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Finding a good CRM for accountants (or accounting firms) can be challenging. Fortunately, there are a few ‘best practices’ for getting and finding the best CRM for your firm.

Why CRM? 

CRM, or Client Relationship Management, is often geared towards helping salespeople better track their leads and prospects. For many accountants and accounting firms, this is NOT the tool they had in mind. In our experience, CRM’s that focus on sales and prospecting are typically a poor fit for many accountants. However, let’s first go through the list of ‘features’ and why they’re useful, then discuss some of the options accountants having for finding a CRM software or application.

Core features

At the core of every CRM software is the ability to have a central client list that can be consistently updated by the team. This list can contain basic information such as name, address, and email, as well as more detailed information around billable address, second or third contact points for a given client. It’s important that whatever CRM software or application you choose as an accountant, that they client list is easy to use.

The next set of features is adding notes and ‘to-do’s’ or tasks. Adding notes and tasks on clients is critical for your firm if you wish to maintain an up to date record of all interactions and work that needs to be done for a specific client.

Apart from these two core features, CRM’s start to change based on the industry (or role) they are built for.  As mentioned, many CRM applications is a software that is built for salespeople, not accountants. As such, I would recommend looking for tools that focus on Recurring Client Management (RCM).

RCM software is built to handle both new and existing client relationships. A few unique points about RCM are as follows:

Setting recurring work: As an accountant or accounting firm owner, some percentage of your work is going to be recurring.
Elements of a good RCM is the ability to set up customizable recurrence schedules across your team and clients. So recurring tasks, jobs, or projects is an important part of RCM.

Another feature of RCM is being able to create ‘work views’ so you make sure that client work doesn’t fall through the cracks. Tracking client work, especially recurring client work across many clients, can quickly add up and become overwhelming for many generic applications or software tools (whether it’s a basic CRM, task management, or project management application). Therefore, a critical element of RCM is giving the owner and team the ability to quickly see what’s been assigned to them, and drill into a specific work category, status, due date, client file, and more.

Whether you’re switching from a CRM, moving from spreadsheets, or starting from scratch, testing out both CRM and RCM applications is a critical step in helping you build a highly scalable, profitable firm. Most applications will come with a free trial period. We recommend starting out with a free trial to see if the application is a good fit. As an accountant looking for a solid CRM, the search might not be easy, but hopefully you’ve found this article helpful. If you’d like, Jetpack Workflow was built for accountants and accounting firm owners, and comes with a 14 day free trial (get started here).

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