The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2010-10-04T02:04:56Z APS Sponsors the 2010 Royal Flying Doctor Service Outback Trek! 2010-10-04T02:04:56Z aps-sponsors-the-2010-royal-flying-doctor-service-outback-trek APS are proud to have supported the annual RFDS OutbackTrek to help raise funds for the important Australian service.APS sponsored one of the two 1970 Holdens entered in the trekthroughPKF Sydney who have been avidsupporters ofthe service for many years. Car 9/9 was driven bypartners John Afford (Tax) and Jonathan Karlovsky (Enterprise Advisers). The trip started out with the failure of the freshly rebuilt engine, but was salvaged by some helpful locals who located replacement parts in various people's back yards. Picture: 2010 RFDS Outback TrekkersThe week-long trek embarked from Hay, located in the Western Riverina region of southwestern New South Wales, on Sunday June 6th and concluded on Hamilton Island, the location of the very first Outback Trek in 1990. Upon reaching the destination on Hamilton Island, the RFDScelebratedtheir 21st birthday in grand style under the balmyand tropical Whitsundays skies, and announced the donation totals for the 2010 Trek. Picture: The Outback Trek in full swing The trek which coveredthree states, is vital for theRFDS to raise much needed funds. Since itspioneer trip in 1990, the trekhas raised more than$15 million, which has been put towards the purchase of replacement aircraft and vital medical supplies. The Outback Trek now raises well over $1 million each year andhas become the most important event in the Flying Doctor's annual fund raising calendar. Thanks to the support of companies like PKFSydney who enter thetrek to help raise funds,and APS who were willing tosponsor the event,the RFDS can continue to run these events and benefit the community through fund raising.For more information please contact Renne Daw on (02) 9965 1340 or APS parent, Reckon Limited, on Forbes Magazine's 'Asia's Best 200 under a billion' List 2010-10-04T02:01:52Z aps-parent-reckon-limited-on-forbes-magazine-s-asia-s-best-200-under-a-billion-list APS parent, ASX-listed Reckon Limited (RKN), has been named as one of just 13 Australian companies in Forbes Magazine's Top 200 Asian "best under a billion" Companies for 2010.Reckon Limited continues to grow strongly and the APS Group, operating out of offices in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, has played a major part in that growth. Offering a core suite of practice and related software to the accounting and legal professions, APS itself has grown significantly since merging into the Reckon business in 2004.Reckon joins other well known Australian companies on the list, including Mortgage Choice and APS Group CEO Brian Armstrong was delighted to hear the news: "The whole Reckon family is thrilled about being named in this list. It's not something we put ourselves forward for but is independent recognition of just how far we've come in the past few years. At APS we're particularly proud of the contribution we have made to making this list."The full Forbes Magazine article can be accessed via the following link: APS Webinar Series and Online Training 2010-10-04T01:58:45Z aps-webinar-series-and-online-training Over the last couple of months, and over the upcoming months, we continue our push to use more on-line interaction with our clients via our APS Webinar Series.The Webinar Series is a combination of free demonstration webinars for information purposes and chargeable training sessions whereby you can have multiple people in your office join us for an online training session. As we use this technology more and more the feedback from clients is very positive. QuickBooks Online webinars Most recently, during July and August we ran a series of webinars on our QuickBooks Online application. There has been a fantastic response to QuickBooks Online with over 5,000 users already using this technology. Greg Deacon our QB Enterprise Sales Manager has been running these sessions and every participant so far has taken up the offer of a free trial for 3 of their clients. The beauty with QuickBooks Online is that it easily allows you to work on your clients' data files in a live environment, taking away the hassle of clients sending in their data files and always wondering who has the latest copy or having to work with multiple versions of QuickBooks - as QB online is upgraded automatically for all users. Greg will continue with more of these informative webinars over the coming weeks so please look out for an invite soon. Desktop Super webinars On top of this we have recently conducted a series of Desktop Super update and training sessions online. Participation has been fantastic with over 174 participants joining in for this training and feedback from clients has been very positive. In early September we sent out additional invitations to our XPA 2010 online training series for staff who would benefit from some assistance in deploying these updates. We will continue to run both free information sessions as well as training sessions online over the coming 70% of fee-earners asked ‘to discount their fees’, 63% of lawyers asked to ‘absorb disbursements’ in the past 12 months, 65% of accountants now undertaking ‘fixed fee’ client work – APS time capture and billing Survey 2010-10-01T00:53:55Z 