Case Study - Beeson Weeks & Co
Plymouth based Beeson Weeks & Co is a small partnership with around 250 clients ranging from sole traders to owner managed businesses, large farms and incorporated businesses trading below the audit threshold.
Graham Beeson became principal in 1987 but the firm can trace its history in Plympton on the outskirts of Plymouth back to 1909.
The firm were users of a rival integrated accountancy software having become one of its earliest customers in 1984. Beeson Weeks & Co remained loyal for almost 25 years.
In August 2008, the firm switched software providers to Digita acquiring an integrated suite comprising their Personal Tax, Business Tax, Corporation Tax and Accounts Production.
Graham Beeson said: "We felt that the software we were using was increasingly being aimed at larger practices which have a wide range of very big limited companies and Plcs as clients and that the software was losing sight of the requirements of small accountancy partnerships and sole practitioners.
"This was compounded when they issued Enhanced Charts of Accounts and stopped supporting the original version. I found the new charts cumbersome and less efficient and it became frustrating that error messages arising from the failure to change had to be over-ridden all the time when I resisted the compulsion to move to the enhanced charts.
"I foresaw that as time went by there would be more and more problems arising from not using the enhanced charts and fewer support staff with knowledge of the original charts to assist with the problems. Help was offered to convert to the enhanced charts which was software driven anyway when what was needed, but not offered, was training in how to get the best out of the enhanced charts and illustrating why they were better than the original charts because we were certainly not finding that to be the case.
"We decided to take a look at the market and found that Digita was the only viable alternative as a provider offering a complete package of integrated accounts and tax software and at a very reasonable cost.
"I have no complaints at all about Digita’s products and as we gain experience I am confident that we will either adapt its flexibility of use to our own way of doing things or, for a better result, will change our ways to suit the Digita software. The ability of the software to track information to my own records is better than I have ever experienced.
"I think that one of the reasons is because Digita’s product development started with SQL as their database engine while other developers are hampered by having to change to it.
"I am happy that we took the decision to change our software providers but am surprised and a little disappointed that, in the light of our long association, my former supplier made no attempt to persuade me that their software still offered everything this practice required. It probably says something about their long term strategy not having room for small practitioners."