EP Tax has used AccountancyManager for three years. In that time the team has multiplied and the clientbase has gone through the roof. We caught up with practice manager Dom to find out how they’re getting on.
Dominique is the practice manager at EP Tax, she joined in 2018, the same year the practice launched. “Anna started the firm and I was her first employee. I started off just doing six hours a week around university. Now three years later, I’m the practice manager. It was just the two of us in a two-man office and now there are nine of us.”
We’ve moved offices three times… this one is a lot bigger so hopefully we’ll be in this one for longer!”
“It’s amazing to work here. People come in with their kids and they can have a biscuit on the sofa while we talk. We want people to be chilled out so it’s a really relaxed office, it’s fun, it’s friendly. It’s a really good place to work.”
A quick glance at the EP Tax website shows that the brand reflects this approach. “We wanted to let our clients know ‘yes, we will absolutely smash their work. But we’ve also got that relaxed side as well’.
Our brand isn’t stuffy, because that’s not our personalities.”
The clients of EP Tax are mainly Limited Companies and Sole Traders. Dom gives hairdressers as one example and the locally based military too. “We’ve got lots of military near us and because they’re in work accommodation, they normally buy their own properties and rent them out. So that’s where a lot of our clients come from.”
Bringing ‘bitty’ processes together in one place
Dom and Anna signed up with AccountancyManager in 2018, mainly as a way to get all the processes Anna had been following out of her head and in one place. “When Charlotte worked by herself, she knew the processes and the steps that she had to do. It was all on Excel spreadsheets and quite… bitty. So it was quite hard for me to learn.”
The Task List is so beneficial because we’ve got eyes on everything.”
“The Task List is my favourite part. Within our firm, I’m in charge of all the payroll, then you’ve got somebody who’s in charge of VAT, somebody in charge of self assessments. Now, I’m in charge of the Task List as a whole – making sure everybody is doing their tasks and ticking them off. But ultimately people are in charge of their own workloads. They can look on AccountancyManager and know: I’ve got this to do, I’ve got that to do, instead of me micromanaging them.”
Managing rapid clientbase growth with fast onboarding
EP Tax has taken on over 120 clients just this year. Thanks to AccountancyManager, this isn’t the nightmare it could be… ‘We’ve been extremely busy. We were at 500 clients about four weeks ago, now we’re 520. We’re having phone calls every single day for new clients.”
We do all our 64-8s through AccountancyManager as well, which is just so much easier.”
“We’re using AM to send out our letters of engagement. Before, we were updating the letter of engagement each time, it was always a pain. When people ring us, we give them a quote over the phone. We’ve got set questions that we ask them. So we can give them a price over the phone and instantly they want a letter of engagement sent to them.”
Now we use the letters of engagement in AccountancyManager, and the AML checks – and the risk assessments.”
“We used to use AMLCC for our letters of engagement but we always used to have to change them. It was just a nightmare. So now we use the letters of engagement in AccountancyManager, and the AML checks – and the risk assessments.”
Automated reminders for clients to provide important information
As well as the automations that ask your clients to supply their records (and chase them when they don’t), EP Tax is using automated emails and texts to request information at onboarding.
Automation is brilliant. It literally just tells the client what we need, when we need it. We use it every single day.”
“We’ve set up automations for things like ‘You need to send us your ID’ or ‘you need to send your UTR’. If we don’t have their ID, we can’t start working for them. So for the ID request, we’ve set it to go every three days. Automation has taken away the need to keep track of what we’ve received and manually ask again and again.”
…And with our emails, every time we send an email, we also text them as well.”
Connecting (and reducing client calls) with newsletters and guides
“We send out monthly newsletters to all of our clients,” explains Dom. “It’s nice because we’ve got that regular connection with them.” Dom and Anna have also created a load of guides for different types of clients and different questions they may have. They upload these to the Client Portal.
“We’ve just written over 45 guides that will be sent through AccountancyManager for our clients. So we’ve got a guide for people with properties, ‘should they stay a sole trader or should they go to a limited company?’ In AM we can filter our clients by what services they have. So that’s how we filter quite a lot of our things.”
It takes away the middleman, because we’re not having to do anything, it’s already on their Client Portal for them.”
“It means our clients haven’t been ringing us constantly because all the information they need is in that email or on their portal. So at the moment, with the fourth and fifth rounds of grants, they’ve needed the last three years income. If they do ring us, we can say ‘it’s all on your portal’.”
Tracking time to review pricing strategy
Like many AM users we’ve spoken to recently, Dom is using AccountancyManager to make sure their prices reflect the work being done. You can easily time your work with the timer against each task in AM – or add the time retrospectively.
We’re getting staff to put how long they’ve spent, so come next year, we know if we need to put prices up.”
“We’ve started using the time tracking to see how long people work on each client. So then we can look at our pricing. Sometimes a client comes in and we think it’s going to take an hour to do their books, so we’ve charged them the minimum. But actually, it’s taken three hours. We’re getting staff to put how long they’ve spent, so come next year, we know if we need to put prices up.”
We’re here to help… and to listen
Dom ends our chat by thanking us for our support team. “You guys just get back to us straight away. You turn it around so fast. I like as well that you always follow up. We always get a follow-up email saying ’Is it sorted? Can I help with anything else?’ That’s great.”
Everybody in the office, always says, ‘Oh, AM? They’ll get back to you within the hour’.”
“I like the fact that you’re very open to ideas on users suggesting new things too. In the past, there have been features we’ve mentioned and you guys are like, ‘oh yeah, that’ll be coming soon.’ And it actually is. So, as time goes on, it’s just getting better and better.”