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Client Timeline: A full history and audit trail for every client

Although it doesn’t seem like it at a glance (due to the uncluttered interface) there’s a lot going on in AccountancyManager. Automated emails and texts to your clients, tasks being completed by different people and information and documents flowing in and out of your practice daily.

“The amount of client information that you can enter – including details of any communication that has occured – is extremely useful.” 

– Jennifer W, AccountancyManager review on Capterra

The overview pages for clients, tasks, time tracking and profitability give you high-level oversight, but what about tracking and recording your interactions with specific clients over time? That’s where the Client Timeline comes in. A much-appreciated feature as far as our existing users are concerned.

Record every interaction, change, document shared – and time spent

Client emails, texts and calls

The Client Timeline keeps a time-stamped record of every email and text your practice sends to your clients – and any reply emails and texts. Crucially, AccountancyManager will also record whether your client has opened your email. 

Whenever you have a meeting or impromptu call, you can also capture a summary of items covered by entering it into your client’s timeline. This keeps everyone in your practice on the same page. 

Screenshot from AccountancyManager

Changes to client details

All updates to the client’s details – whether made by a member of your team, your client or an integration – are tracked on the timeline. The entry will detail who made the change and whether the change was made by an integration like Companies House, Xero or FreeAgent. Your client can also change their details in their portal. Continue reading...

Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs

On 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-point plan to support jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivered a Summer Economic Update to Parliament.

Mr Sunak confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will end as planned this October. The Chancellor said furloughing had been the right measure to protect jobs through the first phase of the crisis. The second phase will see a three-point plan to create jobs, support people to find jobs and to protect jobs.

The CJRS will be followed by a Job Retention Bonus, which will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers in employment. This will see UK employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021. To qualify for the payment, employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021.

The Chancellor also launched a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme that will aim to create subsidised six-month work placements for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit. Funding available for each placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Employers will be able to top this wage up. Continue reading...

“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...

Stamp duty temporarily reduced

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary cut in the rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in order to boost confidence in the flagging housing market in his Summer Economic Update.

Property transactions fell by 50% in May this year and house prices have fallen for the first time in eight years. In response, the government will temporarily increase the nil-rate band of residential SDLT in England and Northern Ireland from £125,000 to £500,000. This will apply to purchases from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Additionally, the Chancellor announced a £2 billion Green Homes Grant, providing at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household. The scheme aims to upgrade over 600,000 homes across England, helping to reduce energy bills and support the green economy.

Eric Leenders, Managing Director of Personal Finance at UK Finance, said:

‘The Chancellor’s announcement on stamp duty should give a welcome boost to the housing market and in turn have positive knock-on effects for the wider economy.

‘This measure designed to re-boot the housing market builds on the wide package of support put in place by mortgage lenders, working with the regulator and HM Treasury, to help customers through these tough times. Continue reading...

AccountancyManager: Bend it, shape it, any way you want it

We’re often asked ‘is AccountancyManager customisable?’ Think of AccountancyManager like play-doh. It may start off looking the same for everyone, but check back once they’ve added some personalisation and creative flair… Each system will be unique to each practice – and better than how it began.

“We’re often surprised by what our users create by using AM in their own way.”

       –  Rachel, Support Lead at AccountancyManager

When we say ‘it works out of the box’, that’s because AccountancyManager will work straight away. But when you tweak the system to suit your practice and processes, AM becomes all the more powerful. 

Customised practice management software

“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.”

       –  Matthew McConnell, Certax – Durham

Mould AccountancyManager to your practice

Once you’ve uploaded all your clients onto the system, the fun begins. 

With every tweak you make, AccountancyManager transforms into your very own automation machine and X-ray goggles in one: automating your existing processes and opening up invaluable sight-lines across your practice.

“We only discovered AccountancyManager a week ago and already it has become the most fundamental part of our business. Internally we refer to it as the “Control Centre” of our operations.” Continue reading...

Flexible furloughing starts on job retention scheme

On 1 July, changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) saw flexible furloughing introduced, so employees will no longer have to be furloughed for a minimum period of three weeks.

Following the change the CJRS has more flexibility to allow claims on a pro rata basis. Employers will be able to permit employees to work some of the week and be furloughed for the rest.

An employee needs to have been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks between 1 March and 30 June to be eligible for furlough from 1 July. Additionally, after 1 July, employers may be subject to a cap on the number of employees that can be claimed for in a CJRS claim they are able to make.

