Top Business Management Tools for Professional Services Firms

ChelseaWilliams
By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Feb 16 2023 read
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It takes a lot to run your business. You don’t need to waste time keeping track of disconnected paper trails due to unnecessary manual work.

Software tools can help make your job and your team’s work more efficient, but there are so many on the market — each with a unique specialization or mix of features. The search and evaluation process can be overwhelming. 

We provide software lists like this one to help you learn about new platforms or review strengths and weaknesses of the ones you’ve already been considering. 

Cost Considerations: Integrations, User Limits and Plans

While business owners in different industries seek slightly different features and experiences when shopping for new software, there’s one element everyone should consider: cost. Knowing your monthly software budget is helpful, but identifying the value you hope to get for said cost is more important. 

Before you commit to any subscription-based platform that seems to fit your needs, go beyond a high-level overview and find out:

  • The true cost. Can your team accomplish its goals with the basic plan, or will they need the advanced features included in a premium tier? Furthermore, what’s the minimum number of users per month you’ll be paying for?
  • The potential savings. Your true costs could very well be worth it if they help you consolidate your tech stack. Estimate the potential cost savings from boosting efficiency with a given platform and evaluate how much of your added costs it will offset.
  • The price of each integration you’ll need. For an inflexible or single-function platform, you’ll likely need to expand features by connecting third-party tools. A more cost-effective option is to use an end-to-end platform with custom automations and an open API.  

We’re helping you begin the process of evaluating a wide range of business management tools by covering their notable features, pros, cons and pricing. 

We’ll look at software platforms for:

Client Work Management — An End-to-End Option

In our experience, service businesses need to be able to manage as many functions in one place as possible. And we built a platform to help them do just that. Before you review the more limited platforms in the upcoming sections, learn what Accelo could help you accomplish.

Accelo

Accelo is a cloud-based client work management platform designed to help professional services firms, including agencies, consulting firms and MSPs, manage client relationships from prospecting and projects through to payments and retainers. The platform can handle complex projects, as it contains a wide range of project templates and auto-assigns tasks based on quoted work.

No matter your industry, you can customize Accelo to expand internal visibility, improve collaboration and increase profits.

Create custom retainers to easily manage all types of recurring work

Features

  • Trigger automations to build custom workflows that streamline business processes
  • Client database that connects client records to projects, tasks and billing
  • Project management tools, including automated time trackers, useful project templates and resource management  
  • Retainer tools, including contract management and recurring work automation

Pros

Cons

  • The platform may be too robust for small businesses seeking only one or two functions
  • Not the best fit for teams of under five people

Pricing

Starting at $50 per product per user per month, your cost will depend on your needs. You pay only for the licenses you’ll use for each product: Sales, Projects, Tickets, Retainers, Billing and Reports.*

In each section below, discover what real users say about specific facets of Accelo.

Task and Project Management Tools for Team Productivity

When client work is your focus, you need targeted tools for achieving maximum productivity with daily tasks. Accelo is the ultimate choice for managing unlimited projects while keeping track of project time, client billing, retainers and more in one centralized platform. 

 

What Accelo Users Say: Measurable Boosts in Productivity

“From everyone’s point of view, all the information you need to know is right there in Accelo. It’s having that single system with all the information that just makes it so efficient.” 

- Stuart Watson, LeapIT, whose business achieved a 50% increase in productivity in two years

 

 

Want to check out other options? Here are three more project management platforms to consider.

Hive

Hive is a productivity tool that helps teams manage projects and processes with flexible project layouts, native email, resourcing, group messaging and file sharing. Built with hybrid and remote teams in mind, the platform supports collaborative work with communication tools like video chats and shareable notes.

Features

  • Automatic and manual time tracking and timesheet reporting
  • Custom action statuses to help users track progress and urgency levels 
  • Goals tracking helps teams set, track and monitor team and organization goals
  • Custom project and action templates to simplify recurring work 

Pros

  • Free version available 
  • Library of pre-built workflows
  • Built-in proofing and approvals process
  • No-code automations to connect to third-party platforms

Cons

Pricing 

Hive offers a 14-day free trial and three pricing tiers:*

  • Free: up to 10 users
  • Teams: $12 per user per month (unlimited users)
  • Enterprise: Custom quotes available

READ MORE: Accelo vs. Hive

Teamwork

Teamwork is a project management solution built for client-based businesses. The software encourages internal and external collaboration with various task organization views and unlimited client access. It offers time tracking and schedule forecasting to help professional services teams balance their workload, plus budget management and profitability tracking tools. Add-ons are available for help desk, video chat, CRM and document management.

