Who's got time to onboard during tax season?

29th Nov 2021
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Accountancy Manager
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It’s hard to find another industry where bringing new clients onboard is such a massive headache. From never-ending letters of engagement, getting signatures and IDs to submitting AML checks and 64-8s. Enough is enough. It’s time technology gave you a hand.

James Byrne was an accountant who wanted more clients – and more time to spend with those clients. But time-consuming and inefficient processes stood in his way. 

I wouldn’t have been able to grow as quickly as I have without the smooth client onboarding service achieved with AM.” - Lucy, Hassle Free Accounts and Tax

One of the biggest problems? All the red tape and data entry of onboarding. So he and developer, Alex Hawke, created AccountancyManager. Here are just a few of the problems James faced and how AM now solves them for thousands of practices.

Problem 1: Spending time gathering and entering client details

Currently, you may go to Companies House for some details and ask your client for the rest. Then, manually enter the data into all of your systems. This takes time you could be spending getting to know your new client – and carries a risk of human error.

So, what if you didn’t have to do it at all? 

AM’s solutions: Integrations and getting your clients to do it for you

1. Pull details from Companies House

AccountancyManager is synced with Companies House. So in just one click you can fill in your client’s details – as well as their accounting dates and deadlines. 

I always use the Companies House sync. That's brilliant. Straight away, bang, all the information is in there, it pulls it all through.” - Anita, Tax and Financial

2. Let your clients enter their own info

Once you’ve created your client in AM and pulled through Companies House details, you can invite your client to their own Client Portal. Here, they can fill in the rest of their information. 

It's as easy as putting in their name and address, sending the invite - and the client puts in all their information for us. It makes life a lot easier.”- Ben, Steele Financial

AM user Barry Adams makes another good point: "When a client can’t remember a UTR, which is most clients, the fact that they can put it into AccountancyManager [through their portal] rather than email it to us and we have to input it - it’s really nice”

3. Populate your other systems through integrations with Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, FreeAgent, GoProposal and Zapier

You can create clients and sync their details with any other software you use. You might need to set up a client in GoProposal and Xero for example. Instead of opening up each of those systems, simply activate the integration in AccountancyManager – job done. 

If you're already putting the client in AccountancyManager, you don't want to be adding it again in Xero. And that's the beauty of it.” - Charlotte, Future Cloud

Charlotte at Future Cloud loves the Xero integration. “We've linked AM to Xero because we use Xero for everything. Francesca will put the new client in AccountancyManager and it automatically puts it in Xero.

“When we set up our invoicing and repeating invoices in Xero, all of the client's details are already in there. It cuts out that extra step, but you don't realise you need it until it's there. Everything integrating is amazing.” 

It's just seamless. You get your client in, send off that email saying 'here's your proposal, this is how you get on your portal to sign and send your ID over’” - Donna, Accrual World Accounting Solutions

Problem 2: Editing never-ending letters of engagement

We asked Caroline Hocking, at Mona Accounting, why she wanted AccountancyManager. “It was one of those days where I was having to write another letter of engagement,” she said. “I had a Word template where I could change details, but it’s the amount of time I was spending… 

I'm an accountant, I want to be playing with numbers, not writing really long letters of engagement and doing admin work.” - Caroline, Mona Accountancy

“I was getting all these new enquiries coming up to tax season and I don't have time to spend hours reviewing letters of engagement and making sure I've got the correct schedules in place for the services they need.”

AM’s solution: Tick your services and AM builds it for you

AccountancyManager is born out of the same spreadsheets, Word documents and emails every accountant and bookkeeper creates and constantly edits. But AM takes away any repetition, adds in automation and links everything up. 

I really hated preparing letters of engagement in Word. Now it only takes a few moments and I have a far better response from clients.” - Lucy, Hassle Free Accounts and Tax

A good example of this is letters of engagement. In AccountancyManager, there is one letter of engagement template – that pulls in the right sections and information depending on the services you’re providing.

Just the amount of time I saved – and didn't have to worry... brilliant. I wish I'd taken it on earlier!” - Caroline, Mona Accountancy

Now, Caroline Hocking is much happier creating letters of engagement. “From that very first instance of not having to write my letter of engagement – because I can tick the services, AM sends it out, the customer accepts the proposal and does everything through the online portal… That was the moment I realised 'this pays for itself'. Straight away, that pays for it. 

