As the owner of an accounting firm, you’re very familiar with business software solutions. From the days of Quickbooks Desktop to now, this industry loves its technology. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the accounting software market will grow to more than $20 Billion by 2026 (almost double from 2018).
Plus, you use more than accounting tools. Things like:
- Task management
- Communication (i.e. video conferencing, messaging, email)
- Marketing/sales (email marketing, CRM software, ad platforms)
And with new tools coming out all the time, that same Fortune study shows the primary driving force behind software growth are businesses like yours looking to improve their processes. (Technically, the report calls it “improve operational efficiency.”)
New business software absolutely can improve your business. But it’s also time-consuming to find quality solutions, get the team onboard, and make sure it works well with your other tools and fits into your workflow.
Whew, that’s a lot!
Why Business Software Solutions are Important
There are so many benefits and reasons to find and use business software solutions for accounting firms. That said, each “plus” we list has an unwritten disclaimer. What’s that fine print?
Simply add the phrase “when used correctly” to each listed benefit.
Tools Increase Capacity
Automation, machine learning, and AI are really popular buzzwords right now. That’s because humans (typically) hate redundant tasks, forget things, and get sidetracked easily. And AI/ML bots don’t have these quirks. (Bots in the helpful, friendly sense; not in the post-apocalyptic sense.)
Some specific capacity-increasing ways tech helps:
- Redundant issues: There is cloud-based, real-time software that automates certain tasks (even basic bookkeeping).
- Task automation: More than a basic to-do list, some platforms allow you to create templates of your services and automate recurring tasks, so your team never forgets key deadlines.
- Reporting: Any tool worth its digital weight gives you insight into how you and your team use it. These reports allow you to see the big picture, when it comes to that solution and improve your process.
Business Software Improves Sales Performance
Plus, increased capacity and better performance often mean reduced overhead, too!
A few ways tech betters your bottom line:
- Better client relationships: If you’re not missing deadlines, clients like that. But beyond good service, things like customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to track leads and customers. Your reps (or accountants/CPAs) can add notes and reference them, before having a meeting with a particular client.
- More clients:Improved capacity means more room. More room for new clients, or the capacity to offer more services to existing customers. Both of those equal increased revenue.
- Improved profitability: Another benefit of increased capacity and better performance. It means reduced overhead, too!
Technology Saves Time
Ah time. Look on the sales page of any business software solution, and you’ll probably find a promise related to this most important resource. And it’s true, when used correctly (to reference our hidden fine print term, we mentioned earlier).
With the right tech, you save time to:
- Work “on,” not “in,” your business: With better staff utilization, delegate as much client work as possible. Then, finally focus on new client acquisition or opening up your team’s capacity even further.
- Add services to your roster: Advisory? Fractional CFO? Maybe it’s time to think about adding new revenue streams.
- Or...Just have more time: There’s more to life than work, even though things get a bit wild during certain times of the year. Use your time savings to enjoy family, friends, and life!
How to Create the Ideal “Tech Stack” for Accountants
A “Tech Stack” is a grouping of tools used for a larger given purpose. For example, all the tools you use to:
- Find, close, and onboard clients
- Set processes, tasks, and deliverables
- Track performance and handle deliverables
That’s your accounting firm sales stack.
The idea is to build your ideal set of business software solutions that optimize everything about what you do. Here are three best practices when considering tools for your stack.
Get a Grasp on the Tools (Current and New)
Think about the design of your firm’s current workflow. And how your team uses (or doesn’t use) each tool.
- What questions are going to come up when a new tool is introduced?
- How are you going to phase out your current solution (or process)?
- In what ways does this tool improve the process, help the firm, and improve things for the team?
Make sure to schedule a demo, or watch videos on the site, to understand a new business software. Get to know it; start the free trial. The more you know, the easier it’ll be for the team to ask questions and adapt to new things.
Understand ALL the Features (to avoid software overwhelm)
There are very few software tools with only a single feature. Not every product attempts to be an “all-in-one,” but nearly all have a few related features. What does that mean? There’s an overlap.
Your communication app has video chat. The email marketing tool has a CRM feature. The list goes on. It’s a good idea to:
- Look at the full feature list for each software solution.
- Recognize which tools offer the same service or function.
- See if you can better utilize certain tools, instead of having a laundry list of software.
Sometimes, you’ll need a dedicated solution. For example, most (if not all, at this point) of your customers understand what “Zoom” does. Changing it to Google Meet may actually hurt your sales/onboarding process.
However, a detailed look at features may shave 1-2 tools off your monthly expenses‚ while speeding up your firm’s overall workflow.
Make Sure New Tools Play Nice with Others
Think of each tool as a cog in the machine of your business. It all has to work together for the machine to function normally. For accountants, it’s the bank account seamlessly connecting to QBO (or other ledger tool).
Software creators, for the most part, understand the importance of integrations. And with most automation tools being geared for the accounting industry — it’s a great time to be a firm owner looking for tech.
It’s still a good idea to see if a new tool integrates with other related tools. If not directly, see if the tools you use are a part of Zapier. It’s a tool’s tool that allows you to link two (or more) software solutions together to perform their core functions.
For instance, you can link Jetpack Workflow to dozens of the most common accounting, messaging, and marketing tools.
Business Tech Solutions Made Easier with Workflow Software
It may sound like technological overload, but some software solutions actually help organize your business, including other business software. How your firm works (from getting clients to delivering the services to them) is a workflow.
The tools and hours it takes to do the work are all a part of your overall processes. Workflow software, like Jetpack Workflow, acts as a hub for all business processes. As a firm owner, you’ll be able to:
- Lay out every service in your business, and the tasks associated with each offering
- See how much work is on your team’s plate, and even manage capacity on the fly to best serve clients and prevent hiccups
- Get the big picture for how your firm’s doing, including reports showing project progress and team performance
Try Jetpack Workflow for free for 14 days to help find and prioritize the right business software solutions for your firm. Get tech that works for you, creating more team capacity and time. Maybe even time to do the things you want that aren’t work-related.