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Practice management software

22nd Jul 2013
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Over the past few days I spent a considerable amount of time reviewing practice management software that would work for us.

They are some exciting changes happening to our practice. I have sworn to secrecy so I am not able to say much at this stage. As a result of changes  I thought practice management software will be vital. 

I looked at:

  • One that ACCA use to sell
  • HQ for Accountants
  • PTP
  • TaxCalc Hub - not there yet in terms of  linking tasks with Tax/Accounts production
  • MB Practice  Manager
  • Workflow Max
  • Glide

None of them were suitable. I then thought about moving to an integrated solution like Digita, CCH, IRIS etc. I decided against it since we would be tied in to one provider.

In addition, I have never used an integrated package before, I have concerns whether the learning curve will just be too long. May be with the changes happening to our practice I will have no option but go integrated.

After looking at the above, I am left with the status quo being the best. This is:

At this stage of our practice the above combination is an ideal mix. Though there is a massive downside. This mix just cannot be sustained as the practice expands and number of people involved increase.

My combination just about works for three/four people. I hope soon one of software providers comes up  with a good solution for a one person practice that is expanding. In other words software that is adaptable to expand with the practice.

Have you reached your ideal solution? For the moment mine is just right.   

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Replies (73)

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By petersaxton
31st Jul 2013 20:23

My understanding

OGA says that integration is when data is held in one place and that data is accessed by other programs. 

He says that compatibility is when a program can transfer data to another program.

This seems to make sense.

Why do you disagree?

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Replying to johnt27:
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By chatman
31st Jul 2013 20:42

Integration v Compatibility

petersaxton wrote:

OGA says that integration is when data is held in one place and that data is accessed by other programs. 

He says that compatibility is when a program can transfer data to another program.

This seems to make sense.

Why do you disagree?

Did OGA say that? Where? All I saw was "That is not integration, that is compatability [sic]!!"

I got this definition for compatible from Google: "capable of existing or living together in harmony; able to exist together with something else" and this one for integrated: "To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify"

My programmes make a whole system for producing accounts and tax returns. I would say they are both integrated and compatible.

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By petersaxton
31st Jul 2013 21:12

Who has problems?

“Sorry, I didn't realise you were trying to help me.”

I was

“Actually, I do not think there is any chance I will be using Digita again, for the many reasons I have given on AWeb,”

I know

“and I thought I had made that clear.”

You did

“I am not making out that using Digita software was not a problem for me,”

I know

“neither have I said I was unable to use the backup software, or that I had forgotten to to use it. I mentioned the risk of forgetting to run it, which is a disadvantage even if that event never actually happened, that it was more work to do, and that some people, according to Digita, had done it wrongly.”

They hadn’t “done it wrongly”. They had not used the backup tool and instead relied on their own backup software. This is despite being told by Digita that they needed to use Digita’s free backup tool. It doesn’t matter what you tell some people – they will still not do it. But that’s not a reason to penalise the vast majority of people who appreciate what the software does.

“It is difficult to say that other people have not had the problems I have had.”

Can you name one person?

“We know that some people on AWeb have moved from Digita to other packages, because they have said so,”

That doesn’t mean they had problems other than they couldn’t afford the very reasonable pricing

“and we know that people have had worse problems with the backups than me, because Digita has said so.”

See above

“Any implication that everyone loves Digita except me cannot be justified.”

I didn’t imply that. I don’t see any justification for you to say that.

 

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By chatman
01st Aug 2013 09:17

Digita Failings

petersaxton wrote:
They hadn’t “done it wrongly”. They had not used the backup tool and instead relied on their own backup software.
Sounds like doing it wrongly to me.
petersaxton wrote:
This is despite being told by Digita that they needed to use Digita’s free backup tool. It doesn’t matter what you tell some people – they will still not do it.
I agree; and these people need to use VT/BTC etc.

petersaxton wrote:
But that’s not a reason to penalise the vast majority of people who appreciate what the software does.
Who's penalising anyone?

petersaxton wrote:
“It is difficult to say that other people have not had the problems I have had.” Can you name one person?
I doubt I could find one person who has taken the time to document every single one of these problems but we know that people have had problems. I did a quick search and found straight away that Monsoon tried Digita and dumped them and we know about the backup problems some people had. I do not have the time to compile a list of people who do not like Digita.

