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A journey through AccountancyManager in 10 ‘best bits’

18th Nov 2022
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Award winning CRM & practice management software

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Last week, we used Global Bookkeeping Week and International Accounting Day as a shameless excuse to catch up with Lydia Read-Potter from BookSmart Accounting and Libby Walklett from The Ethical Bookkeeper.  (Check out part 1 of our chat here.)

In part two of our chat, Lydia and Libby dissect life with AccountancyManager, walking us through 10 of their ‘best bits’.

Lydia and Libby

1. Human interaction and relationships

Lydia: I'd looked at a few options of practice management software and had a few demos. AccountancyManager was the one that was laid out… ‘the nicest’ is the only way I can describe it. It just felt right for me.

That's what you guys do better than – in my opinion – anybody else in the market.”

I did the demo, then sat down with Marcus at Accountex in Manchester last year. Having that human interaction and relationship was what set AM apart. You’re never made to feel like you’re too small or unimportant and that's what you guys do better than – in my opinion – anybody else in the market.

What's also great is you're listening to your users. So the software's adapting all the time, but the things that you're adding are always useful – because you've asked people what they want.

Libby: I want to give a big thanks to the whole team at AccountancyManager. They’re all lovely! There's nothing I like more than taking other bookkeepers and accountants over to AccountancyManager at exhibitions. I love the reactions, you can literally see the penny drop for them.

2. Not tech-savvy? Not a problem

Libby: It was actually another accountant, Carly Clark, that recommended the practice management software to me and – I don't think she'd mind me saying – she's also not very tech savvy, but she said it was really easy to use.

If I can use it, anyone can use it – I guarantee.”

I signed up for the 30-day trial, started using it and within an hour I could feel the weight lift. Seriously, within an hour. It was so intuitive and easy to use. If I can use it, anyone can use it – I guarantee.

Then it was down to the support. I really feel that if I’m stuck I can get a hold of a real person – and a nice person at that – who’s there to help me and nothing is too much trouble.

3. The weight of AML and risk assessments… lifted

Libby: Definitely the AML and risk assessment sections. So many people really worry about it – we want to get it right and it's not that easy, so it was a huge weight lifted for me.

Lydia: We used to use a different company for AML checks and now we’re doing them on AccountancyManager. It's made the process so much easier because I'm not having to reenter the client's information – it’s already there. So that's another time saver and peace of mind.

Libby: Even better is that you use Verify, I probably would've used Verify anyway. So now I can do it all in AM. Everything's together in one place and the credits are cheaper through AccountancyManager. So it’s saving time and money, I love it,

4. Saving a ‘heck of a lot of time’ onboarding new clients

Lydia: I love the onboarding process. When I first started, each engagement letter was made by me in Microsoft Word. That was so time consuming.

I love the automatic professional clearance – that's a massive time saver.”

Now my engagement letters are all set up, depending on what work we're doing. The client gets whichever one's relevant to them, they sign it digitally and then it's stored. It's saved us a heck of a lot of time.

5. A secure client portal (that’s part of your website)

Libby: It's so easy to use the secure portal so that your clients have got something that's easy for them to use. They know that they can stick their documents in there securely.

 It saves me time, but it also looks professional to my clients. That makes me look good and what isn't there to love about that?”

Lydia: We use the branded portal, which I can't recommend highly enough. It’s really affordable and looks amazing. We have a unique domain, so clients log in to the portal on the BookSmart Accounting website. It's great that you can customise it to look like your website – and clients absolutely love it. That's been a brilliant thing to add on.

6. Giving clients a seamless experience

Lydia: We have all of our information in one place. So if one of the team has spoken to a client and I've not been in the office or vice versa, we can make notes on a client record. It's seamless and the client doesn't have to repeat themselves.

My favourite feature recently is that now, on each client task we can say where it's up to. So if records are in, if somebody's working on it, if it's awaiting signature, payment, filing… every job, we know exactly where it's up to.

When you're working with a team, that's really important. If the client rings, everyone knows where their job is up to. That's helping our experience, but it's also supporting the clients to have their best experience as well.

7. Seeing where everyone’s up to – wherever they are

Lydia: Task management is the heart of what we do. Literally everything that needs doing for every client is there. So there's hundreds of tasks ongoing all of the time.

My staff work different days and they're all part-time, so they're not all in at the same time. On AccountancyManager they can see where each other are up to – as can I. We can – at the touch of a button – see what needs doing and what's the most urgent thing.

It’s actually just given me heart palpitations the thought of what would happen if we didn't have it!”

In the beginning you can keep that information in your head or on a spreadsheet: what every client needs, what work needs doing and when. But you get to a point where that's impossible.

I literally don't think the practice would run without it now. It’s actually just given me heart palpitations the thought of what would happen if we didn't have it! It is like another member of the team.

8. Super-human automated reminders

Libby: The automation is more efficient than I am. When I'm juggling a lot, it keeps an eye out for me so that I don't miss anything. It knows what to do before I do – and it knows the information that I'm gonna need before I know!

Lydia: It’s definitely more efficient than a human. I don't think you can put a time on how long it would take you to manually send the number of emails that we now send.

Bear in mind that it then keeps that log on that client's file. So when clients say, ‘Oh you didn't send that to me’, in three seconds you can say, ‘Yes I did!’ You can see the trail between the team and the clients. That's an amazing thing to have.

It's just exceptional how much time it saves us.”

I like the automatic reminders for the tax payments too... The number of tax returns we do in May-June but people insist on not paying until January. It’s well within their rights, but it's lovely that we can send them that email to say, ‘don't forget, you've got this amount to pay’. It's just exceptional how much time it saves us.

9. You’re empowered to stop overthinking

Libby: It stopped me from blocking myself. I was overthinking everything and stopping myself from moving on. What if I miss something? How do I do this? There's so much to think about while everyone is shouting about being consistent on social media… I just wanna do some bookkeeping and management accounts!

It kinda solved everything in one go. Once I'd got it up and running, the whole process – the onboarding, the AML – all of that suddenly fell into place. That gave me the confidence, empowered me really, to move on. And that's such a great feeling.

10. One bill Lydia doesn’t mind paying

Lydia: I think one of the biggest things when deciding on which software to use is to think about what problems they solve. There was a lot of software thrown at me in the early days, but It's plain to see that AccountancyManager solves many, many problems that you have in practice.

When that bill goes out every month for AccountancyManager I think, ‘oh what an absolute bargain for the amount it does for my practice.’ I feel good about it – and you should feel like that with any software. It should provide you with enough that the price is justified. If it isn't, then maybe you don't need it.

Lydia & Libby’s advice

Lydia: I would say – do it as soon as possible. I was a bit of a late adopter. We were about nine months in with 60 to 70 clients when we started using AccountancyManager. It was such a relief when we moved from spreadsheets to AccountancyManager. But it was a big transition and it did take a lot of time. Anything beyond that would've been 10 times worse.

So from day one, have practice management software in place straight away. We use it so much more effectively 14 months later than we did when we first got it, it's part of our team now. We couldn't live without it.

Libby: When you're starting out, money's tight and you're watching every penny, but it's affordable and so worth that money. Get it in place now, learn how to use it. You’ll feel so much pressure lifted. It makes you feel more professional as you grow and it will grow with you. And use the support! Don't sit and fret over whether you're doing it right or not.

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