A practice management system becomes ever more important in the accounting practice, even more so with remote working. What defines a practice management system can differ substantially from one firm to another, and even accountants in the same practice will have differing opinions!
Some people will insist that workflow is needed; others will want a CRM system; time recording and fee production might be the critical requirements for others.
The ability to be able to create user defined fields of varying types and then use these in user defined reports does mean the system can be tailored for many uses, so, for example, the progress of workflows can be defined and monitored.
Some of these, related to accounting, can be monitored through such systems, and can also be monitored “across the board” through accounting products – the latter made easier where the accounting is cloud based. A prime example – VAT returns due. The practice management system could have recurring jobs set up, so that on the 1st of every month after the VAT period end, a job is created. This might also flag up and be visible in the cloud-based product too. There are also add-on products which link in with the cloud products and can also flag these as being outstanding.
However, there are other areas which you might like to be able to monitor and report by exception, based on information in the accounting records. If you have 100, 200, 500+ clients on cloud that you are dealing with, it may well be impracticable to log into every client every month, or even several times a month, to review different aspects.
So what sort of things would it be useful to monitor in relation to the accounting records?
The PAYE/ NI control account should, in theory, have a Nil balance every month where staff are monthly paid, and the amount due to HMRC is paid by the 22nd of a month. It does however depend on the accounting records being up to date with the payment allocated to the PAYE/NI account. There will be exceptions of course.
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