I'd recommend Xero too - simple to use and cloud based.
If you'd like us to set you up with a free trial please just let me know.
Small Business Server
Are you running Small Business Server?
We updated our server last Summer and upgraded from SBS 2003 to 2007 at the same time and speed has been slow since and I think it is down to the amount of memory that SBS needs and when you add this to SQL then you need a lot more server than you used to even for a relatively small environment.
We are upping our server spec at the moment and at the same time now going to SBS 2011 which recommends minimum of 8GB compared to 6GB with SBS 2007 and less than 1GB with SBS 2003!
We joined AVN in January 2007 as a brand new practice so I would have to say that there is no minimum size of practice.
I would say that the only restriction to making the AVN methodologies work within a practice are the people within that practice and not how big it is or what fee income it has.
I've just seen your post and have read through the other comments which don't seem to be from other AVN members.
We are AVN members and we get great value from the investment that we make not because we sell the products as some people have said and not because we use any tax strategies because we haven't - where we find that we get value is being able to provide additional information to a business owner whether that be via a benchmarking report, looking at some sensitivity analysis or by just being in a position to have a broader conversation with our clients we are able to add value to them and their business.
The AVN approach is not right for every business owner but we have found that there are more than enough business owners that are interesting in getting help and advice on more than just their tax returns.
AVN is an investment and like any investment there will be some that feel it works for them and some that feel it doesn't but we are firmly in the camp of those that think it works if you apply the thought processes correctly and systematically throughout your business but it is not a one size fits all model it will simply give you the tools and resources to enable you to make a difference to your business and the businesses that you work with.
As for the comments about Steve Pipe having sold out - anyone that has met Steve will know that this couldn't be further from the truth - Steve may have taken a step away from the day to day running of the business as he tries to encourage others to do but this was so as to allow him to do what he enjoys doing most which is presenting and researching ways that he can help accountants.