Tech Talk: Patrick Field from Forest Phoenix Accountancy
Welcome to Tech Talk, a monthly catch-up with an accountant in practice to find out the effect that technology has had on the industry over the years. Patrick Field discusses future-proofing, becoming paperless and ambitious plans to have a virtual receptionist.
This month we spoke with Patrick Field director of Forest Phoenix Accountancy. The firm was founded in 2013 and since then they’ve been helping clients that range from sole traders, partnerships and limited companies to property owners and charities.
The practice, based in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, supports clients with their compliance and helps them with their business ventures, providing advice about their projects.
Through its extended pool of associates, the firm also offers specialist knowledge in other areas such as pensions, mortgages, trusts, inheritance tax planning and life policies.
Patrick, what’s the first piece of technology you interact with when you step inside your office?
The first piece of technology I have to interact with is our computer systems. First thing in the morning, I check all the emails to get them out of the way.
Can you tell us about the tech set up within your practice?
We use Digita software for practice management, personal and business tax and company secretarial, as well as for corporation tax and accounts production.
How has the setup changed since you started out?
We had to upgrade our service and so we left our previous systems, which were not providing the necessary service and decided to migrate almost everything to Digita. As soon as we moved to Digita it all became more streamlined and we became more efficient.
We are also moving over to Windows 365 now.
What three considerations did you make when choosing the technology for your practice?
First, we consider whether it's future-proof. We also think about its usability and then look at the price.
Do you have any favourite technology products?
I'm of the opinion that technology is just there to do the job, but if I had to choose I'd say the Digita accounting software as it is what we use the most in the office and it makes our lives easier. We especially like the fact that the practice management solution integrates it all and produces a CRM system for us.
Can you tell me about a recent project or process that you made better, faster, smarter or more efficient?
At the moment we are going through a marketing audit and then I'm hopeful it will make the company a lot more streamlined and the foundations a lot stronger than what they are currently.
Is there a task that you prefer doing manually, instead of using tech?
Not really, we are actually trying to make everything more technology based! We are currently trying to be completely paperless and scan everything in, although at the moment we still have to send out some paper correspondence for people to sign.
However we've got Thomson Reuters Onvio, which enables us to do electronic signatures so what we want to achieve is for all our systems to be more tech-wise. We are even considering the possibility of getting a virtual receptionist!