Accounting practice management software is one of the most important tools you need to run your business. It will help you organize your clients, employees, and tasks which will save you time and energy.
Finding the best accounting practice management software can be challenging because there are so many options to choose from. It’s important to ensure that your practice management system is reliable and has all of the necessary features to meet your needs. What’s even more important, though, is knowing what you need in a system before you start looking for one.
In this post, we’ll discuss what is practice management software, what are the benefits, what to look for in accounting practice management software and some popular options.
Accounting practice management software is any software that is used to manage the behind-the-scenes of your accounting practice. It can help you manage your clients, your team and your work all in one organized system.
Many practice management systems can integrate with other systems to produce an all-in-one solution for running your business.
Accounting practice management software is designed so team members can manage and work on client projects in an efficient way. As your business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage all your client work, manage your employees and run the back end of your business.
You have tons of different tasks that need to be completed regularly across the company and accounting practice management software helps to organize all this information so these tasks don’t slip through the cracks.
There are many benefits that come with implementing an accounting practice management software for your firm. Having a practice management software for your accounting firm will allow you to:
Now that we've covered some of the benefits of choosing the right kind of accounting practice management software for your business, let's find out what to look for in a practice management software and the best questions to ask.
Choosing the right accounting practice management software for your business is an important decision. There are many different practice management software programs to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.
You want your software to check as many boxes as possible to make sure it is the right fit for your accounting firm and you get the most bang for your buck.
As you search for software, take a look into each of these factors.
The first step in finding the best accounting practice management software is to determine what your accounting firm actually needs and what you want to accomplish by implementing a practice management software. You don’t want you and your team to be overwhelmed by features you don’t need which will end up costing your firm more time navigating the system without any benefit. What features are most important to you and your team? What are your biggest challenges with not having a practice management software and what are you hoping software solves for your firm?
You’ll also want to consider the size of your firm when determining which system to go with. If you have a small business with only two people, then you likely don’t need the same level of accounting practice management software as someone with 100 employees. Many accounting practice management software options have tiered pricing levels to reflect this which can be determined during the demo period.
How much experience do you have using software and how difficult is it to implement and learn the software?
How many clients do you usually serve on a regular basis and is it getting harder to keep them organized and served well?
Does the software allow your team to collaborate on client work and other projects? One of the most important aspects of an accounting practice management solution is how it facilitates teamwork. Having the ability to share tasks and communicate with team members is essential for any firm.
Do you require task management for your projects? Would your firm benefit from the automation of these workflows? The best practice management software will give you an easy way to assign tasks, track progress and distribute workloads evenly among your team members. Automating repetitive tasks could save your accounting firm tons of time over the course of the year.
Do you require time tracking for your team & billing for your clients or do you use a value-based pricing system? If you already use another program for time tracking, will it integrate?
What type of reports do you need to create for yourself, your team or your clients?
The next step to finding the best practice management software is to see if it's compatible with the programs you already use and if integrating with your other programs is important to you or if the new program could potentially eliminate the need for the others. Integration with your cloud accounting systems makes it easier for workflow functionality and can save your firm a lot of time and frustration.
For example, if you already use QuickBooks for billing, then you may want a practice management system that integrates with QuickBooks.
After confirming that the software integrates with what you already have, find out what features are offered. Most practice management systems offer common features like the ability to manage clients, time tracking, the ability to manage tasks and projects, create and manage invoices, integrate with accounting and other software, ability to collaborate with a team, reporting capabilities and managing documents.
Looking for something more complex? Some business management systems include more complex features such as marketing automation so you can create automated campaigns to promote your services or products.
There are many options when looking for the perfect practice management software for your accounting firm; however, making sure it's compatible with your current needs is the most important factor before choosing one!
Is it within budget? If you are thinking about using accounting software, you can't ignore the price of your software, but you need to figure out what your realistic budget is before committing to an accounting practice management software.
You will also need to figure out what features your firm needs as features vary greatly among the different price packages and consider if the software meets all your needs to be worth the extra investment.
Some companies offer tiered pricing depending on the size of your business or how many employees you have in your company. Others provide discounts for businesses that pay annually in advance instead of month-to-month. When taking into account the cost of the software, you should also take into account all the extra costs associated with it like support and upgrades.
When you’re looking for a new system, it’s important to get a demo of the software before you invest in it. You want to know what you’re getting into and how it will work for your business.
Do your due diligence on how easy this software would be to install and how long or difficult will it be to get your staff trained on it. Ask about how much support is offered to your team. Every system is going to claim that it’s effortless, so it’s down to you to be objective here.
There are many different types of practice management software on the market. However, not all of them are created equally. Some are created specifically for accountants while others work for any industry. Here are some popular options you might want to consider when looking for the perfect system for your accounting needs.
OfficeTools Cloud is one of the best practice management software options because it provides all the features you need for your business. It has everything from time tracking, project management, contact management, invoicing, and more - all on a single system.
OfficeTools offers contact management with unlimited contacts and client types and gives them access to a client portal so clients can pay their invoices and upload and download documents. Communicate with clients directly and track emails, appointments, tasks, phone calls and documents all in one place.
OfficeTools allows users to work together, share documents and communicate through the cloud, and have access to the mobile app. All staff members work from the same database and have access to the same information.
You can quickly track projects and get a complete view of everything that needs to be done. Workflows can be created with pre-made templates or create your own.
Capture time entries quickly and accurately with a single click. OfficeTools then allows you to set a client billing status, rate and invoice with predefined templates and send the bills via email. The upgrade to OfficeTools Workspace allows you to offer custom invoice templates.
Automatically organizes client documents by tracking multiple documents and leveraging built-in machine learning to automatically tag and categorize documents.
Check-in on clients and project status quickly from a single dashboard that shows you what you need to know.
The Cloud pricing integrates with Microsoft Exchange to see an overall view of your client communications and syncs bidirectionally with Quickbooks Online. Upgrade to OfficeTools Workspace, and you'll also be able to integrate with QB Desktop, Lacerte, Canon Scanner, File Center and Crexendo.
Try OfficeTools Cloud for free for the first 21 days.
QuickBooks Online is a popular online software program in many businesses for good reason as it is a trusted accounting system to organize your finances and manage your books.
This platform is designed to integrate seamlessly and seamlessly with the accounting and financial reporting software so you can manage your business from one central location. So if you are currently working with clients who are using primarily Quickbooks Online, this is a great option for your firm. If clients request that you share your books with their readers, you only need QuickBooks Online Accountants to view the books in QuickBooks Online.
Intuit's QuickBooks Online Accountant offers all the features you need to grow your business, such as managing employees and payroll, creating invoices and estimates, tracking expenses and mileage, paying bills and tracking receivables, and generating reports.
Quickbooks Online Accountants can manage your clients using Quickbooks Online, but their current system is limited to approximately 2000 clients per QBOA firm. You can also collaborate with clients by sending clients and requests and reading replies without leaving the workflow.
QuickBooks Online Accountant allows you to assign team members as lead accountants for different clients, acting as the primary contact for that client and managing their books. You can also see in the Work tab which projects and tasks are coming due for yourself and your entire team so you can collaborate and ensure all the work gets done on time.
When you use Zapier to integrate with Slack, team members will receive a slack message for any due date reminders, new assignments, and project changes.
Quickbooks Online Accountant allows you to automate many aspects of the workflow to save time by creating repeat projects for recurring work and setting reminders for time-sensitive tasks. See what's due, when, and what's coming next. Check progress in real-time, and you can filter by client or assignee. Also create overall projects, split them into smaller tasks and assign them to yourself or team members.
As a ProAdvisor, your team can track their time for projects, billable time, or other work directly in QuickBooks Online Accountant.
Quickbook Online Accountant allows shared documents, notes and client information to be stored with the client list in a password-protected and fully encrypted environment to keep it secure and organized.
Track project status at a glance - see what's due, when and what's coming next. Check progress in real-time and filter by client or assignee to better assign tasks and projects.
Some great integrations to QBOA include Ignition, Aero Workflow, Dext, Fathom and Zapier.
By integrating Ignition, new clients can sign digitally and be billed automatically, reconciling invoices in QuickBooks. Ignition offers engagement letters, client payments, client onboarding and help to move from hourly to fixed rates.
