Software is an essential part of every accountant’s daily life. It has been for the last 20-30 years.
But the rate at which we use software and the different parts of our practice we use it in is increasing rapidly.
(Just look at the exhibitor list for this year’s Accountex conference and notice how many different software providers there are…)
And a question I get asked quite often is, what types of software should we have in our practice?
Here’s my answer…
I’ve deliberately not gone into any great detail on what each type of software does and how it works. I just wanted to give you quick 2-minute overview.
Some of them are for internal use.
Others are for what you would use with clients.
And chances are you already have most of these types of software in your practice already…
If you do, then maybe there’s a couple of alternative providers below for you to look in to if you’re unhappy with your current one.
And if you don’t, then hopefully there’s something you can go away and implement to help you in your practice.
So, without further ado, here are 25 types of software to help you automate, run more efficiently and offer even more value to your clients…
But most practices end up using a combination of many, depending on what their clients are currently using.
2. Payroll & AutoEnrolment
3. Accounts Production
Again, it would seem that IRIS is still one of the more frequently used options here.
5. Practice Management
Practice Management software usually includes a mixture of CRM, Workflow, Document management etc.
Accounts Production software providers usually have basic practice management included with limited uses.
Workflow software is something that seems to have grown in popularity lately. I wrote an article last year with 8 possible options on.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is where you keep track of all your relationships with customers and prospects.
Lots of practice management software will include CRM.
Ideally, you want one that helps do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to sales and marketing follow-up.
8. Proposal/Onboarding Software
Another relatively new kid to the block compared to others, proposal and onboarding software helps you to manage your proposals and removes some of the admin associated with onboarding new clients.
9. Document Management
There are hundreds of document management solutions out there on the market.
10. Company Secretarial
Other standalone providers e.g. Company Registrations Online are worth checking out.
12. Video Conferencing
Most clients are happy to speak over video conferencing software if needed.
This is not to say do all of your client meetings over video….
13. Internal Comms
Communicating with your team is essential when it comes to improving efficiency and productivity.
Slack is what I use both in my coaching business and my accountancy practice.
How can you forget about general office software. I’m talking about the essentials like word, excel and powerpoint.
15. Appointment Management
It’s useful to use diary/appointment management software so that clients and prospects can book themselves into your diary.
As well as a decent CRM system, there are a couple of pieces of marketing software that are worth having as well. These could be things like:
You want to the ability to receive money, as well as pay money on your client’s behalf (if that’s a service that you offer)
18. Invoice/Receipt Data Capture
And for receipts, ReceiptBank seem to be leading the way.
19. Expense Management
There’s some crossover with receipt management (above), but good expense management software can also deal with expense tracking, mileage tracking and company card reconciliations.
I only know of Expensify, so please do let me know about alternatives.
This one isn’t actually software, it’s an online platform, but I think it’s such a great solution I couldn’t not mention it.
Check out Capitalise for all of your clients funding requirements.
21. Credit Control
Chaser is the only standalone product I’m aware of, and it looks pretty good!
22. Cash Flow
Cash flow forecasts in Excel can be a real pain…
Forecasting software is making it easier to deliver financial advisory services to clients using real-time information.
There’s some overlap here between this and forecasting software (depending on how you define advisory…)
I’m not aware of too many software providers. F3C Advantage offer a good end-to-end solution.
As well as the ones above, there’s going to be numerous specialist pieces of software that you might need for example:
– International tax
– Research & development
– Industry specific ones
When you look at the list like this, it can seem quite daunting and overwhelming.
But as I mentioned earlier, chances are you already have most of these in your practice.
And for the ones you don’t, determine whether they can add value to your practice (and your clients), and if they can, go ahead and take action.
(Please note that this list is NOT exhaustive. If you think that I have missed a category off the list, let me know in the comments below. And if you’re a software provider and I’ve missed you off the list, it wasn’t on purpose, I promise. Let me know and I can add you on as well…)