Monday.com for accounting firms: Is it the right practice management tool?
Monday.com is a highly customizable project management tool that focuses on meeting the needs of a wide range of businesses
Monday.com is not a practice management tool for accounting and bookkeeping firms
Monday.com might be suitable for solo accountants or bookkeepers just getting started and/or working in small businesses
Because Monday.com doesn’t specialize in accounting, it lacks the necessary functionality and support that accounting professionals need
It’s important to note that growing firms will quickly outgrow Monday.com
If you use a practice management solution for accounting and bookkeeping firms, like Karbon, you can expect to save 16.5 hours per employee each week on average
Chances are you’ve seen at least one Monday.com advertisement at some point over the last few years.
And there's a good reason: Monday.com is one of the most robust and popular project management tools on the market.
While the platform has impressive workflow management features, it lacks in areas necessary for managing the work accounting firms do day-to-day.
And that’s not surprising when you consider the fact that it’s not actually a practice management tool, let alone a practice management tool designed for accounting firms.
Here’s a deep-dive into Monday.com’s pros and cons in relation to accounting, tax, CPA and bookkeeping firms:
Is Monday.com right for accounting and bookkeeping firms?
What is Monday.com?
Monday.com is a project management tool, designed to help you manage your tasks and streamline your workflows.
It’s similar to other project management software solutions like Asana, Trello, ClickUp and Wrike. Like these alternatives, Monday.com focuses on appealing to a large audience across a variety of industries.
How does Monday.com work?
Monday.com organizes work into ‘boards’. These boards house your workflows. In the free version of Monday.com, you can view them as:
Kanban boards: View, sort and drag-and-drop your workflow in easy-to-read sections
Table: View your workflow in a structure similar to a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
Cards: Each task is turned into a card that displays high-level information
Other ways to visualize your work in Monday.com (via the paid plans) include:
Calendar: Shows your single workflow in a calendar view
Timeline: A linear visualization of your workflow grouped by person
Gantt chart: A linear visualization that highlights dependencies and milestones
Chart view: A real-time representation of your data as charts
An impressive Monday.com feature is the ability to customize these views. Visualize your board's data with powerful dashboards or create an overall dashboard that visualizes data across several boards.
Example of the dashboard view in Monday.com
Use case: Using Monday.com to manage your weekly payroll processing workflow
Just like other generic project management tools without an industry focus, Monday.com doesn’t offer any accounting-specific, pre-built templates.
To demonstrate how to use Monday.com, let’s use a template from Karbon’s template library that has been specifically designed for accounting and bookkeeping firms: Weekly payroll processing workflow.
When you create a board in Monday.com, your workspace’s default view is the Main Table, which groups your tasks into customizable sections. In this example, each section can represent each stage of the workflow.
If you choose to view the work as a Kanban board, which groups your tasks into statuses, you might also consider creating a status called ‘Waiting for client’ given there is client involvement at both ends of the project.
Payroll processing workflow example in Monday.com (Kanban board view)
Then, in either of these views, you would create a task for each step the process using the following:
(It’s important to note that the free version of Monday.com only offers up to two seats. So for team collaboration, you will need a paid version.)
Colored status labels
Card due dates
(Only available in paid plans.)
Payroll processing workflow example in Monday.com (table view)
Once you’re happy with the workflow, you can then easily turn it into a template. Turning it into a repeating workflow for recurring work involves setting up a custom automation in the Automation Center. This, again, requires a paid plan.
Because Monday.com appeals to so many different industries and work types, there isn’t a specific set of pre-created automations applicable to workflows typically used in accounting firms. So you’ll need to spend some time creating them from scratch when getting started with Monday.com.
The limits of Monday.com for accounting and bookkeeping firms
Monday.com is one of the most versatile workflow management tools available. While this flexibility can be viewed as a positive, none of the flexibility is specific to accounting workflows.
This means that if you use Monday.com, you’ll have plenty of options and settings to choose from—but none will truly satisfy your specific needs.
Based on the example above for a common payroll processing workflow, here are some glaring limitations:
1. There is no way to send automatic reminders to your clients in Monday.com
While the client chase can’t be completely eliminated, there are ways to reduce the pain. Unfortunately, Monday.com doesn’t offer a way to automatically send your clients reminders via email.
With workflows that begin with your clients providing information, such as the week’s updated timesheets, you will need to constantly request that information manually until you receive it when you use Monday.com.
2. There are no CRM capabilities in Monday.com
Think about how efficient it would be to automatically and directly link this particular weekly payroll processing task to your client so you can visualize all their information, work and communication easily.
For Monday.com users, this efficiency is not a reality. You’d need to consult your separate CRM tool and your email inbox to find client information like:
Name, address, etc.
Email and communication history
All client work: previous, current and completed
All associated documents
Now think about a workflow management tool with a direct email integration. Enticing, isn’t it?
3. No way to budget your team's time in Monday.com
While Monday.com does offer a simple time tracker, it doesn’t do much in the way of budgeting your team’s time.
In the weekly payroll processing workflow example, the time budget is 1 hour for your payroll specialist. Pretty straightforward. But for more complicated workflows that cross multiple team members, like onboarding new clients or complicated tax return processes, it’s difficult to see your team’s time expenditure. This makes it difficult to plan your team’s capacity.
4. Monday.com doesn’t directly integrate with accounting software
Another indication that Monday.com isn’t specific enough for accounting and bookkeeping workflows is a lack of integrations with the tools you use day in-day out.
There’s no native way to integrate with your GL, proposal software, or any other accounting ecosystem tool. If you use Monday.com, you’ll need to use Zapier to set up these basic integrations.
