Software under fire.

The English ICA has released its long-awaited report on the use of IT in accountancy firms and concluded software providers need to do much more to improve the performance of their products.

Results from the IT faculty’s IT Usage in Accountancy Practices survey – the first since 1994 – revealed six per cent of accountants said their accounting application had failed within the last two years.

A further 24% had experienced a failure in time and fees recording software, with 13% reporting their taxation package had let them down.

The survey of 729 offices of accountancy practices gave an insight into the market share of software providers.

It found 69% of practices used packages to produce their accounts.

The top selling ‘time and fees’ packages were Minuteman with a 15% share of the market, Iris at 14% and Star at 13%. Performance-wise, Iris received the best overall score of the three brands – however none of the assessments scored highly.

Some 56% of offices surveyed used a software system to provide a book-keeping service for clients. Sage dominated the market with Instant Accounting, Line 50 and Line 100 packages having 60% share of the market.

In this category, TAS Books was narrowly judged to have been the best overall performer of the top brands, followed by Sage.

A spokeswoman for Sage said: ‘There is no such thing as perfect software, but we continually test internally and externally our software to continue to ensure there are no critical performance problems with all our core products.’

English ICA IT faculty


Accounts preparation

1) Iris – 20%

2) Sage Final Accounts Production – 18%

3) Sage Auditman – 14%

Personal Taxation

1) Iris – 18%

2) PTP – 14%

3) Taxman – 11%

4) Solution 6 – 10%.

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