We use VT for accounts (cost reason) and Moneysoft for Payroll. For CT/SA, we use Andica, however, now considering 'Taxfiler' for future CT/SA.


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19th Nov 2018 12:59

Wow, continuing a trend here and making it 5 votes to zero in favour of "best of breed."

Integrated software is more expensive not because it is better but because the vendors know that users will bend over backwards not to change. A related advantage of standalone products is that it is easier to move on without massive disruption: don't like a product, then just dump that bit and move on.

Payroll: we use Moneysoft Payroll Manager. I had a look at Brightpay but didn't think its data entry was as good; PM is OK with AE but no better, apparently B/pay is v good. Moneysoft support is notoriously grumpy but the software is good and easy to use so virtually never had to use it.

Accounts: VT for company a/cs, have issues now and again with "out of the ordinary" accounts but can't beat its VFM. Don't like the look'n'feel of VT's business a/cs so we continue to use our own tried and tested Excel workbook.

SA: we like BTC's SA Solution which is pretty decent.

CT: we didn't like BTC's CT offering (although I think that has now changed) and moved that bit to Taxcalc; we really like that as well (including the Hub which generally seems to get a bad press on here) and it's partly inertia and partly what I said earlier about spreading the risk that stops us moving the SA over to Taxcalc as well.

Practice management: we seem to manage quite well with an Access database and have never felt the need for a "solution": I'm willing to be convinced otherwise but the problem I see with PM is that you have to adapt what you do to the software rather than the other way around.

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19th Nov 2018 13:14

I'm not a fan of integrated software. I use a Mac which limits the software available to me but thankfully BrightPay is available in a Mac version. I can't recommend it enough. It's very easy to use and support is excellent if you need it.

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19th Nov 2018 13:25

With payroll being your biggest problem you could stick with your integrated software but use standalone payroll only. I switched to BrightPay few years ago and I can't recommend it highly enough - very neatly handles A.E, reports and User Interface very nice too. Great support and good value.

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19th Nov 2018 13:35

Well it's Brightpay all the way for my Payroll Bureau. No problems with it and excellent support!

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By marky74
19th Nov 2018 13:44

Moneysoft for payroll - brilliant software imo

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19th Nov 2018 14:50

Personally, I don't have much experience with providing services other than Payroll, but I can tell you when deciding on which package to use for my practice, I did not at all enjoy any of the all-in-one packages. I think too many cut corners in the quality of life features and very often a lack of experience on the programmers part. What I mean by that is that if something is designed for a specific purpose, rather than to simply 'offer the full package' to their customers, it will likely have people behind it that actually have had to deal with the gripes that other, less than ideal software creates. BrightPay are who I use and they recently won an award for being the best payroll package of the year (I think for 2018 but not 100%).

I would say that there are lots of inexpensive, specific pieces of kit out there that will get the job done with great functionality, you just have to look for them. I find bigger companies charge a big premium for the 'convenience' of having all things in one place.

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By Alex_T
19th Nov 2018 17:54

As others have said, integrated software is often prohibitively expensive and not necessarily better. I use BrightPay (payroll), BTC (accounts) and Xero (bookkeeping). I would have no hesitation recommending these packages to a fellow accountant.
Best of luck!

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By marks
26th Nov 2018 00:58

What we use

Taxcalc - accounts/CT/SA/VAT
Glide - job workflow/timesheets/email and text reminders
Xero - bookkeeping (though also looking at QBO/SAGE accounting from a costing viewpoint for those clients where Xero isnt suitable)
Autoentry - receipt/invoice processing into Xero (although also looking at ReceiptBank given there all client/all submission deal)
Moneysoft - payroll
Looking at Fathom and Castaway for management reports and forecasting
Also will be looking to move back to MyWorkpapers in Feb given they have introduced some cut down year end working papers for Ltd Co/Sole Traders/Partnerships/Tax Returns

