CRM Platforms That Work For You

The 5 Best Accounting CRMs for CPA Firms [2021]

8-Mar 2021
Screen Shot 2021 04 12 at 3.56.03 pm
Kirsten McNeice MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

What is an Accounting CRM?

An accounting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is software that helps accountants, tax professionals, and bookkeepers manage both client data and relationships. While around 62% of accounting firms use a CRM system, only fewer than 5% of them use it regularly. While many CRM platforms are great for data organization, a lot of them are lacking in the "R," or relationships, aspect. 

CRM vs CMS

It's important to know the difference between the two: A CMS is a tool/app/solution that lets you easily save and later find contact information such as names, numbers, and e-mail addresses. Whereas a CRM is a comprehensive software solution for managing customer interactions.

As a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or bookkeeper, caring about your relationships is a major priority. Without them, you don't have a business or clients. CPAs need a multifunctional CRM system to nurture and monitor client relations. But too many CRMs are built for product businesses rather than service businesses, they tend to not focus on nurturing your relationships with your clients. 

It's important to choose a CRM that makes sense for accountants. By leveraging CRM software, you can manage retainers with ease, share information more securely, and more.

So which CRM database options are best for accountants? A lot of it will depend on what CRM tools are available on the platform you choose, and some will come down to personal preference. Below are five options that take CRM for accountants to the next level. 

Top 5 Accounting CRMs

  1. Accelo
  2. Insightly
  3. Keap
  4. HubSpot CRM
  5. Zoho Books

Accelo

A system to boost productivity and profitability. Accelo helps small and medium-sized professional service businesses by providing the tools and resources they need to manage their clients. The integrated platform runs in the cloud, helping to manage sales, quotes, projects, tickets, retainers, timesheets, billing, and scheduling all from one place. 

Accelo is more than just a customer management database. It allows you to streamline your processes all in one place. The CRM platform is divided into four sections:

  • Projects: Manage your projects in real time, access team schedules, and create and edit project clients.
  • Sales: Stay on top of deals, win more sales, and keep track of notes, appointments, emails, attachments, and customer fields.
  • Retainers: Organize your workflows for ongoing clients, such as billing and tasks.
  • Services: Find a support ticket system, track activity, and access a centralized team inbox, automated notifications, and a client portal.

With Accelo, you'll be able to maintain longtime client relationships while nurturing prospective customers. This will help you stay competitive in your market and provide insight into your operations so you can spend less time working on the back-end aspect of the business and more time doing the actual work with your clients to boost your bottom line.

The biggest benefit of Accelo is being able to run your entire business from prospect to payment with greater efficiency and profitability. 

Highlighted Benefits:

  • Scales with your business
  • All-in-one cloud-based system streamlines the process
  • Packages can be purchased separately or as an all-in-one
  • Manages tedious work so you can focus on the customer interaction
  • Over 1000 integrations to help make managing your business easier

Customer Example: 

Susie Schade, CEO of Vector Business Solutions, uses Accelo for all her accounting business' needs. She says it "covers a broad set of features that are 100% tightly integrated. I can see what’s going on with a client, their prospective work, and what’s actually been done all in one place." Accelo even saved her business 200+ hours per year

Insightly

Easily integrates with top platformsInsightly provides CRM software to more than 25,000 companies worldwide across a range of industries including consulting, professional services, nonprofits, media and advertising, and more. Insightly aims to help you go beyond sales to better connect with your customers and align your teams using their CRM platform. 

With Insightly, you can:

  • Tailor your lead routing and workflow automation
  • Track milestones and manage processes
  • Design dashboards and track important metrics
  • Build and deploy custom apps in minutes
  • Model, capture, and manage any dataset

Insightly automates your CRM processes so that you can focus on the important work. With Insightly, a single action in their CRM triggers a cascade of other actions. Data gets updated, tasks get delegated, emails get sent, and businesses know what to do next. Each step is automated and updated so that your entire team knows what to do, integrating it all in one place.

Highlighted Benefits:

  • Mobile app to manage data on the go
  • Over 250 integrations to choose from
  • 3 plan levels to choose from or bundle in your marketing
  • Security is taken very seriously

Customer Example:

Rita Ward, Overseer of Outbound Telesales with 4over, LLC, believes that since implementing Insightly, they've "experienced greater efficiency and improved record keeping."

