Xero add-on program Practice Ignition has greater ambitions than automating letters of engagement to clients. It planned to integrate with more accounting programs and grow into a lightweight sales management program for accountants.
“After June we’re looking to (integrate with email marketing program) Mailchimp and more accounting products such as Intuit,” said Guy Pearson, founder of Practice Ignition.
“We really want to focus on delivering client onboarding, the sales process and being able to give data so that we’re the source such as benchmarking, identifying best referrers and employees, so that you get a better picture of where your business is coming from.”
The Australian startup decoupled from Xero last October and looked to “deep dive into what accountants needed such as payments and a document library”, Pearson, a chartered accountant, said. Coming features included invoice schedules and reconciliation payments into ledgers by June 30.
Practice Ignition created web-based letters of engagement or proposals which automatically assigned jobs to accountants in a practice running Xero’s WorkflowMax Practice Manager. The automation saved a practice eight hours per client each year of admin and partner’s time combined.
“We take care of all the non-chargeable admin duties an admin person usually performs. We have customers who started their practice in the past 12 months who have experienced exponential growth without any admin staff,” Pearson said.
Version 2 was released in December 2013 and allowed accountants to create customised proposals for each client. Features included multiple contract templates, drag-and-drop configuration and the ability to send a copy of the proposal to additional users.
Payment terms on invoices could also be customised.
A release this year added the ability to edit accepted engagements. Accountants updated jobs to the practice management software and updated the next invoice in the accounting solution.
Both the accountant and client could approve the proposal by responding to a message explaining the change of service and billing. Users could comment and ask questions on the proposal screen.
The third feature was duplicating a recurring proposal template and assigning staff updated jobs in the practice management system.
Practice Ignition gained extra seed funding earlier this year and had 700 practices signed up globally, with 50 percent of the market in Australia. New Zealand, the UK and US split the next 10 percent and the rest was in Canada, Asia and South Africa.
The company was chasing accountants in the US and UK – Pearson hoped to set up local teams by sponsoring and attending events such as the Sleeter Group Accounting Solutions Conference.