How to choose small business software: the latest offerings


This year sees Sage Accountants’ Division continue to put much effort and
investment into the Sage Practice Suite, focusing on compliance, usability and

Compliance is a focal point at present for both tax and accounts production.
Sage has introduced the new Taxation Suite for 2009 and is actively working on
compliance changes in accounts production including requirements for IFRS and

Sage continues to work closely with HMRC and Companies House to ensure that
their software solutions provide validated and compliant outputs.

Additionally, as more practitioners move to online filing for the first time,
Sage has launched Sage Instant Taxation, which aims to enable practices with up
to 100 clients to complete and electronically file all SA100 tax returns –
dramatically reducing errors and ensuring consistent filing.

Later in the year, Sage will launch an updated practice solution, which will
include new features in response to customer demand for improved reporting
functionality. Also responding to changes in the market, Sage will be
introducing a highly functional and user friendly group consolidation module as
part of Sage Accounts Production Advanced. This module will use up to date
technologies which will become more prevalent in future iterations of all of
Practice Suite modules. Furthermore, Sage will continue to enhance integration
between all of the Practice Suite modules and also the Sage 50 Suite, enabling
accountants to work closely with their clients and their data.


As part of the continuous enhancement programme, Iris has recently launched a
staff planning system that is designed to maximise resources through the
automation of the management and planning of practice workloads, a search
facility for due diligence compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations and
outsourced services for bookkeeping, final accounts, payroll and VAT.

Iris also offers a professional tax advisory service from UK renowned tax

A deep understanding of customer’ needs gained over a thirty year period is
at the heart of the Iris business along with a passion to deliver the highest
standards of software and service directly to the accountant. Top ratings
secured in surveys conducted by the ICAEW and numerous industry awards bear
testament to this commitment.

Iris is committed to providing solutions that help achieve best practice and
improve efficiency for all sizes and types of practice.

Our award-winning range includes standalone products as well as a fully
integrated suite under the PTP, Drummohr and IRIS brands.

The latest statistics show that a massive 1.75m tax returns were filed online

using Iris tax solutions in the run up to 31 January 2008 compared with just
1.98m across all other software houses. ; ;


‘With over 60% of our staff working in software development, which is
unprecedented in this industry, we have been able to introduced 180 new features
into our range of tax and accounting software in 2008,’ says Digita MD Jerry

On average, seven firms joined Digita each week in 2008, a 30% increase on
2007, and we retained over 98% of our existing customers.

We introduced support for LLPs in our accounts production and will support
charities and pensions this year. Our practice management suite continues to
grow with the addition of time and fees and dashboards.

In corporation tax we introduced support for group relief and this year will
see the introduction of support for chargeable gains calculations and the
implementation of the ‘Active View’ technology, which will provide a richer user
interface with quicker access to dialogs and useful additional features.

Our personal tax software extended the support for partnerships and support
for clients whose affairs involve overseas aspects. This year we will improve
tax return workflow for compliance and support the filing of prior year’s
returns, multiple submissions where amendments are required, and implementing
support for the 2009 ‘specials and exclusions’ published by HMRC and extended
calculation functionality to allow the vast majority of capital gains
calculations to be performed without the need for any external calculations.

‘When you’re not number one, you try harder. You work more hours. You worry
more. So at Digita, we’ve have been working incredibly hard because when you’re
not number one you have to. By developing great software. By providing the best
customer service. By providing the best value.’


CCH software was strengthened by the acquisition in 2008 of MYOB UK
Accountants Division, bringing together the expertise of the two businesses.

CCH now provides enhanced software and services, covering tax, audit,
accounts production, insolvency, practice management and document management.

Its practice management and compliance software is available through the CCH
ProSystem suite of products.

This is a range of business efficiency tools that helps accountants improve
their workflow and offer enhanced services to their clients, providing alerts,
exception management and workflow, including help with marketing their services
via campaign management.

CCH is investing in CCH Central, which allows users to simplify the way they
extract the information they want from the ProSystem suite, combining it and
formatting it in the way they need. CCH Central integrates accounting software
tools with up-to-the-minute data, using the latest .NET technology platforms,
delivered in a personalised screen format.

As well as providing innovative tools on the latest .NET technology
platforms, the most important thing for CCH is to deliver resilient and timely
releases that are fit for purpose.

CCH provides software and services to more than 3,000 professional firms. A
full range of compliance and practice management software is offered to smaller
entrepreneurial firms as well as larger practices.

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