Notification of a sharp price increase affecting Adviser Office Premier - 1st Software's product for the smallest IFA firms - is drawing stinging comment from some users.
IFA Alan Charles estimates his cost will rise from £81.66 (including VAT) per month currently to £170.37 (including VAT) once the full impact of the price changes take effect in July 2006.
Charles says he understands businesses need to make money, but the 100%-plus increase in the cost of using AO is hard to accept having already incurred additional expense on two training days essential to making best use of the software.
The increase is “staggering” and raises questions about whether 1st has decided to in future focus on larger businesses at the expense of smaller IFA firms, he says.
Mik Cons, managing director of 1st Software says the new pricing policy reflects a commitment to maintain service levels across all versions of AO.
"The price rise, the first for two years, reflects both the investment we have made to ensure our users can take full advantage of the massive efficiency savings available through eBusiness and our stated aim to provide a first class service to all our clients," says Cons.
"As a business we did not want to compromise these service levels for smaller users. To help minimise the impact for our existing Premier users we are phasing the increase in over the next ten months."
Documents explaining the changes suggest many of the investments mentioned by Cons will manifest themselves through the product upgrade to Adviser Office 4, set for launch next month.
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