70-of-fee-earners-asked-to-discount-their-fees-63-of-lawyers-asked-to-absorb-disbursements-in-the-past-12-months-65-of-accountants-now-undertaking-fixed-fee-client-work-aps-time-capture-and-billing-survey A recent survey undertaken by legal and accounting firm software supplier APS (Advanced Professional Solutions) has found that in the past year more than 70% of legal and accounting fee-earners have been asked to discount their fees by clients, pointing to a desire from clients to control and gain certainty over professional fees. While 38% of lawyers and 33% of accountants have been asked to move to a fixed fee method of billing, the survey found a marked divergence of the two professions when it comes to absorbing disbursements – with 63% of lawyers asked by clients to absorb disbursement against just 14% of accountants, a further sign that law firm clients are looking to control costs. Sydney-based APS Group CEO Brian Armstrong said the results showed that ‘the pressure is definitely on from clients of both lawyers and accountants when it comes to, variously, fees, disbursements and cost-containment generally. We’ve heard a great deal about this from our legal and accounting clients and it’s a strong matter of debate – this survey provides some science to that debate.’ The APS survey of more than 200 Australian firms covered a range of topics covering lawyers’ and accountants’ attitudes to time-recording and current, future and preferred billing methods and disbursements, identifying a number of similarities and differences between the two professions. Key results are as follows: From a whole-of-firm perspective please identify what percentage (%) of your fees are currently billed under the following methods: (average % per firm) Lawyers Accountants Fixed Fee 15% 22% Time based 79% 75% Value Billing 12% 17% For all the debate in both professions over the move to fixed fees and value billing methods, time-based billing remains the overwhelming method currently in use in both legal and accounting firms. However, when asked to forecast the likely position in five years time fixed fees increased significantly for accountants rising to almost 40% of total fees. Looking forward 5 years, what do you think the proportions (as a percentage %) will be for your firm as a whole Lawyers Accountants Fixed Fee 16% 39% Time based 66% 54% Value Billing 27% 32% When asked what their personal preferred method of charging for work would be, there was a marked difference with both lawyers (25%) and accountants (35%) wanting to move away from time-based billing, perhaps reflecting the difficulty surrounding the accurate capture and recording of time in traditional six-minute or 15-minute units. From a personal perspective as a fee-earner, what single method would be your preferred method of charging for your work Lawyers Accountants Fixed Fee 32% 30% Time based 25% 35% Value Billing 43% 35% However, looking at the reality of the situation, it is clear that accountants are a long way ahead of their legal counterparts in undertaking fixed fee work with 65% of accountants stating they personally charge a proportion of clients on a fixed fee basis, against 38% of lawyers. Do you personally undertake Fixed Fee work? Lawyers Accountants 38% 65% Significant numbers of comments were received indicating that 6 and 15 minute time recording was often inaccurate due to human error and that available software and hardware systems should be employed to assist in the time-capture process, as reflected in the tables, below. Increasingly the technology is now available to allow you, by client and by matter, to capture time spent on making calls or emails on your handheld device straight into WIP while you are 'on the move'. Is this something you would like to see implemented in your firm Lawyers Accountants Yes 67% 40% No 0% 26% Unsure 33% 33% When asked how accurately their own firms record time, accountants gave themselves a significantly higher score than lawyers with 84% scoring themselves more than 7 out of 10 for accuracy of capture and recording. At a whole-of-firm level, how accurately is time captured in your firm (on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is perfectly accurate) Lawyers Accountants Self-score of 7 or more out of 10 63% 84% If you do undertake Fixed Fee work, as a general rule, are you required to record your time accurately on these projects Lawyers Accountants 100% 87% Perhaps most telling of all, 75% of lawyers and 72% of accountants who participated in the survey have been asked to discount their fees in the past 12 months while 38% and 33% respectively being asked to move to a fixed fee, agreed upfront. However a major divergence was registered in terms of clients requests to absorb disbursements – 63% of lawyers have been asked to absorb disbursements against just 14% of accountants. In your team - in the past 12 months - have you been asked by a client / clients to: Lawyers Accountants Discount your fees 75% 72% Moved to a fixed fee 38% 33% Absorb Disbursements 63% 14% Summing up, APS Group CEO Brian Armstrong indicated that key results of the survey confirmed what both professions have been signalling. “Our discussions with our law firm clients have shown very clearly that their clients are increasingly asking them to absorb disbursements, with accountants also being asked to discount fees or agree a fixed fee upfront – or all of the above. With this in mind it’s critical therefore that real costs and real time spent are captured accurately. Why? Because if you’ve