Smaller software developers look to have prospered since July last year, when changes to the Making Tax Digital (MTD) exerted less pressure on accountants to review their systems.
The first 1,000 ratings from AccountingWEB’s Accounting Excellence Awards software survey show a stronger turnout for brands serving smaller firms, including 2017 award winners such as TaxCalc.
TaxCalc currently has the biggest pool of responses in the practice categories, nudging ahead of Keytime and Gbooks. After the first few weeks of voting, there are still relatively few ratings for big names such as IRIS, Sage, Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer.
Users of Zoho, the low-end US-based cloud suite, have shown up in surprisingly large numbers, but we have yet to hear from FreeAgent customers, who voted the specialist contractor accounting app into top place last year.
The big trend of 2017 was the contest between cloud and desktop systems in small business accounting, with MTD stimulating a visible shift towards online systems. An early surge from the AccountsIQ community suggests that cloud is beginning to make inroads into territory traditionally occupied by the likes of Sage 50 Accounts, Pegasus, Access and Exchequer.
Market analysts have been predicting the advance of “post-modern” cloud enterprise suites such as FinancialForce.com, NetSuite and Sage Live, but sightings of these applications are still rare among the votes so far. It’s a lot harder to migrate an established, mid-market or enterprise financial software system, so this sector has not embraced cloud accounting the way that small companies and their accountants have since MTD was first mooted in 2015.
As a result, our early polling shows a UK mid-range and enterprise accounting software market fragmented between numerous outposts of client/server products. One factor we will be monitoring is the extent to which these business turn to the Xero, QuickBooks and Sage cloud “ecosystems” to string together more cost-effective, DIY finance suites.
We have to assume finance managers who maintain costly client/server finance systems are aware of all the cloud alternatives, but for the past decade we have seen little appetite to make the leap into the cloud. Will 2018 be the year when cloud accounting starts to pick up momentum among larger organisations?
Are you part of the cloud future, or sticking with tried and tested on-premise systems? Either way, we want to hear from you in the 2018 Accounting Excellence Awards software survey. You can rate as many products as you like and it only takes a few minutes for each. The results will be fed back to survey participants and AccountingWEB members in a series of software buyer’s guides due later this year.
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s global editor has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.