Growth

UK’s best accounting practice management software [2022 guide]

Published
Feb 16, 2022
10 min read

We’ve heard again and again how accounting practitioners have the highest risk of having their job automated. Even though automation is often depicted as a threat, we can also see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to cut mundane manual labor, clear our head of countless deadlines and free our tasklist of routine, yet important administrative tasks. 

According to a recent study, top of the class accounting firms use technology to pull ahead of the pack. And when it comes to automation, picking the low-hanging fruit can already yield significant results. You don’t need a custom solution or have to dive head-first to machine learning or artificial intelligence. You probably have most to gain from quite simple changes. 

  • Standardizing and automating your processes – standardizing recurring tasks is a prerequisite to automation. Having a standardized workflow with checklists and deadlines makes sure you don’t waste time on reinventing the wheel. Automating the workflow management makes sure you don’t waste time, period. 
  • Integrating your toolbox – integrating all the apps and software you use is the easiest way to avoid copying data or re-checking information. When shopping for a software solution, pay in mind how it fits in your existing toolbox, i.e. your emails, accounting software, billing solutions, etc. 
  • Analyzing data – automating work generates data, which you could use to make smarter decisions. Analytics should help reveal your bottlenecks, optimize processes, increase profit and offer better service. 
  • (Team) collaboration – the right tools can make remote work really work for your team and your customers. 

There’s an increasing number of work management software solutions on the market that are tailored specifically for the needs of accounting firms and financial teams. Some are purely for practice management, in others it comes as a part of a bigger range of features. Just remember, automation should make your life easier. Finding the right fit for your company depends on your business, customers, other software you use, budget and personal preferences. 

Here are the best accounting practice management software options on the UK market with special attention to work management, time tracking, billing, collaboration, reporting and user-friendliness.

1. Karbon

2. Uku

3. Senta

4. Xero Practice Manager

5. Pixie

6. Accountancy Manager

7. Capium

8. Practice Ignition

1. Karbon – the best solution for financial teams 

Karbon has been a serious player on the market since 2014. It’s designed for accounting firms and built with collaboration at its core. With good, yet somewhat limited possibilities, it’s a good choice for financial teams. Accounting firms who need to track and manage billable hours and want to offer a customer portal, should probably opt for something else. 

Work management 

  • Fully integrated emails – to use Karbon you need to integrate your Microsoft Office 365 or Gmail account and manage your emails from there. It allows you to assign them to colleagues, log them against projects, and more.
  • Automated tasks and emails – set dependency rules to create new tasks or send emails.
  • Big template library which you can customize according to your needs
  • Kanban board that gives you an overview of tasks and their statuses
  • Work tasks and subtasks checklist 

Time tracking & billing

  • Doesn’t have (they plan to add billing) 

Collaboration

  • Fully integrated email – allows you to assign emails to team members.
  • Automated reminders – set rules when you want to get reminders.
  • Task communication – mentions, assigning and commenting tasks 

Reporting

  • Task status – work started, completed on time, overdue
  • Average time to complete task – calculated from the time the first change was made to the task until it’s marked done.
  • Leaderboard (open work, completed, overdue)
  • Time and budget estimates 

User-friendliness

  • Thanks to limited features and no workflow, the overall experience is simple and fast with a clean and modern design.


Pros:

  • Main industry integrations 
  • Great for financial teams’ internal communication 
  • Sending and managing emails 
  • Onboarding help
  • Many templates
  • IOS and Android apps
  • Automated reminders
  • Task automation

Cons:

  • Managing emails in Karbon is mandatory
  • No time tracking
  • No billing
  • No workflow
  • Weak analytics, lacking reports with valuable information
  • No client portal
  • Quite basic templates
  • Doesn’t work well for accounting firms who need to track work time
  • Relatively expensive



Pricing: 29-99 £/month per user 

2. Uku – the best solution for accounting firms 

Uku is a smart assistant for accounting practices that makes managing their back office operations simple and effective. The software helps automate workflows across the practice and gives both detailed insights and big picture overview of work progress, team performance and profitability. The users also bring out their exceptionally helpful support team. 

