The off-the-shelf accounting software industry is extremely important to the small business market place, and as a result was fiercely contested in this year's Accountancy Age Awards.
In the end Simply Books caught the eye of the judges because of its simple approach to the problem and its customer service. One of the judges on the panel said Simply Books ‘goes out of its way to make sure everyone is happy with the product’.
Accounting software has struggled to take off in the sector at which Simply Books aims its product. The reasons for this are obvious – prospective customers often shy away from further complicating their working life.Because of this a simple approach is an absolute necessity. To achieve this Simply Books takes a number of steps. First, all transactions are entered into an interface that is modelled on a spreadsheet. Not only does this ensure familiarity, but the simple layout of a spreadsheet application is a tried and tested method.
A second, and extremely popular yet simple feature of the software, which can help reduce frustration and save time, is that transactions do not have to be completed before they are saved.
Although a seemingly minor point, it rears its ugly head a surprising number of times. An invoice can be completed even if some details are unknown, which means that an employee will not be stopped in his or her tracks, but come back to complete the transaction another time.
Reconciliation is another aspect of accounting, of which Simply Books makes short work. It is transformed into a task where a bank statement is presented as a Simply Books form like any other.
Accountancy software must be stable and reliable which is something the company takes very seriously.
Simply Books claims that it provides only ten minutes of support per customer each year.
It is so confident about its software that it now offers customer support included in the price of the product, which has remained the same. Simply Books models itself on one objective, which is to get more people using accounting software.
Simply Books fought off competition from extremely strong rivals. It is worth giving a special mention to PAS for its P11D Organiser; TAS Software for TAS Books 2 and Spreadsheet Builder for its Cashflow Wizard.
Other shortlisted candidates: