Top 10 Tips on Choosing an App provider for your firm

If you want to find out what to look for when choosing an App provider to create an App for your practice, please note the details shown below. These tips have been written to help accountants choose a recognised and experienced App provider and to avoid some of the pitfalls that might put you and your firm at risk.

1. Ask for a Bespoke/Custom Design

Some providers of Apps for accountants only supply template Apps. This means that your App will have the same look as most of their other customers’ Apps. Typically, they simply change the logo, some colours and a few basic features. We recommend that you avoid such providers and choose a provider that will create an individual and bespoke design exclusively for you.

2. Frequency and Speed of Updates

When you are showing tax tables etc to your end-users, you want to be sure that all the information on your App is quickly updated following the Budget or Autumn Statement. So it’s important to get assurances from the provider how quickly everything can be updated. Ideally, your provider will also supply a content management, system, which allows you to make many of your own changes whenever you want.

3. Portfolio of Designs

Ask to see examples of Apps they have produced for other accountants so you can see the quality of design and ease of use of the App platform you are likely to get. You want a designer who can match the feel of your practice, not just create a design that they like. If you're a small friendly practice aimed at the small business market, you want your design to convey that, not make you look like a large corporation.

4. Cost

Ensure you are comfortable with the cost, especially if extras are being charged for. Most providers of Apps for accountants will charge a monthly fee, which in most cases is the most sensible, so you need to ensure you are comfortable with the fee level on an on-going basis. However, some suppliers may also charge a setup fee in addition to the monthly fee. Make sure you ask your chosen provider if they do.

5. Tie in Periods and Guarantees

Although most providers of Apps for accountants will charge on a monthly basis, some will want to tie you in for a minimum period (usually 12 months). It's safer to use a supplier who does not tie you in, in case they do not deliver the level of service they promised. We would also recommend asking them about the guarantees they offer and how quickly your new App will be ready.

6. App Technology and Accessibility

You should choose a provider who will produce an App built to the very latest mobile technology standards, so it:

  1. Will perform faster on all Smartphones, whether iOS or Android;
  2. Is viewable on all mobile devices (mobile phone, tablet);
  3. Is faster to load and easier to maintain.

7. Marketing Support

One of the most common reasons for having an App is to help attract new clients, so it’s important to find out from your provider how they can help you achieve best results, whether that’s by means of a marketing package, flyers, emails, Push Notification messaging etc. We also recommend asking them about the form of support and knowledge they will deliver in helping you use your App to gain new clients.

8. Endorsements

Ask to see testimonials from existing accountants and end-users who use their Apps and ask if you can speak to a few of them to find out their experience. This may be the most important step in making sure the provider you choose will deliver on their promises.

9. Professional Approval

Check to see if their App has been approved by some of the professional bodies and agencies in the accounting and bookkeeping sector. After all, as a firm of accountants you want to be seen to be supporting the highest standards of technical performance.

10. Support for your Systems

Check to make sure that your clients will be able to use the App as the principal interface with your firm and the systems they use. For example, if they use Xero, then you’ll need a Xero interface so the App becomes their principal point of contact for all their accounting, tax and business management information.

What makes a great App?

At a time when virtually everyone in business has a Smartphone or tablet with them 24/7, it makes sense to have an App from your firm, including your branding and key messages, visible on their device every time they use it.

It helps bring you and your clients closer together and puts you in control of the App environment in a way that’s otherwise impossible. The App is integral to the success of your accounting or bookkeeping firm in an era of digitisation.

Launching an App will allow your firm to integrate all systems on one platform and give you the opportunity for innovative marketing and high referral generation. So what should you expect to see in a great App?

So what should you expect to see in a great App?

The most advanced Apps available today provide you, your staff, your customers and future customers with groundbreaking technology at their fingertips. For example, you can include:

Income Tax, Inflation, VAT, Company Car, Contractor, Inheritance Tax, Mortgage, Stamp Duty etc

GPS Mileage Tracker
iOS users can track, store and manage mileage.

Push Notification Messaging
Communicate with all your App users in seconds using Push Notifications.

Photo Receipt & Expense Management
‘In App’ Receipt and Expense management

Complete ‘In App’ Budget Pack
3 Budget updates, full report, Autumn Statement and Summary all available in your App.

Secure Login to the App
Login via the secure portal to access your content.

Receipt Bank Integration
Many Apps come fully enabled with Receipt Bank Integration.

Customised Icons and Bespoke Links
Your App has the ability to become the critical interface between you, your clients and your systems.

Team and Location Profiles
You can include team profiles and details of all your office locations.

Intelligent QR Code
This clever code will recognise the device type (when scanned using a smartphone or tablet) and direct the user to the appropriate App store.

More options are being added all the time, so your App becomes the 24/7 point-of-focus for your clients and end-users.

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