Khyam Chudhry is the proud owner of a fully digital, paperless practice that doesn’t experience ‘the panic thing’ every January: Fortuous Limited. He also has strong convictions when it comes to advisory. He’s been with us since our very beginnings and AM is the only software he has no plans to switch.
When self-employment is in your blood
For most families, a successful job in professional services would be more than enough. Not in the Chudhry household. “My whole family has been self-employed and has never gone into jobs. Since my great-grandfather, I’m the first one. My dad would say ‘so you’ve started a job, what’s the plan next?’”
“You need hard work and you need a bit of luck to make it. So that’s what Fortuous stands for.”
Khyam was working as an accountant at a large property management company, when, in 2015 he made his big decision. “It was coming for many years. I was always itching because there’s no freedom and you’re always limited. So I said, ‘OK, I need to start something on my own.”
No shoe boxes or filing cabinets allowed
Khyam always knew he didn’t want to be a traditional accountant with a traditional firm. “I wanted to deliver services to businesses in a more proactive, productive way and that’s where the idea of going completely digital came from. Xero was making a lot of inroads at that time. So Xero was our initial partner and ReceiptBank came on board very early.
“We didn’t want shoeboxes at all. We didn’t want anybody bringing in invoices. This is where a lot of time gets wasted and it’s exposed to too many errors.”
Deciding that all internal processes should be digital too, Khyam came to AccountancyManager in 2017, the same year we launched. “Many practices claim to be paperless, but they still have filing cabinets and use paper sometimes.” Says Khyam.
“The competition is too stiff to be spending that kind of time on things that aren’t productive.”
“I decided on day one I’m not going to work with paper. The competition is too stiff to be spending time on things that aren’t productive. Going paperless further down the line is a massive task. So I’m lucky.”
Sticking with AccountancyManager through the years
Khyam has seen the AccountancyManager platform grow alongside his business. “I think there are definitely a lot of improvements, but the great thing is the core structure is still there.”
“It’s a huge, massive task for any practice management software and AM is doing it beautifully, seamlessly.”
“Getting KYCs done, getting AML checks done, brilliant. Getting deadlines available to you, getting reminders out to clients. It’s a huge, massive task for any practice management software and AM is doing it beautifully, seamlessly.”
No six-month training course necessary
“…And it’s simple and easy to understand. It’s not like a HubSpot or a Salesforce, where you need six months of training before you get used to it. AM is comparatively easy. Yes, you need to get used to it – there’s no doubt – but once you do, it’s very easy to manage.”
Life with AccountancyManager? Pretty awesome, apparently
We asked Khyam how he’d describe life with AccountancyManager. “Pretty awesome. Easy. I have this one piece of kit I don’t need to think about. Every time someone tries to sell me practice management, I say, ‘well, this is one area I’m not considering at all’. The credit goes to you guys, you’re delivering well and keeping up the pace. I’m not considering a switch from AM at all.”
A visibility dream for management
Khyam admits trying to ‘game the system’ by having one user on AM and different people logging in. “We were thinking, we’ll manage it in one user, but obviously time dictates to the business and the business should listen to the needs of the time. So we listened, and one user wasn’t enough. Everybody has to manage their own portfolio and now, I don’t need to worry.”
“Obviously time dictates to the business and business should listen to the needs of the time. So we listened, and one user wasn’t enough.”
A quick glance at tasks in the morning
“Every morning, I look at AccountancyManager, at the tasks. I use a filter for account information, statements, VAT, payroll and tax returns and accounts. So that’s what I’m monitoring. I’m looking at this data, what is due, when it’s due, when it will be done. In terms of visibility, that makes my life easy. So as a manager, I can see what everybody else is doing and how far they are from their deadlines.”
31st of January? Just a normal day
“You know, in January, accountants are still struggling to get tax returns done. We’ve already done it. So we don’t panic. We don’t have this ‘panic thing’ at all. In fact, The 31st of January means nothing to us. We don’t follow deadlines of 31st of January or even nine months after the year end – because we’d set up our own deadlines in AccountancyManager.”
Automated emails: ‘Please, turn them on!’
When Jonathan mentioned to Khyam that some new AM users are a little nervous about switching on the automated record requests and reminders, Khyam responded with fervour.
“No, they must turn it on! Trust me, otherwise, we end up chasing clients. Let them call you. Please turn it on, make your life easier.”
“Let’s imagine I’m doing it manually,” he explains, “I’m sending all these reminders – what if I make an error or I’m not available? I could be sick. I could be busy. I could be doing some million other things, right? At least your side of the job is done. You have reminded clients that you need to do these things and you can prove on the timeline.”
The Gmail you love – with an added bonus
When you link AccountancyManager to your Gmail (or other) account, automated emails come from your address. An even bigger benefit is seeing any email to your client – whether automated or manual – on each client’s timeline. “That’s the problem with Gmail and Outlook,” explains Khyam. “No timeline, so you need to search for things. On AM, you just check the timeline. People say ‘oh, I haven’t seen the email’, so I check – there’s no chance it’s gone into junk because you read the email before and after. So the timeline is important.”
Send all (or bulk) emails: Be the first to update clients
Although huge fans of automated record requests and reminders – which go out to specific clients at the right times, Khyam and his team don’t usually use the ‘send all’ feature. This is one email that goes to all your clients at once. (Or you can create different versions for specific groups of clients.)
“I don’t want my clients to hear this from another source. I want them to hear it from me first.”
“We don’t usually use it as we don’t believe in spamming clients, but during the early days of Covid, I used it a lot. Something was getting announced every other day and I thought, ‘If I don’t get this information out as early as possible, my clients will hear this from another source. I want them to hear from me first.’ As soon as an announcement was made, I’d prepare an email that would go to everybody in an instant.”
“That’s the beauty of AM. Yes, there are other systems that can do it. But you have all your clients in there, all your data is fully integrated. We don’t miss anybody out and everybody has the information they need.”
Technology, done. Now, onto advisory…
While technology may have given Khyam the competitive edge six years ago, like many accountants he’s now looking beyond compliance to provide advice to his clients. But this isn’t just advice, this is 360 degree advice – on five areas of small businesses.
What is advisory?
In a world of uncertainty surrounding advisory, Khyam has strong convictions. “Xero is great, QuickBooks is great, but what about the accountant’s skills and their involvement in the whole business? In the past, I would’ve thought ‘I’m an accountant. I need to just look at your numbers and advise you accordingly’ and that’s what we called ‘business advice’. But that isn’t the case, we need to look at business as a whole.”
Becoming certified business advisors
“We partnered up with a great consultancy firm who have trained us and now there are very specific procedures to follow. We’ll be delivering on the key KPIs across the business. So if a client needs a 5, 10, 15, 20 year plan, we’re there to help with the marketing, finance, operations or people management – all the key elements of the business.”
Turning dreams into reality
“Every discussion that happens with every client reflects those questions from day one: What do you want to achieve? What are your plans? Where do you want your business to go? Where do you want to be? What are your lifestyle goals? Do you want to have a Lamborghini in a couple of years? And then we plan accordingly.”