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.
When considering new business tools, it can be easy to create a shortlist of the ones that you hear about the most, the ones with the most advertising or receiving the most buzz. But you could overlook the best platform for your business by not exploring some other options. Thoroughly evaluating different platforms might involve digging a little deeper into some less mainstream project management solutions. It’s worth it, though, to ensure you’re making the best investment for your business.
Professional services have unique needs, and you have to find the best solution to make your client work not only more manageable but more profitable. If you can see past the weeds and gather the objective information you need, you’ll be more confident that you’re choosing the right platform that is best for you and your business.
This post will explore an honest answer to a question that we hear often: “How does Accelo compare to monday.com?”
Here’s our breakdown of monday.com’s key features, strengths and weaknesses, how users rate it against Accelo in a range of helpful categories and what Accelo brings in terms of your most important and sought-after requirements.
monday.com is a cloud-based software platform that allows businesses to build their own custom work management systems using a variety of apps and integrations. It’s used in 200+ industries, including marketing, retail, finance and tech. Teams collaborate in monday.com’s Work OS and its four core apps to manage projects and workflows, follow up with sales leads, track bugs and more. Because monday.com is a strong project portfolio management software, it’s popular for planning, organizing and tracking projects, processes and teamwork across a broad range of industries and is designed to be used by a wide range of businesses.
monday.com's project management interface (Image from monday.com)
monday.com offers a free business plan with limited features, but most professional services businesses will need a more premium plan like the Pro tier with advanced features, security and storage. For businesses that want advanced reporting and priority customer support, the Enterprise plan is the way to go. Like most other competitors, plans do not offer unlimited users but rather charge by seat, and there is a minimum seat size of three. The full pricing breakdown is as follows:
monday.com integrates with 40+ popular tools, including:
If you are a professional services provider, you will most likely need to connect monday.com with the critical business tools you already use in order to have all of your team’s work in one place.
monday.com helps teams with resource allocation (Image from monday.com)
Accelo provides invaluable information about your business's profitability
Accelo is a worthy alternative to monday.com, bringing a lot of the same features and functionality but offering a more powerful tool and a complete platform for professional services. monday.com is popular as a project management tool, while Accelo is specifically designed for client work, giving it some thoughtful and intuitive features.
Accelo users can do everything from sales to billing through to project management and retainers, meaning they are working in the same platform throughout their relationship with the client. This is extremely useful not only for efficiency and recordkeeping but also in giving a holistic view of your business and more accurate analytics. Everything housed in one platform has team members across different functions working together in one place. This not only improves team collaboration and communication but eliminates the need for more software and systems. Tech consolidation is key from a financial standpoint, as well as for productivity and adaptability. Using Accelo would eliminate the need for additional software or systems for a CRM, proposal and quote creation, project management, contract management, billing, ticketing or a client portal.
Both platforms allow internal and external teams to manage work. monday.com, for example, has a CRM and project management app, but how they work together can vary based on each business’s setup. In comparison, visibility built into Accelo helps teams access the same critical information at each stage of the client journey. Accelo is designed to support freelance and contract workers — a common need in professional services and often lacking in many basic project management softwares. You can set each user up with permissions based on their desired access level to ensure that internal and external contacts can be as self-sufficient as possible without compromising information or weakening controls. Accelo’s client portal further eases client work by giving clients controlled access to important account information such as project status or billing and payment processing. This reduces the time employees spend providing clients with status updates.
Accelo keeps close tabs on employee utilization with a heavy focus on connecting all activity back to profitability. Although monday.com doesn’t offer the same profitability or resource utilization insights as Accelo, it can create custom reports for unique data, such as employee satisfaction survey results.
When evaluating any new software, it’s best to gather feedback from colleagues with first-hand knowledge of the system who can offer insights about their experience. Peer-to-peer review site G2 has aggregated reviews of monday.com as well as some of its leading competitors, including Accelo.
Users ranked monday.com high in project management creation and assignment, due dates and to-do lists. The platform received lower scores in project management critical path, Gantt charts and resource allocation — which are all important features for successful project management within professional services.
