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I first heard of KashFlow through a Google search for online software in 2006. KashFlow was the first software I used. I was just starting up and wanted to be modern, lean and online, as I felt this would give the right image to my prospective clients. I did not know anyone else who used it but I took out a trial subscription and liked what I saw. I also introduced it to my first client (during the trial period) and she found it easy to use. I can also make corrections and adjustments to clients’ accounts, if they get confused or make mistakes, in a very low-key way that strengthens our relationship. It is also good to be able to drill down into transactions from any level or report. Support is excellent and some of my suggestions have been turned into features.
My initial reaction when I was first introduced to KashFlow, was that I immediately saw its benefits. With the software being completely web based there is no need to worry about back-ups. I can help my clients out online in a few minutes, instead of having to send documents and possibly organise meetings. I can also keep an eye on what’s happening. For example, one of my clients (my first client, mentioned earlier) is getting close to the VAT threshold so I am monitoring sales on an almost live basis. I can also, either proactively or following a discussion with my clients, produce some analysis to show how the business is performing.
Clients who use the software reasonably conscientiously are more organised and more on top of their numbers. This also makes them more focused on what the numbers mean and more likely to think of accounting as an aid to their business rather than a chore. I can be more proactive, as I can produce reports and analysis without having to ask my client to prepare and send me the underlying data. I can also see where my clients are going wrong with their bookkeeping and either make corrections myself or educate my client as to how to proceed.
The main benefits to both me and my clients using KashFlow are that it has better visibility of the numbers. It is also easier to share the workload – start-ups often want to do their own bookkeeping to save costs but then run into trouble because they don’t have the time. I can set them up with KashFlow knowing that if they have problems I can either help or take over the work without disruption.
I send my clients to a login page on my website. This makes sure that they visit my website regularly and are reminded of our relationship. It also enables me to strengthen my brand in general. I do not try to pretend that it is anything other than KashFlow.
I like to be able to see not only when clients have last logged in but also what they have actually done. If there are no bank transactions entered for the last couple of months or they have obviously made a mess of something, I can call them and discuss it. When they do not understand something, I can log in at the same time as them and show them what to do. My clients who use KashFlow are generally delighted with it, and with the fact that they do not have to prepare anything at year-end. I just take the info from KashFlow and produce the accounts. I have not had any reports about contact with the KashFlow support team but I know they appreciate my ability to be more proactive.
I would recommend KashFlow to other accountants/small businesses because it strengthens the relationship between accountant and client by enabling me to be more proactive and to communicate more effectively because I can see exactly what’s going on at all times.
KashFlow has been my core product since starting the business. However, all the communication and proactivity benefits mentioned above would not be possible to the same extent with other packages. I have clients who use QuickBooks, Sage or Excel and I have to wait for them to send me a backup of their system before I can do anything useful. This means that I cannot take the initiative.
We are still growing but KashFlow increases the capacity of the business for a number of reasons. I think that the time I need to spend on each KashFlow client is less than for other clients, so in the long run this will enable us to handle more clients per member of staff. KashFlow clients are also more predictable than other clients. Many clients turn up with hand-written notes, bags of invoices or half-completed spreadsheets that take a lot of time to sort out. I can warn KashFlow clients if they are not doing their bookkeeping correctly and give them whatever guidance they need to do the books correctly (and make my life easier).