Client Engager targets practice management pushby
Practice management tool Client Engager aims to build on rapid growth in 2023 by adding new functionality to its platform, including HMRC 64-8 authentication requests and time-tracking capabilities.
Launched in early 2023 as an all-in-one practice management solution for accounting firms, Client Engager has expanded rapidly, adding a range of new functionality and bringing on board close to 500 paying practices.
Founded by Andy Wainwright, managing director of Liverpool-based firm Wainwrights Accountants, and tech developer Piotr Muzyczuk, the vendor aims to offer a viable option for firms starting out or that want a straightforward solution for a viable price point.
Over the past 12 months, Client Engager has added significant functionality to its platform, including:
- integrations with Xero, Companies House and anti-money laundering tool Xama (adding to existing connectivity with QuickBooks Online, bank fetch tool Armalytix and payments platform Crezco)
- email integrations with Microsoft and Google
- the ability to log meetings and calls, and record client behaviour (lateness, absences from meetings and so on)
- an e-signing functionality
- the ability to have in-context conversations with your team within the system as part of the deadlines board. This Kanban-style display allows users to assign different people jobs. The user can create a new comment, add a person’s name and they will get a notification they can click on to bring up the message or task
- the ability to turn comments into tasks on the board, turning a comment into a new task card with the existing information
- the Client Engager client portal app went live in December. Clients can e-sign, upload and download documents, and have the option of syncing log-in to their mobile phone face or fingerprint ID security to avoid inputting their password each time.
Coming in the next few months, Client Engager plans to add an integration with FreeAgent, HMRC 64-8 authentication requests, and time-tracking capabilities.
“We’re looking at 2024 as our year of reporting,” Johann Goree, director at Client Engager and group MD of OnPoint Accounting Group told AccountingWEB. “Accounting firms generate a lot of data that isn’t always used efficiently. We’re creating custom fields to give them the type of reporting they want, whether that’s capacity planning, profitability or client behaviour.”
The vendor’s entry-level price remains the same, with the smallest firms (defined as having 0–10 clients) still charged £9 +VAT a month. However, in March the company added several more layers to its structure, stating that firms were finding the jumps in price too steep as they added clients. For full details see the Client Engager pricing page.
Practice management market
Demand for practice management software in the accounting world has waxed and waned, with surges of interest in 2017 and 2021 driven by factors such as the as-yet undelivered Making Tax Digital scheme and the need to co-ordinate staff and manage capacity during Covid lockdowns.
The past two or three years have seen a spate of consolidations in the segment, with independent practice management tools such as Accountancy Manager, Senta and GoProposal all snapped up by larger vendors. Goree believes that this has opened up the market to new players looking to do things differently.
“When we first started looking at building this software, the market looked very different,” he said. “It looked quite sewn up; there was a practice management solution for everyone. But a lot has changed over the past few years and we feel there’s a genuine opportunity for a smaller software firm to give accounting firms what they’re actually looking for – a flexible, powerful solution at a justifiable price.”
Client Engager has been scaled without external investment or a dedicated sales team of salespeople, and according to Goree has been profitable since May 2023.
Given the string of acquisitions in the practice management space, it’s understandable that the number-one question asked by Client Engager’s new and potential customers is about the vendor’s future ambitions.
“Everyone’s concerned about smaller vendors selling out, and rightly so because many of our customers have been burnt before,” said Goree.
“My answer is I wouldn’t want to,” he added. “I wouldn’t be able to face it if it goes the way that multiple acquisitions have gone recently. I love our industry and can see myself in it for the rest of my working life.
“Over the past decade, we’ve seen many people come into our industry with good ideas but with the ultimate goal of selling out.
“I can’t promise anything as a lot can happen in the tech business, but I’m confident that if we were to sell, it wouldn’t be to the detriment of the product. On that basis, there’s no one in the market at the moment we’d be willing to sell to.
“Besides, there are other mechanisms like management buyouts or share purchases. I’ve got 20 years before I look at retirement so I’m not going anywhere.”