So you’ve decided you need end-to-end agency management software. Now you have to decide what it needs to deliver. Perhaps you’re putting a functionality checklist together, which is a great approach. But hold on a minute, some agency management systems include an entire accounting system, and some don’t! How do you know which to plump for?
In this article we outline the key benefits of having a separate agency management system and accounting system, and explain why we advise agencies to go for individual systems.
If you go for a separate accounting and agency management system, you can ensure both systems are ideal for your agency. You won’t have to compromise on accounting functionality, and you can use established systems that are recognised as the leaders in their field.
There are common systems that accounting professionals use such as Xero, Sage and QuickBooks. If you have an integrated agency management and accounts system, then you’re not using one of these familiar packages and finance professionals are less likely to be familiar with how it works. They’ll need to spend time figuring this out and if they’re an external accountant, they’ll bill you for this time. Plus, new members of the accounting team will get up and running a lot quicker if they’re using a familiar system.
Synergist shows you all your project and agency financial information via live dashboard views and reports, so you have complete visibility of your projects and wider agency from within the system. It then integrates seamlessly with leading accounts systems including Sage, Xero, and QuickBooks for the formal accounting. The data is simply pulled across so there’s no re-entry of data required.
Very few people within an agency need access to the company accounts. An agency management system with integrated accounting functionality should let you set permissions for who can see the accounting information. But setting and managing permissions will never be as secure as having a completely separate system.
Having separate systems also means you only need to pay for the few people that need it to access the accounting system.
You’ll want your accounts system and your agency management system to integrate not just with your accounting system but other third-party software. For example, you’ll want your accounts software to integrate with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital scheme and your chosen banks online banking. While combined systems can provide some of these integrations, if you’re using one of the leading accounting systems they provide a far wider selection of integrations. They can also update them more rapidly to ensure they continue to function.
In the same way this allows us to focus on developing integration with relevant software such as Microsoft365.
Further to the point above, every provider has a finite amount of time that they can spend on product development. So you want that time to be focused on the areas that will really make a difference to you. You don’t want the development time to be spent keeping the accounting side in line with the mass market accounting systems, when these are available for relatively little cost due to their economies of scale. You want development that's focused on continual improvements on the agency management side, as this has the power to help give your agency a real competitive advantage.
We hope this article has clarified some of the core benefits of keeping your accounts and agency management systems separate. There are core functions within agency management that need to sit together and share data to give you a crystal-clear view of project and agency financials. But you don’t need to make sacrifices on your accounting system.
Good luck with your search for the right software for your agency. We’re happy to help if we can, but we may be a little biased, so why not check out what some of our clients have said in their own words?