We then use a lot of other software to assist running of practice generally

Infusionsoft - marketing
Mailchimp - email marketing
Acuity Scheduling/Go Reminders - diary booking
FollowUpThen - email reminders
Hellosign - electronic document signature
Sharefile - encrypted emails and client portal
Sweet Process - document inhouse processes
Buffer - schedule social media posts
Pipedrive - manage prospects
Zapier - link software where there are no direct API links
Cognito Forms - bespoke forms to capture info for prospects and new clients
GoProposal - proposal and engagement letters
Google Ads - advertising
Zoom - Video Conferencing
Inform Direct - company secretarial
Office 365 - Microsoft
Text Local - automated texts
GoCardless - DD collection in Xero
Stripe - card payment in Xero

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to marks
20th Nov 2018 08:45

“What we use

Taxcalc - accounts/CT/SA/VAT
Glide - job workflow
Xero - bookkeeping
Autoentry - receipt/invoice processing into Xero
Moneysoft - payroll”

Snap & happy with it (although looking at options to replace Glide in Feb)

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to marks
21st Nov 2018 16:22

marks wrote:

We then use a lot of other software to assist running of practice generally

Infusionsoft - marketing
Mailchimp - email marketing

Bit confused. Why do you need mailchimp AND infusionsoft?
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By marks
to bookmarklee
26th Nov 2018 00:48

bookmarklee wrote:

marks wrote:

We then use a lot of other software to assist running of practice generally

Infusionsoft - marketing
Mailchimp - email marketing

Bit confused. Why do you need mailchimp AND infusionsoft?

Bit of a historic matter. We have used mailchimp to generate monthly tax newsletters for the last few years. Only used infusionsoft about 6 months and prefer the layout of the newsletter in mailchimp over infusionsoft.

Might see if can get someone to help with the newsletter layout in infusionsoft so we can have all marketing under one software.

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By jcace
20th Nov 2018 00:16

Hi Chloe
On the payroll front I moved to BrightPay at the outset of Auto Enrolment and am so glad I did. I do occasionally get to look at some of the other options available, but nothing I've seen yet has changed my mind. It's very easy to use, adaptable and cost-effective. Its Auto Enrolment handling is excellent - all included in the price, it's intuitive, links seemlessly with NEST and Peoples and has a host of in-built file templates for other providers. It also has CIS returns built in too. All round its a first class piece of software that I would recommend to anyone.

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20th Nov 2018 09:37

We use Taxcalc for full practice stuff
Brightpay for payroll

Xero for client bookkeeping
Accountancy Manager for PM

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20th Nov 2018 22:02

Another advocate for best of breed software. We use:

Taxfiler - accounts & all tax returns
Accountancy Manager - practice management / deadline monitoring / client portal / automated texts and emails
Moneysoft - all payrolls
VT+ - incomplete records bookkeeping
Xero - for monthly bookkeeping / vat clients
Trello - for storing random practice info and documenting procedures
GoCardless - for collecting direct debits
Xero - for our own accounts
Google Apps - email
OneDrive business - practice folder structure
Google forms - occasionally for collecting new client data

All for 'well' under £100 per month excluding client Xero subs which we build into the fee.

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20th Nov 2018 22:54

Currently I use
Payroll - Payroll Manager
Accounts - VT
Tax - TaxCalc

I have been looking at integrated packages and I am testing 'capium' and 'nomisma'

Both look value for money

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21st Nov 2018 12:57

I use IRIS for payroll who I have always found very helpful, and cheaper than other providers.

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to jasonowsky
22nd Nov 2018 10:18

You think Iris is cheaper than other providers?

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to jasonowsky
23rd Nov 2018 18:19

jasonowsky wrote:
..... and cheaper than other providers.

Wow. There's a statement.

All other providers ? Or just one or two ?

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22nd Nov 2018 13:33

We use TaxCalc for everything it does, it is good and fast to use.

MoneySoft for payroll, why wouldn't you...

AccountancyManager for PM as sadly TC is not very good at it :-(

We used to use VT with another software for tax but switching to TaxCalc some 4+ years ago was the best thing we did.

Like everything it depends on your budget, client numbers and profitability.


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