Information contained in this post is based on publicly available documentation as of the most recent publish date. Products and features are continually updated and we will make an effort to update the information in this post to reflect those changes.
Asana is an option you’ve likely come across in your search for a work management platform that could help your business grow. It’s popular because it does just that for many people.
But adopting software is a big undertaking and can require a sizable investment, so you can’t let popularity be the deciding factor. Will Asana’s robust project management capabilities do the trick or will you need something more suited to the end-to-end client relationship like Accelo?
We want you to be armed with all the information you need if you’re considering both, so we dug into it and pared down our findings.
Let’s review what Asana offers and what users say about Asana and Accelo.
Asana is a web and mobile work management platform designed to help teams organize, track and manage projects for various industries and purposes. The platform offers multiple task and project views, including lists, Kanban boards, calendars and timelines (similar to Gantt charts). Asana’s collaboration tools clarify team responsibilities and project hierarchy, while its advanced goal-setting and workflow features can be used to keep tabs on the bigger picture.
One of Asana's notable features is its Kanban board view (Image from Asana.com)
While Asana offers a free plan, professional services businesses tend to need the Business plan, as it includes features such as goal tracking and advanced workflows.
Asana's timeline view allows teams to see how individuals' tasks come together (Image from GetApp.com)
When you compare user ratings of Accelo vs. Asana, you’ll find that people prefer each platform for different reasons. Asana is rated higher for ease of setup because it’s largely an out-of-the-box tool, while Accelo is customized around your workflow and has dedicated implementation support that can take longer to provide.
Accelo goes beyond project or task management and is designed specifically for client work, getting more granular about time and profitability, which users appreciate. It’s a more targeted solution for professional services businesses that need to see every touchpoint over the lifetime of a client relationship — from quotes to projects to retainers. Follow-up is easy because all internal activities are attached to a client or company record.
If you don’t have much need for employee time tracking, monitoring billable rates or connecting work to a client or company record and truly only need task management, Asana could be a great task option. It is worth noting, though, that users juggling many tasks at once report that notes and comments can get lost. This could be due to projects living independently. But others say Asana is the ultimate to-do list platform.
Depending on your specific needs, Asana and Accelo could both offer helpful functionality. While Asana is a popular project management tool among its users — both for its ability to simplify project management and improve team collaboration — it may not be the best fit if your business supports client-specific work.
If you are looking for a project management platform that can also support all stages of your client journey, it may be time to explore Accelo further. We’re going to review some of the key considerations when looking for a client work management platform and how Accelo meets these needs in comparison to Asana.
Accelo's Retainers product gives you visibility into all the time your team is dedicating to recurring client work
When you rely on a platform to successfully deliver client work, having reliable support is essential. Asana offers webinars, workshops, tutorials and a customer community to ask questions and share feedback. While some people claim Asana has excellent customer support and love its tutorials, there are others who share that Asana can be slow to respond to customer concerns.
When compared to Asana, users rate Accelo’s support quality higher — in fact, Accelo received G2’s Best Relationship badge in 2022. To help clients fully utilize the platform, Accelo offers help guides, webinars, video tutorials and an Accelo Community that offers a space for clients to ask questions, share and exchange advice and industry best practices and speak directly with the support team and other Accelo product experts. Overall, users are impressed with Accelo’s support and how they listen to feedback from their users.
Asana is a popular project management tool with capabilities that allow teams to effectively plan, manage and report on their work in one place.
Within the Asana project dashboard, project managers can create project plans from scratch or create customizable templates to quickly set up recurring projects with unlimited tasks, task dependencies, assignments, due dates and custom fields. Asana offers unlimited projects and has options available to share limited project details with team members or with clients or other external contributors without Asana access.
Users share that the platform’s project planning features simplify the process of organizing individual and collaborative work and help reduce errors, but some users also explained that there are limits to the project planning automations and some integrations are “clunky.” And additionally, some users offered feedback that creating more complex, custom projects in Asana can diminish the function and usability of the platform.
In comparison, Accelo’s Projects product offers all the tools you need to plan, manage and collaborate on your client work. The platform’s automated intelligence goes beyond just tracking tasks and project status and can also track project costs and resource utilization to guarantee on-time and on-budget project delivery.
With Accelo, users can create project templates that not only include tasks, milestones and dependencies but also include time and cost budgets to keep your project on track.
A unique feature with Accelo is the quote-to-project conversion button that seamlessly converts approved quotes into new projects, transferring important milestones, tasks, budgets and time estimates that were agreed upon during the original sale. This feature is possible because the Accelo platform is an end-to-end solution that supports all aspects of your client work, including sales, projects, tickets, billing, retainers and reports.
Another important Accelo feature for managing successful client projects is the client portal. Accelo’s client portal is a tool to help deliver exceptional client work with equally exceptional customer service. Accelo users use the portal to provide their clients with a centralized hub for on-demand project information, updates and progress on their client work.
Accelo small business users are especially big fans of the client portal, and their reviews recently led to Accelo receiving a G2 Leader badge in the client portal category, along with five other software categories.
Similarly to project management, having smart technology to support your individual tasks can help you stay organized and efficient. Both Asana and Accelo offer features that support better task organization and tracking, saving you and your team time with customizable templates, task dependencies and reporting tools that track you and your team’s progress.