Work management

  • Workflow management – dashboard with today’s relevant tasks; set time forecasts and distribute workload evenly between days.
  • Automated customer-based work plans – create a work plan for each client and right tasks will be assigned to the right employee’s dashboard at the right time.
  • Workflow and work plan templates – create templates or use pre-made templates so you don’t have to create client work plans from scratch.
  • Powerful calendar – plan and rearrange tasks, use filters to sort out tasks at your interest. 

Time tracking and billing

  • Automated time tracking – set time forecast to tasks and when you mark the task done Uku will automatically mark it as time spent on the task.
  • Time tracking measure time with the stopwatch or log it to one or multiple tasks. 
  • Time estimations – estimate and manage the company workload.
  • Billable/not billable –  distinguish time entries which you want to add to client’s invoice and which you do not.
  • Automated billing – create personalized billing contract for the clients and hereinafter generate invoices automatically. Dynamic pricing: time, fixed, item & mix.

Collaboration

  • Assigning and substituting tasks – assign one or multiple tasks temporarily or permanently to other team members. This makes holiday and sick leave replacement smooth.
  • Shared tasks – assign tasks to multiple people or to groups.
  • Following tasks – get a quick access to your team members tasks without having them on your own dashboard.
  • Client profile and notes – keep all important client information in one place.
  • Task communication – leave comments, mention team members and leave attachments.

Reporting

  • Detailed time expense report by client, team member and task.
  • Overdue tasks overview by client, team member etc.
  • Client agreements monitoring – report where you can compare the client’s contractual workload (hours, entries, documents etc) with actual work done.
  • Dynamic filters – filter information by date, team member, client, topic, task status, name and more.

User friendliness

  • Beautiful and well-structured system that is highly customizable.
  • Mini Uku – browser extension to use the software in other browser windows.

Pros:

  • Flexible workflow setup
  • User friendly
  • Customizable
  • Powerful CRM
  • Client monitoring
  • Automated billing

Cons:

  • Limited integrations
  • No client portal (coming soon)
  • No email automatisation (coming in 2022)



Pricing: free for individual users, 19-39 £/month per user for companies 

Sounds good? Book a 15-minute personal demo or create a free account

3. Senta – best for IRIS accounting software users 

Senta is a practice management software for accountants and bookkeepers which combines email and text automation, secure document exchange and a client portal. It’s rigid structure and weak navigation and reporting makes it somewhat challenging to use. As a part of the IRIS Software ecosystem, it’s the best solution for IRIS accounting software users. 

Work management 

  • Customizable dashboard – add or remove about 20 different widgets
  • Automated workflow – add recurring tasks to clients; based on the set rules, tasks will be assigned to team members.
  • Customizable tasks
  • Automatic completion of the task based on other events occurring in Senta
  • Setting the standard start and due dates
  • Setting conditions 
  • Automatic task creation (based on pre-set filters) 

Time tracking & billing

  • Add-on for time tracking – click on the specific job and enter a few details to log time.
  • Basic time report about all recorded work across the firm for each client. 
  • No billing

Collaboration

  • Client portal – document management, document signature requesting
  • Task communication – notes, checklists, mentions
  • Client information from emails – connect your email service (e.g. Outlook, Gmail) to Senta, pull in emails from relevant clients and organize them in the client record. This gives you one place to review everything related to the client.
  • Auto-reminders to complete certain tasks (e.g. tax preparation and tax resolution)

Reporting

  • Basic dashboard widgets – summary of tasks and their statuses by clients or work. You can further narrow the information with flexible filters.

User-friendliness

  • The set up will likely take some time to master (you need training).
  • A lot of information makes the interface overcrowded.
  • Design from 2010’s.


