Finding time to properly focus on clients and grow the business is an ongoing challenge for firms big and small. Nevermore so than over the last few months.
Matt McConnell and his partner, Jonathan Tait of Certax Accounting in Durham, are running a 32-strong practice, supporting over 1000 clients, studying for their Chartered Accountancy exams and have just processed 650 furlough claims, for free.
So how, under these circumstances, is Matt’s practice saving more than 150 hours a month?
Three years ago, Matt and Jonathan’s focus turned to strengthening their firm’s foundations - in preparation for further growth.
In his hunt for software to best fit his business, Matt unearthed many “generalised CRM systems, which have been shoe-horned in the accountancy world”. Until he found AccountancyManager, that is.
“Even in those early days of AccountancyManager, it did everything that we needed it to do.”
Having tried one-size-fits-all practice management systems, flexibility was crucial for Matt. “When you buy something ‘off the shelf’ it might work straight away, but you have to change your processes around it. The key is to customise your software around your existing workflows. Once that was done, amazing. Just amazing. It’s the centre of our business now.”
Of these customisations, ‘canned messages’ have become one of Matt’s particular favourites. Canned messages are paragraphs you write once, that AccountancyManager uses to automatically build highly-relevant emails and texts for your clients. You don’t even have to ‘copy and paste’ these messages, as Matt explains:
“We have toggles in AccountancyManager, so say we’ve got a client on Xero, who uses Receipt Bank and we have their bank feeds, all three toggles would be ticked. That creates a certain type of message which would go to that type of client.”
“The 150 hours is a minimum across the board actually. I think we’re saving a lot more time in real terms.”
Matt welcomes the recent integration between AccountancyManager and Xero too. Especially while his administrative staff are on furlough. “What we used to do is use the fees in AccountancyManager to raise the invoice then an administrator would type up the information into Xero. That’s rectified now, which is amazing.”
Matt’s thankful that they’ve been able to keep all their staff on, albeit with a few on furlough. Now that he and Jonathan have refined their processes with Xero and AccountancyManager.