When it comes to keeping up with all that your accounting practice entails, having a practice management system in place is key. It's the only way to ensure that your work is tracked, delegated, and completed on time. The easiest way to monitor deadlines, assign tasks to the right team members and collaborate on accounts is to have a management tool.
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According to a recent report, 56% of accountants said a key benefit of leveraging technology such as accounting software was the increase in productivity. Begin by identifying your team's needs and then thoroughly researching platform to find the best tool for your business. Some are primarily for billing and invoicing and some offer full project management from beginning to end. Keep in mind any critical business applications that you need to integrate.
We've comprised a list of the top tools for accountants and compared how these solutions stack up against each other. Here are our top five suggestions and how each tool can help your accounting business.
Winner: Best client work management platform
Accelo is an integrated platform made to cover all the bases. It’s made especially for small and medium-sized businesses in the service industry and works best for accountants who want a complete, simple system to handing everything from invoicing and billing to project management and recurring work.
With multiple, seamless integrations available, such as QuickBooks and Xero, you don't wasting time opening numerous programs and losing track of information. Accelo keeps everything in one dashboard to help everyone stay on the same page.
Along with managing the client and sales side of things, Accelo helps you better manage employee time and utilization. You'll enjoy fewer worries about overscheduling, see the time spent on each task, know who is doing what and when - all in an intuitive dashboard.
Test out Accelo free for 14 days. The pricing model allows you to decide which products you need and pay only per product per user vs. having to pay a higher fee for everyone to have unnecessary features.
Winner: Best accounting software for sole proprietors or freelancers
Xero is accounting software that allows you to work on the books with your clients. The add-on feature — an additional $39 on all plans — makes compliance simple for easy reporting at tax time via templates and storage solutions and allows you to pay employees and numerous integrations offer customization to fit your business needs.
Xero's primary function on all plans is to enable you to manage the bookkeeping aspect of your business. The higher-level plans also help you oversee and manage your practice effectively with one spot to manage all of your activities, including workflow, jobs, tasks, timesheets, and invoicing.
Starting at $11 per month for the Early plan and going up to $64 for the full plan, Xero also offers a 30-day free trial with access to all its features so you can determine which plan works best for you.
Winner: Best all around accounting system for money management
QuickBooks is a robust accounting software product that’s made for people to use on their own or with their accountant. You can keep track of finances, handle payroll, track time, track inventory, and accept payments, all through the QuickBooks platform. It allows you to track multiple clients at once and give access to who you choose, when you choose.
It can have a steep learning curve, but the training offered is helpful. QuickBooks allows you to try it free for 30 days before committing to a plan, which starts at $25 for basic bookkeeping and goes up to $150 for advanced options. For more comprehensive accounting practice management, you’ll need one of the more expensive options.
Winner: Best payment system
Practice Ignition allows you to create proposals with ease, send and reconcile invoices, handle billing and payments, and consolidate your client management tools. You'll have oversight on your clients all in one place. The dashboard allows you to see where your business is and where it's headed without the need to run reports.
Enjoy a 14-day free trial, but be prepared to pay at least $65 a month for the base plan and over $300 for the top plan. There are caps on how many clients you can have.
Winner: Best scheduling system
Acuity Scheduling is a powerful scheduling tool that helps clients and businesses connect better and can be placed on your website with ease. At the moment of scheduling, which the client can do with real-time access to your calendar, they’re asked to fill out an intake form, so you'll have everything you need to know about them handy. The program adjusts to time zones, sends reminders, and allows for easy canceling and rescheduling.
You can try Acuity for free for seven days, and then plans start at $14 per month and go up to $45 per month, which is best if you have multiple locations or don't want the branding.
Accounting practice management software is meant to help you streamline your business, so looking for one that can do it all might be in your favor. If you're already using one of the above tools, check to see if it will integrate into one of the all-in-one options so that you can be even more effective with your practice management. Then, ask yourself:
These questions will help you narrow down your focus. Each answer will help you get closer to the kind of software you can afford, the kind you and your clients would benefit from the most, and the one that’s best for your business size. All-in-one options are great, but only if you genuinely need the options presented. A free trial, the ability to cancel easily, and excellent customer service all come in handy as well.
See how your accounting practice can benefit from a complete client work management platform - try Accelo for free today.
Accelo is passionate about helping small businesses succeed because they’re the backbone of business. That's why the system is designed specifically for clients work management and provides all the tools and integrations needed for accountants.
And check out the Time is Money white paper that further shows the benefits of using Accelo as your accounting practice management software.