petersaxton wrote:
“We know that some people on AWeb have moved from Digita to other packages, because they have said so,” That doesn’t mean they had problems other than they couldn’t afford the very reasonable pricing
Monsoon mentioned how complicated and slow Digita was, and that the integration didn't save her much time. I take your point about the pricing though. It is so expensive they won't publish the prices on their web site.

petersaxton wrote:
“Any implication that everyone loves Digita except me cannot be justified.” I didn’t imply that. I don’t see any justification for you to say that.
Yes, sorry, I think I must have misread your comment "Other people don't seem to have the problems that you have had" as "No-one else has had the problems you have had". I couldn't see why else you would write that when I have never said they all had. I had only ever related the problems that Digita caused me. 
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By petersaxton
31st Jul 2013 21:16

Integration v Compatibility

“Did OGA say that? Where? All I saw was "That is not integration, that is compatability [sic]!!"”

What do you think he meant by the difference between integration and compatibility?

“I got this definition for compatible from Google: "capable of existing or living together in harmony; able to exist together with something else" and this one for integrated: "To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify"”

I don’t think you should take general definitions and try to apply them to specific situations.

“My programmes make a whole system for producing accounts and tax returns. I would say they are both integrated and compatible.”

So what is the difference in an accounting sense?

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By chatman
01st Aug 2013 09:25

Integrated v Compatible

petersaxton wrote:
I don’t think you should take general definitions and try to apply them to specific situations.

I always think it best to stick to dictionary definitions. Making up your own never seems to work well.

petersaxton wrote:
So what is the difference in an accounting sense?

Who cares? There may be none in this particular context, or any difference may be academic; I was merely defending my use of the word "integrated".

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Replying to redman7:
By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 09:34

That's fine

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:
I don’t think you should take general definitions and try to apply them to specific situations.

I always think it best to stick to dictionary definitions. Making up your own never seems to work well.

petersaxton wrote:
So what is the difference in an accounting sense?

Who cares? There may be none in this particular context, or any difference may be academic; I was merely defending my use of the word "integrated".

You and non-accountants can use one definition and other accountants can use another definition

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Replying to Adam12345:
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By chatman
01st Aug 2013 10:12

The Right to be Wrong

petersaxton wrote:
You and non-accountants can use one definition and other accountants can use another definition

I think, in the interests of democracy, we should extend the right to use my definition to other accountants too. In any case, you have previously stated your respect for my right to be wrong, so I think you should respect theirs too.

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Replying to alan.rolfe:
By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 10:22

Only if

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:
You and non-accountants can use one definition and other accountants can use another definition

I think, in the interests of democracy, we should extend the right to use my definition to other accountants too. In any case, you have previously stated your respect for my right to be wrong, so I think you should respect theirs too.

they want to avail themselves of the right to be wrong.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
31st Jul 2013 21:44

VTT+ and VT Final Accounts

This thread is still going? 

Hi chatman, I use VTT+ and VT Final Accounts. I think it is excellent. A real time saver.

I have not used an integrated package before. What I think is different about you is you have used best of breed and integrated. This is not to say I am disregarding the comments made by people who use integrated software.

 

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By petersaxton
31st Jul 2013 21:58

Going where?

Lots of people have used "best of breed" and integrated software. Ask Shirley.

"Best of breed" isn't exactly a correct description. It may just mean the cheapest or what somebody likes.

I think the problem with comparisons is that people only know a few pieces of software well. The software they compare to they most likely haven't used for a while. Also people may have got better at using software.

I was using TaxCalc before using Digita Personal Tax.

When I decided to go "integrated" I went to seminars for Digita and Iris. I preferred my gut feeling about Digita. I'm happy with my choice.

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By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 06:46

I forgot to mention

"I mentioned the risk of forgetting to run it, which is a disadvantage even if that event never actually happened,"

I forgot to mention that you can schedule backups if you want. In this way you don't have to remember to backup.

 

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By chatman
01st Aug 2013 09:20

Problems with attempting to automate Digita's backups

petersaxton wrote:
I forgot to mention that you can schedule backups if you want.

We've been through this before. In my day, they had to login to your PC, and write you a script to automate it. When this script failed, or I got a new PC or reinstalled the OS they had to log in and do it all over again.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 09:32

Login?

