It’s the latest installment in our Software Spotlight Series—where we ask accountants across Australia to share their favourite cloud-based practice management tools. Today we have Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sydney-based practice Pretium Solutions. The business launched in 2015 and its services include business development, startup guidance, Xero integration, SMSF support and business exit strategy.
What do you like about using cloud software across your business?
PS: Cloud tools give us multiple benefits, particularly consistency and accuracy of data, and ensuring everyone is on board with tasks that need completing. It enables us to get the job done right first time. With integrated software solutions, we can share data across applications and the processes are streamlined. It eliminates time spent manually entering data across multiple platforms, and it ensures consistency with our practice processes.
The good thing about cloud tools is that they’re regularly updated. So if there are any bugs they are fixed with the next update, and the tools just get better and better. Also, they are much easier to onboard throughout the firm when compared with traditional software solutions. The tools we rely on are user friendly, easy to learn and simple to integrate.
What practice tools did the firm historically use?
PS: Pretium Solutions launched in 2015 with the intention of starting as a 100% cloud-based practice, so the weren’t any legacy issues to grapple with. However, there were gaps initially, where there cloud technology didn’t support our practice functions. For example, we used spreadsheets for tracking mail, tax lodgement performance and client important documents. Luckily, the arrival of AccountKit with its Mail Register and Client Map Tool enabled us to able to replace those outdated spreadsheets.
What’s your IT setup? Cloud or a hybrid?
PS: We’re now 100% cloud based and we use more than thirty different software tools These include workflow management tools, accounting compliance tools, CRM software and many others.
What are your favourite software solutions?
PS: We were an early adopter of AccountKit and it’s a tool we rely on daily. It certainly plugged the gaps for our practice with its mail and correspondence trackers, client entity tool and equipment finance tools. Our mail tracker spreadsheet had multiple versions, and accessing the latest information was difficult across the practice. AccountKit’s mail tracking tool makes it so much simpler. It ensures there’s only one accurate and up-to-date version of the truth available across the practice. Another of my favourites is the AccountKit equipment finance tool. Historically, it took us hours to import equipment finance data manually into Xero. With AccountKit it takes minutes.
We use Karbon to triage our emails and determine if they need a response, or action taken or simply noted and cleared. This ensures that we take control of our work priorities and don’t let emails interrupt our schedules. If a client calls, I can check the dashboard and instantly see the latest correspondence and tasks. We invite clients into the process, so we can access the data we need and get our questions answered. The visibility of our workflow is great for teams working remotely too. The automated reminders help everyone keep on track of their tasks.
We use Slack for internal communications and managing tasks. We have a daily standing scrum where we’ll outline the priorities for the day and they get added to Jell. We use Jell for high level project management. It help us keep track of our daily scrums and manage our broader goals as well.
Also, Slack notifies us when audiences are engaging with our social media, such as retweeting our content, signing up for our newsletter or commenting on our social media channels. This enables us to be more responsive. Slack instant chat allows our team to have quick conversations without them getting buried in email.
GetGuru is a great tool we use for documenting our internal processes. This ensures that everyone knows how they need to do things. We review it regularly to ensure it’s as efficient as possible and the same process is performed consistently by all team members. We use Lucidchart to create flowcharts of our processes, and we use Snagit and Camtasia to capture videos of what we do and how we do it. This makes it easy for our team to follow procedure and it ensures consistency across the business.