Transitioning from our old ways of doing business to using online platforms can be a daunting prospect; however, it is now more of a necessity than a nice-to-have. Covid-19 lockdowns accelerated this process, but the need to become more tech-savvy and take business processes online, had already begun. Annelize Hartman, co-owner of Serenity Accounting Company, moved from desktop to online accounting programs in 2010, and began using QuickBooks Online Accountant in 2014. Since then, she’s never looked back, and advises others to do the same.
Annelize Hartman started her own tax business in 2007 – in those days, it meant taking a ticket and standing in long queues at SARS, so she appreciates how the system has progressed since then. She subsequently studied to become an accountant, and in 2014, partnered with Andre Nolte, a CA, in their current business. “Like everyone else, we operated with a desktop program, but my introduction to QuickBooks was a game-changer for our company, and their quick, efficient customer service and support is exceptional,” she says.
Annelize’s company works mainly with SMEs, and not all have moved their accounting systems online. She says, “Apart from easy onboarding, and simplifying, streamlining and speeding up accounting processes, EasyBiz Technologies offers the best support and a quick turnaround time on queries, and really goes the extra mile for clients. This is so valuable for business-owners. I’ve worked with other programs, and have found QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) to be the best.”
Her business also uses the QuickBooks Online’s app, Receipt Bank, which she says saves a lot of time. Other partnered apps available include AR Collect, AutoEntry, Draftworx, HandiFox, DataQlick, Easy-Commission, and Asset Guru. QuickBooks Online Accountant is fully integrated with these apps, which makes the system available and live on all devices. “Other platforms have cumbersome plugins and you have to explain complex concepts in separate emails; but QuickBooks Online assimilates everything.
“My Management Report generated by QuickBooks Online is professional and impressive. It also allows me to add notes, which is very helpful to business-owners who may not know all the accounting lingo. It allows me to help them understand the accounting process better, and this helps them manage their business better.”
Annelize is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and works with them for life. As a result, she still has clients from 2007.
When asked what advice she would offer accounting firms, she says, emphatically, “Move away from desktop and go online! The desktop programs are so time-consuming. Excel, for example, is a fantastic program and some people can do amazing things with it, but it’s very limited compared to online platforms. With QuickBooks Online Accountant, you work with live data, you can see everything immediately (for example, instant reports showing whether payments are behind, and where you stand with your creditors), and you can work simultaneously with other team members, unlike desktop programs where you have to wait for others to finish sections of work before you can access information.”
Serenity now has a branch in Pretoria North which focuses on advising accountants on how to set up a practice, which systems to use, and how to make their lives easier. “The role of the accountant has changed. Due to there being so much red tape, and the fact that companies don’t always need a CA and not all companies need to be audited, many accounting professionals have left the industry. She advises accountants to expand their knowledge and technology skills and take on a more advisory role to help entrepreneurs understand the processes of business. “This is a very valuable and rewarding new dimension to the role of the accountant,” she concludes.