 

Keap

An all-in-one CRM, sales and marketing automation software. Keap, formerly Infusionsoft, helps businesses with CRM, sales, and marketing automation in an all-in-one package. There are three options to choose from. One of their main selling points is that you won't ever forget to follow-up with leads and clients. 

With Keap, you can:

  • Create pre-built reminders, automated emails, and texts
  • Create a repeatable sales process for your team
  • Easily set-up appointments, track leads, and send quotes
  • Automate your repetitive marketing tasks
  • Use one of the 30 integrations to help streamline your processes

Keap is ideal for growing service-based businesses in the home, professional, and personal services sectors that are actively working to acquire new leads, want to track and manage them in one place, and will be invoicing clients. 

Highlighted Benefits:

  • A dedicated business line that keeps your work calls and messages separate
  • Configure campaigns for more advanced automation
  • Has smart forms to help you collect the data you need

Customer Example:

One reviewer who works in Legal Services shared that Keap is very helpful for keeping track of contacts and clients. "I appreciate the tasks to keep us on track with getting in touch with contacts."

Hubspot CRM

A pipeline management tool. Hubspot CRM is one of the starter CRM services that lets you get going for free. It allows your team to serve your customers with less work and remove any friction from the process. You'll get all the tools you need to increase leads, accelerate sales, and streamline your customer service as a tax professional.

With Hubspot, you'll get:

  • Reporting dashboard and company insights
  • Prospect and deal tracking
  • Pipeline management
  • Meeting scheduling, live chat, and email templates
  • One place to manage and organize contacts
  • Ticketing and website forms
  • Email marketing with a drag and drop editor

Hubspot does have many more services available, but prices can get costly, with certain features and plans being over $800 a month. You'll only get all-in-one service if you pay for it, but their CRM is pretty nice on its own.

Highlighted Benefits:

  • Their basic CRM is free, and it can grow with you
  • Full visibility into your sales pipeline in real time
  • Contact records are automatically enriched with data from their database of over 20 million businesses
  • Excellent customer service, even at the free level

Customer Example:

Leah Lawrence, Corporate Sales Manager for FoodJets, says she loves "how simple, yet very efficient Hubspot CRM is," and that it's "been a huge benefit to both my sales team and our reporting."

Zoho Books

Smart online accounting software. Zoho is a complete end-to-end and fully customizable CRM platform for growing businesses, including accounting. They work with over 150,000 businesses worldwide to grow their revenue by converting leads and engaging customers. 

With Zoho, you can:

  • Organize webinars, convert attendees to leads, and get webinar reports
  • Track performance and goals via multiple dashboards, apps, and tools
  • Collaborate with your team through an internal portal 
  • Get real-time notifications of customer interactions
  • Automate repetitive tasks and streamline the process
  • Trigger instant action with workflows

The ability to stay ahead of the game using their multiple tools is helpful for businesses, as is being able to keep every form of communication, including your internal communication, all in one place. 

Highlighted Benefits:

  • Conduct sales meetings and presentations from within the platform
  • Remote tools to help you work and plan from wherever you are
  • Hundreds of integrations to choose from, including the ability to leverage your own

Customer Example:

K.C Watson, Sherpa Digital Media founder, said that his company "experienced a 65% increase in its sales pipeline" and managed to reduce their "lead to real prospect time by 60%" using Zoho.

The Importance of CRM for Accountants

CRM tools are crucial to your marketing strategy. Without a CRM, you're likely drowning in sticky notes covered in scribbled customer data, random business cards that you can't remember who gave them to you, and a haphazard way of building your customer relationships and moving them through the pipeline. 

CRM software is the solution. It creates a central location to collect all your customer data so that you can see where they are in their journey with you and nurture them at any stage. In fact, anyone in your company can, which is vital in getting everyone on the same page in order to deliver the best customer service.

Your company can’t grow as fast without as CRM system in place because you won't be able to keep up. You risk information being lost or missed, and you'll become frustrated with the breakdown in data when it has to be shared among multiple people on your team. 

Customers take notice, too. It's easy to tell when a business doesn’t have a CRM solution in place. Customers may receive multiple follow-up calls or none at all. And if too much time passes before they’ve heard back from you, you’ll lose them to the competition. It isn't a chance worth taking. Sign up for a free trial of Accelo today and realize what a CRM can do for your firm. 

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