Supercharge organization at your firm with these 3 core tools

If you're serious about optimizing your firm’s organization, you need these 3 core tools.

You’re not selling a tangible product; you’re selling your expertise and specialty services. And it’s your ability to provide high-value service to your clients at every touchpoint that will set you apart from other firms. 

To accomplish this, you need your back-end operations running seamlessly. This will enable your people, processes and technology to be as productive and efficient as possible.

‘Embrace technology’ is a statement you’ve probably heard a thousand times when it comes to finding ways to keep organized and supercharge productivity at your accounting firm.

That’s because it’s true. 

And ready or not, embracing cloud-native apps and software to support your firm may mean the difference between growing or getting left behind.

If you are still using spreadsheets to manage your workflows, you are well aware that there have to be better options available.

The biggest challenge is decision-paralysis—there are hundreds of tools to support every aspect of your firm. Just getting started feels overwhelming. 

How do you assess what’s truly best for your firm? Here are some must-have tech areas to consider if you’re serious about keeping your firm’s operations organized.

Why you need to consider tools when boosting your firm’s organizational capabilities 

Remember Apple’s ‘There’s an app for that’ campaign? Did you know this campaign launched in 2009? Were you aware this was already the second generation of digital natives?

But why does this matter? 

The point is that leading firms are the ones that are on top of the latest productivity and organizational tools. They've already invested in the ones that give them the most advantage.

It doesn't matter if you weren't aware of Apple's campaign being from 2009 or the second generation of digital natives. What matters is your ability—and desire—to keep in-touch with technology trends and accounting technology trends.

Your app stack isn't a 'set and forget' situation. You should be constantly reviewing the apps on offer to ensure your firm is using the best tools to deliver client work effectively and efficiently.

This is how you grow your firm and gain an edge over your competitors.

3 organizational tools your firm can’t live without

While there’s inevitably a tool that solves for just about every organizational improvement you can think of, consider these as the core solutions your firm needs.

1. Client Relationship Management (CRM) system

A solid client or customer relationship management (CRM) system goes beyond helping you manage all your client data—it helps your client relationships

With clients expecting more and more support and value, having a CRM tool is essential to help you productively manage them and their businesses.

An effective CRM for accountants includes managing and tracking your marketing efforts to drum up new leads and business—whether via email, social media and/or digital advertising. The alternative is to simply collect leads in a spreadsheet, which:

  1. Involves a high degree of manual maintenance 

  2. Doesn’t help any sales efforts to follow-up and turn these leads into new clients

When choosing a CRM for your accounting firm, it’s important you select an option that supports service-based business (vs. a product-based industry).

There are many CRM tools to consider, so be sure to focus on those best-suited for accounting firms. And if your needs aren’t too complex, you can also consider practice management solutions that have client management capabilities.

2. Cloud document storage

With the majority of teams working remotely, being able to share, edit and download client and practice documentation from anywhere is critical to the success of your accounting firm.

You need a reliable tool that enables this in a secure way. After all, these files, more often than not, contain your clients’ most sensitive financial information.

While there are many online document storage solutions available, a key criterion is to choose one that supports both the needs of your team and your clients. 

The capabilities of each vary, so knowing how document storage solutions (DSS) or document management solutions (DMS) compare will help you determine which is best for your firm.

3. Workflow management

To turn your accounting firm into a productivity machine, you need a solid workflow management solution.

Accounting practice management tools with workflow management functionality like Karbon are designed to ensure all your work, tasks and projects are properly tracked, assigned and completed on time.

To find a workflow management solution that meets your firm’s needs, look for a platform that addresses where you can improve your team’s productivity and organization the most. An effective solution will provide a solid and centralized foundation where all your firm’s work and communication lives.

To choose the best workflow management software, you need clarity from your team around where you have gaps and inefficiencies that warrant improvement. 

Start by looking at your most common current workflows. Do you have the visibility needed to determine if your team is actually being productive or not? Are you able to benchmark and track productivity at all? If not, you need a solid workflow management solution.

Recommended reading: The 10 best accounting workflow software tools

What do you need to consider when choosing tools that will supercharge organization at your firm?

Keep the bigger picture in mind. What is the holistic view in terms of cost and integration, and how do these tie into your strategic goals for your firm?

When choosing specific tools, ask yourself:

  1. What is your team’s input and willingness to adopt to new tools?

  2. How steep is the learning curve?

  3. Can the tool be customized or scaled for the specific needs of your firm?

  4. How will the solution integrate with other systems you and your clients have in place?

Take the first step and start by selecting the right technology for your firm.