Responding to a couple of years of intense activity in the practice software market, AccountingWEB has opened up a new practice management software comparison service based on user reviews.
Our new practice management software comparison is based on more than 630 individual product reviews posted in the Accounting Excellence Awards software survey. The practice edition is accompanied by two other category comparisons: data and expenses management and forecasting, planning and analysis (FP&A) software.
This trio of software reviews will be followed in successive months by accounts production, small business accounts and Making Tax Digital filing tools as part of a rolling programme of software reviews.
Each product has been rated by users for functionality, support, ease of use and value for money and their willingness to recommend the product to other users. The rating questionnaire remains open, and all of the individual product pages will be regularly updated with new reviews and insights from users.
The information AccountingWEB members provide through the software survey allows us to monitor the shifts taking place in the market and to identify fast-growing newcomers such as last year’s practice management award winner, AccountancyManager.
AccountancyManager is part of a new generation of specialist cloud tools that have eaten into the established camps of integrated suites from the likes of Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Reuters, IRIS and Sage.
Integrated suites in decline
Ten years ago, practitioners argued about the benefits of integrated suites versus unlinked “best of breed” alternatives. Led by the example of IRIS, the biggest players in the practice market built or bought complete software collections to integrate all the tools practitioners needed.
Larger practices still appreciate the advantages of integration, but they are fewer in number than the smaller practices that have been buying software and voting in our survey. With Xero, QuickBooks and ecosystem allies such as Practice Ignition and Receipt Bank offering flexible cloud practice management options, the integration wave is beginning to recede. According to our surveys, the proportion of tax applications to integrated suites dropped from 32% in 2017 to 24% this year.
Our data also suggest the rapid growth cloud practice management software was one of the side-effects of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative. The need to get clients organised and track the progress of different client groups on a quarterly basis prompted a stampede last year, but after the government pulled back from its original MTD timetable, the proportion of practitioners rating practice management applications in our survey dropped from 55% in 2017 to 36% this year.
Do you use an integrated suite? Then tell us what you think about its practice management capabilities in our continuing software survey. We’d love to hear from users of specialist cloud tools and to hear about the other programs that you use. It only takes a few minutes. And if you’ve got time, let us know what you think about the new software reviews service by commenting below.
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight 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.