Although the discussion threads often descend into the inane or abusive, Accounting Web provides a fair insight into the current thinking of UK accountants in practice.
At the moment, it seems some are thinking about ways to avoid the cost of software purchased solely to support clients. Whether its trying to read QuickBooks data in Excel, or looking for the cheapest way to support Sage practitioners are baulking at the cost, and looking for alternatives and workarounds - some possibly not strictly legal.
Why is this becoming a new phenomenon?
Until the recent past, the typical owner-managed business in the UK would have chosen installed software to keep their books - the choice really being one of either QuickBooks or Sage. The accountancy firm acting for the business would have copies of both these software packages (often in many different versions) to enable them to accept and process the data files coming from clients. This was an accepted state of affairs and accountants had no choice but to swallow the software licence costs.
However, during the last four years or so, new SaaS providers like Xero, KashFlow and FreeAgent have entered the accounting software market, with their online delivery model. These new players allow small business owners to invite their accountants "in" to their accounting software, as additional users - usually at no extra cost to the business. Certainly at no cost to the accountant.
So, we now have accountants used to being able to work on client accounting data at no cost, and with no software to install. For newer firms, the need to purchase and deploy software just to be able to support one new client is beginning to jar - i.e. "to have an unpleasant, annoying, or disturbing effect".
Hence the hand-wringing and data acrobatics being suggested on places like Accounting Web.
The accountants don't want the pain of software they don't actually want, they just need a way to work with their clients. On this front the SaaS products tick the box.
Ledgerscope, solves the Sage and QuickBooks problem for accountants :)