MTD sets scene for spring practice software surgeby
Over the past two years, AccountingWEB has tracked growing use of practice management software across the profession. The portents suggest 2022 could be another big year for this market segment.
Ever since the first chaotic period following the national lockdown in 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19, traffic on AccountingWEB has ebbed and flowed around topics to do with practice management. Interest peaked in April 2020, as practitioners reached out for advice and easy-to-implement apps that would allow them to co-ordinate staff in a remote setting.
That intense burst of interest subsided as practitioners got stuck into helping clients prepare loan applications and furlough grant claims.
Lest we forget, the dramas of 2020 came on top of a longer-term roller coaster ride around practice transformation that we frequently describe on AccountingWEB as the MTD effect. The workloads around segmenting clients into different groups and communicating new record-keeping rules and MTD for VAT reporting requirements put the profession to the test in the second half of 2019 and added fuel to the underlying demand.
With Covid support efforts heaped on top of MTD and the usual reporting cycles, many practitioners are acutely aware of the need to remove bottlenecks and prepare for even bigger reporting obligations to come. But circumstances and skills shortages have made it especially hard to select, implement and train staff on new practice systems during the past year.
According to early indications from our latest software insight survey, all of these factors set the scene for an especially busy spring software season once practitioners are clear of the self assessment deadline at the end of January. Will you be part of that software surge, and which camp are you likely to join? Help us find out more and report back on the latest trends by taking part in the next round of research:
The first wave of research conducted earlier this year by AccountingWEB’s insight team confirmed this pent-up demand, with the strongest buying intentions recorded for practice management software, followed by document management and cashflow forecasting.
The adoption patterns for practice management software look to be conforming to the characteristic leader-follower curve with 56% of smaller, “early adopter” firms and medium-sized practices leading the implementation pack during 2021. But the study also showed 14% of “change aware” small firms expressing similar interest – representing a larger demographic pool.
The practice management software boom has been a back-and-forth tussle between cloud-based best of breed applications and established practice suites such as IRIS, Sage, CCH and Thomson Reuters, TaxCalc and BTCSoftware.
While the big suites fought back with a late burst ahead of the 2019 MTD for VAT implementation period, the cloud upstarts have been making the pace ever since. According to our research, AccountancyManager made impressive gains during the past year, while TaxCalc has the most solid user base among small practices.
In a recent preparing for MTD video guide, George Moss of Bee Motion explained how his firm had implemented Senta to prepare for the challenges ahead. As a result, he explained, “We’re able to personalise workflows to meet our needs internally. We have checklists in place and those checklists feed into reminders… so clients are automatically chased and prompted.
“We've removed the actual chasing of the clients’ original and signatures because our system does it automatically for us. Reducing that administration from a member of the team means they can then focus their efforts elsewhere.”
AccountingWEB head of insight Julian Green will discuss the latest research results with John Stokdyk at the Accounting Software State of the Nation keynote presentation at the AccountingWEB Live Expo on Wednesday 1 December. All attendees to this session will receive a free copy of the full insight report, worth £495.
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AccountingWEB’s Editor at large has been with the site since 1999, rising from news editor to editor in chief, global editor and head of insight. As a roving editor, he continues to investigate the profession's use of technology around the world. He devotes his spare time to technology history and an oddball collection of stringed instruments...