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:
I forgot to mention that you can schedule backups if you want.

We've been through this before. In my day, they had to login to your PC, and write you a script to automate it. When this script failed, or I got a new PC or reinstalled the OS they had to log in and do it all over again.

Your day must be have been a long time ago. They have had scheduling within the program for a long time. Didn't you backup the script? I thought you backed up everything?

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By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 09:27

You think that is the reason?

" I take your point about the pricing though. It is so expensive they won't publish the prices on their web site."

I think that is unfair. There's a lot of flexibility in pricing because there are so many options. Most accountants don't put their prices on their website and I don't think it's because they are expensive. I think it's because of the flexibility required in pricing.

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By petersaxton
01st Aug 2013 09:58

Not my cup of tea

I realise there are people who like to work when not at their desktop computer but I would have thought that most of the time there's too many obstacles to getting a job done. 

I am thinking of doing some marketing work - updating website, writing newsletters, etc. - while sat on a train going to football if I have access to some links and pdf's on a laptop. In the past I have bought four laptops and only used them sporadically.

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By chatman
01st Aug 2013 10:08

A bit of everything

Yes, you are right; you could never completely replace the non-internet-connected desktop. I like to have something I can do when my internet connection goes down, but I think the hosted desktop has its place.

Ideally, I would like a hosted desktop, a laptop, a tablet and a phone, but being as tight as I am means this is unlikely to happen in the near future.

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By petersaxton
03rd Aug 2013 02:27

I wonder if they have used Accounts Production or Backup?

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/software-2#comment-636591

 

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By PPritchard
28th Aug 2013 14:38

Companies Made Simple

Hi,

I couldn't help noticing the above company in your list of "best of breed" software.

Is this just a formation agent, or do they have software to help with Company reporting / secretarial duties?

Thanks very much,

Paul

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By Hosted Accountants Ltd
12th Sep 2013 11:42

Hosted Desktop clarification

@Chatman

"I liked the idea of being able to walk into an internet café anywhere in the world and start working, but it looks like that is some way off"

Just to clarify this is available now. We (and other companies!) offer this right now - you go to your browser and can open all your applications (Digita, IRIS, Sage 50) straight away and continue working.

This links nicely to "device independence" - using a tablet, client machine, internet cafe to access all your critical compliance applications anytime.

There is a downside...you need internet, so the dream of working on tax returns on the train is fine, so long as you can keep a 3G signal.

Dan

 

 

 

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Replying to JSinden:
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By chatman
12th Sep 2013 12:25

Really?

Hosted Accountants Ltd wrote:

@Chatman

"I liked the idea of being able to walk into an internet café anywhere in the world and start working, but it looks like that is some way off"

Just to clarify this is available now. 

And is it just like working on your own PC? I understood you needed to download a bit of software that made the experience better, when working on you own PC.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Hosted Accountants Ltd
12th Sep 2013 12:43

Pretty much....

chatman wrote:

Hosted Accountants Ltd wrote:

@Chatman

"I liked the idea of being able to walk into an internet café anywhere in the world and start working, but it looks like that is some way off"

Just to clarify this is available now. 

And is it just like working on your own PC? I understood you needed to download a bit of software that made the experience better, when working on you own PC.

Yes. With web access you open the program from a browser window and it will run and operate just as if you had it installed locally.

I think the confusion lies with the fact that on a standard RDP system (like Hosted Accountants or HDUK) you need an RDP link in order to run the full desktop. This is however standard on Windows machines going back many years (XP, Vista, Win7) so not a problem. 99% of users do not need to install any software to use hosted desktop. I hope this helps? 

If you want a demo or visit then PM me or call us.

Dan

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Replying to Colinc:
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By chatman
12th Sep 2013 16:43

I don't understand

Hosted Accountants Ltd wrote:
I think the confusion lies with the fact that on a standard RDP system (like Hosted Accountants or HDUK) you need an RDP link in order to run the full desktop. This is however standard on Windows machines going back many years (XP, Vista, Win7) so not a problem. 99% of users do not need to install any software to use hosted desktop. I hope this helps? 

Sorry, I have no idea what that means. I guess that RDP = Remote Desktop Programme, but didn't get any further than that. What is an RDP link?

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