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SmartPractice just made running your accounting practice a whole lot easier

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Accountants understand how easily it is to become desk-bound: taking care of financial statements for clients, tax and VAT returns and – one of the most time-consuming chores in any practice – the monthly client billing.

SmartPractice is a suite of tools designed by accountants for accountants.

“We have our own accounting practices and we developed a suite of tools that we found essential to running our practice efficiently and profitably,” says SmartPractice co-founder Ettean Smit. “We set out to solve the types of issues we were facing as accountants, such as accurate billing, keeping an accurate record of communications with clients and Sars.”

New features recently added to SmartPractice include limited integration modules for QuickBooks Online (to name one).

“This new feature cuts down on billing time by more than 50%.” adds Smit. “It means accountants can spend more time on their business instead of in their business.”

Reducing wasted time and effort

Making full use of the SmartPractice suite of tools can reduce wasteful administrative time by up to 75% and will ensure that clients receive the level of professionalism they expect.

Accounting Weekly previously reported that Saiba had signed a service level agreement with SmartPractice to boost the standards of accounting practices in the Garden Route by establishing a Saiba region and ensuring that practices all over South Africa are run to the highest professional standards.

SmartPractice does not replace your existing accounting software such as Intuit QuickBooks, but streamlines your entire practice through better organisation of client data, deadlines and billing.

SmartPractice is also involved in creating the training module for new Saiba accounting members, helping them to set up their own practice. (this way they get to do it right from the start).

“A lot of accountants are spending a tremendous amount of time on admin functions such as billing, which is not a very productive use of their time. With SmartPractice for example, you can send out 50 or even more invoices in just a few minutes,” says Smit.

SmartPractice recently migrated to an enterprise server, which vastly increases the speed of accessing information on the 40,000-plus activated clients and more than 150 accounting practices in a highly secure environment.

“Accountants come to us because they have lost control of their practices. They are over-burdened with admin work. I would say 60% of our clients are small to medium sized accounting practices, 20% are looking for better tools and 20% are determined to be at the cutting edge of accounting service delivery.”

“When your practice is running on SmartPractice, it will give you more time to be an advisor to your clients, which is what you should be doing rather than merely being a compliance officer.”

A look under the hood

As previously reported in Accounting Weekly, here are some of the modules that are offered by SmartPractice:

PlanSmart: A planning module specifically designed for the accountant in practice that lets you know when clients need a specific service, and who should deliver it. It gives monthly reports on completed (and incomplete) projects, which reduces the admin burden and translates into more revenue. PlanSmart allows you to have a bird’s eye view of what needs to be done, when it must be done and who within your practice is responsible for rendering that service.

DocShareSmart is really like a tidy, secure online filing cabinet that can be accessed by clients and their staff at any time. Uploading of documents, including key documents such as title deeds, wills and rental contracts as well as signed Financial Statements etc. Many of these may be confidential documents which will not be available to the accountant but can be accessed, in the case of death, by the executor of the estate.

It has a powerful reporting function by letting the accountant know if any or all services has been uploaded to the client’s portal and therefore the task been performed (VAT201, EMP201 etc).

It also reduces mundane and time-consuming correspondence with your clients by standardising communication, ensuring that a professional and accurate system generated-message reaches your clients. This saves time and money and prevents your clients feeling neglected.

TimeSmart: Capturing time spent on projects and ad-hoc items are critical for accurate and timely billing of clients and important for making informed strategic decisions. Implementing a single, intuitive time management tool that captures time and progress on any work item including non-project or operational work is essential for more accurate business results.

This tool allows you to create projects, budgets and allocate staff. Time management systems should not only capture time, but also track progress so project managers can gauge the overall effect that actual time has on their initiatives. A unique function is the ability to “create multiple client projects” which enables you to set up a project with multiple clients that share a common task like VAT, PAYE and EMP 201 submissions, amongst others.

Reporting: this is vital in any practice and eliminates administrative oversights and errors (such as late VAT submissions).

The reporting tool allows users to compile reports showing:

•             All SARS submissions not filed

•             Tax clearance applications not performed

•             Annual Financial Statements not signed off

•             CIPC annual reports not filed

•             Payroll, UIF and Workmen’s compensation not filed

•             Engagement letters not issued

•             Budget vs Actual

•             Staff Productivity

ClientSmart: A unique CRM tool that allows you to communicate with specific groups of clients for example, it can isolate only those who are VAT payers in a certain industry or another group that are non-VAT payers. When it comes to communicating with clients, it is important to get the precise communication to the right client perhaps for EMP 501 deadlines or EMP 201 or VAT. You can easily segment these clients and push out communications that are relevant to them only.

TaxSmart: Direct SARS e-Filing integration with bulk submissions and bulk CRM options. Currently provisional tax compatible with IT14 and IT12 to follow. www.taxsmart.online  

SecSmart: An easy-to-use cloud-based Company Secretarial System. You can keep all company records up to date. It allows all authorised stakeholders to view the company’s status anytime anywhere through an access controlled online portal. It has all the functionality you will need in a secretarial system from issuing Share Certificates, transfers, allotments to buy backs. You can track and access all activity and all information pertaining to the share register and report on it when and where needed.

You can also manage all company meetings with this easy-to-use module, select a time and date and all invitees will automatically be notified of the particulars via an SMS and/or email. If you currently do not keep company records for your clients, why not use this system to create an extra income stream and keep your clients compliant.

“The set-up is everything,” says Smit. “Once this is done, only add new clients and remove the old ones. It can take time to set up but we do offer an installation option for bigger firms. Once this is done there are big savings. The system is browser-based so you can access your information from anywhere.”

For more information check out www.smartpractice.co.za.