The south west’s largest independent accountancy firm, PKF Francis Clark, is deploying Exact software to support clients in manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, and professional services markets.
“The clients we think will benefit most from Exact are those with a turnover of between half a million and £5m, and up to 50 staff; any client who has a stock requirement, who needs something more than they are currently getting from existing cloud products or Sage,” explained Darren Jasper, head of cloudsourcing at PKF Francis Clark commenting on the collaboration between both firms.
Jasper went looking for new options when the firm took on a new client that distributes videoconferencing equipment. As an international operation with five different entities, the customer needed something that could consolidate accounts from around the world, track stock and connect to a webshop as well as manage the CRM side of things.
“Initially, the client had seen Xero, really appreciated its simplicity. But to get Xero to do all those functions they needed, I was going to be bolting on three or four add-ons,” Jasper said. “That lead me to Exact. The benefit of Exact is that it was cheaper than having Xero plus lots of add-ons and the training was far simpler, because Exact covered the scoping, the implementation and the training.”
“It was a large, new client and Exact did most of the work for us on that engagement. I got a solution for a more complex business and didn’t have to go and investigate a number of add-ons.”
PKF Francis Clark already supports approximately 10 entities on Exact and has signed a commercial agreement to take on a set number of clients over the next year. There are around 200-300 potential users among the firm’s existing user base, particularly businesses operating in food and drink manufacturing, where Exact’s consultants can supplement the firm’s in-house team.
Exact sits alongside QuickBooks and Xero as options within the firm’s “cloudsourcing” practice. Ten members of staff are accredited to operate Exact and two will specialise day-to-day in selling, training and implementing the system.
Jasper explained that Exact’s industry solutions cost between four and ten times more than Xero, but added, “It is a specialist solution for businesses with specialists needs. With QuickBooks and Xero, we’ve got many thousands of clients where they could fit.
“We wouldn’t want to run just one product throughout our firm. We’ve rather find the best software for each situation rather than just say this is the only product we work with.”
The advanced modules within Exact give the firm more tools to streamline clients’ operations and automate workflows. By feeding live data from the system to clients, PKF Francis Clark will be able to act as an in-depth business adviser, anticipating issues and advising clients on how to fix them.
“The whole reason for having Exact is so that we have got more information about the client’s business so we can advise it better. We want the clients to understand we know their business. The software is just a way of surfacing that need.”