Category: Case Study

“I doubled my client base with AccountancyManager”

Recently, Liston (on our support team) shared a great result with us. Mark Francis, from Francis Bookkeeping Solutions Ltd, had casually mentioned that he’d doubled his client base by using AccountancyManager. Hold the phone. We said: We feel a case study coming on.

AM’s CEO James Byrne caught up with Mark and discussed, among other things, opinionated mothers, IRIS OpenSpace and what Mark’s problem is with farmers…

From a newspaper ad to striking out on his own

Travel back with us to Barnard Castle, circa 2003. A picturesque market town, 30 minutes from Durham – now with an infamous Specsavers (circa 2020). There, 18-year-old Mark Francis is in disagreement with his mum. He fancies a year out, then a degree in Print Journalism. She would rather he get a job, sharpish.

The first job Mark finds is for a local accountancy firm and just like that, he finds his calling. He completes his AAT and stays at the firm for the next 15 years. 

A creative mind – blessing or curse?

Speed forward to 2018 and Mark’s creative side has crept out. He’s the firm’s expert on software and responsible for all marketing – on top of his accountancy duties. But while the world had raced to adopt new technology, Mark faced reticence at his firm.

“Everywhere I turned, I was facing opposition. ‘Why are you trying to change things?’ No one likes change.”  Continue reading...

Certax Durham switches from IRIS to AccountancyManager and saves over 150 hours a month

Finding time to properly focus on clients and grow the business is an ongoing challenge for firms big and small. Never more so than over the last few months. 

Matt McConnell – co-owner of Certax Accounting in Durham – should be struggling more than most. He and his partner, Jonathan Tait, 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. Matt’s wife, a receptionist at his firm, is currently furloughed and looking after their young twins at home – arguably busier than Matt. 

So how, under these circumstances, is Matt’s practice saving more than 150 hours a month? When Matt made this claim in our recent live panel discussion, we jumped on a Zoom call to find out.

Image showing James and Matt on a Zoom call

James Byrne (left) and Matt McConnell.

Sixth Form drop-out to business owner at 22

Matt’s journey began with a love of maths at school, rapidly followed by a hatred of maths at sixth form. Dropping out of his A-levels, he got an apprenticeship at a small accountancy practice. “It was a fairly young, forward-thinking firm in the North East and I just really enjoyed it. I did my AAT level four with them, then at the start of my second year, I got the opportunity to start my own business.” 

When the firm closed and sold their clientbase, Matt and Jonathan got their heads together, took over 100 clients and bought into the Certax franchise. Continue reading...

Meet Barry Adams, he’s shaping AccountancyManager

First, a little history (don’t worry, it starts in 2017)

In 2017, James Byrne – AccountancyManager CEO – was a practicing accountant with familiar frustrations: Writing repetitive emails and constant reminders. Always reprioritising work according to deadlines and information received from clients. And having no time to spend on developing the practice or giving proactive advice to clients.

Built by an accountant. Shaped by thousands more.

So, James and software developer, Alex Hawke, built a system to automate his practice’s most time-consuming tasks. Turns out it was a good idea. Now we have thousands of accountants (and their frustrations) helping us design the future of AccountancyManager. 

One such accountant is Barry Adams, Director at Focus Accountancy Ltd in Bristol.

Be careful what you tweet…


In the lead up to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, Barry tweeted that AccountancyManager was helping him and his team stay connected and on top of their work. Our ears naturally pricked up and we found time in Barry’s busy schedule for a Zoom meeting – and a few questions.

Focus Accountancy – where the focus is on you

Focus Accountancy specialise in accountancy services for the contractor, consultant and freelancer market. However, Barry adds (somewhat proudly) that some of his clients have become directors of small to medium enterprises and employers themselves. One in particular generating an annual turnover in the millions. Not bad for a practice that began as Barry’s spare-time hobby 13 years ago. Continue reading...

We grill long-time AccountancyManager client – Hassle Free Accounts and Tax

We’ve taken a break from reporting on the coronavirus to have a chat with one of AccountancyManager’s oldest clients (in terms of her use of AccountancyManager, not her age). Lucy Drake started her accountancy career at 16 and is now owner of Southampton-based practice Hassle Free Accounts and Tax.

“I spend less time on onboarding clients, now initial meetings with them are more about getting to know them as people.”

We spoke to Lucy about her practice and her experience of using AccountancyManager to build her firm. Lucy didn’t hold back in her commendations – or recommendations! And had some good advice for anyone considering cloud-based practice management software. Thanks for your time Lucy.

AM: What made you go into accounting?

LD: I joined an accounting firm – Rothmans Accountants in Southampton – through an apprenticeship at 16. I liked working with numbers and was bright at school so wanted a professional career without having to go to university.

AM: What do you enjoy most about your accountancy career?

LD: I like the flexibility of the job (especially since I have become self-employed). I also like being able to solve problems for clients and helping new businesses succeed. 

AM: What have been your biggest challenges? 

LD: Not getting too stressed about your clients’ problems! Sometimes they’ve gotten themselves in a mess so you can be working to tight deadlines or dealing with incomplete information.   Continue reading...

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