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Bright buys MyWorkpapers to boost end-to-end suite ambitions

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Accounting suite Bright Software Group has added the cloud working paper tool MyWorkpapers to its suite of products as the developer looks to expand its range of products for accountants in practice.

3rd Jul 2024
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Concluded last week for an undisclosed sum, the deal to buy MyWorkpapers adds cloud working paper capabilities to Bright’s existing cloud practice management, payroll, accounts production, tax filing and company secretarial capabilities.

Launched in 2009 as an auditing application, MyWorkpapers has expanded into a suite of working paper packs for a range of accountancy firm engagements, including year-end accounts, personal tax, audit and workflow management.

Ben Bishop, chief technology and product officer at Bright told AccountingWEB that the move plays to the strengths of both parties, with MyWorkpapers’ customisable content and workflows complementing Bright Tax’s accounts production and tax filing outputs.

“This is a great acquisition that makes sense for us and our customers,” said Bishop. “MyWorkpapers delivers high-quality working papers in a digital format, but this is about much more than that. Firms are looking for more efficiencies and to build better processes, structures and quality control. MyWorkpapers’ working paper engagement packs, workflows, checklists and reconciliation documents help capture essential practice information, work on it in a live digital format, then push it out to filing and accounts product products.”

Currently catering for around 1,000 customers in the UK, Australia and the EU, with an average of 20 users per customer, MyWorkpapers also represents a shift into the practice mid-market for Bright, which has traditionally served smaller firms.

MyWorkpapers recently developed its own general ledger tool to ring-fence financial information for the period users are working on, rather than solely relying on a bookkeeping system. This creates an independent source of truth for financial statements or management reports generated, removing the possibility of records being compromised by the end client user. 

Tech stack transition

As part of the move, MyWorkpapers founder Rich Neal will join Bright Group with a focus on integrating the product into the Bright ecosystem and expanding the platform’s reach in the accounting market. 

“There’s a huge opportunity for Bright to provide an end-to-end cloud solution for accountants,” Neal told AccountingWEB.

“In addition to our core mid-market customers, firms with less than 10 staff are seeing a tech stack transition at the moment and we’re picking up a lot as new business clients,” Neal continued. “The firms we speak with want to expand by hiring people or outsourcing, they’re amalgamating and also being targeted by the activity in the marketplace driven by private equity.”

Long history of integrations

The deal initially came about early in 2024 when MyWorkpapers approached Bright looking for an accounts production solution with which to integrate. Full integration between Bright accounts production and MyWorkpapers is four to six weeks away, and according to Bishop this has now been made a priority. 

“We’re doubling down on building the best integration with MyWorkpapers,” added Bishop. “It won’t just be a data integration but one that embeds its functionality into the entire Bright platform.”

MyWorkpapers already integrates with a range of bookkeeping and accounts filing tools, including IRIS, Sage and Xero, and Bishop was also keen to emphasise that this will continue under Bright’s ownership. 

“MyWorkpapers has grown through successful integrations with other developers and has a long history of working with other software and in no way, shape or form do we want to disrupt or discontinue this.”

End-to-end cloud practice suite

Bright Group was formed in September 2021 following a merger between BrightPay parent Thesaurus and Relate software. Thanks to an injection of funding from accountancy-focused private equity house Hg Capital, the developer has added popular brands such as tax tool BTCSoftware and practice management software AccountancyManager (now Bright Tax and Bright Manager) to its suite of products. 

The purchase of MyWorkpapers is another piece in the puzzle for Bright Group to hit its stated goal of delivering an end-to-end cloud practice suite with compliance tools for the UK and Irish markets.

“Our suite is based on the premise that all our products are best of breed,” said Bishop. “We don’t want to force our customers to take on tools in our suite for the sake of it – we want them to buy brilliant software from us and then buy more. 

“Gartner came up with the concept of the ‘post-modern ERP’,” he continued, “taking best-of-breed tools and plugging them together. We’re working towards delivering this for accountants in practice.”

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