Features

  • Task management tool with multi-assignee, priority and custom tag options
  • In-app chat feature
  • Invoicing and budget management
  • Workload planner

Pros

  • Clients can access the platform and collaborate on projects for free
  • Wide range of project management templates
  • Resource allocation and management tools support accurate time estimates
  • Privacy settings at the task level

Cons

Pricing 

Teamwork offers a “Free Forever” plan for up to five users. However, client-based teams that need access to billing and invoicing, team chat, custom reports and sufficient project templates will need to sign up for the more costly Grow or Scale tier.*

  • Deliver: $10 per user per month
  • Grow: $18 per user per month
  • Scale: Custom quotes available

Each paid tier has a five-seat minimum.

READ MORE: Accelo vs. Teamwork

Wrike

Wrike is a work management tool that consolidates internal and external communication for teams of all sizes. The interface provides at-a-glance project progress and tracks goal progress for multiple teams within an organization.

Features

  • Resource demand planning tools
  • Robust reports displaying billable and non-billable hours and team workload
  • Product roadmaps, Kanban templates and more for customized project management
  • Shareable dashboards for better collaboration

Pros

  • Good for simultaneously managing both long- and short-term projects
  • Plentiful tools for planning projects and predicting resourcing needs
  • Range of marketing and design features for creative teams
  • Automated change request process

Cons

Pricing

Wrike offers a 14-day free trial and five pricing plans:*

  • Free
  • Team: $9.80 per user per month
  • Business: $24.80 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom quotes available for large teams
  • Pinnacle: Custom quotes available for teams with complex work needs

Tools for Tracking Hours and Recording Timesheets

Tracking time accurately is a building block for many other client work functions — and a driver behind potentially critical decisions. If your team doesn’t yet have a reliable time-tracking solution, preferably one that automatically attaches logs to tasks, projects, invoices and more, it’s time to consider Accelo.

 

What Accelo Users Say: Accurately Tracking Billable Time

“We’re more accurate with our time logging now because there’s the function of being able to press ‘play’ when you start a piece of work. Now, every minute is being captured.”

- Beccy Soderlund, Fitzgerald HR, on the value of intuitive time tracking

 

 

For comparison, here’s a rundown of three additional time-tracking tools.

Clockify

Clockify is a free time-tracking app that helps teams and individuals log time spent on tasks and projects using a combination of automatic timers and manual entry. The option to create teams can help project managers oversee the total time on a project. Clockify can be used to calculate payroll and billable hours.

Features 

  • Timesheets categorized by activity
  • Automatically tracks time for synced calendar events
  • Integrates with popular project management apps
  • Visible location history, multi-device clock-in kiosk and team check-ins for on-site work

Pros

  • Free for unlimited users
  • Simple, user-friendly interface 
  • Reports broken down by user or activity
  • Revenue and project performance forecasting

Cons

Pricing

Clockify has a free plan with limited features, plus four additional tiers:*

  • Basic: $3.99 per user per month 
  • Standard: $5.49 per user per month
  • Pro: $7.99 per user per month
  • Enterprise: $11.99 per user per month

Harvest

Harvest is a time-tracking software that offers flexible timesheets and the ability to invoice clients and accept payments directly through the platform. Its range of reports goes beyond simple time logs to display team capacity, project costs and more in a variety of visual formats.

Features

  • Budget tracking
  • Invoice creation from billable time records
  • In-app payment collection with PayPal or Stripe
  • Custom time-tracking reminders for teams

Pros

  • Custom reminders for time tracking
  • Fast invoicing and payment collection
  • Integrates with popular accounting software
  • Visually engaging reports that track project budgets and visualize team capacity 

Cons

  • Requires third-party integrations to effectively manage workflows
  • Some users find the platform to be too simplistic to handle detailed time tracking 

Pricing

Harvest offers two pricing tiers and a 30-day free trial of its Pro tier:*

  • Free (1 seat and up to 2 projects)
  • Pro: $10.80 per user per month (unlimited seats and projects)

Toggl Track

Toggl Track is a time-tracking tool with timesheets, billable time reports and budgeting features. Users can solely use timers or customize them with details like tags to categorize segments of time. Toggl Track can also be used to calculate payroll for both employees and contractors.

Features

  • Timesheets broken down by project
  • Billable rates and reports for workspaces, projects and users
  • Idle time reminders keep employees accountable
  • 100+ integrations

Pros

  • Payroll management functionality
  • Automatic tracking of app and browser activity
  • Custom sorting by user, tag or project
  • Project budget tracking for paid plans

Cons

Pricing

All new users get a 30-day free trial of Toggl Track Premium, and there are four tiers to choose from:*

  • Free (up to 5 users)
  • Starter: $9 per user per month
  • Premium: $18 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Requires custom quote

Platforms to Refine Resource Management

Once you have time-tracking methods in place, the next step is to use your data to improve resource planning. With a scheduling dashboard like Accelo’s, professional services teams are able to engage in accurate capacity planning and resource forecasting.