moved to a fixed fee, accurate time capture and recording ensures you can run a clear report on the cost and profit per matter and per client. The same goes for accurate capture of all costs associated with a matter. A focus on accurate apportionment of costs and time ensures that estimates can be made with confidence - based on science rather than broad-based assumptions.” For more information contact: James Officer, StrategyCo E: T: 03 83 999 500 MyAPS Portal and what it can do for you 2010-04-29T05:40:53Z myaps-portal-and-what-it-can-do-for-you In April 2009, APS introduced to you, our new call logging and knowledge base portal. We heard your calls, we listened to your requests – and it finally came – the MyAPS Portal. MyAPS Portal is a key componentthat helpsthe APS support team provide you answers to your support queries quicker and easier. It also providesa knowledge base for you to search known issues and resolutions to common issues experienced. What is MyAPS Portal? MyAPS is an integrated, user friendly call logging and knowledge base system, that is accessed through an online portal designed and created specially for you and your firm.As well as providing useful tools and functionalities, MyAPS provides an easy process for you to log, monitor and analyse calls for your firm. Additionally, MyAPS can be utilised for logging and tracking other service requests, such as, enhancement, consulting and training. What is MyAPS Knowledge Base?MyAPS Knowledge Base is a database which contains a wealth of information on APS products, processes and known issues - all in the form of articles and FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions). If you need an answer for a "How To" question (e.g How to add a client in PM?), or perhaps you'd simply like to know what other users are asking our support staff, MyAPS Knowledge Base can answer your questions. Who can access the MyAPS Knowledge? Your firm's nominated MyAPS contacts have direct access to MyAPS Knowledge Base by simply logging into MyAPS Portal. Other staff members can access the system via the Guest Login area. For more information, please contact Renne Daw on (02) 9965 1340 or alternatively APS Talks Integration with Farrow Wyatt 2010-04-29T05:34:32Z aps-talks-integration-with-farrow-wyatt Farrow Wyatt is a progressive 5-partner firm of Chartered Accountants based in Maitland, NSW. An Advance user since 2007, the firm is an advocate of the way in which the APS team has integrated the Advance suite to the point where now all practice and client data is accessible via a single desktop window – the Advance Central Console. Here, client manager James Carr (who's also responsible for IT systems within the practice) gives us the firm's view on the APS team and software. When did your firm implement its APS Advance Practice Management system? We commenced a phased implementation in January 2007 and we have approximately 60 users on the system. Which APS products have you taken out licences to use? We started off by installing Practice Management, Practice IQ, Interwoven Document Management, Advance Tax, Xcede Professional Accounting (XPA), Business Process Automation (BPA). We're currently looking at Advance CRM and the Desktop Super SMSF administration application. The Integrated Advance suite Can you tell me what the integrated Advance suite means to Farrow Wyatt? Essentially it means that the Advance applications work in an integrated way to pull together everything we need to service a client from a single window. This is a real step forward in practice software because, as users, we don't want to have to open different products in different windows to get to client data – the Advance suite does this for us via the Advance Central Console. Can you give me an example of how Advance's integrated functionality is benefitting the firm in terms of process streamlining, time savings and productivity?It all comes back to the Central Console – with other vendors you have to open too many programs to get to the data you need to work on. With Advance we can work from within the Practice Management app all day and we can access all client data and Advance applications from that point – whether it's Tax or Professional Accounting or whatever. The fact we can customise data and reports that are relevant to a particular client is a real benefit.Does this make life easier for the user? Life before APS Advance was extremely difficult particularly when you are talking about reporting. We were with MYOB and for us the day-to-day experience is as different as chalk and cheese.For example, if a client is on the phone and wants to talk about an invoice or a tax return of a set of accounts – it's all there at the click of the mouse – I can pull up absolutely everything and talk to the client with all relevant information in front of me. It makes our team members look like they are on top of things and it saves digging around for the information and having to call the client back. The same goes for dealing with information requests from business associates such as banks and financial planners – with the Central Console in Advance, we can let them have the information they require – either over the telephone or via an email – without any delay. APS People How have the people you work with at APS helped ensure you get the best out of the integrated Advance suite – how have they helped in practical terms?I think that this comes back to