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Info Page: Building blocks to success... APS ' Let us show you the difference

14th Apr 2005
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Industry commentators and software suppliers sometimes talk about the 'scalability' of their software solutions but does this actually mean anything to prospective clients? At APS we like to keep things simple and describe what we offer in language that everyone can understand.

So, rather than talk about our 'scalable solution' we'd like to paint a slightly different picture for you ' one that explains the whole scalability issue in terms of 'building blocks'. Because, ultimately, that is what the APS Advance suite offers accounting firms ' a set of building blocks for use by firms that take in account their business requirements.

Put simply, the Advance suite caters for firms of all sizes. We have more than 24,000 users around the world and two and three partner firms make up a good proportion of our client base. Some of the well known practices also using Advance are Deloitte, KPMG, BearingPoint, BDO, PKF, Grant Thornton, Mazars, Menzies, Armstrong Watson, Saffery Champness, Hazlewoods, Day Smith Hunter, Goodman Jones, and Princecroft Redman. Advance* was the first practice management solution to be accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

This means that not only are we producing software that suits many, differing needs but a solution that has undergone a comprehensive external evaluation.

So what about these needs?

Because of the integrated nature of our suite firms have choices depending on their business requirements. We view our marketplace as being made up of three distinct types of practices:

  1. Accounting Compliance Firms
  2. Business Advisory Practices
  3. Professional Service Organisations

1. Accounting Compliance Firms

For firms with fairly straight forward requirements, we offer an accounting compliance suite ' Advance Foundation - a starting position that can be built on.

An Accounting Compliance firm seeks basic time and fees functionality with a database of clients that integrates to compliance software such as Digita
Taxability Pro and Accounts Pro.

Our accounting compliance suite is made up of a robust Time & Fees product, complemented by state-of-the-art Tax and Client Accounting applications that allow fast and efficient data processing, leading to productivity gains in many firms.

Over time some of these firms mature and adopt the characteristics of a value focused organisation or Business Advisor

2. Business Advisory Practices

Ric Payne Chairman of Principa ( ) has written an excellent summary of the characteristics of a value focused organisation from which we highlight two.

  • 'They have a very strong focus on providing carefully selected clients with value-dense, and strongly positioned, services that attract premium rates relative to the cost of labour and other resources. They have a value focus rather than a cost focus and they only work with clients for whom they are best positioned to add most value over the long term. They understand better than most that the first major key to long run success is getting the right clients and keeping them. Client loyalty is critical and is a key to achieving sustainable competitive advantage.
  • They utilize the latest technology (both hardware and software) to ensure high levels of communication within the firm and between the firm and its clients. They also utilize technology to achieve productivity'

Practices in this segment require a robust practice management system that delivers a sound marketing platform, pricing matrix, and comprehensive analysis of resources and the clients they serve. The time and fees requirements of a Business Advisory firm expand to incorporate online expense and approval processes. Billing demands a multi-functional application for standard, interim and final fees. Fundamentally reporting is a major requirement with firms looking for extensive analysis of the business. This is where Advance Practice Management and Advance Practice IQ support the business strategies of a BAP.

3. Professional Service Organisations

As the business advisory firm matures their business strategies see them evolve into regional, national and global organisations. Firms in this category have sound business processes to support their comprehensive product portfolio. Here IT business solutions must be up to the task to support requirements such as workflow, client relationship management and electronic content (document) management. This is where Advance Practice Management, Advance CRM, Worksite and Advance Practice IQ support the business strategies of a PSO.

At APS we have also experienced a growing demand for strong data warehousing solutions that support the complex reporting requirements across the enterprise drawing data from multiple systems to deliver a homogenous reporting portal for business intelligence. This is where Advance Fusion and Advance Practice IQ support these strategies.

Put simply, APS offers its set of building blocks because we recognise that firms want to use the applications they want, to match requirements they have ' not ones that are prescribed by a software supplier. If you want to call that a scalable solution, then that's great. But if you want to take away the jargon and the smoke and mirrors, then we hope the building blocks idea will strike a chord.

APS ' Let us show you the difference. Contact Sharon Goksaran [email protected] on 0870 351 4878 to arrange a demonstration.



Advance Practice Management is accredited by ICAEW. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has accredited this software under the terms of its IT Accredited Product Scheme. Purchasers should ensure that the software, its security features and related support meet their own specific requirements as ICAEW will not be liable for any damage whatsoever incurred by any person occasioned by the use of the software or any related products or services howsoever caused.


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