Taxfiler answers practice management concerns
Like many software products before it, Taxfiler’s practice management module is going to take longer than initially expected to arrive.
First announced at Accountex in May, the launch of Taxfiler’s new practice management module took on extra urgency in recent weeks after the developer informed customers that its pricing structure would increase from a base rate of £10/month to £20/month for up to 30 clients. The cost for unlimited clients has gone up to £199/month for 10 users. The single user package remains at £10/month, up to 10 clients.
“Where’s the practice management function that was supposed to be included from July?” asked AccountingWEB member ohgoodgodno on 4 July. “If I’m paying for it, I’d at least like to have a look at it.”
When AccountingWEB put the question to Nick Gregory, chief marketing officer at Taxfiler's parent company IRIS, he replied: “Following the announcement of Taxfiler Practice Management in May 2019, we’ve been working on its availability for customers. This was anticipated during this month.
“However, these timings have been extended a little following feedback from customer walk-throughs to ensure the integration is frictionless.”
The developer is inviting a number of customers to participate in early beta testing during August in anticipation of a full roll out in October, Gregory added.
Based on code developed by Farnell Clarke in Norwich, the Taxfiler module is positioned around a central client record containing compliance data, relationships and activity. It includes a facility to send automatic alerts to clients about forthcoming tax and compliance deadlines that feed into practice task lists.
These initial features will be included in the monthly subscription, along with MTD for VAT tools, more bookkeeping integrations and links to the IRIS OpenSpace document portal. Other features such as email may be added in the future as optional extras.
The response from AccountingWEB members to the news was mixed. Yelsnew’s view on all the new features was, “Don’t want, don’t want, don’t want and don’t want. Thanks!”
But other accountants were more sanguine about the price increase and the addition of new features. “It’s a major factor in me staying with Taxfiler,” wrote legerman. “Been thinking about [practice management] for a while and had already started looking when Taxfiler announced they were adding it. Taxfiler’s new price is still at the very low end of the market.”
AccountingWEB regulars carnmores and andy.partridge both saw the need for practice management tools and were willing to pay Taxfiler extra to get them. “Nobody likes price increases,” wrote Partridge. “Taxfiler has been ridiculously cheap. With the increase it still is. Practice management software in 2019 is not ‘whistles and bells’ but a standard tool for many practices.”
The episode stirred up debates around Taxfiler’s business model and the IRIS acquisition of 2018.
As well as its online functionality and ease of use, Taxfiler’s pricing has played a big part in its rapid growth. Figures from AccountingWEB’s annual software survey confirm that Taxfiler's upward trend has continued since the acquisition, with the product adding 50% more ratings compared to last year’s poll in the tax category.
IRIS marketing chief Nick Gregory responded: “The Taxfiler price rise was the first in the company’s history. Since the acquisition by IRIS Software Group, there has been an accelerated investment in our cloud-based compliance software. We’ve doubled our product development capacity and increased customer support to service our growing customer base.
“We have taken the opportunity to realign our packages according to practice size enabling us to continue offering great value for start-up firms and build the functionality practices require as they grow.
“The investment in Taxfiler continues to focus on development and customer support, to deliver quality solutions to meet the requirements and challenges of micro-practices. And these requirements are growing. Accountancy professionals are increasingly demanding fundamental integrated tools on which they can build their businesses.”
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