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Accountancy practice management workflow and CRM software compared
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AccountancyManager vs Senta: Which practice app is right for you?

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JQ Business Services bookkeeper Jo Querelle and Sue Rose of Sue Rose Bookkeeping compare AccountancyManager and Senta to help Marie Philips find the right practice platform for her firm.

3rd Feb 2021
Sole practitioner at Abelha Bookeeping
Columnist
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Before receiving my practice licence, fellow bookkeepers recommended I make customer relationship management (CRM) the cornerstone of my practice. After receiving my practice licence, I took trial subscriptions of AccountancyManager (AM) and Senta to see what they could offer, but felt overwhelmed as a novice practice owner. 

I had also signed up to an onboarding platform that removed the need for the onboarding features of a CRM platform. Now more established, I decided to revisit the two cloud practice platforms and asked Jo Querelle and Sue Rose to help me compare AccountancyManager and Senta and decide which one is right for me.

Ease of setup

Both platforms required some setup time to make them workable. Both AM and Senta have a feature that allows you to import clients. It simplifies the process, but requires all the information imported to be checked to ensure they are in the correct fields including the Letter of Engagement.

Both platforms have templates (including a Letter of Engagement) that can be customised to meet your needs or your licencing organisation's requirements.

Integration

AM automatically integrates with Companies House, CRO and HMRC and additional manual integrations with FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero.

Senta automatically integrates with Companies House, Credas and The Pension Regulator and offers additional manual integrations with FreeAgent, GoCardless, GoProposal, PracticeWeb, QuickBooks, Xavier, Xero and Zapier.

Client onboarding

Both platforms are designed to enable the user to add a prospective client and take them through the onboarding workflow to become an established client. A prospective client's details will remain on both platforms even if they are not converted to a client. This is helpful if you want to see how many prospective clients you are converting to clients. Additionally, it helps if you want to staying in contact with prospective clients by sending newsletters and so on.

Both platforms incorporate anti-money laundering checks for an added fee. Details including important filing dates for new clients registered with Companies House will be pulled into the client’s record. Concurrently, a deadline/task is created on work tasks notifying the user when filings are due.

Customer service

According to Jo, AM’s customer service and help section are amazing. The help section has an account setup section with numerous videos and walk-thru help bubbles that assist in setting up the user account. When the help section does not have the answer to a question, your Account Manager will respond to any email query, usually within the hour.

Sue advises that she finds Senta very helpful and readily on-hand to assist her with all her questions.

Notable features

AccountancyManager notable features:

  • For clients that she bills hourly, AM has a timer feature that she uses whilst working on her billable clients to track time directly on the client’s account. At the end of the month or when needed, she can then generate an invoice for both billable and fixed-fee clients which are sent through to her accounting software where she bills in her chosen manner.

  • During the client's onboarding process, clients create a secure GDPR compliant portal in which they can securely upload documents. The portal can also be used to email documents (from her business email address which she can use from within AM) to clients including documents requiring an e-signature. Furthermore, AM will put emails received to her business email from a client directly into the correct client portal account.

  • AM creates tasks and deadlines based on details inputted by her and imported from Companies House. AM automatically updates the aforementioned tasks and deadlines which ensures important deadlines are not missed. This feature is helpful as it alleviates the need to manually check for these deadlines.

Senta notable features:

  • Having all her clients information, deadlines and tasks in one central place.

  • She can send documents required for e-signature to clients from within Senta.

  • Sue additionally likes the process control and tracking that Senta brings to her practice, especially the established workflows within the platform.

Cost

AccountancyManager costs £31.20 per user per month; for 7 or more users contact AM directly for their Enterprise Pricing.

Senta costs £29 per user per month; users who pay annually receive a 20% discount making the annual fee £278.40 per user.

Jo and Sue agreed that even though neither are using their platforms to their full potential, they are worth the money for the features they are using. Both noted the only problem with the pricing structures is that the pricing is per user. This can get expensive if you have numerous part-time employees who only work a small number of hours in the week and whose work output you wish to monitor. 

Currently, the only way to do this is to buy each staff member a user licence. We all expressed the hope that in the future the pricing structure will better reflect all types of employees within a practice.

Recommended users

Before I received my practice licence, Jo was one of the bookkeepers who strongly recommended that I get a platform with CRM capabilties. Jo advises that it is much easier to use CRM from day one than having to find the time to set up a system later when you have less time to do so. Jo feels that AM will perform for anyone who wishes to streamline the running of their practice as she has found that it saves time allowing her the opportunity to take on additional clients.

Sue feels Senta would be perfect for anyone who wishes to systemise their practice, especially if they have staff who are completing the required work and to ensure no deadlines are missed.

Final thoughts

As both have similar features, it came down to layout and ease of use of the platform. After speaking to Jo and Sue and watching videos on each companies website, I chose AccountancyManager. 

To date, their customer service has been impeccable, my emails being responded to swiftly. I have found navigating around the platform to be easy and intuitive, therefore you should select the platform based on ease of navigation as many hours will be spent on it.

Replies (9)

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By andocsky.aol.com
04th Feb 2021 09:52

Can’t speak for accountancy manager but I subscribed to senta in December and had uploaded all my client data and started sending accounts and tax returns for e- signing. A couple of weeks in my I couldn’t log in (or clients int their portal) then found out they had wiped the account and everything was lost. The reason was something to do with my email address having had a few trials of the software over the last couple of years. Thank goodness it was only a few clients I had to go back to and say ‘sorry but you know that secure portal we set up for those documents you signed....um...well it’s all been lost......’

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
04th Feb 2021 13:32

Why only 2 in the comparison ? What about Pixie and Karbon for starters plus a few others.

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By JD
05th Feb 2021 09:48

£30 a user is far too much, leaving relatively small practices paying far too much per month for software in which the practice owner and there team are drowned by the overly complex/feature rich systems, much of which they do not use. The result is that the PM product becomes a job in themselves rather than a benefit.

It would be far better if the PM providers could produce a simple, core menu of features offering at say £10 a user. It would give firms chance to get the most out of the features they really needed and leave the PM provider positioned to benefit as the level of features a firm wishes or needs to use, expands.

This imho, is an opportunity going begging for the PM providers, the first of whom will instantly gain a considerable competitive advantage. The choice really should not be excel or £100's per month. AWeb - where is the middle ground offering.

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Replying to JD:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Feb 2021 20:19

Thats why I use Pixie unlimited users for fixed fee

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Replying to JD:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Feb 2021 20:19

Thats why I use Pixie unlimited users for fixed fee

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Replying to JD:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Feb 2021 20:19

Thats why I use Pixie unlimited users for fixed fee

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Replying to JD:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Feb 2021 20:19

Thats why I use Pixie unlimited users for fixed fee

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Replying to JD:
By Tonykelly
07th Feb 2021 13:00

Interesting points made above.
There is a fairly good choice available now, compared to 5 years ago.

Accountancy Manager, Senta, Pixie, UKU to name a few.
They all have their pros and cons.

If you want a fairly simple and easy to use system, just use UKU.

Unlimited clients and also time recording. The cost is fairly reasonable also as it is free to use for one person (£0.00 per month)

Thanks (1)
Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
07th Feb 2021 14:54

I cant speak more highly of AM. As the article says the support is brilliant. I couldnt have coped this year without the e-signing facility.

I've been using it particularly for that feature and the automatic issue of such things as Letters of engagement.

The reminder system is good - ie sending out of automatic reminders to clients and previous accs for clearance letters.

There are still a load of features that I've not looked at yet such as the sending out of texts. The videos are particularly helpful here.

As Jo and Sue say... worth its weight in gold!

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