TaxCalc introduces Practice Manager suite

TaxCalc introduces Practice Manager suite at Accountex 2019
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Tax and practice software house TaxCalc is readying a range of new practice management modules for release in June.

Previewing the new tools at a busy Accountex stand earlier this month, TaxCalc CEO Tracey Ebdon-Poole told AccountingWEB that while market forces were directing attention at compliance, Making Tax Digital and more onerous anti-money laundering regulation were increasing demand for practice management tools.

Many of TaxCalc’s customers are growing up as firms and looking for more sophisticated internal controls over their processes, she explained. The need for more frequent contacts with both clients and regulatory bodies added to that demand.

“We were always aware practice management needed love and attention,” said Ebdon-Poole.

To meet that demand, TaxCalc has been working with customer firms to develop a hub replacement that now flies under the banner of TaxCalc Practice Manager. Combining client records with an overview dashboard, reports, email tools and access controls, the basic Practice Manager product is still free when you use any other TaxCalc product, but will be accompanied by an optional Practice Manager Plus costing from £40/user per year.

To explain the difference between the two applications, product owner Martin Dewer highlighted the workflow features within Practice Manager Plus. “We had tasks in the hub, but at the level of activities such as final accounts and tax returns. Within accounts production, there was no way of seeing which stage they’re at – the team might not have reconciled the accounts or run controls. The Workflow module in Practice Manager Plus resolves that issue,” said Dewer.

Templates can be set up in the Plus edition job scheduler for different service lines that take them through automated steps. Tax return work and communications, for example, can be sequenced back from filing deadlines with reminders built in to chase the client at appropriate times. As a task is completed, the template can automatically move it on to the next person or department in the workflow.

A new TaxCalc Time module will also be available in June to log time against clients and tasks and to manage timesheet approvals and invoicing, with a starting cost of £20/user per year.

Compliance support

On the compliance side, TaxCalc is adding an AML Centre to its existing GDPR and MTD modules. According to Dewer, the AML Centre applies TaxCalc’s easy-to-follow Simple Step process to AML tasks to enable the firm’s money laundering reporting officer to comply with the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations.

As well as ID checking and due diligence – handled by a separate online AML Identity Checking Service from Equifax - these obligations include firm and client-level risk assessments and all the associated documentation required by supervisory bodies.

The AML Centre can also compile an internal suspicious activity report if one is needed and will cost from £80/year for 24 clients.

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

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.

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15th May 2019 14:12

I hope its less clunky than the hub which acts as a massive drag to what was previously a very good bit of tax return software, pulling it down from "best of breed" 10 years ago into the "meh" zone.

All I want from tax calc is to compute the tax, and do it well.

All the rest is just flannel and detracts from a what is a decent core product.

Whilst some of your customer may be growing, I'd wager the vasty majority by number are no bigger than 1 fees earner + a couple of assistants and don't want 'big system' capability, and are happy to buy their own "best of breed" practice management to suit their own business. Which might just be anything from a couple of excel sheets and an outlook calendar, to a modern web based system.

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By AW71
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
15th May 2019 15:46

They seem to be less interested in smaller customers as the years go on, their numerous add-ons at some cost are evidence of this

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to AW71
15th May 2019 16:20

indeed we are being squeezed out by the fees escalator and ever more clunky baggage wrapped around what is at is core a solid product.

Its a real shame to see them do this, but there is no longer an independant and nimble tax supplier out there with Taxfiler being bought out so I gues they can stick the middle finger to their core clients whilst chasing larger firms with an 'iris lite' offering.

I was mid way through a planned switch out to Taxfiler, but halted it when they got sold. There is no-one independant left to goto.

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15th May 2019 21:58

I want TaxCalc Practice Manager to be good. TC is very late in this game. I hope TaxCalc Practice Manager has done a massive catching up with the likes of Accountancy Manager before releasing this software.

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15th May 2019 19:44

For a number of years now, Taxcalc has been heading down the "all integrated" route.

They need to be careful as they could well end up falling between 2 stools - not enough features for practices that want a "one stop" solution but too pricey and too focused on PM for the smaller firms.

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By EricO
16th May 2019 11:12

Are there any users out there who have switched between IRIS and Taxcalc - I'd be interested in their experiences.

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to EricO
16th May 2019 12:00

We made this move around 2 to 3 years ago for accounts and tax. Only regret was not doing it earlier !

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By CW2012
to EricO
16th May 2019 16:30

Yes us, we found Iris was becoming far too expensive for what we needed, we looked around and had a few demo's , we found Taxcalc to be the most straight forward. We are an 11 employee practice, regulated and it suits our needs. The practice management side has been a long time coming I asked about time recording a few years ago and was told it wasn't on their radar.

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to EricO
16th May 2019 16:46

I used Iris in industry. When I set up my own practice I chose Taxcalc because Iris/PTP was much too expensive. However, Iris Accounts Production was much more flexible - you could alter /replace every note, hide irrelevant notes, etc. Taxcalc by comparison is more restrictive. However the tax side is fine.

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16th May 2019 11:21

As many have said, the core product ( tax return production ) is first class. Unfortunately the rest is becoming increasingly average and more expensive as the years pass. My personal gripe is with the accounts production module, which doesn't appear to have been updated since it was first introduced. The final accounts have so many frustrating formatting errors which I'm sure could be corrected in a few minutes ( rogue underlining, headings sometimes in CAPITALS, sometimes in lower case and sometimes in Lower Case ). The work round is to import to Word and make adjustments - fine, but it is supposed to be an automatic accounts production program. Can't help but think that they are neglecting what should be part of the core product whilst trying to sell themselves to the larger firms.

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16th May 2019 11:29

This is very encouraging. We currently use Glide as our work tracker. I can`t deny it would be good to have it all under one roof. I don`t find the current hub too enticing!

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16th May 2019 11:46

Well, that's telling them!
Seems its unanimously thumbs down. I thought about changing to BTC a few years ago. But I couldn't import my existing data, and anyway who has time to learn a whole new system? So I decided I'd wait for TaxCalc to catch up. I'm willing to give it a try, but not full of hope.

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16th May 2019 15:26

This is great news for the smaller practitioner who uses TaxCalc. We use Highrise at the moment for practice management, but I would prefer if it was all integrated into the taxcalc suite.

There always seems to be some negative comments towards Taxcalc. Not sure why this is the case. Yes, the accounts production module was poor when first introduced, but that was quite a few years back. There have been numerous improvements over the years, and updates on a fairly regular basis, so it is quite a good product now.

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16th May 2019 15:57

I very much doubt they can compete with Senta or Accountancy Manager. I looked at their practise management side a few months ago and it was to put it kindly 'basic'. Yes I would love to have everything under one roof, however personally I won't compromise I want 'best of breed' in everything even though this may lack integration. Will it do automated emails and texts? can it be configured? does it have a CRM capability? All these things look great when sold by the company, but when you test them you often find they don't come up to muster

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to indomitable
16th May 2019 17:30

Different practices have quite different practice management needs, so will find a different tool works best for them.

"one size fits all" always struggle with being too complex for the small business and too basic for the larger ones.

This is why I like to chose what works for my business on an application by application basis.

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16th May 2019 19:08

I really do hope this works well. Outlook/email integration for automated reminders and Xero client list API next please!

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By qadri23
20th May 2019 17:35

Finlay some much needed improvement !

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