Covid-19 App Offers, Webinars & Resources, & Great Free Versions of Apps

We know it’s a challenging time right now so as part of our partnership with the ACCA we’ve put together some useful resources to help you help your clients. You can count on us to support you in understanding the right technology to get you through this.

Covid-19 Special Offers

Capitalise are offering accelerated digital training & nothing to pay until June to help you better support your SME’s with access to finance during these times.

Chaser have lifted the limits on their accountant and bookkeeper price plans so you can introduce Chaser to any clients. They’ve also launched a cash flow recovery initiative where the Chaser team (with decades of combined experience in best practise credit control) are being redeployed to provide essential support to you – taking over your invoice chasing in order to get cash in the bank as quickly as possible, without demanding customer relationships.

Clarity have introduced a COVID19 Care Call System, a simple, easy to follow step-by-step guide for your team to use to start valuable and efficient conversations with all your clients, plus 50% off for 3 months on any of our partner programmes for new customers, and the same for existing customers who upgrade.

Expend our offering free access for 6 months for teams of up to 20 users to all new customers.

Figured are offering their business planning tool ‘Scenarios’ for £5 per month, reduced from the usual £20 per month, to help accountants supporting agricultural clients.

Float are offering extended free trials & full access to their cash flow forecasting tools until 31/5/2020. In addition they’re offering a free upgrade to all existing Float partners to the next tier of pricinguntil the 31st of May this can be accessed via [email protected]

Futrli are offering 3 months Free Flow Pro, giving access to invoice protection insuring up to 90% of your invoice value. This can be accessed using the discount code: COVID_AAD. Alongside this they are providing simple, clear tactics for all accountants to advise their small business clients through COVID-19. In addition they are increasing all of their existing account subscriptions to unlimited organisations free of charge to ensure accountants can help every one of their clients. To access this email [email protected].

Lightyear are offering all new customers who sign up a complimentary consultation, and free unlimited use of Lightyear until 31st May 2020.

Pleo are offering 3 months free, with the offer ending on April 30th.

Practice Ignition are offering 50% off for the first 3 months on all plans for new customers who are members of App Advisory Plus

Satago are offering free use of the product for 3 months with no commitment or tie in to a long term contract, cancellation at any time. To redeem this offer go to their website, create an account and enter the code:

  • NextThreeFreeACCT (for accountants), or
  • NextThreeFreeSME (for businesses)

Xavier Analytics are offering 50% off for 3 months as part of their Turn the Tide program. Over the next 12 weeks the Xavier team are also going to be introducing a number of “Turn the Tide” strategies, tips and techniques to help our accounting partners effectively assist their clients. Check out Turn the Tide to get the discount or email [email protected]com.

Zapier are offering a 3-month credit for starter plans for qualifying businesses.

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Covid-19 App Webinars and Educational Resources

On Demand | Confidence in times of Uncertainty

Watch our webinar recording to hear Will Farnell and Phil Hobden discuss how you can use Capitalise to help your clients through these challenging times.

  • What should you be doing to support your SME clients?
  • What are lenders doing to support SMEs?
  • What does the post Covid-19 world look like for accountants?

Tuesday 31st March | All Day | Fintech, apps & Accounting communityImage

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Confidence in times of Uncertainty by Capitalise. This ‘live’ resource highlights the latest financial support available to businesses.

17 (and growing) resources to help accounting teams for working remotely by Karbon.

Support for businesses and their cash flow during Covid-19 by Chaser includes 8 best-practise email templates to empathetically but effectively chase customer payments during Covid-19.

Float have created a Covid-19 Cash Flow Resource Hub.

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Great Free Versions of Apps

10to8 Booking – Appointment scheduling. The free plan includes:

  • Client self scheduling
  • SMS included
  • 100 appointments/month
  • 2-way calendar sync with Google, iCal, Office 365, Outlook, and Exchange
  • 2 staff logins

Acuity Scheduling – Appointment scheduling. The free plan includes:

  • Client self scheduling
  • No reminders
  • Unlimited services and appointments
  • No calendar sync
  • 1 staff login

Calendly – Appointment scheduling. The free plan includes:

  • Calendar integrations with Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook and iCloud
  • Schedule unlimited events
  • 1 event type
  • Personalised Calendly link (e.g. calendly.com/janedoe)

Capsule – CRM and Basic Task Management. The free plan includes:

  • 250  contacts
  • Calendar and task management
  • Pipeline and customisable sales mil
  • Store emails in Capsule + Gmail add-on
  • Zapier integration but no accounting integrations

Chargebee – Subscription management. The free plan includes:

  • Payment Pages
  • Full API Checkout
  • 1 Gateway per Payment Method
  • Pricing Models
  • Dunning
  • Customer Portal
  • Single Tax Region

Fergus – Field service management app. The free plan includes:

  • Unlimited users
  • 10 Jobs per month
  • 3 Invoices per mont
  • See last 14-Days of Notes & History
  • Accounting Software Integration
    (excl. supplier docs)

Fluidly – Cash flow forecasting, credit control, and funding. The free plan (Fluidly Lite) includes:

  • Insight report
  • Portfolio view for accountants
  • 3 months cash flow forecasting (for all clients)
  • Scenario planning (for all clients)
  • Credit control (for all clients)
  • Funding access (for all clients)
  • 1 user (excluding accountant)

Harvest – Time tracking and basic project management tool. The free plan includes:

  • 1 person
  • 2 projects

Zapier – Task automation software. The free plan includes:

  • 5 single-step Zaps live at any time (more can be in draft)
  • 15 minute update time

Zoom – Video conferencing. The free plan includes:

  • Host up to 100 participants
  • Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings
  • 40 mins limit on group meetings
  • Unlimited number of meetings

Turning App Confusion Into App Confidence

The AppsMap™ Feature and App Advisory Plus’ App Advisory Education: Turning App Confusion Into App Confidence

A guest blog by James Ashford, GoProposal.

The opportunity in the app space is so exciting. Apps are unlocking greater insights, efficiencies and profits for accounting businesses and their clients. 

But the challenge we’re now seeing is that accountancy firms are struggling to position themselves as THE app authority in the relationship with their clients, and in some cases, struggle to articulate the value of that app and what they charge for it.

This means that for many firms, apps become cost-centres rather than the profit-centres they should be.
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So what makes an accountant an app authority?

Though important, understanding the accounting data flows is not enough.

Put simply apps are tools to help a business carry out their processes. So to be an App Authority accountants must have a deep understanding of both the features of the app, alongside knowledge of how these can be applied to a client or prospect’s processes. 

An accountant may be the only professional advisor a business engages with on an ongoing basis and they trust your advice. So if you’ve recommended an app without really understanding their processes, problems and software requirements, the likelihood is that it will be poorly implemented, and this can erode the value the client sees in the relationship.
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App Advisory Plus’ App Advisory educational content, combined with GoProposal’s new feature, the AppsMap™, helps you to put a stop to this by helping you to understand clearly:

  • When to recommend apps
  • What apps to recommend
  • What App Advisory services you can offer
  • How you should charge for them 
  • How to create and present App Advisory service schedules
  • How to create a clear map of apps for your clients to see

Whilst using the AppsMap™ feature, accountants can DIRECTLY import all apps into the map from the App Advisory Plus App Directory. 

GoProposal’s AppsMap™ feature enables accounting businesses to show an overview of the direction of data flows between the apps they’re providing or recommending.

You can choose an icon, insert a description and service schedule and determine the price you want to charge for that app, with as much sophistication or complexity as it needs.

The whole purpose of this is to give you, the accountant, the confidence to be the app authority in the client relationship.

Fluidly’s Free 90 Day Automated Forecast – Our Verdict

Introduction

Here’s our detailed review of the forecasting element of the product. We do not cover the credit control or funding elements here, but you can see those, alongside the cash flow forecasting in our Insights Webinar.

Account Setup 

Speed of account creation

To sign up as an accountant you have to first fill out a basic info form on their website and then they create you an account. This isn’t instant. 

Sync with accounting platform

After you’ve connected to QuickBooks/Xero you get this message 

“This could take around an hour or two. But don’t worry, we’ll send you an email once your cashflow and insights are ready!”

It did take around an hour to two to complete, and we got an email to say we were ready:

The Integration – QuickBooks / Xero

Data sync

Fluidly syncs automatically around every hour. There is no manual sync option.

Chart of accounts 

All accounts with activity pull in with no issues. The order of display is alphabetical with no way to amend.

Bank accounts

These pull in with no issues and you can toggle on/off as required.

Customers & Suppliers

Customers and suppliers are pulled in and these can be selected across multiple account categories (income/expense/asset/liability/equity) when setting up new predictions

Debtors and creditors and pulled in with expected payment dates (these are based on the Fluidly calculation of when the invoice is likely to be paid rather than the due date in QBO/Xero), these can be adjusted in the forecast.

Classes & Location / Tracking Categories

This is not a feature.

The Base Forecast

You get some immediate data widgets. You can action them, but they can’t be moved or replaced with other metrics.

Moving down you get an easy to understand cash visualisation, with daily, weekly, and monthly summary views.

