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MyWorkpapers releases game-changing software Connect – ‘like Facebook for Accountants’

17 May

As a seasoned accountant who has both managed his own practice and worked in-house on the corporate side, MyWorkpapers CEO Richard Neal has used his years of experience to create the complete set of tools for the busy accountant.

The newest addition to the MyWorkpapers toolbox is ‘Connect’, a collaborative platform between client and accountant which compliments its bookkeeping package. Richard believes the efficiency gains from this service could be as high as 30-50%; an ambitious claim but one which may just be borne out.

Its most obvious function is to provide a place for accountants and clients to communicate – “like Facebook, but for accountants,” he jokes. The ‘traditional’ communication methods of email and telephone can be inefficient, as calls and messages can be missed or lost in translation. Here queries can be organised alongside the client worksheets, and supporting information can be uploaded instantly to the relevant section.

Because it is a collaborative platform, everyone involved in managing the ‘numbers’, be it bookkeeper, business or accountant, is able to literally drag and drop supporting documents where the need arises. This process also leaves a clear audit trail.

In the information gap which arises between when an accountant emails for explanations of issues arising from the latest batch of figures, and later when responses arise, vital information might have been missed.

Pro-Active Accounting

Richard is keen for accountants to take a more active role in offering clients advice on how to optimise their business processes. The danger, he says, especially with the advent of bookkeeping software, is that accountants will be relegated to processing end-of-year accounts, because clients can learn and perform more of the bookkeeping, monthly reconciliation tasks and VAT returns themselves.

“Cloud accounting software has been picked up and adopted by thousands of businesses in the last few years because of the data feeds and intuitive use. Accountants are also promoting it to their clients, and assisting with implementation and rollout. The consequence, however, is that the ‘honeymoon’ is soon over because the client becomes educated and think they don’t need their accountant as much… Businesses become more independent and choose to do more themselves, and are less reliant on their accountant for processing and checking of the numbers.”

He is concerned that among the older generation at least, there is a reluctance to adopt time-saving technology because their methods have stood the test of decades. Why change now? Well, for one because they are in danger of having revenue poached by the tech-savvy twenty-somethings, who leap on promising apps and software with gold-rush enthusiasm.

And Richard is confident there is nothing quite like this on the market. A core attribute of Connect is that Workpapers are dynamically generated by integration connections. There is no exporting or importing of CSV files. Queries and tasks are also done through the product.

When his own company switched to using the Connect package, Richard says they saved around £20,000 on bookkeeping costs, and £5,000 on accounting fees. Another part of this efficiency gain is thanks to the capability for creating personalised worksheet templates and tasks and processes for different clients. By stipulating monthly tasks and required documents, the practice can keep tabs on problem areas like delinquent debts or payments; create realistic cashflow forecasts; spot and track potential areas of inefficient spending. Duplicated information is easily identified and corrected.  And because all problems have been resolved as and when they arise, “year-end becomes a breeze both for the accountant and the client.”

A question of security

What differentiates this package from other accounting software offerings are all the details: for example, they have hired an external cyber-security company – “basically hackers” is how Richard Neal describes them – to do penetration testing, so their encryption protection is independently verified. All the data is stored in the UK, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Furthermore the data is not just backed up, it is duplicated on three levels, and stored both on and off-site, with another provider. Where the industry standard for data duplication is 15 minutes, “ours is truly instantaneous.. if one server goes down, it will come straight back up and you won’t even notice.”

Perhaps the most telling indicating of how big a deal this company actually is, though, is that their services are now employed by one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms. So naturally assessment of their IT security policy formed part of the six-month due diligence process.

And how much is this evolutionary software?

Just £5 a month for each individual user.