IT standard to simplify software selection

A new IT standard introduced by the ICAEW’s IT faculty is promising to
simplify the process of software selection for accountants.

The standard, known as xPS, will work to allow accountancy firms to store and
exchange data more easily between software packages from different suppliers,
which should, it is thought, open up the market for accountants purchasing new

John Court, head of the IT faculty, said that practitioners can now be
‘confident’ about transferring information between different software packages

Participants in the scheme include many of the biggest practice software
providers in the UK, including Sage, Iris, MYOB, APS and PTP.

The standard was developed by the Practice Software Suppliers Forum, and was
led by software company Digita.

Jerry Rihll, Digita MD, said that accountants had spent too long ‘locked in’
to suppliers, but will be able to now choose products to fit their practice
rather than fit around their software supplier.

He expects a more fluid market that will push software companies to produce
better products: ‘Monopolies make for poor progress.’

He confirmed that the companies introducing the standard had all committed to
do so within a year. Other scheme members include CaseWare, FinApps Troika,
Practice Engine and Star.

The IT faculty will also look for ways to ‘usefully’ extend the scope of the
scheme in the future.

Paul Booth, technical manager at the IT faculty, has lauded the project as
bringing together competing software suppliers ‘for the benefit of accounting
‘It took a fair bit of work,’ said Booth. ‘It’s a year’s worth of work from the
initial idea when we spoke to suppliers.’

Although the standard is ready to implement, Booth expects it to evolve in
the future to handle more complex financial data transfers between packages.

‘There’s still more work to do, it currently relates to relatively simple
data, things like client’s name and address, but it is complete and ready to
use,’ he said. 

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