When you’re looking for software to help you manage your practice, you’re likely to come across some familiar names. Global corporations with thousands of employees and multiple kinds of software for different industries.
Great. Names you know, with decades of experience. So, why would you entrust the operations of your practice to a four-year-old independent software company from Warwick – only known to the accountancy and bookkeeping world?
Your impact on shaping the software
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using independent software is the impact you can have on its future. Imagine giving Google or Microsoft a call and asking for a new feature. (If you find a phone number, let us know.) We frequently ask our users to vote for features they’d like, hold feature-request sessions and receive many suggestions on social media.
“You’re always open to taking feedback and quite often you get feedback, put it into the product roadmap and those things will come through.”Andy Sullivan, Complete HQ
AccountancyManager is still owned and run by the same accountant and developer duo that built it. James and Alex developed AM within a busy practice, adding solutions in response to the accountants’ and bookkeepers’ needs. We’re now a team of 25 with thousands of users and that approach hasn’t changed. Accountants and bookkeepers still, and will always, shape AM.
We recently interviewed AM user Andy Sullivan at Complete HQ and he commended us on our responsiveness. “You’re always open to taking feedback and quite often you get feedback, put it into the product roadmap and those things will come through. Because AM is a bespoke piece of software it means that you guys can customise a lot more and change things.”
The speed of development
A large company means many levels of hierarchy and many stakeholders. Projects take longer to get sign-off, decisions take longer and updates to the system are slow to emerge.
In 2020, we released, on average 2 new features a month, totalling 25. This doesn’t include the odd improvement here and there. Our roadmap is more like a forecast than a budget, meaning we’re happy to flex it and slot new, more important features in higher up.
Everything you and your clients need – in one place
You might go down the route of signing up to a few well-known tools to perform specific tasks, like managing tasks, sharing files, e-signing documents or emailing your clients. Then develop a ‘system’ for your practice where you use different software for different things. Probably keeping track of everything in good old Excel.
“It’s actually been really good to us in terms of the automated emails, tracking the work, tracking the employees. It’s been brilliant.”Sam & Bal, Diamond Accounts and Diamond Outsourcing
Andy Sullivan had something to say about this too. “What I see in Facebook groups of accountants is the amount of hacks and bodgies they’ve got. They have maybe 15 or 20 different systems loosely talking to one another, when they could have five core systems.”
“This is everything I was looking for, complete automation, fetching data from Companies House, creating jobs automatically, time recording…”Zia Tahir, Spherical Accountants
Andy continues, “I speak to people using TypeForm tax return forms, for example. Then they have to botch the TypeForm responses to attach them to that client records. It’s like, you can set up your forms in AccountancyManager, put it on the client’s portal and it’s done, it’s all stored there. You get a notification when it’s completed and you crack on and get the tax return done.”
Big corp. Big prices.
It seems the more well-known the logo, the higher up your eyebrows go when you see the cost. (All those employees, offices and investors need funding, after all.) Long-term contracts are also the norm for larger companies, locking you in whether you’re finding value in the software or not. And then there’s additional costs for training and support.
“AM’s just a great bit of kit that saves you loads of time. And it’s not an expensive piece of kit either.”Mark Francis, Francis Bookkeeping Solutions Ltd
We’d love to lock everyone in – forever – but we want you to stay because AM is making your life easier, not because you have to. You get a discount if you’d like to pay annually because it’s better for our cash flow, but we have no plans to take away the monthly contract or payment option. We don’t charge for support and training programs aren’t necessary. AM is intuitive to use and there are webinars, videos, articles and walk-throughs to help.
We only answer to one investor – you
James and Alex are rather proud of making it on their own, without outside investment. This means we’ve always made our own decisions both around the features in the software and the running of the business. It also means our decisions have had to be on-point in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment.
The human element
You will always be more important to an SME than to a corporation – and that’s exactly how we like our users to feel. Our support team is renowned for their friendly and proactive approach. If there’s a way to do something you’ve thought of, they’ll know what it is.
“Support is amazing. If I email support, I always get a response in an hour, usually less than an hour.”
Rachel, Liston and Matt in the support team each have their own fans among our clients and their skills extend beyond helping clients and problem solving. Like all our developers, they are trained in quality assurance testing and play a crucial role in interpreting client needs and helping the developers build the best solution. Sales, marketing – and sometimes even James – also rely on support’s extensive knowledge, so it’s even more impressive that they consistently maintain a user satisfaction rating of 98% or higher.
“We just had to ask: Is this possible? How can we do this? And 99% of the time, AM has come back and said it is possible.”Ben Steele, Steele Financial
An unwavering focus on accountancy and bookkeeping
Finally, it goes without saying that AccountancyManager is designed purely for accountants and bookkeepers. (Try breaking into a new market with that name.) James originally had the idea because he was fed up with wasting time on asking clients for records and chasing them, constantly reorganising his to-do list and spending hours onboarding.
“We had an ICAEW audit, they came in and checked the whole risk section… they were really impressed with the way it was set up.”Buhir Rafiq, Total Books
This means AM is bursting with features like automated emails, automatically generated task-lists, integrations with HMRC and Companies House and in-system AML ID checks and credit screens. Our AML risk assessment section has just been refreshed with help from a former HMRC tax investigator.
Fancy a change? Try AccountancyManager free for 30 days
Give AM a test drive for 30 days. You’ll find plenty of videos and walk-throughs to help and we’ll give you a personalised demo too. We don’t ask for bank details upfront, transferring your data from another platform is easy and you’re welcome to give us a call with any questions on 01926 355 366.