A overview of the monthly numbers relating to the graph is also provided.

The Automated Forecast

You get actuals for the previous 8 months, plus the current month, then a forward prediction of the next 3

In our test the automated forecast did recognise regular monthly payments, but amended the amounts to be different to what they had been recently. Overall the automated element was not accurate enough to be considered useful. More choice over the computation at the setup would be useful here, for instance the ability to set calculation preferences at a category or even a supplier level.

It isn’t possible to edit the predictions if they’re wrong, you have to hide them and then enter your own. An edit function, or copy to new prediction would be useful here.

Forecasting without the Automation

Customers and suppliers are pulled in from QBO/Xero and these can be selected across multiple account categories (income/expense/asset/liability/equity) when setting up new predictions. It is really simple and user friendly.
 

Scenarios

The newly released ‘Plan’ option is super useful, with relevant options from typical scenarios such as hiring a new member of staff or renting a vehicle, among others.

VAT

Fluidly does not currently handle VAT separately as part of the forecast.

However:

You can set up VAT reminders as emails and in-product alerts.

Summary

In summary we feel that whilst the automated element needs some work to be useful, as a free product it’s simple to use, with an easy-to-understand, client-friendly layout, that makes it easy to provide to clients.

Offering the free version to clients should act as a good lead into having more advisory conversations.

Our favourite feature is the recently launched ‘Plan’ which allows you to easily manipulate the forecast based on common scenarios, such as hiring new staff, expanding premises, launching new products, making investments and more.

If you want to find out more you can book in a 1 to 1 demo.

Build your Data Hub to drive App Advisory with Silverfin

Cameron John from Silverfin spoke to Will Farnell of App Advisory Plus about how Silverfin are facilitating more app advisory conversations through data insights. Watch the full webinar here.

“The problem a lot of firms have is that they have multiple data sets of client information, so there is not a single source of truth. Among other things this makes it difficult to do marketing activity properly.” – Will Farnell

Silverfin provides accountants with a consolidated single source of client data, and empowers accountants with preset data analytics that can be used across the whole client base. For instance being able to instantly generate a report which shows clients with decreasing cash balances against increasing debtor days, or cash balances compared to bank loans, or directors loan accounts > £10,000.

“We can only have conversations if we actually speak to our clients, so contact on a regular basis is key starting point. Taking this up to advisory conversations is only possible with good information, so insight into data enables us to have client conversations we couldn’t normally have. ” – Will Farnell

“If we have to go into every bookkeeping file and review to understand trends and triggers to have a conversation, the cost-benefit makes it more difficult to do profitably. Silverfin allows us to identify the trigger for having a conversation very quickly” – Will Farnell

Client Insights in Silverfin makes it really easy to start opening up dialogue with clients about what their problems are and that then becomes your lead generator to either:

  • Offer more services internally, such as bookkeeping or outsourced finance function,
  • Talk to them about how technology might be able to help solve some of their problems.

“By having a consolidated single source of client data in the Silverfin platform it allows Accountants to analyse across their entire portfolio. With data consolidated from clients at a transactional level, all analysis is possible in the platform, including data-meshing with non-financial data. If it can be captured in a Silverfin template the insights engine in Silverfin enables analysis and comparison in order to alert the Accountant with opportunities to present to their clients for advisory and manage risks.” – Cameron John

Silverfin have waived their setup and configuration fee for App Advisory Plus members.  Find out how Silverfin can benefit your practice by booking a demo.

Why you should never use Xero’s advisor-powered app recommendations feature

When should you hit that recommend button? The simple answer is never. Here's why:

As soon as you hit that recommend button you're setting the expectation that you know what you're talking about, and in doing so you're putting your reputation at risk.

Core Accounting Apps

Let's first take the scenario of recommending app in what you might call the core accounting app categories:

  • Purchase Ordering
  • Receipt & Invoice Processing
  • Invoicing
  • Credit Control
  • Forecasting
  • Reporting
  • Payments

Understanding these types of apps and recognising how they can fit into a client's business is easier (not easy) for you because you already have a good understanding of the processes involved and what needs to be achieved. You may be using these apps already yourself so you have a good understanding of, and confidence in their capabilities, which you can match to the client's requirements because you already understand their accounting processes (or what they should be). 

These are the types of apps that you're going to build service competency for and consistently offer to clients because they're widely applicable across your client base. You might call this your core-app stack.

At what point in the sales process would it be a good idea to send a client to an app marketplace? Of course the answer is at no point do you want this to happen because they probably don't know it's there to start with, so you are simply providing a distraction to what you want them to do - sign up to the services you offer.

