AIRPA: Integrate AM with, well, everything
We thought the fact that AccountancyManager integrates with Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent and soon Sage, was quite impressive. AIRPA takes it up a notch and connects AccountancyManager with all your other systems, like payroll, tax filing and bookkeeping. Giving you one sign in, operational and summary dashboards along with up-to-date connected data - everywhere. Minds blown.
Like AccountancyManager, AIRPA was created by practicing accountants fed up with wasting time on repetitive, unbillable things - and wanting to channel their expertise into giving their clients more. More face time. More advice. More value. Whatever that might look like.
Some accountants and bookkeepers, before they started looking for practice management software, assume that it will integrate with things like TaxFiler, payroll and the bookkeeping side of Xero and Sage. Currently, however, none of them do. (Sorry.)
AIRPA cleverly fills this gap, by not only connecting up these systems but pulling through pertinent data into one dashboard and giving you one secure sign in - to rule them all. Jonathan Stobart at AccountancyManager spoke to Neil Glover, Sales Manager at AIRPA, to find out more.
A platform, for platforms: Data from all your systems, in one place
As a simple explanation of AIRPA, Neil likens it to ‘Integration 3.0’. “I would say, where the accounting world is right now, is Integration 2.0. So you've got an integration between Xero and AccountancyManager and between Receiptbank (Dext) and Xero.”
“That's great. but data is being pushed and pulled between siloed systems. What we're doing is ‘Integration 3.0’, which is the next level, integrating your AccountancyManager data with your Xero data, with your payroll data, with your bank data, and bringing it all into one place.”
All the best bits from your practice-wide systems
So what does this mean for AccountancyManager? We’re not being replaced… “So at AccountancyManager, you're focussed on what you're doing and you do it fantastically well. We're not trying to create or replicate that. We’re taking key features and bringing them into our platform and we're doing that from several other platforms as well.”
“People will absolutely still use AccountancyManager, but if they need some real-time information for a quick task, they can do that through our platform. And we'll also be able to automate some tasks from AccountancyManager through to other parts of the business as well.”
“What you guys are doing is phenomenal, but the accountancy firm will be doing several other things at the same time, different departments, payroll compliance, the advisory side of things. We connect all that data together into one place. It’s a platform for platforms.”
Bring compliance and advisory data together
It’s not just nicely collated data that AIRPA provides. By linking up every part of your practice, you’re bringing both compliance and advisory together, because really, they’re one and the same.
“Once you've got that connected data, that's when we really start to provide powerful and useful information through our dashboards. It's not just the advisory side of things, it's a compliance side of things as well, because without compliance, you can't do the advisory work.
AIRPA will also tell you the work that is yet to be completed in any part of your business or work that needs to be completed - so we're creating those workflows as well, not workflows from one platform to another, but workflows between all of the systems that you're using.”
Compliance isn’t dead - the time it takes is
Wherever you are in your advisory journey, take comfort in the fact that Neil says you already are an advisor. “Accountants always have been advisors, but the advice involved time to gather data. A client would call and say, ‘Can I get a loan? Should I be doing this? Should I be doing that?’ and the accountant would go away for a few days, make a report and go back.”
Accountants are highly trained and highly skilled. To have them doing repetitive tasks is, frankly, a waste of their time and skill.”
“Now, technology like AccountancyManager and AIRPA allow accountants to be advisory, because that collation and analysis of data is mostly done for you. Or if they're asked a simple question, they can give a really detailed answer immediately. And it's technology that's driving that change.”
“Accountants are highly trained and highly skilled. To have them doing repetitive tasks is, frankly, a waste of their time and skill. They should be doing more valuable things, both for their accountancy firm and their clients.”
Real-time data that both you and your client can see
With cloud accounting software like Xero and cashflow forecasting/advisory software such as Float, your client has access to the same system and data as you, in real time. The same goes for AIRPA.
“When a business owner and accountant are looking at the same real-time data, there are real-time questions and real-time advice. Before, you would drop your accounts off and six or eight months later, you would have a conversation about what happened the previous year.”
“Accountants want to help their clients succeed. That's when they're happiest. If an accountant helps a business succeed or grow, that's the best relationship you can have. And they'll have that customer for life.”
Exactly the level of visibility you need
“What we've really tried to do with AIRPA is to give the accountant - and the small businesses - that really simple, clear data they need. Some software, forecasting software for example, they go into so much detail and a business might not want all the information. They just want to know what the next six months will look like. And that's what we try to do. If you want to drill down into it more. By all means, go and get that underlying platform, but we simplify it.”
Enterprise-level security: Do it like they do in the FTSE100
The question of security often comes up when cloud technology - naturally, even more so among accountants and bookkeepers. Neil tells us how he responds to such concerns. “We're using AWS - Amazon Web Server - which is infinitely more secure than a server in a small business. We’re also using OKTA, which is enterprise-level security. A number of the FTSE100 firms all use OKTA as their single sign in platform, which is much more secure than logging into several different platforms. That is how these enterprise-level companies work.”
Technology leveling the playing field
AccountancyManager is designed specifically for the SME market - so too is AIRPA. “We're making those systems that are so commonly used in enterprise easily affordable, accessible and easily set up for smaller businesses. We're focussing on the smaller end and building up, rather building this massive platform and then introducing it to smaller firms.”
Security starts at ‘hello’
Ensuring data protection starts right at the beginning of your client relationship. “This is again where I promote the benefits of AccountancyManager and utilising AM as the foundation of your practice as it marks the beginning of the client relationship.” Neil explains. “So you’re able to offer proposals within the system and clients can securely submit personal information in their client portal.”
And the master data holder is… AccountancyManager
“And that's exactly why we integrate AM into the platform,” Neil continues. “As an example of that, I use AccountancyManager as my master datasource. So any information that’s in AccountancyManager will automatically be pushed out to the several of the systems.”
“If I know that somebody is using that onboarding process correctly, which I'm sure they will be if they're using AM. I know that all the data - not just in AM - but in all my other systems, is true and accurate. There’s so much power in that - the timesaving and the efficiency of knowing that all your data is in one place. Typically that's enterprise level stuff, but small businesses and medium businesses need to have that as well.”