TechnologyAccounting SoftwareCustomer has the final word.

Customer has the final word.

Judging the entries in the IT section of the Accountancy Age Awards for Excellence is getting harder every year. There are just so many superb products entered.

At Baker Tilly we carry out many software selection exercises and take into account a host of issues over and above price.

Therefore it seemed natural to place much more emphasis on customer satisfaction to help to differentiate between the many excellent offerings.

Even so, we still found it very difficult to whittle down all the contenders in order to compile the shortlist.

In the Off-the-Shelf section – even though it was not the eventual winner – PAS had outstanding customer feedback for its P11D Organiser.

All the others on the shortlist followed closely behind, which is why we ended up with a shortlist of four contenders, when it was supposed to be three.

In the Mid-Range section, the customer feedback for SquareSum’s DREAM was outstanding with Exchequer and Attain from Microsoft’s Navision acquisition both very good.

It was a similar scenario for the other two sections.

The judging took place in early September. Thus it was interesting to meet up again at the Awards dinner two months later to face up to our decisions. Thanks from the winners and the disappointment from those who were so close.

Next year the judges intend to lay even more emphasis on customer satisfaction and will be refining our system of obtaining customer feedback. It is a regular comment at the IT faculty that there can be the best product for our clients out there, but unless it is effectively supported a better option is the lesser product with the better support.

In other words, it is the overall solution, product and support together that counts, not simply the product itself.

Once again, congratulations to all those winners and those shortlisted. You made our job very difficult.

Long may it continue to be so!

  • John Oates is a partner at Baker Tilly and deputy chairman of the ICAEW’s IT faculty.

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