This month, we spoke with Rayanne Armand from Root2Growth Accounting & Advisory, an Exeter-based cloud accounting firm offering a high-level virtual FD service that’s driven by their fully customised and tailored Senta practice management system.
A world-class finance offering for local SMEs
“I moved to the UK seven and a half years ago and started a family with my husband, so the Root2Growth business was something I’ve built up around my kids and my family. I’m ex-PwC (South Africa) and Deloitte (UK), so I had a lot of Big Four accounting experience behind me. That helped me start providing budget forecasts and management information, as well as doing system implementations for local businesses – and the practice has really grown from there.
In working with these local businesses I found that there was a disjoint between the accountant, bookkeeper and outsourced FDs such as myself. So I wanted to create a solution that bought all of those services together – a powerful outsourced finance department. The initial driver for setting up the firm was going to Xerocon 2019 and seeing how Xero and cloud could help small businesses get in control of their numbers. I wanted to create a ‘one-stop solution’ that would provide a world-class finance dept, with all the modern tech that SMEs could plug into.
18 months down the line, that’s what we’ve done. We have the Xero Dashboard as the driver for the business, with Receipt Bank doing the bookkeeping, GoProposal doing the initial proposals and Senta managing everything to do with the running of the practice.
Senta is integral to the practice now. I don’t think there’s another solution out there that does the practice management in this way.”
Hands-on accounting, with the benefits of automation
“I didn’t want to be the kind of accountant that only sees their clients once a year. I wanted to be a hands-on accountant, but with all the benefits of having great systems and tech behind us.
I didn’t want to create a business that was totally reliant on people – I wanted to create a business that relied on systems, with the human element coming in where it’s needed! Having things automated means we can save time, get strategic and go deep with our clients.
We’ve used Senta and GoProposal right from the start of the business. There was no tracking of clients and engagements in Excel spreadsheets – we started with Senta, and with my background in financial modelling and system implementations, I knew what I needed Senta to do. So many practices have the app stack but don’t get the most from it. Some accountants just use Senta as a database, which is a shame.
People are often surprised at how many of the Senta features I use. My goal is to use and customise as many features as possible in all the apps I use. If we miss something, or something goes wrong, I encourage my team to always think about how we can build a step into Senta to make sure it doesn’t happen again”
Customising Senta and getting down into the detail
“When you’re setting up Senta, it’s so important to understand your goals and processes. You need to know the basic structure of how you want that process to look, so that you can build the system around your processes, rather than trying to fit your processes around the system.
We use Senta to control the whole onboarding process, for document signing and sending out automated reminder emails. With the help of a very structured process in Senta, submitting CIS to HMRC has become a breeze. It helps us take control of the relationship and give clients that certainty. It’s all based around telling our clients how things have to be done to be efficient and having processes in place to remind them when deadlines are coming up or tax payments are due.
What I really love is the outbox. Although the emails are automated, we still have that ability to review before sending, which is great for giving things a quick sense check. There are things on my Senta ‘wish list’. I’d love to see continued investment in the client portal, so we can see things from the client point of view and make it easier to organise and review their docs.
On the whole, though, we love Senta. There’s nothing that can touch what Senta does and the potential that the customisation options give you.”
If you want to try Senta for yourself, you can have a 30-day trial, for free. Sign up here.