Pros:

  • Branded client portal
  • Many customization options
  • Integrations with many accounting softwares
  • Full AML process

Cons:

  • Time consuming to set up
  • Few reporting options (not enough for analysis and billing) 
  • Weak time management
  • No billing
  • Messy navigation



Pricing: 20,62-29 £/month per user (depending on the number of users)


4. Xero Practice Manager – best for Xero accounting software users 

Xero Practice Management  is a basic tool for accounting practice with limited functionality. If you’re a Xero accounting software power user that’s heavy into time-based billing, you may want to give this accounting practice management software a look. Other firms may want to look elsewhere. 

Work management 

  • Dashboard for task management – 2 time-based widgets, a calendar with upcoming jobs and tasks (e.g. tax resolution due dates), a list view of upcoming tasks and jobs
  • Client work plans – jobs with its subtasks (e.g. a job like an accounting month-end close and its subtasks). 
  • Task status – move the job through different job states (by default: planned, in-progress, on-hold, complete) which affects how information is displayed.

Time tracking & billing

  • Basic time tracking – log time manually or measure it precisely with the stopper.
  • Billing (integrated with Xero, no other option)
  • XPM’s quoting functionality which you can then turn into jobs and invoices.

Collaboration

  • Notes – team members can add notes to tasks, jobs, and in the client records.
  • Documents – can be uploaded into jobs and the client records.
  • Notifications – being assigned to a new job, new job notes, new job tasks, tasks completed, new job documents.
  • Collaboration manager – forward emails to tasks using a dedicated email address assigned to each task. Unfortunately, this is far behind something like Karbon’s triage feature.
  • No client portal

Reporting

  • Many reports and options to customize your own.
  • Timesheets section which shows logged time for a given period.
  • Options to compare your budgets to actual results within the job or within the report which might be interesting for tax practice management.

User-friendliness

  • Quite complex set-up process – not that intuitive, but once everything is set up it gets easier.
  • Nice looking interface
  • Time-consuming to use (actions require many clicks) 


Pros:

  • Powerful time tracking & billing
  • Many eports
  • Great if you are using Xero accounting software

Cons:

  • User-friendliness – has many features but they’re quite basic
  • No client portal
  • Set-up process is challenging



Pricing: 123 £/month for up to 10 users (no charge for Xero silver level partners) 

5. Pixie – best for small companies with basic needs 

Pixie is a simple and flexible practice management software for small accounting and bookkeeping companies. It has all the core integrations, and many features like email management, client management, workflow management, task management, and reporting. Users say the best thing about it is it’s simplicity. Yet the simplicity comes with a price, as it’s missing core features like time tracking and billing. 

Work management 

  • Task and deadline management – recurring tasks, workflow management, task statuses, automatic task creation based on set rules.
  • Templates – choose the template from the template library or create your own.
  • Email management – connect your email to Pixie and turn emails into tasks, delegate them, link to tasks, etc. Send automatic client email reminders.
  • Automated client onboarding – automated welcome emails with document requests, assign tasks and checklists to your clients.
  • AML checks with Xama.

Time tracking & billing

  • No time tracking and billing solutions

Collaboration

  • Client portal – request documents or document signing.
  • Assigning and forwarding tasks and emails
  • Notes – team members can add notes to tasks, jobs, and in the client records.
  • Documents – can be uploaded into jobs and the client records.
  • Notifications – being assigned to a new job, new job notes, new job tasks, task completed, email have been read.

Reporting

  • Very basic reporting (overdue tasks)

User-friendliness

  • Uncluttered and clean interface


Pros:

  • Fixed price (good for big companies, not so good for small companies)
  • Easy to use with uncluttered and clean looking interface

Cons:

  • Email management in Pixie has its limitations
  • No user rights 
  • Missing core features like time tracking and billing



Pricing: 49 £/month per company

6. Accountancy Manager – best for tech savvy companies 

Accountancy Manager is a strong player on the market with high functionality and many possibilities. It can be a challenge to set up but when that’s done, it’s a capable tool to help you streamline company processes. It has all the core functionalities an accountancy company could wish from a practice management software. 