An important consideration beyond functionality is the support a platform offers, especially as systems develop over time and new employees need guidance to avoid a steep learning curve. User comparisons of Accelo and monday.com show that the two platforms are neck-in-neck for quality of support. One user claims monday.com’s support is “top-notch,” and Accelo’s focus on and commitment to high quality support earned us the G2 2022 Best Relationship badge.
Ratings are also nearly identical in providing a sense of partnership and meeting clients’ overall needs. This demonstrates that users feel like they are valued and are finding value with the two platforms.
There is a notable difference: monday.com receives higher ratings for ease of setup, as it’s a somewhat out-of-the-box software, and users often rely on their preferred integrations. Since monday.com is popular as a project management tool and Accelo is a complete client work management solution, it would make sense that Accelo requires a little more setup, given the full range of features and capabilities. Accelo offers personalized implementation support, so onboarding can take a bit longer but is thorough. Accelo’s customization and unique functionality tailored for professional services allows you to configure the platform so that it works best for your business. Accelo also offers ongoing support options so that you always have access to technical expertise as your needs evolve.
Finally, some users note that monday.com doesn’t offer varied licensing options for different team members. Even if an employee only needs access to a few tasks, you’ll have to pay for them to access the entire platform. With Accelo, you can select the number of licenses you need for each product area: Sales, Projects, Tickets, Retainers, Billing and Reports. This prevents any budget waste of paying for unused licenses. You can focus on each user’s core needs.
To dive deeper into Accelo and its offerings, let’s look into common needs and considerations for professional services providers when evaluating platforms for client work management.
The most basic consideration is whether the system can properly manage projects and perform as a strong task management tool. Like monday.com, Accelo offers all the key features necessary for effective and efficient project management of both simple and complex projects. Accelo takes project management features to the next level with automation, collaboration capabilities and real-time visibility ideal for client work. Accelo was built specifically for the needs of professional services projects.
In client-centric businesses, you’re heavily focused on making your clients happy while making the greatest profit. Managing clients and projects becomes more efficient with the ability to connect projects with other functions like sales, billing and analytics. This not only greatly improves your understanding and knowledge of your client and active work but allows you to better capture business insights, whether in real-time or forecasting for the future.
Accelo offers visibility into your business that cannot be found in other platforms. You can see a snapshot of all your projects with real-time staffing, status and budget details to remove any blind spots to troubleshoot any issues or delays ahead of time. You can even see task dependencies so you can preemptively prevent bottlenecks. Automatically see team availability based on assigned tasks and project due dates to help maximize resource utilization and increase profitability.
Having all this information available at all times and in real-time gives you greater confidence that projects are not only being delivered on-time and on-budget for client satisfaction, but also that you are properly utilizing your own team. Different project views allow you to view projects in the format that works best for you.
The Accelo platform has built-in project management automations and features to ensure projects are being properly managed while reducing strain on your employees. Project planning is made even easier with Gantt charts in Accelo’s Projects product, providing a visual planning and scheduling tool with usability and intuitiveness. Live Gantt chart planning, milestones and roll-up reporting, project templates, quick-click project invoicing and budget and progress tracking make it easier for agile teams to plan, manage, bill and work on client projects.
The Gantt chart is one of the best ways to visualize the project plan's schedule, as well as see which milestones and tasks work together to form dependencies:
Accelo provides a centralized place for all team members — and even external collaborators — to access and manage client work, creating better alignment. Organizations have so many moving parts when handling client work, with team members focused on different tasks within the same project or while working with a single client – making it essential to have a project management solution that focuses on collaboration. Without the collaboration components, tasks may be mishandled, communication failures may occur and, ultimately, the client work or your business may suffer.
If efficient project collaboration is on your must-haves, Accelo should be on your shortlist. Teams across an organization can work together in one platform to plan, implement and monitor client work — from the individual contributor level up to top management and leadership. A client can move seamlessly across teams, creating smoother processing. For example, Accelo’s Sales product can create a detailed proposal and then once a client accepts the proposal, it is automatically converted to a project for streamlined collaboration across departments and teams, facilitating the handoff between sales, finance and account management.