Aero Workflow automatically syncs time tracking data with QuickBooks and stores processes and procedures with tasks for efficient scaling. Aero allows you to manage tasks, engage clients, manage employees, covert processes, and scale training and how-tos.
Dext handles invoice and receipt collection, extracts the key data, and auto-publish transactions in QuickBooks. It allows you to reduce data entry and unnecessary client communication, manage expenses and invoices and allows you to go paperless.
Fathom allows you to share your financial findings with your clients in a way that's easy to understand with Fathom's customizable consolidated reporting. It automates reports and analysis offers client dashboards, business planning and client collaboration and advisory.
Zapier allows integration with many more apps as well.
And obviously, Quickbooks integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks Online Accountant as expected.
Quickbooks Online Accountant is free for your firm, and you just pay to add clients. You can choose to either offer the software to your clients through a wholesale option or direct billing.
For wholesale billing, you buy Quickbooks Online subscriptions for your clients and save up to 50% for the duration of each subscription and Quickbooks bills you directly.
With direct billing, your client buys their own Quickbooks Online subscription and saves up to 50% for their first year.
Xero is one of the most popular accounting software options. It's easy to set up, has a free trial, and offers tons of great features, like adding clients, creating invoices, tracking expenses, and more. If you are already using Xero as your preferred accounting software, Xero Practice Manager would be a great option to consider for your firm.
Manage all your clients in XPM organized by different tabs. Track client details, leads, quotes, jobs, invoices, notes and related documents.
Use Practice Manager's collaboration to set up a dedicated email address and automatically attach messages and files to your jobs, quotes, and leads with email.
XPM allows you to customize templates to create and assign jobs to staff, set task deadlines and milestones, notify staff and mark complete.
With Xero Practice Manager, you can track time on tasks or projects by logging in to your account at any time. Record hours worked and converted them to invoices.
You can send reminders to your clients about their bill due date or upload documents to make it even easier for your clients to pay on time.
Upload a document or add a note to include supporting information for a client, supplier, job or quote. Documents are images, audio, video, documents and other files. However, the maximum upload size is 16MB.
You can run standard reports, customize sample reports or build your own. Create reports specific to each client or firm reports on productivity, recoverable costs and internal time. See productivity targets and actual billable time on the dashboard. You can even include charts, so they're easy to understand.
The obvious integration here is with the accounting software Xero which keeps invoices, payments and clients in sync. You can customize how data syncs between Xero and XPM and share invoices, key client details and mark invoices as paid.
Xero Practice Manager also integrates with several other third-party apps, which you can check out here. https://apps.xero.com/ca/function/practice-manager
There's no charge for Xero Practice Manager as a Xero partner once you reach silver partner status. New Xero partners and those at bronze level can try Xero Practice Manager free for 14 days, then subscribe for USD 149/month for up to 10 users. Xero Workpapers are included at no extra cost.
Aero Workflow is an online workflow tool or practice management software designed for accountants to automate their workflow. This system is designed to save you time, money, and stress by automating your business. It has been built from the ground up to work seamlessly with your current accounting processes, so you don't have to change anything about how you work.
Manage contacts within Aero Workflow and keep all information, billable time and documents together.
Team members track work in progress to collaborate on client work and ensure all client work gets completed in time.
The system includes automated tools that take care of many tasks for you without any input on your part, such as sending out follow-up emails and reminders.
You can utilize Aero's templates for all of your accounting firms' procedures to help ensure that client work will be performed consistently and efficiently.
One-time projects, recurring tasks, and email are integrated into one list, so everyone can see what needs to get done and in what order. You can also schedule recurring client work at different intervals and know you're set up for the future.
While your staff is working on tasks in Aero, reading an email, or talking to a client, their time is tracked. You can also choose to have it automatically sync to QuickBooks online or export it to a CSV file.
Aero Workflow offers Client Vaults to store the financial documents required.
Aero's centralized system to manage your firm's work, along with the automated time tracking, gives you access to real data you can use to measure your firm's performance.
Aero's management reports give you real-time staff performance and firm profitability.