On top of that, integrations are only available with a paid plan on Monday.com.
5. Monday.com doesn’t have a client portal
Another red flag is that Monday.com doesn’t offer a specific client portal. Instead, you would need to adjust permission settings for particular pieces of work at a granular level and then share those links with your clients.
It’s a solution that might work well for marketing agencies that are sharing creative pitches, but not for accounting professionals requiring a secure and scalable alternative.
6. Customer support isn’t specific to your priorities
If Monday.com is designed to appeal to a wide range of varying industries, how can you expect their customer support team to deeply understand the unique nuances of accounting and bookkeeping workflows?
You can’t. It’s simply not realistic.
So unfortunately, if you use Monday.com and have questions about making it work to your very specific needs, you’re unlikely to find someone on their customer service team with specific accounting knowledge.
Monday.com alternatives for accounting and bookkeeping firms
Here is a compilation of Monday.com alternatives that specialize in accounting and bookkeeping firms.
Karbon is practice management for accounting, tax, CPA, and bookkeeping firms. By focusing on you, your industry, your clients, and all your unique requirements, Karbon is built specifically for you.
It enables intuitive communication and seamless workflows so you know who is doing what, when, why, and how.
And as a practice management solution, project and task management is only one aspect of the wider Karbon offering.
Karbon’s capacity management dashboard
Benefits of Karbon
Direct email integration (Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange)
Automatic client reminders and client tasks
Collaborate in context with @mentions
Template library with 250+ accounting-specific templates
Time and budget tracking
Native document management and document management system integrations (Dropbox, OneDrive/Sharepoint, and SuiteFiles)
Invoicing and payment processing (currently in beta)
Karbon AI: GPT-powered artificial intelligence built into email and workflows (currently in beta)
Engaged user community with 3,000+ members
Integrations that make sense for you (i.e. other leading accounting software, including Xero Practice Manager)
Limitations of Karbon
More expensive than generic solutions like Monday.com
Requires more time setting up and implementing, because it is a more robust solution
Functionality is geared towards teams, so may not be suitable for sole practitioners or teams of 2-3 staff
Learn how Karbon can give you the practice management confidence you need. Book a demo.
Like Karbon, Canopy is a practice management tool for accounting and bookkeeping firms.
Client view in Canopy
Benefits of Canopy
Tax resolution cases and integration with IRS (paid add-on)
Flexible document and file management functionality (paid add-on)
Time, billing and invoicing capabilities
Limitations of Canopy
Key product features are only available at additional costs (e.g. workflow management and document management)
Complicated and expensive pricing (pay per client, per add-on module, per user)
Limited workflow templates
As its name suggests, Jetpack Workflow provides workflow management for accounting firms. It’s important to note that Jetpack Workflow is not a practice management solution.
Jetpack Workflow dashboard view
Benefits of Jetpack Workflow
Affordable pricing for simple workflow management
Time tracking capabilities
Useful dashboard with a high-level overview of work and your firm
Limitations of Jetpack Workflow
No email integration
No client portal
Compare Karbon vs. Jetpack Workflow
Pixie is a practice management solution that primarily focuses on smaller firms across the UK.
Work view in Pixie
Benefits of Pixie
Affordable solution, especially for small firms with 1-3 employees
Flexible recurring work functionality
Best-practice template library
Limitations of Pixie
Limited collaboration functionality (unable to tag colleagues in comments or notes, making teamwork difficult)
No time and budget tracking
Aero Workflow is another solution that provides workflow management capabilities for accounting firms. Again, it’s important to note that Aero Workflow is not a practice management solution, so it does lack in areas you need to manage your firm overall.
Team capacity view in Aero Workflow
Benefits of Aero Workflow
Library of pre-built workflows
Ability to create and store detailed procedure guides
Automatic timer that begins when you open a task (although this may be a downside if you’re opening a task before you’re ready to actually begin work)
Limitations of Aero Workflow
Not a practice management solution
Lack of direct integrations with accounting-specific software (limited to QuickBooks and QuickBooks Time only)
Not suitable for firms with 3 or more staff
Is Monday.com right for accounting firms?
Here’s an important question: Is Monday.com the right solution for accounting firms?
Monday.com may be a solution to consider if you operate as a sole practitioner and if you have the time to spend customizing it to suit your needs.
If you’re looking for a free work management solution, keep in mind that with Monday.com, you will be limited to two seats and will be restricted from many core workflow management features, like automation to help you complete repetitive tasks.
As your firm grows, you will quickly outgrow Monday.com, especially as your firm starts to demand features of a practice management tool (rather than a project management solution), like capacity planning and sophisticated automation.
An accounting-specific practice management tool will grow with you, your team and your firm, helping you get work done the way you need to.
Take Karbon, for example. Accounting firms using Karbon save an average of 16.5 hours per employee each week, giving them more time to focus on client relationships and growth activities.
Average time and money savings for firms using Karbon
To better understand the benefits of using a practice management tool like Karbon, you can calculate your firm’s ROI using Karbon’s ROI calculator.
For example, if your firm has 20 employees, you would:
Save 858 hours per year, per employee
Save $29,824 USD per employee
Increase revenue by $455,000 USD per year
Karbon’s ROI calculator
For a more in-depth understanding of how Karbon can impact your firm’s profitability, book a demo.
Choosing an accounting practice management solution that's right for your firm has the potential to be one of the most important decisions you can make. It’ll either set your firm up for scalable growth, or simply add to the problems you already have.
To ensure the former, start with a practice management tool that makes sense to you, your team, your firm, and your vision.