The platform also offers the unique ability to automatically capture, sort and index client emails and get a searchable, filterable listing of all client-related conversations. This is huge when you need to get up to speed quickly or get a quick refresh on what’s going on with a client. You can see every interaction between the client and your organization. With everything automatically documented, team members can access necessary information and keep everyone on the same page. Information is synced from emails, address books and calendars and recorded on each individual client record. There is also the ability to attach assets or documents for file sharing across teams.
If making data-informed business decisions matters to you and you would like to do this as easily as possible, you need to make reporting capabilities a top priority when reviewing platforms. monday.com does offer basic reporting tools like charts, advanced filters and formulas. These can be helpful for things like managing project budgets, so you can tell at a glance if you’re over or under budget.
Dashboards can also be set up to easily access important reporting. Project data is live within these boards to report on things like budget tracking, project progress and team workload. This can help keep your team on track and make sure you’re hitting goals.
Where monday.com falls short is being able to report on every aspect of your client work all together — sales, billing, projects, retainers and tickets in one without needing additional software and integrations. Accelo gives you this level of reporting by having all data living and interacting together in the same platform. Accelo Reports provides vital business analytics unmatched by basic project management solutions.
For example, as your Sales team moves new opportunities through the pipeline, progressing them from one status to the next until the deal is closed, you’re tracking sales pipeline, opportunity value, activities and time to close. You then automatically convert the signed proposal into a project and passed over to project managers. While a project manager's daily projects and tasks can be overwhelming, things become significantly less taxing with reports for things like project budgets, project timelines, work in progress and project profitability.
To help with planning projects and assigning tasks, Accelo reports on all of your team’s active, overdue and over-budget tasks with the ability to specify if they’re within Projects, Tickets or Retainers. You can also report all tasks assigned to a single employee to stay aware of workload and make strategic resource decisions and allocations. Manually assessing all this information would be overwhelming and time consuming, but it can all be done using Accelo Reports and can even be exported.
Reports available through Accelo go beyond just reporting on projects, which you’ll be limited to within systems like monday.com. You will find reports unique for professional services within Accelo, like reports specific to retainers for example. Report on recurring work budgets, forecasts or which retainers are set to expire soon to prepare you for renewing retainer contracts or to secure new work if necessary. You can also ensure your team is properly managing requests with reports showing what tickets are open, overdue, resolved and the amount of time spent on a ticket or by ticket type. Ticket and service management reports allow managers to see all this information in one screen to stay on top of how the team is performing and ensure they’re sticking to any established SLAs.
Supporting improved employee utilization as a key benefit of using Accelo, employee time tracking is a core function of the platform. As your staff is sending emails, scheduling meetings or creating internal notes, their time is automatically being logged, allowing managers to have deeper insight into not only what their team is working on, but how long it is taking them to work on each task. Time reports show time entries by class, time entry value by employee and amount of billable and non-billable time logged.
Knowing important business financials and where profitability lies is crucial for professional services and what makes reporting within Accelo especially unique. Your business needs to accurately report on costs, revenue and profit in real-time. Everything from invoices, purchases and materials used by each client needs to be closely monitored to ensure your business is operating profitably and effectively. The finance and accounting reports give deeper insights into revenue by cost streams by tracking everything and making sure nothing slips through the cracks.
You can report revenue based on things like client, invoice owner, invoice date, type of work or material and service items. Material reports can be run based on profitability or volume. There are also a plethora of reports for invoices, including outstanding invoices and time to pay invoices by client, raised date or due date. Because Accelo is a client work management platform, there are a ton of reports unique for client work, including billable time, activities, client revenue, new clients and client profitability based on work budgeted, current or forecasted. There are also more detailed reports on clients within Sales, Projects, Tickets and Retainers products.
The best way to get a deeper understanding of monday.com and Accelo is by starting to work in the platforms yourself. Both offer a free trial. To get a better understanding of how Accelo can transform your professional service business, schedule a free demo. You can directly ask the experts about your specific needs or challenges and determine if Accelo is a good fit.