The task list in the Asana platform can function as an individual’s daily to-do list while tracking those same tasks in the larger projects they support. One user shared that Asana’s task management tools make it easy to create connections between small tasks and larger project goals.
While Asana users are happy overall with task management in the platform, it is still primarily a project management tool. Its functions are often enough to support an internal team and its company-wide projects, but a professional services business supporting client work and client relationships may need a more robust tool to complete tasks across every stage of the client journey.
Accelo makes this possible with an end-to-end system that connects tasks from sales to projects to ticketing to billing to retainers. With Accelo, you can create and manage tasks during each stage, even creating task templates to support retainers and recurring client work to build more stable revenue streams for your business.
Recurring work and retainers are an important step toward stability for client-based businesses, so it’s important to have a tool that can support recurring tasks and projects to simplify the process and build consistency in your project delivery.
While Asana does have the ability to create task and project templates that can be used for recurring work, Accelo takes this a step further with its Retainers product. With Accelo, users can set up and track recurring retainer work with task templates and the added support of custom payment structures, defined work periods and automated invoicing.
Managing retainers in Accelo also provides your team with insights and reporting that can track project progress, costs, profit and expected revenue of each client retainer to evaluate which clients are your most profitable, and to learn when a client may no longer be serving your business goals.
Asana and Accelo both offer multiple project views to give users the flexibility to organize and track their projects in the most efficient way for their team. Depending on your needs, you can use both platforms to view your projects in a list, calendar, Kanban board or Gantt chart.
For example, the popular Gantt chart view is available on both platforms and offers a visual look at the project timeline with tasks, assignees and task dependencies.
Asana’s Gantt chart, referred to as “Timeline” in the platform, shows users a similar view of tasks, their assignees, the task start and end date and any task dependencies. With Accelo, users have access to an interactive Gantt chart which allows them to plan or modify due dates, task durations, dependencies and more while visualizing the project as a whole.
Although users can find this view helpful for seeing how a project will progress over time, in Asana, if a project is set up with subtasks, those subtasks are not viewable in the “Timeline” view. Only main tasks would appear and you would need to select the task to see any subtasks in a list view. One Asana user also shared that the ability to edit tasks can be impacted by the selected view, so users should be prepared to toggle between views for full functionality.
With Accelo, these multiple views offer the same flexibility to users, but they’ll also have the added benefit of the platform’s automated time tracking. With built-in time tracking, your project views can display how long tasks are taking to complete and provide leadership with accurate data on your team’s planned vs. actual time.
While both Asana and Accelo offer built-in methods for tracking employee time, Asana's time tracking is limited to tasks and projects managed in the platform. Because Accelo connects sales, projects and tickets, time can be consistently tracked across all functions of your business.
For a professional services business, having an accurate record of billable vs. non-billable time is something you can’t go without. And with Accelo’s automated time tracking, you can build an accurate record of productivity and team availability without any added manual work and connect your time data to billing for more accurate client invoicing.
Even for businesses that don’t charge an hourly rate, the resulting time-tracking data can be equally valuable to internal teams. With a clearer picture of how your team spends their time at work, you can gain a more complete understanding of individual workloads and better match employees with tasks and projects that fit their skills.
Users love Accelo’s automated time tracking so much that they recently selected it as one of their top four favorite platform features.
Getting work done efficiently requires effectively managing your resources. With Asana’s “Workload” feature, users can monitor team utilization and see how workloads are divided across the team. While some users find this and Asana's project management tools to be enough to successfully manage resource utilization, some users share that those in need of more advanced resource management tools may not be satisfied with Asana.
On the other hand, Accelo offers advanced resource management features like automated team scheduling and customizable dashboards to help users visualize team utilization. On top of that, Accelo’s automated time tracking records how your team’s time is spent and offers detailed reporting on planned vs. actual time, billable vs. non-billable time and their impact on your profitability.
One Accelo user shared that the platform’s resource management tools have helped their professional services business manage team capacity and have helped individuals manage their own time and schedules.
Collaborating on projects is nothing new for professional services businesses, but the trend toward more remote teams and hybrid work over the past few years has made it even more important to have tools that support internal and external collaboration.
In the Asana platform, users can identify multiple collaborators on a task to share any related conversations or status changes with anyone who is involved or needs to remain informed about progress. Notifications about status and new comments are available in a user’s inbox, but as we mentioned earlier in feedback from Asana users, some users do share that the inbox can become difficult to manage due to the large number of notifications that can accumulate.
In Asana, the only other option to stay informed on progress is to check projects and tasks individually, which can become time-consuming, especially for teams managing multiple projects at once.
Accelo offers an innovative solution for collecting all important updates and communication history in one centralized place — and that’s the Activity Stream. The stream uses email capture to display the entire history of communication and actions taken on a client account and it was recently selected as Accelo users' favorite platform feature. Users can visit the stream to find updates on project status, check if a task was completed or refer back to past conversations to prevent miscommunication with clients or teammates.
When considering any platform, the best thing to do is to sign up for a free trial and see for yourself. Sign up for a free Accelo trial and you’ll get access to all six products to see the ins and outs of what they can really do. If you want a more tailored experience or want to get any questions answered, you can schedule a free demo and speak to an expert.