Reckon has released a service that automatically takes information from clients’ business accounting programs, even if by a competing vendor, and centralises it in APS, Reckon’s practice management software.
It’s a smart move by Reckon. Xero has for a long time promoted the idea of a single-vendor firm. In exchange for loyalty, a single-vendor firm can operate more efficiently by keeping clients and practice in the one software family.
However, it’s unclear how many firms are prepared to put all their eggs in one vendor’s basket. The cost to the firm is not just independence but also financial; they must say goodbye to clients who refuse to move to the chosen vendor’s software.
The SyncDirect service is an attempt to give firms all three options – vendor independence, customer choice and higher levels of efficiency.
SyncDirect fits squarely into the “freedom” mantra pushed by Reckon. Accountants can recommend a range of different branded SME accounting software based on what their clients need, not what would be most convenient for the accountant to capture their data back into their own systems, the company points out in its press release.
Firms no longer need to be forced into software ‘monopolies’, said Sam Allert, Reckon’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand. “Accountants can give their clients freedom of choice to use the accounting software that most suits their needs, while still maintaining efficiencies and cost-effectiveness in their practice,” Allert said.
The efficiency gain here is in eliminating the need to rekey in clients’ financial data into the firm’s general ledger. SyncDirect automatically translates the data and pushes it into the ledger.
How does SyncDirect work?
The service connects to accounting software made by MYOB and Xero as well as Reckon and imports the financial data at regular intervals.
A firm can map data once to the Xcede general ledger in APS which then automatically categorises any future transactions collected through accordingly. SyncDirect retains mapping information across years.
An accountant or bookkeeper then needs to check only exceptions to the mapping, said Caroline Wilcher, director of Boyce Chartered Accountants, in a press release. (Boyce claims to be the largest independent firm in regional NSW.)
“This really reduces the cost of production in year two, and if the source changes we can simply re-push that data into SyncDirect at the click of a button. This is particularly useful for interim reporting, or where clients make changes to their data,” Wilcher said.
SyncDirect has created a lot of extra capacity at Boyce Chartered Accountants by eliminating the data entry usually required to bring clients’ data across into the firm’s general ledger, Wilcher added.
The firm has spent more time on consolidated reporting and on more valuable services such as monthly management reports.
“Boyce firmly believes in clients using the best accounting system for their needs. SyncDirect allows us to fully maximise our existing investment in customised XPA sheets and also gain efficiency savings when working with different accounting systems,” Wilcher says.
Automated data transfer and availability of real time data make it easier for accountants to sell virtual CFO services to their clients, Allert added.
“The means for additional revenue streams and business diversification opportunities which are so important particularly with the compliance changes the industry is experiencing,” Allert said.