Report shows happy customers

Yes there are too many emails; yes, over-reliance on IT can depersonalise client relationships; and, yes, sometimes it can seem that the machine is in charge, not you. But managing these trials is in the gift of the user.

That said there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to technological solutions.

And to assume that the modern accounting practice runs only Sage products on a Microsoft-powered PC would be to ignore the reality.

Contrast some statistics. Almost one-in-ten accountancy practices continue to use Lotus Smartsuite. Meanwhile, a handful of accounting firms use Apple Macintoshs instead. And at least one practice is using Linux.

All this is revealed today in a report from the ICAEW’s IT faculty. And having surveyed IT usage among more than 750 practices, the report shows how happy accountants are with the software they are running.

Use of software packages is rising among accountants. But practices are increasingly using software for a range of different activities and not buying more. This year users have reported fewer business critical failures in the software.

Given that 76% of practices run accounts production software, the importance of this increased reliability should not be under-estimated. The ICAEW also reports that users of many personal tax products are happy with their reliability.

Some payroll products such as Sage’s Instant Payroll score less well on business critical failure, but users of straight bookkeeping packages like Quickbooks awarded higher performance and reliability than last year.

Given that this pushed up recommendation levels, according to the ICAEW, what should we conclude? Perhaps that users are looking less for the latest all-singing and dancing add-on and more for a product that offers as near to absolute reliability as possible.

  • Damian Wild is editor of Accountancy Age.

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