What software were you using before you started using Wolters Kluwer software?
We had software from a number of vendors including IRIS for accounts production, partnership and corporate tax and TaxCalc for personal tax, plus others suppliers for practice management and a very basic document management system.
So what made you consider moving?
Put very simply, it was the desire to grow the firm. When you’re trying to make the move from a small firm to a medium sized firm, there comes a point where you have to consolidate your databases and get all your software working together. We had four or five different databases that people were accessing on a regular basis plus a bunch of spreadsheets and that’s just not efficient.
A few years ago the received wisdom was that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and it was better to go for best of breed in each software category. Now, accountancy practices want a single, integrated database and instead of treating a close relationship with a single supplier as a risk they see it as a valuable partnership where everyone is working towards the same goal.
How did you select Wolters Kluwer as your partner?
Looking purely at the compliance side of things there are a lot of vendors in the market, but when you consider practice management, document management and the integration aspects, the field quickly narrows.
We considered all the main players in the market, including Wolters Kluwer and IRIS, and marked each of them with weighted scores reflecting how important certain features were and how well the software delivered them.
To be honest, it was tough for Wolters Kluwer – we were already using the IRIS software so everyone was familiar with it and that gave them a natural advantage but in the end Wolters Kluwer was the clear winner.
Why did the Wolters Kluwer software win in this competitive assessment process?
Most software these days will do a reasonable job of creating a basic tax return or a set of accounts but it’s the range and quality of the management reports that sets the CCH software suite apart from IRIS. When you’re trying to grow an accountancy practice, you need that insight into key performance indicators like WIP, debtors’ days and non-chargeable time and that’s what the Wolters Kluwer software gave us.
Their software is also very flexible, which is important. As the business grows, our reporting needs will no doubt evolve and we need a software suite which will evolve alongside them. For example at the moment, we’re pulling information into spreadsheets to do the bulk of our reporting but in the future we’ll be moving to real-time reporting on-screen using CCH Central’s configurable home pages.
Wolters Kluwer software was new to the practice so the learning curve was a bit steeper than it would have been if we had selected IRIS but I have no regrets that we picked Wolters Kluwer. We installed the software almost six months ago and we’ve already seen developments like the new Workflow module for CCH Document Management which give us confidence that Wolters Kluwer delivers on the promises that it makes. Overall, we’re very happy with our decision.