Best Project Management Tools for Accountants

29-Jul 2022
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Chelsea Williams SENIOR COPYWRITER

Running a successful accounting firm can leave you feeling like you’re drowning in details with limited time to focus on the big picture.

Even if you can juggle multiple clients and projects without missing a beat now, overwhelm can set in over time if you’re missing the proper tools to manage your client work. One of the most important tools in today’s digital business climate is software.

But should you go with software that’s built specifically for accounting?

Rather than considering industry software alone, we recommend looking at platforms that are built to meet the unique needs of a client-based business. That means thinking about functionalities that connect each stage of the client journey. Here, we’ll talk about one of those stages.

The Project Management Needs of Accounting Businesses

You probably already use at least one platform, such as a CRM or tax software for accountants, but you may be missing a core technology function for your industry: project management.

No matter how your firm is structured or what specific services you offer, the right project management tool can help your team move seamlessly from onboarding a new client to completing their work and communicating with them about project status.

Let’s discuss:

Benefits of Project Management Software for Accountants 

Client work is the crux of your accounting business, and you’ve been successfully managing client projects since day one. But as your business grows and your client list expands, that work can become too daunting and inefficient to do manually.

In the accounting world, the smallest details are crucial, and you can’t afford to commit unintentional errors that negatively impact those relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.

Embracing tech solutions to assist with project management can streamline your existing business processes, therefore boosting efficiency, reducing human error and supporting your business’s growth.  

Whether you’re seeking a better way to manage mounting tasks, improve collaboration across dispersed teams or gain insight into the work your team is doing, project management software can help. 

With the right tool in place, you’ll be able to:

  • Maximize efficiency
  • Improve visibility
  • Gain valuable information about time, costs and profitability

If you’re ready to transform your accounting firm, here are some of the best project management platforms to consider adding to your tech stack.

Top Accounting Project Management Tools

  1. Accelo
  2. Asana
  3. ClickUp
  4. Sage Intacct
  5. Trello

1. Accelo

Accelo is a cloud-based client work management platform designed to help professional services firms, including accounting firms, manage client relationships from prospect to payment. The platform provides customizable solutions to expand visibility, improve collaboration and increase profits.

Features

  • Custom workflows to automate business processes
  • A centralized client database with custom fields
  • Intuitive project management tools, including time tracking, project templates and resource management
  • Retainer tools, including contract management and recurring work automation

Pros

Cons

  • The robust platform may not be ideal for businesses looking solely for a project management solution
  • Accelo works best for teams of five or more, so it won’t be the best fit for smaller teams or solopreneurs

Notable Integrations for Accounting

  • QuickBooks
  • Gusto

➡  READ MORE ABOUT WHAT ACCOUNTING FIRMS ARE SAYING ABOUT ACCELO

2. Asana 

Asana is a work management platform built to help teams organize, assign and track projects. With its templates, automation and reporting tools, team members can use the platform to manage their individual tasks, collaborate across projects and improve visibility into project progress. 

Features

  • Multiple project views, including list, calendar, timelines and Kanban board
  • Project and task templates to simplify recurring work
  • Customizable dashboards and goal tracking at the company, team and individual levels
  • Rule-based automations to save time and organize tasks

Pros

  • The platform is adaptable to meet the needs of multiple industries and project types
  • Asana offers a free version with limited capabilities

Cons

  • No time-tracking solutions to capture employees’ billable hours
  • The platform is solely for project management, so businesses looking to manage client work would need to find additional tools to round out their tech stack

Notable Integrations for Accounting

  • FreshBooks
  • Google Sheets

➡  LEARN ABOUT THE CORE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ACCELO AND ASANA 

3. ClickUp

ClickUp is an all-in-one productivity platform where teams can plan, organize and collaborate on work using tasks, Docs, Chat, Goals, Whiteboards and more. The customizable platform can fit the needs of teams of all types and sizes.

Features

  • Multiple views, including list, box, Gantt, board and calendar
  • Dashboards to track tasks, time tracking, sprints, status and team members
  • Time tracking using a global timer that works from desktop, mobile and Chrome
  • Goal tracking to measure project goals by tasks, monetary values and more

Pros

  • Intuitive and easy-to-navigate user interface
  • ClickUp offers a free version with limited capabilities 

Cons

  • ClickUp does not have a built-in CRM, so connecting projects to their respective clients can be challenging
  • Users share that the platform can be “buggy” and support can be slow

Notable Integrations for Accounting

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Tableau

➡  COMPARE THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF ACCELO VS. CLICKUP

4. Sage Intacct 

Sage Intacct is a cloud-based accounting software with planning and automation tools to streamline your business processes. The platform helps businesses manage projects, resources and budgets and increase visibility. It can function as an ERP software connecting multiple entities.