The CJRS changes have effect from 1 July until the closure of the scheme on 31 October.

Parents returning from statutory maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and bereavement leave are broadly exempt from the CJRS furlough changes. So parents who are returning to work over the coming months will be eligible for the CJRS despite the scheme closing to new entrants on 30 June.

Additionally, from 1 August, the level of the grant will be reduced each month. From August the employer will need to pay employer national insurance and pension contributions for the time the employee is furloughed. For August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 proportional to the hours the employee is furloughed. For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to £2,187.50, and for October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum of £1,875. During these months employers will have to top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to the £2,500 cap. Continue reading...

Automated task management – now with target dates

The kicker about time, is that it takes time to manage it. You write endless to-do lists, only to reshuffle them when things inevitably change or clients get back to you. 

With everyone planning their time separately and following different processes, it’s impossible to keep track of job progress or guarantee that the correct procedures are being followed.

For practices using AccountancyManager (AM), the whole team’s time is managed for them. Using a combination of your clients’ accounting dates and deadlines you set yourself, AccountancyManager builds personalised, highly detailed task lists to keep you and your clients’ accounting on track.

Now set your own target dates

We’re excited to announce a significant new feature to AccountancyManager’s task management. Now, as well as external deadlines, you can also set internal deadlines. This gives you an extra level of control over your time and allows you to customise AccountancyManager to how your practice works. 

“This will change people’s lives, I mean they may not call and tell their friends, but you know what I mean, this is big.”

– James Byrne, AccountancyManager CEO (on today’s team Zoom call)

How to use Target Dates

When you create a new Task or edit an automated Task, you set your ‘external’ Deadline and now, ‘internal’ Target Date. You can enter Target Dates manually or set them for each service based on either the period end or when you’ve updated the task to records received. Continue reading...

Late payment crisis has worsened during Coronavirus lockdown

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the UK’s late payment crisis has worsened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

62% of small businesses have been subject to late or frozen payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research carried out by the FSB. Just 10% of small firms have agreed changes to payment terms with their clients. In addition, 65% of small businesses that supply goods or services to other businesses have experienced being paid late or having payments frozen.

The FSB has called on policymakers to give the Small Business Commissioner additional powers to investigate and fine repeat late payment offenders.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said:

‘Before the COVID-19 outbreak struck, many small firms were already under immense financial pressure because of late payments.

‘Cash is still very much king for small firms, and withholding it has pushed many to the brink at a time when they’re at their most vulnerable. Our endemic culture of treating small businesses as free credit lines against their will must be brought to an end.’

Government expands aid for start-ups and innovators

The government has expanded its COVID-19 support for start-ups and innovative companies with the launch of a new fund.

On 27 June the government announced the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF), which is aimed at helping businesses to keep ‘cutting edge’ projects and ideas alive during the pandemic.

The SIF will make almost £200 million available to UK companies that are developing new technologies in certain areas. These include making homes and offices more energy efficient, creating ground-breaking medical technologies, and reducing the carbon footprint of public transport.

The government is asking research and development-intensive businesses to apply for the funding.

We talk mosh pits, brain chemistry, self-worth and curry

Following our first online panel discussion, we invited some of the brightest minds in mental health to join our host Rob Brown and AccountancyManager CEO, James Byrne.

As Rob reflected in his closing comments – “It’s been a bit vibrant and edgy and we don’t make any apologies for that, because this is life.” 

Andrew Salkeld

Image of Andrew Salkeld

Andrew Salkeld has two introductions. As we all do, if we’re honest. 

First, he is a chartered accountant. He trained at PWC and specialised in corporate finance. “I worked on millions of pounds of transactions across the world,” he says “then I left practice, moved into industry and specialised in business intelligence.” Andrew is now an investor, co-owner and director at a small startup in Leeds. 

“…And that all sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?” he admits, “Sounds like I’ve got it all sorted?” 

Then comes introduction number two. “So my name is Andy. I live with depression. I have been suicidal at three points in my life. I spend most days trying to figure out what happened, how it happened and where I’ve gone wrong.”

Live a life by happiness, not a life by numbers

Andy was on the partner track after following a life dictated by a familiar external measurement. “You’re born at time zero, start school at four, choose GCSEs at 14, A-levels at 16, become an adult at 18. (I still don’t feel I’ve reached that at almost twice that age.) Buy your first home around 27. Get married at 28. Have your first child at 29. Start your first management position at 30. Start your first leadership position at 42…” Continue reading...

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