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My Week: Best Mix

8th Dec 2017
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Hello folks.  Over the week, I gorged on CNN and MSNBC YouTube on Trump's Russia scandal and sex scandals of senior politicians in the USA. I am gripped. I cannot wait for full disclosure of POTUS financial affairs. They will cross Trump's red line. 

For the past couple of months, I have also been watching White House Press Briefings. Sarah Sanders is an entertaining view. Trump's claim of fake news is only because of his dislike of checks and balances role that the press play.  

What to write?

For a change, I am having difficulty in drafting My Week. I am tired. Also, I would not say my week was eventful. Please allow for free-flowing My Week. I will write whatever comes into my head. Usually, I have something I want to get off my chest. Not today. 

Tax Returns Season 

We are in control of tax returns season. It will be better than last year. It is still stressful. Some clients are a pain. We just have to work with what we have and do our best. I will relax after 31 January.  

31 March Year Ends 

About 90% of our clients have March year end. We tend to complete both the accounts and their personal tax returns at the same time. 

Over the week, I did question myself about having most of the clients with the same year-end. Our experience has proved that where clients provide the information, they want their accounts within a week. Imagine 25 plus clients chasing for the accounts. They say that they have complied with their side of the bargain we have to come up with the accounts now. 

I prefer 31 March year ends since it ties neatly with personal tax year end. Also, we have 9 months to prepare the accounts. In addition, there is a clear deadline for the majority of the work. 

11 December Edit: I was I found THIS relevant thread on March year ends. 


We have finally come up is what I think is an excellent fit for purpose software combination. I am NOT changing this mix. We need stability in the practice. Q, please stay! The mixture is:

  • TaxCalc - easy to use accounts production, tax, company sec and PM software. Its weakness is PM. They are always improving their practice suite. I have no doubt, in time, PM side will improve. 

    After a short spell with Digita, that did not end well. We went crawling back to TaxCalc. 

  • Accountancy Manager - For us, it is the new kid on the block. It has found its rightful place in FT Practice Ltd. It has become the practice's engine. I wish, we had it from day 1. 

    Remember, I have tried and wasted hours on other PM software before hitting on AM. 

  • Moneysoft - Oh yes. We returned to MS after cheating on it with Bright Pay. 
  • Xero - I am happy with Xero. It is their pricing and lack of marketing support that is the issue for me. Also, that personal touch through Account Manager is missing. I have started to put new clients on QuickBooks. Pricing is better. Also, it is good that I can pick up the phone and talk to QB technical support.  

    About 70% of our clients are on Xero. Further, we absorb Xero costs.

  • EDIT File Center - Our document management. It is simple and it works. 

On the software front, the next step for us is a slick proposal/quotation software. I have a trial version of Go Proposal. The jury is out at this stage. Like Xero, their pricing is of real concern. They claim you can recover the costs through higher fees. I am finding it difficult to swallow their claim. 


Due to my current workload, I am behind with my studies. I am thinking whether push back the first exam from May to November. I will review next week and then decide. I think best I reduce my time on matters Trump. 

And Finally

We are in the Christmas season. For the first time in my life, I have put up a Christmas tree. It is NOT for Jesus.  It is purely for business reasons. Remember, being in a retail unit, I need to adopt a retailer mindset. 

Replies (6)

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
09th Dec 2017 11:58

One word:


Thanks (1)
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
11th Dec 2017 09:54

FT if you look back through your old blogs, when you mentioned doing CTA, I said you would be better off doing ATT first as you will struggle to fit in CTA.

Then you have hit the problem. If you postpone your exam you will never do it, keep to the date as planned even it means cramming for the last 3 weeks before the exam moving it is easy and if you do that will be the end of of your CTA as you will never do it.

With regards your year ends all companies have 9 months to the accounts so if they are spread over the year it would even out your work. Having company year ends all merge in with SA tax returns is creating a head ache for yourself.

I tend to leave most year ends the same as when the company is formed as sometime having a company year fall into 2 CT years can be a benefit for certain tax legislation

Thanks (1)
By dbowleracca
15th Dec 2017 22:33

As I said in my comments on the post you’ve linked to, regarding 31 March year ends, it’s a huge problem.

When I first joined our practice 9 and a half years ago, the approach was to always incorporate clients and give them a March year end. That was back in the days when you had 10 months to file the accounts, and it caused loads of problems - rushed off your feet in December and January and [***] all to do in February, March and April.

We have a good spread of clients across the year now, with management accounts and other services thrown in we don’t really have any quiet periods which means our clients are getting good service all year round and our staff are utilised fully and not killing themselves over December and January.

Like Glennzy said you need to sit the CTA exam in May. If you don’t, you’ll find another excuse to put it off in November and before you know it you’ll have waited a few years and then think what’s the point.

You rcan ally do need to focus, if you want to grow your practice and make more money, then spend all your time doing the work and reviewing the work, and let referrals and some automated marketing (website, email marketing, PPC) and of course your shop front, bring in the new business you need

For a practice of your size and which doesn’t offer face to face meetings or any advisory services, you don’t need fancy proposal software, you just need a simple matrix and some word/pdf templates.

I admire your honesty when you blog, you should sit and reflect on what you have written and I think you’ll see a pattern of jumping from one thing to another, without ever staying focussed and seeing something through to the end.

Thanks (1)
Replying to dbowleracca:
By FirstTab
16th Dec 2017 09:33

Thanks for taking the time dbowleracca .

Thanks (0)
By ksquire
13th Jan 2018 10:20

Just wondered what was the
main reason for going back to MS v bright bay

Currently using MS but was thinking of giving Bright pay a trial ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to ksquire:
By FirstTab
13th Jan 2018 20:14

Hello ksquire

Things may have changed now with BP. My reasons for moving back to MS were:

1) I did not like BP flogging their other sofware on the payroll software I bought. They did not ask for my permission to advertise on the software I paid for.

2) BP logos everywhere

3) Can only email payslips from BP. Not P45, P60s. P30s

4) No Batch processing of payrolls. I think this has changed now.

5) Overall fails on efficiency and too much flogging of BP at my face.

Culture and ethos of BP was not for me.

Thanks (1)