With Aero, you have a clear overview of all client work: what's done, what's in progress and what's about to be overdue. Aero's integrated time tracking allows you to quickly see jobs that are overbudget and adjust accordingly.
Aero offers many integrations with various third-party applications that save you time and effort in managing your firm. When you integrate your Aero account to your Quickbooks Online account, your client information will sync back and forth, saving you from having to enter data twice. All of your time is captured automatically and is available to sync to QuickBooks Online, and can be used for invoicing.
Because Aero Workflow is a workflow app that tracks time and is not a time-tracking app, you can integrate with TSheets for more time tracking features.
Aero also integrates with Zapier, which allows you to connect to other apps you use every day and automate repetitive tasks.
Some other integrations include your Canon scanner and Office 365 and GSuite to read and reply to emails, capture time associated with emails and create tasks from emails.
Aero Workflow also offers a 30-day free trial.
Canopy's practice management software is a great option for accounting firms. It is a complete system that will help your firm stay organized and on track.
The Client Management module offers a client portal to allow clients to view invoices, make payments, share files, upload files, and schedule meetings. All client communications are saved in the customer record, and communications can be sent to a group of clients at one time.
The module costs $2.50 per client per year, billed annually.
Collaborate with colleagues and clients on individual tasks by adding notes and messages to the task.
The Workflow module offers tasks & subtasks, time tracking, workflow templates, dashboards, automation, reporting.
Manage your client projects by creating tasks, assigning those tasks to client records, adding team members, setting deadlines and tracking the status. To make your workflow more efficient, you can utilize templates, create recurring tasks and perform bulk actions on tasks.
Automate client reminders and have tasks scheduled to recur on a schedule.
This module costs $30 per user/month, billed annually.
The Time and Billing module offers built-in timers and manual time entries as well as time budgets so you can see if you're over or under budget on a client. You can view work in progress and offers customizable invoices.
If used as an add-on, it is priced at $24 per user/month, billed annually.
The Document Management module offers document storage with a desktop assistant and a client portal. Save directly into Canopy with no storage limits. Edit documents directly and annotate as a separate layer viewable only by internal users so your client won't see them. You can also manage folder permissions, save documents shared through email and have the client take advantage of integrated eSignature.
If used as an add-on, it is priced at $40 per user/month (billed annually).
Canopy offers a dashboard to view YTD revenue, outstanding invoices, and more, as well as reports for billing, time, and client invoices and statements.
Canopy offers seamless integration with QuickBooks, so you can import data automatically from your clients or export transactions directly into Quickbooks. Other integrations include Xero, FreshBooks, Calendly, GSuite, Salesforce, Zoho, Mailchimp, Typeform, Slack and Excel.
Canopy offers modular pricing so you can start with Client Management as your base and then pick any applicable modules to customize Canopy to fit your accounting practice.
Jetpack Workflow is an accounting practice management software built for accounting firms. It's an easy-to-use accounting practice management software that helps your business stay organized. It allows you to view all of your work in one place, stay on track by always knowing what work is up next and keep tabs on your firm's progress.
It provides almost everything a firm would need to stay organized and collaborate with their teams, all packaged in an easy-to-use piece of software for accounting firms.
View all your clients and applicable jobs in one place to serve them better.
Jetpack Workflow allows you to message your team inside the software so you can keep all of your notes and communication in one place. You can assign tasks to your clients within the app, and they'll receive an email. But the client must then reply to the email to inform of the task being completed.
Save time by automating your workflow with templates using their template builder or any of the 50 free templates in their library. Set tasks and jobs to repeat automatically using custom scheduling functions so you never miss a deadline.
Jetpack Workflow allows you to forward emails to automatically create a task that doesn't get lost or forgotten in your email and email clients directly from the app using a pre-made template for common emails.
Time can be added on at a job level, but you'll need to download a report within Jetpack to see the recorded time. Billing will need to be accessed from another program outside of Jetpack Workflow.
Jetpack Workflow lets you upload documents to the cloud securely so that any device can access them at any time. Add as many documents as you'd like, as unlimited storage is included in every plan. With this software, you'll never lose another important document again.
The Progress Report lets you see how fast your team is completing the jobs. Filter, sort, and search through your jobs so you can find what you're looking for.
