We were delighted to have been nominated in the 2020 Digital Accountancy Awards in association with Practice Ignition and the ACCA (Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants).
As part of the entry process, we outlined some of our favourite digital solutions for us both in-house as a cloud-based accountancy practice and for our clients too.
We love tech that talks to other tech
Everything we look for in our apps and processes is how they integrate. We like systems to automate as much as we can but without losing the client focus. The more day to day admin that we can automate, the more time we have to serve clients. Yet we don’t automate for the sake of automating. Offering a personal service is at the heart of what we do and we never want to lose our personal touch with clients.
The technology that we and our clients love includes;
Senta is our practice management software allows us to align all the other systems that we had previously been doing on paper or in spreadsheets into one place. We have a central database for all current, past and potential clients as well as a hub for workflow management. It has also allowed us to do money laundering checks with ease and it seamlessly integrates with our other software including Xero, GoCardless, and Practice Ignition. It also pulls in information directly from Companies House ensuring we are always up to date with changes to company information and filing deadlines.
Practice Ignition generates our engagement letters and pushes information through to Xero to automatically generate and send monthly invoices. Through integrations with Senta, Xero and GoCardless our month-end invoicing is effortless. It is so simple and so good that I only spend 15 minutes a month raising invoices for client ad hoc charges that have accrued. The rest is automated.
We are a bronze partner of Xero (and so so close to being silver!). We do also have clients who use Quickbooks but Xero is definitely our accounting software of choice. Whilst Xero allows us to streamline our management reports, bookkeeping and year-end accounts, the main reason we really love it is because of the excellent reporting capabilities which really helps us to meet client needs better.
HubDoc gives us access to client records instantly and easily allowing us to process them on a regular basis. This allows us to keep on top of bookkeeping accurately and in real-time.
Possibly not something you would expect on this question and for an accountant, but WhatsApp has always been our communication tool of choice and has proved incredibly beneficial through the pandemic. We have been able to save a lot of time by leaving personalised voice notes and offered unrivalled support to our clients. We were also able to communicate with our third-party marketing consultant to help us get the message out on social media and promote our accountancy support at a time when businesses needed urgent help and accurate information.
Float Cashflow Forecasting
We saw the benefits of Float from when we first talked to them at the Xero Roadshow in 2019, but during the pandemic, it has been our most valuable tool. Cashflow forecasting for different scenarios in our clients’ businesses has provided them with clarity and enabled them to access much-needed finance like obtaining business interruption and bounce back loans.
We use GoCardless internally for collecting client payments as well as being a great solution for our client’s businesses too. As the payments are automatic, it makes it easier and more time-efficient for everyone and has the added benefit of improving cashflow – it’s a win, win! When we implement this into their businesses, they respond to say that it frees up a lot of time usually spent chasing payments.
Square, Stripe, iZettle, SumUp
We recommend various payment provider solutions for clients to improve cashflow and offer payment flexibility options to their clients. This has been extremely useful in the pandemic allowing businesses to offer a completely contactless service as well as a virtual terminal option.
We were daily users of Zoom before the pandemic but using it in the lockdown period has been the norm for our clients. We love the ability to screen share and record conversations as well as deliver training to our clients. For example, training sessions on how to do their own bookkeeping or how to use Float themselves for cashflow forecasting. We educate our clients on their business finances along with providing support and accountability to help build their confidence. Zoom allows us to share our knowledge with ease, wherever we are.
Google – G Drive & G Suite
We have shifted from using Dropbox to Google Drive to ensure all client information is streamlined and easy to locate. Even though we are a cloud-based practice, we were still sending out Word documents to clients and G Suite has enabled us to transition to online forms instead.
We blog on a regular basis about updates in the financial world – especially in the pandemic. You’re reading this very article on WordPress right now.
We regularly communicate with clients and leads via a newsletter sent out using Mailchimp. We also created a ‘Coming Out of COVID’ content series over the course of June which pinpointed clients to relevant blogs packed with timely expert advice and action steps to help them reopen their businesses after the lockdown.
We schedule our social media content through Buffer to save time and know that we are consistent and structured with our content. Our social media content mirrors our newsletter content and is themed to reflect what we are discussing with our clients each month.
We have interviewed clients on our social media profiles using Streamyard which allows three-way interviews to take place which is then streamed on social media.
Helen Crapper is the founder of Insight Finance Solutions. Helen and the team specialise in accountancy advice at every stage of business and help make finances stress free for clients. Helen is also a coach and uses money mindset coaching to help business people remove their personal blocks and limiting beliefs to grow as people while growing their businesses.
To have a chat about your business finances and how Insight Finance Solutions can help you, get in touch.