 

What Accelo Users Say: The Power to Project Revenue

“We can go into the system and I know where people are working today. I can tell you where they’re going to work tomorrow. I can actually tell you where they’re going to work for the next four to six weeks now. And because I know that, I can project revenue.” 

- Nathan Thomas, Tambla, on the impact of resource forecasting

 

 

Want to explore other platforms, too? See three options below.

Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a time-tracking and employee-monitoring software with productivity features meant to help businesses gain improved insights into employee workload. The app tracks time through manual and automated tools, sets employee time limits and collects data for detailed timesheets and time reports.  

Features

  • Automated timesheets generated by built-in time trackers
  • Geofence time tracking to automate employees clocking in and out
  • Invoice widget to track payment status and record full or partial payments 
  • Create invoices with set billing rates and auto-add line items

Pros

  • Reporting for on-time and past-due invoices
  • Custom invoice templates based on billable and non-billable time and project expenses 
  • Payroll tracking and check processing with no payment fees
  • Employee monitoring for remote teams

Cons

Pricing

Hubstaff offers a 14-day free trial and four pricing tiers:*

  • Free: for one user
  • Desk Starter: $5.83 per user per month 
  • Desk Pro: $8.33 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom quotes available

Kantata

Kantata, formerly Mavenlink and Kimble, offers project management, business intelligence, operations management, resource management and task management features. The newly merged platform touts its suite of integrations as a customizable solution for professional services firms. 

Features

  • Kantata OX (formerly Mavenlink): resource management tools
  • Kantata SX (formerly Kimble): project management and project accounting
  • Team capacity reports and scheduling tools
  • Task management with multi-assignee options

Pros

  • Proprietary integration platform

  • Budget change requests and approvals

Cons

  • Lacks some essential capabilities to support the full client journey

  • Kantata SX requires a Salesforce subscription for CRM

Pricing

Kantata offers four subscription levels:*

  • Team: $19 per user per month (up to 5 users)
  • Professional: $39 per user per month 
  • Premier: Starting at $59 per user per month (contact for quote)
  • Enterprise: Starting at $79 per user per month (contact for quote)

READ MORE: Accelo vs. Kantata 

Mosaic

Mosaic is a resource and workforce management software featuring AI-powered tools for scheduling, team building and more. The platform makes project planning and resource capacity planning simpler and more efficient. Mosaic also features budget, time tracking and project management tools and reporting dashboards.

Features

  • Demand vs. capacity analysis
  • Drag-and-drop org chart to keep track of employee roles
  • Team Builder tool to quickly assemble project teams
  • Employee skill tracking

Pros

  • Robust project scheduling tools
  • AI-powered automations
  • Billing history reports for accurate quoting
  • Workload planning

Cons

  • Relatively new platform with limited integrations available
  • Some users note that the platform’s capabilities can be overwhelming for small teams

Pricing

Mosaic has a 30-day free trial and three pricing tiers:*

  • Team: $14.99 per user per month
  • Business: $24.99 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom quotes available 

Software for Invoice Creation, Billing and Expense Management

Managed allocation of resources needs to be paired with good financial practices. A major component of profitability is accuracy. One significant benefit of using Accelo is being able to automatically generate accurate invoices and bill clients in bulk. You can even use the platform to stay on top of ongoing work with automated retainer management. Accelo also integrates with top accounting platforms for easy syncing.

 

What Accelo Users Say: Connected Billing

“Task and email management are built into the ecosystem, with seamless time logging and billing. I haven't seen this offered anywhere else. Rather than just integrate with your email, you can work from within the program, all the while recording your time and billing rate for each task automatically.” 

- Joshua K., G2 User, on the value of integrating billing with project management

 

 

Check out three more billing and accounting software options below.

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

  • Visual Explorer for expanded reporting interpretation
  • Project Accounting module connects to other modules in the platform
  • Flexible Web Services API 
  • Accounts payable and receivable functions

Cons

Pricing

Sage Intacct requires custom quotes.*

Xero

Xero is versatile accounting software that can also be used for task management, with functions ranging from bookkeeping to payroll to data reporting. Its main purpose is business accounting, and it’s designed to automate and simplify repetitive tasks required to keep track of your business finances.