Problem 3: Getting IDs, signatures and doing AML checks and risk assessments

In the olden days of ‘bags of receipts’, you’d have to meet your client in person to get and check their identity documents and get signatures. This would add weeks to the process, miles to the clock and restrict you to working within a certain radius.

Fast forward and you might receive a photocopy of their ID and documents over email. This carries security risks and still means you have to organise documents yourself. You may be using another software for AML checks (more data entry, passwords and payments) and another for e-signing. And perhaps another for risk assessments...

Fast forward again to when you have AccountancyManager – and all these disparate elements are brought together.

AM’s solution: Client Portal with e-signing, built-in AML checks and risk assessments

Ben Thexton at TAC Accountants completes his entire onboarding process through AM. “You can send out proposals. I can get clients to sign up to the portal so all their documents are secure. We do the AML checks through AccountancyManager. Any specific risk assessments. We can apply for the tax agent access (64-8s) So we can do everything onboarding-wise with the clients through one piece of software.”

You no longer have to pay for software to get people to sign their engagement letter, they can do it through AM.” - Beth, 2 Sisters

Beth at 2 Sisters appreciates not having to shell out for a separate piece of software for e-signing. “Unless you're physically still sending everything out on paper, the chances are you're probably paying for some sort of document management system as well. So why not wind all that into one with the Client Portal?”

Caroline Hocking has noticed that when you buy AML checks in bulk through AM, they’re the cheapest on the market. “I used to use Verify [for AML checks] and it's effectively the same thing, it just means I'm not using separate software. And it's cheaper because you’re buying the credits in bulk instead of paying for one check at a time. I like that the completed AML check is stored within AccountancyManager, so it's all there. 

“I've started using the risk assessments as well because I'd always had those separate. I like that you can then upload things like the ID checks into the risk assessment. So again, it keeps it all in one place. Previously I would have had different files on my computer for a client with all the different bits in it.”

Problem 4: Submitting 64-8 agent authorisations to HMRC

Just like AML checks, you might be using yet another system to submit your 64-8 agent authorisations. At the risk of repeating ourselves.... you’ve guessed it, more data entry, passwords and time. 

AM’s Solution: Built-in 64-8 agent authorisations

These use information you’ve already added to AM, so all you need to do is submit the 64-8 request through AM. This sends the request to HMRC, then your client will receive their codes through the post.

We do all our 64-8s through AccountancyManager as well, which is just so much easier.” - Dominique, EP Tax

The vast majority of our users take advantage of this, like Charlotte at Future Cloud. “We do the 64-8s through AccountancyManager. It's linked to HMRC, so if you've got all of the details in, you can just press a button and it will send the 64-8 request to HMRC. That's really good.

Something as fundamental as 64-8s and getting that right... it just proves that you're for accountants.” – Aaron, Boffix

For Aaron Patrick at Boffix, it was 64-8s that clinched the deal. “I'll always remember watching an AM video and it said 'you can get your 64-8s done automatically just by clicking this one button, it'll go off… That was when I thought, 'OK, they know what they're doing, that's the one!'. 

Problem 5: Sending professional clearances

Finally, you need to break the bad news to your new client’s incumbent accountant. So off you go, gathering the information you need and writing another email. Unless, that is, you have AccountancyManager…

AM’s solution: Automatic emails and templates

Every email you need to send your clients is already saved in AM, over 40 templates in fact. You can edit these and personalise them using hundreds of different variables. One of these email templates is professional clearance.

Rachel Dale is Tax Director at ChadSan. “I use AM for sending professional clearance to previous accountants because I find that incredibly easy. I used to spend ages drafting a letter PDF and attaching it to an email. It was a massive waste of time, when you can do it through AM, with a nice automated email.” 

I wasn’t expecting how easy it is to send clearance letters, with clients being able to input their own data, that obviously saves us a lot of time.” Barry, Focus Accountancy

Charlotte at Future Cloud agrees. “Another thing we do through AccountancyManager is request professional clearance. It automatically generates the template that we can fiddle with and then send to the old accountants.”

It's really helped us smooth out that process, we’re not having so much admin to do when we take on new clients.” - Charlotte, Future Cloud

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