Features

  • Custom project accounting to understand costs, revenue and billing for projects
  • Resource management with insight into team utilization and efficiency
  • Financial reports and dashboards act as one centralized, accurate data source
  • Automated revenue and expense reallocation to simplify revenue management

Pros

  • The Project Accounting module works with other modules in the platform to reduce the need to integrate with other tools
  • Sage Intacct’s Web Services API offers users the ability to customize their tech stack

Cons

Notable Integrations for Accounting

  • Invoiced
  • Stripe

➡  READ WHY ONE YOUNG ACCOUNTING FIRM INVESTED IN ACCELO 

5. Trello

Trello is a visual collaboration tool built on the Kanban framework that offers teams a shared platform to manage work, build projects and track progress. Because of its flexibility, the platform can meet the needs of multiple industries and work styles, and it offers more than 200 integrations to connect to other tools.

Features

  • Multiple project views, including board, timeline, table, calendar, dashboard and map
  • Custom fields to help define tasks
  • Automation to simplify repetitive tasks 
  • Library of customizable project templates to choose from 

Pros

  • A free version is available with limited capabilities
  • Users share that the platform is simple and easy to learn

Cons

  • No reporting options to track project progress
  • Users share that more complex projects can be hard to manage with Trello

Notable Integrations for Accounting

  • DropBox
  • Timely

➡  DISCOVER WHY ACCELO’S REPORTS WERE KEY FOR ONE TAX CONSULTANCY

Handling Task Dependencies: A Building Block

While assigning tasks appears to be a simple enough job in the early days of running a business, it can become overwhelming when you have a long list of clients and a full menu of services. If task management has become a primary responsibility for your project managers, it’s time to free them up and allow them to put their efforts toward more profitable work.

Ideally, the software you choose will help your team consolidate, manage and properly assign tasks with as little effort as possible.

Automating task management via a tech tool built for professional services can make true resource management achievable.

➡  WORRIED ABOUT THE CHANGE? PREP YOUR TEAM FOR NEW SOFTWARE

Why Your Project Management Software Should Track Time

To track your individual contributors’ workloads and properly assign tasks, you’ll want to accurately collect data about what they’re working on — and for how long.

Only a couple of the platforms mentioned above offer what we consider to be an essential feature of a good project management platform: time tracking. For the employees whose time is billable, time tracking is key to gaining accurate insights into your business’s profitability. 

A great time tracking software should:

  • Differentiate between employees’ billable and non-billable hours
  • Break down reports by estimated vs. actual time to complete tasks and projects
  • Generate reports that compare billable time to project budgets
  • Link time to billable rates to help you project revenue

When time tracking is integrated with your project management platform, your employees won’t have to waste time logging in to a separate tool to complete time logs. Choosing a solution with automated time tracking — such as Accelo’s convenient timers — make this process far more effective than going the manual route.

From a leadership perspective, the data that comes from accurately tracking time is priceless. You can use insights about your team’s time to make key decisions about hiring, training, bringing on new clients or expanding your services without guessing.

➡  SEE HOW ONE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE CONSULTANCY BECAME DATA-DRIVEN

The Impact of Project Accounting Software on Clients 

The benefits of project management software on your internal communications and operations are likely apparent, but the positive effects of new tech adoption can also trickle down to your clients.

When you get organized about project management and tighten up workflows using project accounting software, your team will have:

  • More time to focus on building and maintaining client relationships
  • Less of a risk of making simple errors or overlooking a project task
  • A clear understanding of project progress and task assignments at all times

In turn, your clients experience:

  • Greater trust in your firm and the quality of your work
  • A higher likelihood of committing to ongoing contracts
  • More visibility into the dedication of your team

Furthermore, if you choose a platform with a client portal, you can make communicating with clients and uploading documents much simpler. As you know, the value of this simplification cannot be overstated when you’re bogged down during tax season.

➡  SEE HOW ONE ACCOUNTING FIRM SIMPLIFIED TAX SEASON WITH ACCELO

Which Platform Is Best for Managing Your Accounting Firm?

Finding the best project management software for your firm will depend on the unique needs of your team. The above list is just a getting-started guide.

Take time now to decide what problems you need to solve in terms of project management and dig a little deeper into how each platform can help.

Determine if your accounting firm needs a tool to do more than simple project management — if you’re ready to fully streamline your client journey from prospect to payment, Accelo’s client work management software could be a great choice. 

See what Accelo can do for you by requesting a demo.

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