Find out what's on the schedule next for your team by using the My Work page. See how much work has been completed and what's coming up next so you can make a plan for what you need to do next.
Jetpack Workflow can integrate directly with Quickbooks and your preferred email software. It can also connect to over 2000 apps using their Zapier integration.
The Organize plan offers unlimited jobs, documents, clients, team collaboration and management, live chat, phone and email support. In contrast, the Scale plan offers additional features such as capacity management and team scheduling management.
Jetpack Workflow also offers a free 14-day trial.
Karbon is a cloud-based accounting practice management software created specifically for accountants with collaboration at its core. It offers features like invoicing, time tracking, and project management. Karbon also has a built-in CRM system that allows you to manage your clients and contacts.
All client communication, internal notes and details for each client are stored in one place that everyone can access. All the information is searchable, so you don't waste time looking for information.
Karbon is a powerful tool for teams to collaborate and communicate in real-time. The apps allow you to stay productive on the go, whether by sharing files or discussing email messages with co-workers seamlessly integrated into your daily routine.
Karbons' automation tools help businesses scale operations by standardizing common processes scheduling client data collection, all. At the same time, anticipating potential bottlenecks because they've got everything laid out ahead of schedule and can see it at a glance. Karbon's business plan offers additional workflow features such as automatic client reminders and task automation.
Karbon's new Time & Budgets feature, included in the Business plan, will estimate work and track time right where the work happens. You can translate budgets into dollars which means you can price every job appropriately. You can also clearly see who can do more work and reallocating tasks if needed.
Time is tracked against the automatically detected client or job, and smart notes summarize tasks and activities. If anyone forgets to track their time, they will be prompted by auto-suggestions. Anyone who has tracked time before knows how great this is! You can also take advantage of the Quickbooks Time integration to do more with your timesheet data if your firm needs.
It's easy to keep your work organized by storing all files and documents relating to a specific client together in one place. Also, any attached emails will be stored within Recent Documents so you can find them easily. Files attached to comments on client tasks will also appear in the work item's recent documents.
Karbon offers customized reporting using filters and saved views, such as work due, work by assignee, or all work in a particular status, such as waiting for the client. You can also track team and client efficiency using their Insights feature. You can also create custom Excel reports using your data. View your budget vs actual reports and understand variances and use that to estimate more accurately in the future.
Karbon can integrate with many apps you may be already using, such as Gmail and Microsoft Office or Exchange, to bring your email into your workflow, create tasks and add comments.
It can also integrate with Quickbooks as well as Quickbooks Time.
Karbon can also integrate with one of the other software programs on this list, Ignition, to streamline client onboarding and renewals and GoProposal for a seamless and automated workflow from client meeting to job completion.
And, of course, Zapier allows you to integrate with 2000+ other apps you may already be using.
Try Karbon HQ with their 14-day free trial.
Financial Cents is an accounting practice management software that focuses on accounting firms and integrates great with QuickBooks.
It is an excellent choice for a firm looking for an all in one solution for their firm to easily track client work and hit accounting deadlines because it offers a workflow dashboard for a quick overview of clients' work, built-in team collaboration to keep everyone updated, time tracking for billing, scheduling and tracking team productivity, and customer CRM for storing client information in one place.
Manage unlimited clients where you can send automated client requests and reminders and message clients directly.
Collaborate with your team remotely by allowing everyone to discuss tasks, ask questions, share files, and get notified within your workflows. Delegate work, monitor your staff's progress and track due dates in one simple view.
Easily track your firm's workload in one simple view to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Ensure client requests never get lost in your inbox again by easily turning them into projects and tracking them in Financial Cents.
Set work that you do regularly to automatically recur to automate your process and use workflow templates to streamline your accounting reporting processes, and maintain work quality as your team grows. Always know who last contacted a client, when, and about what, so when a client calls you to know exactly where you stand. Each client profile automatically displays all emails to and from the client to any staff member.
Easily track billable and non-billable time, invoice clients, run reports and measure client profitability. With Financial Cent's built-in time tracker, you can seamlessly track time inside their workflow tool. Integrate with QuickBooks Online to seamlessly send invoices or export your time entries to bill with your other favourite apps.