one of the main reasons we moved to APS. The APS team members we work with always tell us that they can make the system do whatever we want it to do – and then they deliver on this. This is a real sea-change. Before we moved to APS we were locked into what the software could do rather than what we wanted it to do. The APS consultants have worked with us and suggested best practice methods that might work for us – while very much taking on board what we wanted and how we wanted the suite to work for us. They've made it happen. They listen to practices like us and mould the software round you rather than expecting us to mould ourselves around the software. Flexibility and attitude is the key. Functionality How does the Advance suite compare to your previous product in terms of functionality?As I said earlier, it's chalk and cheese even though on the surface the two products do many of the same basic things. That said, speed and ease-of-access to data is the big difference between what we had and what we now have. The other big thing for us is Advance's reporting functionality – it's so easy to run reports from Advance applications and that gives us client efficiency as well as time savings in managing the practice. Future Development What would you like to see APS add to its product set in its next releases of Advance that will assist your business? In general terms APS comes up with some nifty ideas – but I think they should work even closer with practices to see what they want to further develop. At Farrow Wyatt, we're looking for some little changes and improvement s to specific tasks. For example, I'm looking forward to the custom written tax application and some more work in the initial Central Console launch – bringing additional basic client info into view at launch. Summing Up Do you have any final words that sum up how you feel about APS, its team and its software?We're very happy with the product and the people - one of the major issues for us that made us make the switch to APS originally was APS's commitment to support. We weren't happy with this with our previous supplier but with APS that's completely turned around.Also we have access to the top guys and that is great from our perspective. You know you can get to talk to the likes of (APS CEO) Brian Armstrong when you want to, so yes, we're very happy. At the end of the day, we are a progressive firm that sees software functionality as critical to running a smooth business. In APS we have partner that shares that view.If you would like to find out more, please contact Renne Daw on (02) 9965 1340 or alternatively APS Reviews it's ADI Application 2010-04-29T05:25:27Z aps-reviews-it-s-adi-application Advance Digital Imaging (ADI)is a software application that addresses the increasingly time-consuming issue of how to deal with incoming client-related paper in a systematic way. With ADI, both, filing and extracting data from single-dimension forms and notices are dealt with in a simple scan. To put it mildly, we're really excited about ADI because it enables firms to turn laborious people-heavy data entry processes into a single technology driven process. What does it do? Essentially, ADI extracts information and data from documents as they are scanned, enabling your team to work with that data in a dynamic way. For example, we can automate the capture of information and data from, for example, Tax Assessment Notices. You can scan incoming Notices of Assessments (NOA's), and the software will 'scrape' the appropriate data and populate the correct areas within Advance Tax, then compare theresults in the Advance system. It will then generate the appropriate client letters or deliver focused emails toindividuals within the practice to alert themof potential differences. All this happens in a single processwhile, simultaneously, saving the file into your Document Management system. Additionally the application can create unique barcodes that can be attached to paper documents for automatic scanning, profilingand saving directly into your Document Management system.. Similarly, as we develop the Advance DI product functionality to meet the broader requirements of the professional accounting market, data and information from many other paper-based documents that firms handle as a part of day-to-day business will be able to be captured into relevant applications within the Advance suite. Advance DI adds an important functional benefit to APS clients seeking efficiencies in their businesses both from a resource management and time saving perspective.If you have anyqueries or would likefurther information, please call Renne Daw on (02) 9965 1340 or alternatively APS Taking on the Microblogging World 2010-04-29T05:13:08Z aps-taking-on-the-microblogging-world APS has joined the microblogging world and are now 'tweeting' away on social networking phenomenon - Twitter. Twitter is the latest craze in the Social Networking worldand has proven to be a successful business resource for companies around the globe. Businesses can 'tweet' and inform their followers and the public of their latest products or services, company goals and ideals, employment opportunities or simply to 'listen' and find out what the public are doing. This is a valuable and free marketing tool, and APS have twigged on and are reaping the benefits.If you would like tohear more or have any queries about APS, please contact Renne Daw on (02) 9965 1340 or alternatively