XU: So James, how does an accountant become the co-founder of a software start-up?
JB: Frustration. Pure and simple. I was shocked at how much time my firm spent on what can only be described as admin. Chasing clients for information and reminding them to make payments was a large chunk of each day. Onboarding clients was another long-winded process, due to the stack of documentation you need to gather and have your client sign. If these challenges were unique to that firm, we probably wouldnít have anywhere near as many businesses using AccountancyManager (AM) today.
XU: Two years and already so many users, what’s your secret?
JB: A fantastic team helps! We have a couple of real-life accountants on staff, which is great for on-tap industry knowledge, as well as two ex-HMRC tax inspectors over the road as our advisors. I’d say a focus on customer experience has been a key factor too. But what it really comes down to is the product. We developed AM within the offices of an accountancy firm, literally writing the software in response to the problems happening around us. It quickly grew from automating as many time-consuming tasks as possible, to a full-blown cloud-based onboarding, CRM, time management, invoicing, practice management machine.
It’s so satisfying to see everything we needed as accountants, now working to help other firms. - James Byrne
XU: Ok, give me an example – as an accountant, what was your biggest challenge?
JB: Probably the run up to the self-assessment deadlines. Obtaining the client’s paperwork, with all the correct information and in good time was always hard work. Add to that managing your own workload in preparing the submissions by the deadline and, let’s just say – it’s a little stressful!
XU: And how does AccountancyManager solve this?
JB: Think mass automated emails requesting specific information, based on task and deadline. The client can then log on to their online portal (which can be reskinned with the accountant’s brand) to check data, provide information, e-sign documents and view a list of deadlines. Both AccountancyManager and the portal are cloud-based, so the accountants and their clients can access whatever they need, wherever they are. Freedom!
Automated emails chasing clients for specific missing information are triggered along the work pipeline and any tasks required of the accountant are added to a daily task list. All activity on each clientís account, including any calls or emails, are stored in a client timeline.
XU: One-size fits all, or industry-specific software – discuss!
JB: With a generic CRM, you will spend hours upon hours trying to customise it to suit your business. Months down the line you might find yourself using complicated workarounds and keeping records elsewhere. I’d recommend any business looks for end-to-end software that’s been designed specifically for their