You don't want your client researching for themselves what forecasting app they might use, because you've already done that yourself, and you don't want to engage in a debate about the capabilities of one app vs another without being paid for it.

Non-Accounting Apps

Now we're getting out of your comfort zone and in reality outside of your zone of understanding. That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't make it your comfort zone and zone of understanding. What it does mean is you need to implement a clear process for recognising where something is beyond your competencies and the services you want to provide.

As the business's accountant you may be the only professional advisor they engage with on an ongoing basis and they trust your advice. So if you've recommended an app without really understanding their processes, problems, software requirements, and budget, the likelihood is that you could end up wasting their time looking at it, and this can erode the value the client sees in the relationship.

"Maybe they don't understand my business as much as I thought they did"

You put yourself at risk of getting the blame for all their lost hours in research, or for all the business they lost when they went ahead with implementing an app that didn't fit their requirements. There's often a lot more on the line than a Companies House fine.

Conclusion

Recommending apps is not as simple as scanning a directory and toggling a recommended button.

These aren't just the dangers of using the Xero's advisor-powered recommendations, they're really dangers of making app recommendations by any means without following a proper process. Check out our 5 steps to providing app advisory services.

Help Desk App Support Case Study

This is a case-study of our Help Desk App Support service which is available to members on our Professional plan and above. 

In this example we have assisted our members by providing an industry specific initial fact-finding form to help identify current process and problems, budget for change, and software requirements.

Typically this will guide us in determining whether further information is required to understand the processes of the business before any software research and evaluation can take place.

In this instance our member had already been through a process mapping exercise with the client and as such was able to provide sufficient detail for us to provide some useful App Research support. 

AAP Member

I have a client who makes widgets from around 3 to 4 individual costs. 

The business is extremely simple, all manufacturing is subcontracted and the director operates the business alone. 

I cannot see a way of making one composite stock item from the three individually tracked inventory items in Xero. What is the entry level inventory app you would have me look at to get around this shortcoming in Xero?

AAP Support

Firstly, we have confirmed that the feature you’re looking for is not available in Xero alone.

Before recommending anything it would be useful to understand some more information about the client. In particular, we need to understand the processes and technology that are currently being used. Here are a few questions that will help us. Could you please fill out this information form and then we can talk about the next steps.

Let me know if you have any questions.

AAP Member

Thank you, I have submitted the form and look forward to your response.

AAP Support (following a brief conversation to confirm some information)

Following on from our conversation on Friday and having reviewed the requirements you set out I think that TradeGecko would be a good app for you to investigate further.

The Lite version would seem suitable (£55).

  • This comes with 1 sales channel integration, of which the Shopify integration is one.
  • This version also integrates with Xero.
  • You can process up to 300 sales per month (3 x more than the level we discussed of 100).
  • Supports product bundling
  • Supports purchase order management. This is how it works with Xero. However if you wanted to use Receipt Bank then you would have to watch out for duplication of bills.
  • Shipping integration between TradeGecko and UPS could be facilitated by ShipStation and you’re looking at an additional £23 per month there based on the order volume discussed.

We advise that full process mapping is undertaken prior to any research and evaluation activities to ensure functional requirements are completely defined, mitigating the risk of app selections being made that do not meet functional requirements of the business concerned. 

This recommendation is based on the information we’ve been supplied with which we expect has come out of a process mapping exercise.

I would suggest the next step would be to review the information here against the process mapping that you said had been done to make sure that nothing has been missed.

Please let me know if I can be of any more help.

App Advisory Plus Member Offers

Members on our Essentials and Professional plans get access to a range of great offers from some of the best apps on the market.

ApprovalMax – Sign up for ApprovalMax Partner Programme and receive a free ApprovalMax Partner Edition

Capitalise – 50% off your first month’s subscription when you subscribe through App Advisory Plus

Chaser – Get setup support for your first two clients, including onboarding, training, and assistance

CitrusHR – Get a free CitrusHR license for your practice for 1 year and 10% off for your clients

Fathom – Get a 30 day extended free trial (usually 14 days)

Float – Get 20% off subscription fees for one year

Pleo – Get an extended two month trial for you practice and reduced pricing for your clients

Practice Ignition – Get 50% off for the first 3 months on all plans for new customers

Satago – Get 50% off your Satago subscription for the first 3 months

Scoro – Get 25% off Scoro’s Pro and Custom onboarding plans

Skore – Get the Quantify Module FREE for 6 months and 50% off Training when you subscribe to their £25 starter pack

Silverfin – Get your setup and configuration fee waived

Tripcatcher – Get your free trial extended to 2 months

Zahara – Get a free 10 user account and 15% off all subscriptions