RS Harding Accountants

Customer Success Story

We spoke to Jamie Fisher at RS Harding Accountants about the challenges they faced keeping track of deadlines and coordinating staff in their growing accountancy practice, the software they tried, and how Practice Flow delivered the ideal blend of simplicity and flexibility they were looking for.

Please can you tell us a little about your accounting practice?

RS Harding is a small, friendly and approachable accounting practice based in Redbourn, Hertfordshire. We primarily cater for smaller owner-managed businesses and individuals, including IT contractors and landlords/property investors, the latter being a growth area for us in recent years. Several of our larger clients came to us as startups and stayed with us as they grew, benefitting from our 30 years of experience, plain-English advice and personal service.

What practice management software did you use before Practice Flow?

We were using Excel alongside our BTC tax filing and accounts production software. Although BTC includes a practice management module, we found it overcomplicated and clunky, and preferred the simplicity and flexibility of Excel, which served us well for a while. However, as we started to grow and take on more staff, it became impractical keeping track of everything in Excel as it was tied to one computer so we couldn’t all access it at once. We tried moving it to Google Sheets but then it became a “free for all” with staff entering data in different ways, accidentally editing or deleting data, and things started to unravel. We knew we needed some “proper” practice management software, but we didn’t want to overcomplicate it or spend hundreds a month. We wanted something simple, easy-to-use and realistically priced.

What other practice management software did you try before settling on Practice Flow?

It’s hard to look for practice management software without coming across AccountancyManager who seem to have the market sewn up. However, for us, it just didn’t make sense. It had a load of features we didn’t need, the user interface wasn’t as intuitive as they make it out to be, and the pricing just wasn’t realistic for us. We would have ended up paying 3 times as much as we are for Practice Flow. Next we came across was Pixie, a newer app which has been creating a buzz in the industry. Initially it looked promising, with a simple, modern interface, but it wasn’t very flexible, for example we couldn’t choose what columns to display or move them around.

Why did you choose Practice Flow?

We wanted something simple but flexible. Coming from Excel we were used to controlling how our data was displayed, and being able to sort and filter on any column. Practice Flow allowed us to retain this flexibility, while still enforcing some much-needed structure on our data and how it’s updated. It makes it easy for multiple staff to access the database at the same time, while ensuring we don’t tread on each other’s toes, and with much less potential for human error.

How easy was it to move all your client details across to Practice Flow?

We simply exported our clients’ company registration numbers from BTC, copied and pasted them into the add company box in Practice Flow, clicked “Import” and the software pulled all our clients’ details from Companies House in a few seconds. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Also, Practice Flow synchronises with Companies House every night, so if a company changes name or address, or even their year end, our client database is updated automatically.

How easy was it to get to grips with Practice Flow?

While I do think there could be more in the way of documentation and perhaps a few videos to help you get started, I believe the team are working on that, and to be honest, the software is pretty self-explanatory on the whole. Once you’ve imported your companies, it automatically generates tasks for confirmation statements, year end accounts and even AML checks. Then if you set the VAT quarters for a client it will generate the VAT tasks. Same for payroll and bookkeeping. The software sort of unfolds and explains itself as you spend time with it.

Which Practice Flow features do you find particularly useful?

As mentioned earlier, we love how we can customise the screens to suit the way we work. We can choose which columns to display, and even drag them from side to side. The team are also working on a feature that will allow us to save different “views” of our data and then select them from a dropdown. This will allow us to create tailored views for specific tasks, e.g VAT returns.

What other software do you use alongside Practice Flow in your accounting practice?

In addition to BTC, we have clients on Xero, Sage and Quickbooks. We also use Brightpay for payroll. While Practice Flow doesn’t integrate directly with these software packages yet, we haven’t felt much need for it to do so, and it certainly runs very well alongside them.

How has your experience been when dealing with the Practice Flow support team?

Excellent. Shortly after we signed up for a trial we emailed in with a few questions and they suggested a call to run through the software and how we work in a bit more detail. It was clear that they not only wanted us as a customer, but that they wanted the software to work like clockwork for our practice. While we were getting set up there were a couple of tweaks we needed and suggested which the team agreed with and implemented in a matter of days.

What impact would you say that Practice Flow has had on your practice?

It’s been a game changer for us. I’m honestly not sure how we got by with Excel for so long! All our clients are now effectively on autopilot from a deadline tracking and scheduling perspective, and we know that when we bring on a new client, all the important tasks we need to action such as engagement letters and AML checks, as well as routine tasks such as accounts and VAT, will be set up correctly, based on the client’s details, and without us having to schedule everything manually. This is not only a massive timesaver, but it also gives us that peace of mind knowing that nothing can fall through the cracks.

What advice would you give other accountants considering using Practice Flow?

These days it’s not a case of should you use software to help you manage your practice, it’s a case of which software you should use, and for us Practice Flow is the perfect fit. By all means take a look around at what’s on the market, but if you’re looking for something simple and intuitive, yet powerful and flexible, that most likely does everything you need, and isn’t bogged down in stuff you don’t, I wouldn’t waste too long looking much further than Practice Flow.