Features

  • Bank reconciliation tools
  • Bill creation directly from emails
  • Mobile expense capture and approval
  • Xero Projects for project tracking integrated with billing

Pros

  • Over 1,000 third-party apps to expand core features
  • Can be used by businesses of all sizes and in many industries
  • User-friendly and easy to learn
  • Extensive help guides and user courses

Cons 

Pricing

Xero offers 75% off all plans for the first three months.*

  • Early: $13 per user per month ($3.25 for the first three months)
  • Growing: $37 per user per month ($9.25 for the first three months)
  • Established: $70 per user per month ($17.50 for the first three months)

Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice is online invoicing software that helps users manage invoices, track expenses and accept online payments. The platform can be customized to meet the needs of multiple industries and offers project billing, time tracking, reporting and a client portal.

Features

  • Compliant digital signatures to ensure payment security
  • Customizable templates for branded invoices
  • Log and track time spent on tasks
  • Recurring invoice scheduler

Pros

  • The platform is free 
  • Multi-currency invoicing support
  • Integrates withe Zoho CRM
  • Estimate creation and sending

Cons

Pricing

Zoho Invoice is a free platform.*

Reporting Solutions for Data-Driven Management 

Generating detailed reports is essential for feeling confident about data-driven decisions. You need a platform that uses all of your project progress and task completion data, plus time logs, budgets and more to automatically create a real-time picture of your business performance. Accelo’s reports are powerful and intuitive.

 

What Accelo Users Say: Saving Time and Frustration

“The number of reports I used to pull — it was such a waste of time. Now, any team member can generate live lists without guidance and save them easily without having to export over and over and replace files.” 

- Laura Macauley, HeimLantz CPAs and Advisors, on the ease of real-time reports 

 

 

Explore three additional platforms with robust reporting.

AgencyAnalytics

AgencyAnalytics is a reporting platform built to help marketing agencies complete client reporting automatically. Its 70+ integrations and customizable widgets help agency owners pull clients’ key data into white-labeled dashboards.

Features

  • Automated data retrieval and report creation
  • Real-time reports for all components of a campaign, including PPC and social media 
  • SEO tools to help clients improve search rankings
  • Client access with custom permissions

Pros

  • User-friendly interface with customizable dashboards 
  • Control panel templates with text and link markup
  • White-labeled reports
  • Integrated client communication tools

Cons

  • Accurate reporting requires integrations and maintenance across multiple platforms
  • Some users note that the platform is slow to adapt

Pricing

AgencyAnalytics offers a 14-day free trial and three pricing tiers:*

  • Freelancer: $5 per campaign per month
  • Agency: $18 per campaign per month
  • Enterprise: Custom quotes available

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence software that helps teams model and visualize data. Users can monitor KPIs, collaborate on dashboards and share reporting with external stakeholders. Power BI offers multiple products in their suite, including Power BI Desktop and Power BI Embedded, so teams have flexibility on how the platform fits into their existing tech stack.

Features

  • Self-service analytics tools
  • Data visualizations with built-in AI capabilities
  • Excel integration to gather, analyze, publish and share reports
  • Sensitivity labels to protect critical data

Pros

  • 500+ free data connectors
  • Reliable data protection
  • AI features for visuals and text analytics save time
  • Data sorting and visualization wizards

Cons

  • Rigid formulas can make it challenging to combine multiple elements 
  • Only supported on Azure, not any other cloud services

Pricing

Power BI has one option for individual Pro pricing and two options for Premium:* 

  • Pro: $9.99 per user per month
  • Premium: $20 per user per month or $4,995 per capacity per month

Tableau

Tableau is a visual analytics platform that helps organizations of all types and sizes transform the way they use their data to make informed business decisions. The platform supports the analytics journey, from data preparation, to real-time analysis, to sharing insights with teammates and other stakeholders.

Features

  • Informative dashboards with options to include images, visual objects, text and more
  • Supports a wide range of data sources
  • Mobile-friendly dashboard layouts for sharing data on the go
  • Trend lines and predictive analysis to support business forecasting

Pros

  • Ability to host on Tableau Cloud or Tableau’s server
  • Intuitive KPI tracking
  • Aesthetically pleasing reports
  • Powerful data analysis tools

Cons

Praise for Accelo’s Ability to Support Service Providers

When you adopt software with one isolated feature or function and then connect them all, you spend more time and money. Your efficiency and client work delivery may suffer, which ultimately cuts into your profitability.

A simple solution that’s built for service businesses can prevent you from committing to disjointed platforms that don’t function well for your industry.

One Accelo user in IT loves how intuitive it is:

It feels like a natural product because it’s designed for people.

Daniel McNaught, Fluidity 

See what all the hype is about: Start your free trial or schedule a demo.

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About the Author

ChelseaWilliams

Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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