A bustling accounting firm replaced spreadsheets and historical data with current reports and visible communications, increasing transparency and accountability for both staff and clients.
HeimLantz CPAs and Advisors is a full-service CPA firm in the Mid-Atlantic area that primarily serves SMBs. Founded in 2001, the firm provides business valuation, wealth management, tax compliance, audit support and more for the entire business lifecycle — from birth to succession planning.
Clients need timely and accurate information to make strategic decisions about their businesses, and HeimLantz excels at helping them acquire it, but the firm struggled to get the same clarity from its internal systems in 2021.
At the time, the firm was using an outdated practice management software that was difficult to set up and left them drowning in manual processes. It was frustrating and easy to miss important details, says COO Laura Macauley.
Due to rolling changes, especially around tax deadlines, their exported data was never up to date. It became irrelevant quickly and, therefore, couldn’t be relied upon for operational decision-making.
The obvious choice would’ve been an industry-standard software that many big CPA firms use. But the high cost and notoriously poor end-user experience associated with this platform led Laura and her leadership team to look for alternative solutions. They decided to search for a project management software that could help them visualize project status, budget usage and task progress at any time.
The ideal platform would be cloud-based and include basic CRM, time tracking and billing functionality.
Not only did Accelo meet those criteria, but it offered a much more robust client work management experience than HeimLantz could find in any other potential software solution.
Their implementation program began in December 2021, and Laura describes it as “amazing.”
“Our Professional Services contact was great to work with,” she says. “It was a heavy lift to handle all of our data, but they did a wonderful job training our large team.”
To make the Accelo rollout even easier and more customized to her team’s needs, Laura hosted internal Q&A sessions on zoomed-in topics like time entry. New team members picked it up right away, while those who were used to the old system took a little longer to adjust.
CEO Tommy Lantz and the rest of the leadership team treated the adoption of a new tech solution as a celebration, motivating the larger team and sharing how much time they would save once they got comfortable with the platform.
Not long after their trainings, the HeimLantz staff was consistently:
- Keeping up with the history of client communication in the Activity Stream — and holding clients accountable as a result
- Reviewing the most up-to-date version of projects and tasks via live report links instead of repetitively exporting data every time there was a change
- Tracking sales opportunities and visualizing the entire sales pipeline to prevent losing touch with prospects
“The number of reports I used to pull — it was such a waste of time,” Laura says. “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’s other favorite feature of Accelo? Custom lists that help her filter data in unique ways.
The firm’s client relationships — sometimes consisting of five to 10 businesses wrapped up in one engagement — complicate billing for recurring work. Using the Retainers product in a billing capacity has helped the team keep track of these large fixed-fee contracts.
HeimLantz also takes advantage of Accelo’s seamless integrations, including Xero, HubSpot, Microsoft and Box, to maximize productivity.
After less than a year in Accelo, HeimLantz is experiencing a noticeable increase in efficiency, largely because of the transparency inherent in the platform.
The ability to quickly gather and view data has been powerful.
The fact that we no longer have to rely on static spreadsheets is such a relief. Accelo reports are so interactive.
Laura Macauley, COO
With the help of that accurate and timely data they were once missing, leadership can now project revenue in the midst of projects to plan for the long term, tailoring milestones as they go.
When they have a question, Laura and her colleagues reach out to Accelo’s support team, which she describes as “super responsive” — a huge improvement over the insufficient customer support offered by the business’s previous software platform.
Laura says she’s consistently discovering new things about Accelo and can’t wait to learn what else it’s capable of.
As they grow even more adept, the HeimLantz team plans to utilize its resource management tools, especially employee capacity and auto-scheduling, to continue eliminating unnecessary manual labor.
Better reporting is just one of the many benefits of using Accelo for your accounting firm.