We recently caught up with Dan Ryder from Level Accounting to learn about his experiences with choosing an accountancy practice management software, and how he finally got it right using Pixie.
Tell us a bit about your business and what you do?
I’m Dan Ryder, the owner of Level Accounting, a Bolton-based accountancy firm founded just over five years ago. Over the last two years we’ve quadrupled in size. We predominantly deal with small businesses, like hairdressers and salons, but we’ve also got a few larger clients in the hospitality sector too.
We mainly focus on tax returns, self-assessments, CIS and account reductions. Although there’s nothing particularly obscure about what we do, we provide a crucial service for all 700+ of our clients, and we do it to a very high standard.
How did you initially get to know about Pixie?
We moved to Pixie soon after COVID started, but we got rid of it after 3 months as we weren’t getting the functionality out of it that we wanted. However, this wasn’t Pixie’s fault… we just weren’t using it properly. We tried out a couple of other products in the interim period but once we realised what we were missing we signed straight back up.
I’d had quite a varied experience with accountancy practice management platforms over the years, using everything from native apps to Excel. However, once we started to grow as a firm, particularly during the pandemic, I knew we needed a more flexible, cloud-based solution.
What made you come back to Pixie?
In our industry, you receive a torrent of emails every day.
Pixie’s email integration is outstanding, because we can log in and send emails directly from the platform, and have all associated jobs update automatically without us having to do anything.
The other main thing we needed was a way to streamline our anti-money laundering process. Pixie’s intuitive integration with Xama made things really simple in this context, especially from an onboarding perspective.
Another major problem was that our team members often found practice management platforms clunky to use, and as such often neglected to update them. Perhaps the biggest game-changer was the intuitive interface, which ensures it’s always easy to input data, figure out where we’re at, and know what’s coming up.
What was it like getting Pixie set up?
Although it was a bit of a struggle to get everyone on board with a new system, once they started seeing the benefits of seeing all the data in one place, it was a different story.
First, we uploaded all of our existing jobs, making sure any recurring tasks were set up properly. Then, we focused on fleshing out the jobs and attaching emails.
After that, we started taking advantage of the Zapier integration, which has become an indispensable part of how we manage engagement letters and proposals alongside our existing Ignition implementation.
What is it about Pixie that you would recommend to other firms?
The most financially successful businesses we know have one thing in common: they’re organised. Without organisation, you can’t scale. As we’ve grown from a handful of clients to over 700, we’ve seen the benefits of integrating software like Pixie early on. Change is much harder as you begin to hire more people.
It’s quite beautiful that we can customise tasks and templates to the Nth degree around our particular requirements. Now, each employee we hire can sit down and get to work with minimal onboarding and without disrupting the existing flow of things.
While Pixie doesn’t do everything, it doesn’t claim to either, it fulfils the purpose for which we invested into it brilliantly.
How straightforward is it to work with Pixie?
It’s dead easy to get started. Of course there was a bit of a transition period but now, with new clients, it takes less than a minute to get them set up in the system.
Working with the Pixie team has also been a joy. They’re super responsive, know their stuff, and are quick to offer a demo when we want to explore new functionality, before we have to commit.
Pixie is also quite a forgiving platform. We’re all human at Level Accounting, and every so often we might accidentally import data in the wrong way or merge it incorrectly. While this would have been a nightmare before, with Pixie it’s easy to undo mistakes and rectify a situation before it becomes a long-term data issue.
In hindsight, even if Level Accounting was still a one person operation, I’d still be looking to use Pixie. The value for money is phenomenal, and it saves so much time.