Practice Management Tools - how do you do it?

Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
I thought I'd post this in here rather than in the MIP forum as it might be suited to members working in a practice as well as to MIPs.

My practice is growing and we really need some more robust systems as we are getting to the point where we all are a bit disjointed and we need to know what's what a bit better, and track things better.

Right now, it's all spreadsheet based. VAT tracker, Payroll tracker, Accounts tracker, bookkeeping trackers. We have 4 members of staff, each assigned to different areas.

In recent meetings we've decided we all need a better 'view' of what the others are doing as we will share clients.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, what do you do/ what does your employer do?

We are growing to the point where spreadsheets don't seem to cut it.

How do you keep track of who needs what doing when and where you are up to with things?


  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    What is it that you want done that a spreadsheet can't do? I know I'm a lot smaller than you but I have no inclination to move away from a spreadsheet for this - everything's colour coded on mine (green boxes I need to do, yellow are finished, red are waiting for information, grey are not relevant, blue have been allocated to my lovely apprentice to do) so i can see at a glace where I am with stuff. I can't see why I'd want to see this information in any other format. I'd like to start adding dates into the boxes so i can monitor how long it takes me to turn around work etc but other than that I think it works fine.
    At EY we had a database which we logged into to record the dates we'd done certain things, but I don't remember being able to review this information, I think it just got printed out weekly for managers to monitor progress. That was a long time ago though!
  • ademoore
    ademoore Registered Posts: 146 ? ? ?
    I've been trialling CAPSULECRM for a while now, having looked around for something that suits my needs, and what I want to see - and more importantly, the price I am prepared to pay for it!

    As a software application, I am quite baffled at how good it is - for the price! For a very small practice, it is free, up to 10mb space, 250 clients and 2 users, however even for larger client bases, more users, and 2GB spaces, it is £8 per month - a smidge of the price compared to other alternatives!

    I didn't find the sales video overly 'selling' of the product, so trialled it any way - and glad I did, as I was also trialling a "GetThingsDone" addon for Outlook, but the downside being it was purely on your own desktop so no views of your work once you left the desk! CapsuleCRM is an online tool that allows me to
    1) have all my clients and their details set up,
    2) forward any emails from, or to clients against their business
    3) Upload any files I need, against that particular client
    4) Assign various "reasons" for work, i.e a financial year end, a vat quarter, and have anything (emails, notes, tasks, etc) assigned to that "reason for work" (aka CASES)
    5) Track work schedules - for example, for a limited company year end, I keep a flow of tasks that need to be done, and just inputting once, I can then assign a clients year end to see that work flow, and just tick off as each task is done.

    As things are coming up due, for example using the tracker (5) - it assigns the tasks to the calendar, showing me what is the next task due for each client, and when. I can also see if I am waiting on something from the client, if a colleague has it in hand, or my own task to follow up.

    It also allows "opportunities" - where, for the purposes of an accountancy practice, you could enter details of potential clients you want to chase up!

    The dashboard at the front also gives a very good summary view of exactly what has been updated on the CRM, and by which user.
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    This is something I am fully aware of. I have quite a sophisticated spreadsheet that I have developed over time. It used a large degree of formulas, macros and conditional formating but manages deadlines and workload including what is being worked on etc.

    However, this is not ideal and required effectively me to be able to show anyone else how to use it.

    I am aware of the need for such a software and I am in the process of building one. I have two different IT people working on two different ways (both based on databases). IT should work absolutely fine but I think we may be someway off. The programming that it requires is certainly beyond my capabilities. What I'm trying to work out is if we did put lots into it to sell it what is the potential market number? I imagine it would suit users of VT Final Accounts but VT are understandable unwilling to let me know the number of current users of VT final accounts.

  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    I think you can safely assume VT's customers number in the thousands.

    Thanks for the Caspule recommendation, I'm going to look into it.
  • jamesm96
    jamesm96 Registered Posts: 523
    We use Iris Practice Management... It's fantastically functional, but also hugely expensive. Given that you use VT for your accounts work would I be right in assuming that you probably wouldn't consider Iris anyway?
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    Thanks Mike.

    Yes, we use VT and are very happy with it.

    I ventured into the world of Digita in 2010 and disliked it so much in comparison, I went back to VT within a matter of months. So, I can't see me going down the Iris route :)

    I've trialled Capsule but need a bit more time to see what it can do for me.
  • Dean
    Dean Registered Posts: 646
    Monsoon wrote: »
    I've trialled Capsule but need a bit more time to see what it can do for me.

    I'm trialling this too. Looks like it could be useful but I'm not sure on what all the 'cases', 'tracks' & 'tags' are doing.

    Ademoore, how are you using it?


  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    I guess I can set up standard tasks (SA100, chase year end books in, etc) and apply them to clients?

    Like I have the time to set it up though :(
  • ademoore
    ademoore Registered Posts: 146 ? ? ?
    It may not be the most efficient way of doing it - but what has worked for me so far, is ;

    Cases - are things like FY10/11, VAT - things that can have a lot of tasks and notes that go with them.
    Tracks - I use for processes, like year end, I have a general work process that I tick off to make sure everything gets done, as you complete one task, it moves the client to the next task (and gives it a due date which you set up) without you having to type it in each time.
    Tags - not used as yet, not sure what those are about!

    Tracks, you can assign to a "case" - so you input once in the settings and then just link to a client "case" - i.e. my "year end" track I can link to a client X who I have a case called "FY10/11" - and voila, my tasks and due dates are all set to go.

    I've been using for about 3-4 weeks now, and been very happy with it - having said that, the price tag of "free" certainly helps! :001_smile:
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    ademoore wrote: »
    having said that, the price tag of "free" certainly helps! :001_smile:

    There are 4 members of staff here so I'm looking at a £32 a month price tag. I will keep it free while I play about with it!
  • ademoore
    ademoore Registered Posts: 146 ? ? ?
    Another good feature, which I forgot to mention, regarding Cases!

    If you get an email in from a client (or indeed send one out), you can forward the email to your capsule account, and once there, then assign that email to a 'case' - so that all your "year end" related emails for Company X are within the correct place.
    PAMDILL Registered Posts: 721 ? ? ?
    I am glad I stumbled across this thread, I have my own bookkeeping practice part time which is going full time next month and I have been looking for some type of practice management software.

    I am going to trial capsule now as well.

    Thanks, I will keep you posted on how it goes.
  • Gem7321
    Gem7321 MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    Never mind!
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