Unlimited storage for documents, contact information, passwords, notes, and more in one view for when your staff needs it. Securely request and collect documents and store them all in one place.
Financial Cents will send automated follow-ups every few days until your client completes the tasks and sends you the info.
Run reports to see where your firm is spending time so you can identify bottlenecks and over budget work. Manage your firm's capacity and identify the clients killing your firms' profitability.
Integrate with Gmail or Outlook to quickly respond to your client from within Financial Cents, so you don't have to switch between tabs. Financial Cents also integrates with Quickbooks Online if that's your accounting software of choice.
Financial Cents is priced at $29/month per user or $23/month per user if paid annually. They also offer a free 14-day trial.
Asana is a web-based project management and collaboration tool that is great for businesses, organizations, and teams. Asana was created to make it easier for people to work together and get things done. Brainstorming, setting priorities, and organizing projects are made simple with Asana's features, such as setting due dates and reminders or assigning tasks to co-workers.
With Asana, there are multiple ways to track your clients and the ability to keep track of each task associated with each client. One way would be to create a project for each client and add sections for relevant info and communication.
With Asana, you can comment back and forth with your team on tasks and attach documents. Asana offers unlimited messages and activity logs to track progress and changes within the app with all plans. Use it as a database of templates for workflow or team resources.
With all plans, Asana offers unlimited tasks and projects, with assignees and due dates, that can be shown in various such as list view, board view, calendar view.
Because Asana is not accounting-specific, the sky is the limit. Still, you have to be willing to create your workflows for accounting projects and tasks, whereas accounting-specific software may offer pre-built accounting workflow templates.
Asana doesn't provide time tracking or billing but can integrate with several third-party programs.
Asana does not produce reports specific to your accounting firm but can produce customizable reports. It also lets you transform those reports in real-time into charts and graphs to gauge progress from your team.
Asana allows a lot of third-party integrations to make sure you can automate your accounting workflows, including. Advanced integrations with Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau, Power BI are offered in the Business plan.
Asana also offers a free basic plan for teams just getting started with practice management.
It is also helpful to include tools that support practice management software, such as with proposals and payments as well as document collection. Think of these as useful add-ons that will help to further automate your accounting business and save you time.
Ignition (formerly Practice Ignition) allows you to easily onboard your clients by sending automated proposals and getting paid when the work is done, allowing you to scale your firm quickly and efficiently.
Create a proposal in 5 minutes by pulling in your services and pricing from your library, automatically including your terms of service, and setting your payment terms. Invoices are created in your accounting software and marked as paid automatically. You can also set some automated follow-ups so that you can forget about this proposal until it's signed and hit send, then get notified the second your client opens the proposal.
Integrate your email to keep all client communication right in Ignition and integrate with your accounting software, Xero and Quickbooks Online. Zapier allows integration with many of your favourite apps and automates repetitive processes.
Ignition can also integrate with Xero Practice Manager, Karbon and Quickbooks Practice Manager to automate client onboarding.
Ignition also offers a free 14-day trial.
Content Snare allows you to request information and documents from your clients, whether it be for client onboarding, month end or end of year tax.
You need a lot of information from clients and spend a lot of your time requesting the information, reminding the clients and letting them know they sent the wrong document (again). With Content Snare, you can plan, request and approve documents in one place so everyone know what’s been provided, approved and what’s still outstanindg for each client.
Request documents in a way that your client will always know what you’re looking for and set up automatic reminders in case they forget.
Content Snare offers a free 14-day trial - try it here!
Accounting practice management software is the backbone of your accounting firm. It helps make day-to-day tasks easier, automate tedious tasks, keep your team organized and save you time. Having the right software will help you scale your firm.
We know there are a lot of options out there, but it all comes down to what you need it to do for you. Once you determine your needs and limitations, you can find the perfect business fit for you.
Kathryn is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 7 years of experience in both public practice and industry accounting. She has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of individuals and companies, which gives her a unique perspective on what it takes to be successful in the industry. Kathryn loves all things business and productivity and has been able to combine her love for creating content into writing for accounting firms looking to improve their businesses.