Work management 

  • Automated task management – create client’s work plan with recurring tasks to automate task management. 
  • Automated client onboarding – professional clearance, automatic proposals and letters of engagement.
  • Work plan templates – create templates so you don’t have to create client work plans from scratch.

Time tracking & billing

  • Time tracking – log time manually or measure it with the stopper.
  • Invoicing – time based or fix fee invoices.

Collaboration

  • Client portal to manage documents and ask for signatures (form filling, document management, branding, e-signatures, deadlines).
  • Notifications – You’ll get a notification when a client uploads or signs a document, completes a form or updates their details. Other notifications include: deadline approaching, new tasks assigned to you, changes to your tasks – and many more.
  • Automated client emails – create email templates for each service and emails will be sent out automatically at the right time, to the right clients.

Reporting

  • Visual and informative reports – how time has been spent
  • Client-based profit reports 

User-friendliness

  • Modern interface with systematized design (spreadsheets, forms).
  • Not very convenient to use – due to many features, you have to do many clicks.


Pros:

  • Many features
  • Covers most of the needs of an accounting firm 
  • Solutions are designed based on accountants’ needs in mind
  • Client portal with many possibilities 

Cons:

  • Processes are very rigid and lack flexibility 
  • Implementing the software is complicated 



Pricing: 31,2 £/month per user 


7. Capium – best for Capium Full Accountant Suite users

Capium Practice Management is one module of Capium full suite solution. They offer client service tools from client tracking, scheduling and deadline calendars to CRM and invoicing. If you want to use it as your main workspace, you need to use other modules as well (e.g. bookkeeping, payroll, etc).


Work management 

  • Task management calendar to track individual work or activity throughout the firm.
  • Deadline management with automated reminders 
  • AML process
  • E-signing

Time tracking & billing

  • The timesheet module tracks time spent on specific tasks and clients.
  • Billing – customised invoices can be emailed from the system, which also records received payments.

Collaboration

  • Mobile app for clients lets them send expense receipts, correspondence and documents.
  • Online document management hosts client files for sharing and authorisation.
  • Built-in CRM retains standing data on clients and prospects and logs communications with them.

Reporting

  • Overdue tasks report

User-friendliness

  • Relatively easy to use
  • Customizable – the solution comes in modular form, with a range of add-ons for corporation tax, accounts production, practice management, self-assessment, payroll and bookkeeping


Pros:

  • Full AML process
  • Capium offers
  • Many modules to run your accounting practice

Cons:

  • To get the most out of the software you need to use accounting software by Capium



Pricing: 115-345 £/month per company (up to 500 customers) 


8. Practice Ignition – best for billing 

Practice Ignition is first and foremost an invoicing software, automating proposals, contracts and payments. You can customize services, use various pricing and accept different payment methods. For full accounting practice management, you’ll most likely need some additional software. 


Work management 

  • Proposal and pipeline management – whether the proposal is simply for a customer to pay an invoice or a pitch and journey of a new client, the process is the same.
  • No workflow management – some integrations available.

Time tracking & billing

  • Recurring billing – integrated with Xero and Quickbooks.
  • Client payments and payment status – bill clients automatically for your services. Good for value-based pricing.

Collaboration

  • Client management – all client data in one place (contact info, client communication, contracts, proposals sent, invoices received, payments received, outstanding payments and much more).

Reporting

  • Reporting about billing – proposals sent and accepted, payments (collected, rejected)

User-friendliness

  • Easy to use, modern interface

Pros:

  • Great for billing
  • Automated client proposals
  • Many integrations

Cons:

  • No workflow management
  • No time tracing
  • Most likely you need additional software to manage your accounting practice (they offer some integrations for that)



Pricing: 56-280 £/month per company 

Autori Pilt
Uku
Smart Assistant

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