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What’s on accounting’s spring software shopping list?


AI accounting advancements offer grounds for optimism, but integration, customer support and future-proofing remain top priorities for two accounting tech experts during a recent discussion on software trends in the profession.

27th Mar 2024
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In a recent Any Answers Live discussion on current accounting software trends, experts Natasha Everard from Bewitching Bookkeeping and Bhimal Hira from Prysm Financial joined AccountingWEB’s technology editor Tom Herbert to share their insights. 

You can listen to the conversation below or subscribe to AccountingWEB on your podcast player of choice. Alternatively, to watch the full show, visit the Any Answers Live page and register.

AI in accounting software: What’s right for you

Both Everard and Hira expressed cautious optimism about recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) within accounting software. Everard highlighted Sage’s Copilot demo as particularly impressive for its ability to automate tasks such as timesheet requests, stating that she viewed the technology as an enhancement rather than a replacement for her role. Hira urged caution and emphasised the need to cut through the hype and focus on the tangible benefits accounting professionals may see from the developments.

Tech stack chat

Hira shared insights into his firm’s tech stack, put together to meet the needs of their restaurant and hospitality clientele and using tools such as Lightyear for invoice processing, Apron for payments, and a combination of Fathom and Syft for reporting, with Xero as its core accounting platform. 

Everard discussed her shift across to the data capture tool AutoEntry, her adoption of the bookkeeping accuracy tool Xenon Connect, and her trial of the new invoice data capture tool Apron Snap. 

With Making Tax Digital for income tax self assessment (MTD ITSA) currently scheduled for mandation in April 2026, Everard explained how she’d been preparing to get less tech-savvy clients ready for the move, including trialling basic data capture and file management tool Banqup. She also outlined the importance of continually evaluating and updating tech tools to ensure the best value for her firm and her clients.

Integration, communication and support

Both panellists emphasised the critical role integration and customer support play in accounting software.

Hira shared a cautionary tale about choosing a payroll software whose support service levels didn’t meet his expectations, underscoring the importance of thorough testing and considering support services before making a final choice.

When adopting new software, Everard stressed the importance of clear communication with clients and creating easily understandable resources, such as help notes or video tutorials, to help make transitions to new tools as painless as possible. She added that she uses the screenshot tool Tango to help her clients.

Hira highlighted the necessity of staff buy-in for successful implementation and suggested getting team members involved early in the decision-making process to ensure their support.

Future-proofing and strategic software selection

Both experts discussed the need for firms to choose their software with one eye on future developments in the market.

Depending on your firm and your client base, this could be done in multiple ways. Everard’s current focus is on finding MTD solutions for smaller clients, while Hira looks for best-in-breed software that meets his needs in a dynamic market, walking a fine line between adopting new technology before it’s proven, and the risk of smaller players being acquired by larger outfits.

As mentioned in the podcast, you can read Natasha Everard’s book “The Bookkeeper Superhero” by visiting her website.

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