A modern Canadian accounting firm depends on Accelo to manage complex workflows and stay on top of deadlines for its unique mix of services.
Roth Schroder Professional Corporation is not your typical accounting firm. While you might expect to communicate with your accountant once or twice a year about taxes and never really get to know them, that’s not the case with this boutique firm.
CPAs and former coworkers at Canada Revenue Agency, Meagan Schroder and Olami Roth founded Roth Schroder in 2014 to provide bookkeeping, tax and advisory services that are “business-focused, not just year-end focused” — and they’ve succeeded.
As an Indigenous-Afro Canadian firm in Edmonton, Roth Schroder is representative of change in more ways than one.
This innovative spirit presented a bit of a problem when it came to finding software that fit the firm’s business model.
Meagan and Olami knew they wanted to run a paperless firm, so they implemented a popular accounting software. While it had the features necessary for taxes, it couldn’t handle their more complex business advisory relationships. They also adopted a separate CRM, a cloud-based communications solution and a few other tech platforms.
Yet, the partners still felt they were doing too much manual work. There was no integration between their accounting system and their CRM, which necessitated time-consuming duplicate entry. And their office was covered in Post-Its and whiteboards that made it hard to find what they needed.
Having essential data living in so many different places didn’t make for a feasible workflow, and it was costing the business.
“We were missing deadlines left, right and center,” says Olami. “We needed a better way of reminding ourselves and our clients to get things done.”
In 2018, Olami did an impressive analysis of software solutions that could help the business consolidate. She shared her findings with Meagan and, after verifying that it had the QuickBooks integration they needed, they decided Accelo could be the answer they’d been searching for.
Due to its large client base and number of services, Roth Schroder’s Accelo implementation process was quite involved. Olami took it upon herself to “live in Accelo” for a couple of weeks, customizing product areas to make them more specific to the accounting industry and the firm’s needs.
Once inside the platform, the small team discovered some adjustments they’d need to make to their existing processes to make them more efficient.
“It forced us to put procedures in place where we didn’t have them before,” Meagan explains. “We didn’t used to think about all the steps we needed to achieve something.”
She and Olami use many facets of Accelo, including:
- Templated proposals to save countless hours each time they have a new client or job
- Custom progressions and statuses to manage file review and minimize redundant tasks
- Trigger notifications to send internal and external reminders about upcoming deadlines
- Automatic emails to notify clients about missing documentation or appointments
- Auto-invoicing to efficiently manage recurring work and encourage on-time payment
Time tracking is one of their favorite functions, especially compiling the minutes spent on emails. Meagan says this effort used to be “lost money” and can now be factored into the overall picture of how much they’re dedicating to each client. It’s been eye-opening to see how much work goes into performing each of their services, which clients can also review thanks to accurately detailed invoices.
Not only can Roth Schroder more easily justify its rates, but the team can hold clients accountable using the history accessible in the Activity Stream. The Stream has also helped the staff appreciate the delicate nature of the client-facing part of the business, as they can now easily see Olami and Meagan’s conversations with clients.
Roth Schroder is still in its youth, and Olami says she and Meagan have a lot more they want to accomplish with Accelo’s help. Still, it’s come a long way, and its co-founders are proud of how organized their firm is compared to some others they’ve seen. Their industry colleagues have been amazed at what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time.
Accelo is well worth the money and time it takes to set up.
Meagan Schroder, CPA and Partner
If you’re considering a client work management software like Accelo, Olami recommends getting your most tech-savvy employees involved in implementation, making use of documentation and — most importantly — knowing what you’re trying to achieve.
With the goal of cleaning up task management and diving into resource management next, she’s confident that Accelo will help the budding firm continue growing on its own terms.
Your accounting firm could make a similar impact. See how Accelo can help.