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.
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.