Accountants Are ''Talkin'' 'Bout A Revolution
Thursday 4th December, 2003
Accounting firms are engaging in the latest revolution by blasting off into cyberspace with Acclipse’s WebXOffice for Accountants.
The industry was shaken up 10 years ago by PC computerisation, which turned around the tracking of tax returns and data processing efficiency. This latest revolution is a push for firms to interact with their clients online. Not only can this build the practice with new clients and save time and money, it is also a key weapon in the war against that seemingly endless mountain of paper as well.
The latest signing to WebXOffice, which was released early this year, is national group of chartered accountants Markhams MRI (www.markhamsmri.co.nz). Sam Bassett, Director of Markhams MRI Auckland Ltd, said the role of a website is becoming increasingly important.
“Even in the provinces they’re seeing that being able to offer your client an interactive service to your client over the Net is the way forward. And if we don’t start offering that to clients then other people will. Therefore it’s paramount that we’re being pro-active with instituting the interactive website rather than being reactive.”
The selling point for WebXOffice, Mr Bassett said, was the ability to post accounts and spreadsheets in a secure area, combined with the option to include an Intranet. Markhams MRI’s last website was not interactive. Acclipse could not be matched on price or the scope of services, he said.
“Our old site was very much just a brochure site and did not allow for the development of an e-practice,” he said. “With our new site we can actually interact with our clients through the website, which has the potential to save a lot of administrative time in the office.
“Before WebXOffice, if I was doing a draft set of accounts I had to write a fax, go to the fax machine, fax it to the client and talk with them about it. If I can print that draft set of accounts to a pdf format file that automatically goes to the client’s secure area on the website and automatically an email is sent to the client saying there’s something in their secure area and they should look at them. It just saves time – it’s an efficiency factor.”
Acclipse’s level of service was excellent, he said. From the time Markhams MRI paid its deposit and placed its order, the firm had a technical person on the phone within 48 hours and a proofed website within a couple of weeks.
Mr Bassett said this latest revolution was about how accountants interact with clients. It was “about firms becoming web-enabled and providing clients with information on a timely basis,” he said, including benchmarking and statistical information.
“And we hope the new website that Acclipse have developed for us will assist with that.”
Mike Chisholm, CEO of Acclipse Ltd (www.acclipse.co.nz), said using a web software product like WebXOffice is bringing many firms closer to their clients. Additionally, it’s helping some accounting firms increase their fee base by offering advice and services to develop websites and e-businesses for their clients. WebXOffice is ideal for client websites and has a proven track record with hundreds of business users.
“I’m often saying to accounting firms you have an accounting practice...you now need to develop an e-practice alongside of it”
“We’re empowering accounting firms to take control of their e-practice, using a software suite of programs designed specifically for accounting practices. A lot of accounting firms are amazed we can achieve a lot of this for under $2,000.
“Acclipse has a dedicated and highly experienced team of people who are passionate about creating and delivering value-add applications and e-practice software for chartered accounting practices.”
Markhams MRI is one of many firms which have turned to WebXOffice for Accountants to create, manage and build their e-practice.
Te Aroha’s Diprose Miller (www.diprosemiller.co.nz) has had fun with their site, which features the company car pictured near the town’s landmarks in a “Where’s Wally” style. Administration officer Maree Taylor said not only has she appreciated WebXOffice’s versatility, it is a lot more user-friendly than its previous site.
“With WebXOffice, we can go in and put in anything we want, anywhere – whereas our last site was really quite structured.
“We’re developing our new site all the time to accommodate our clients’ needs and our needs as well.”
Diprose Miller’s latest innovation, to help drive traffic to the site and encourage new clients, is to place a newspaper advertisement which looks like the front page of the website.
“I’d certainly recommend WebXOffice. It’s an easy product to use and the communication between Acclipse and ourselves has been excellent. They’re only a phone call away.”
National firm Staples Rodway (www.staplesrodway.com), with offices in Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth and Tauranga, was sick of having to maintain its old site through consultants and made the switch to Acclipse.
IT assistant Trish Agar said she liked the online newsletters function and the secure aspects of the site. Maintaining the site is now a breeze, “with the actual content management side, it’s just like using Word”, she said.
“It’s an easy way to run your website.”
Another WebXOffice convert is Taupo’s Beker Findlay Allan (www.bfa.co.nz).
Jodie Davis, the firm’s administration manager, has been impressed with how user-friendly the product is and the patience of the support staff at Acclipse.
“Nothing’s ever too much trouble,” she said.
Beker Findlay Allan has also received email from the enquiry section of its site – something that didn’t happen with its previous MYOB website.
“If we can start getting clients through enquiries from our WebXOffice website, it will provide even more value for money.”
Acclipse Limited is a private company, a business developer which works to develop and grow innovative technology companies and products. Companies in the group include: Acclipse Accounting Ltd (specialising in technology-based, value-add solutions for accountants), Acclipse Web Ltd (offering the total web solution for businesses) and Acclipse Electronic Ltd (specialists in electronic signage boards with innovative communications technology).
Acclipse Accounting Ltd www.acclipseaccounting.co.nz
Markhams MRI www.markhamsmri.co.nz
Beker Findlay Allan Ltd www.bfa.co.nz
Diprose Miller Ltd www.diprosemiller.co.nz
Staples Rodway www.staplesrodway.com