Monday.com: the colorful brand colors probably caught your eye when you started researching project management tools. With a vast library of YouTube videos explaining how to use the platform, and countless happy customers all over the world, Monday.com seems like a solid choice for managing the flow of work through your accounting firm.
You’re not wrong - Monday.com is a great option for accountants, bookkeepers, or CPA firms looking for solutions to automate repeatable processes and simplify workflows in order to keep their teams on track.
But is it the best choice for your firm specifically?
One of the biggest ways to use technology to your advantage as a business owner is to first identify the areas where manual tasks could switch to automatic triggers, saving your team time out of their day, and allowing you to allocate those resources to more vital tasks.
According to Sage’s 2019 Practice of Now report, 79% of accountants said either accounting or bookkeeping was their most popular service offered to clients. Is this true for your firm too? If so, bookkeeping is likely the scope of work that will benefit the most from the tool you choose.
In fact, depending on the way you run your bookkeeping - that should probably determine the tool you select. You should make sure the accounting workflow and practice management software jives with your current process. This will make the integration roadmap so much easier for everyone involved, from you and your team to your clients too.
Think about the process for onboarding a new client today and what needs to happen first, second, and third. Your options for managing this process likely falls into one of two buckets.
First, you use spreadsheets and documents to keep track of everything that needs to be done. If you’re just starting out with a few clients, maybe this describes you best.
Or second, you’re already using an existing project management tool to track client work. Here are the pros and cons to both options:
The biggest benefit to sticking to your existing process, or just opening up a spreadsheet and making your own checklist: you can create it exactly the way you picture it in your mind. No worrying about software capabilities. No concerns about whether the platform will allow you to do something.
The drawback? As you grow and add new clients, this is typically not sustainable. You also don’t have any capability to automate anything. It’s all manual. And eventually that will take up a significant portion of your team’s time. Just making task status updates is a big job when you’re multiplying it by 10 (or 50, or 100) clients.
If you’re in the early stages of growth, it doesn’t hurt to use a tool you’re comfortable with, such as a spreadsheet, to fine tune what you think your processes should be in the first place. But once you have that figured out, your ideal next step is to find a seamless, fast tool that makes the work feel easier.
And this is where accounting firm software comes into play. Project management tools designed with bookkeeping in mind can act as a one-stop-shop where all of your team’s work lives. Not only does it make managing workloads easier, but it also acts as a collaboration hub, keeping you all on the same page.
But whether you realize it or not, this is where you’ll have to make a second choice. Yes, you want to use technology for automation and tracking purposes, but what kind of project management software? Do you want to use task management tools built for accounting projects, or a general, all-purpose platform?
There are benefits to both options. For example, if you are an accounting team within a larger organization, it’s likely you’ll benefit from using the same tool as the other teams in different departments. You can more easily adapt to each other’s workflow, and it will provide greater visibility for other stakeholders across the company.
But if you’re running your own practice, you can choose any tool you want, and finding one that has a foundation ready to go for an accounting practice is going to put you a good distance ahead. Instead of having to build out workflows, pre-made templates can speed ramp up time, and make your investment pay off sooner. (And more importantly, help work get done faster).
As you research accounting-specific platforms, you’ll come across Jetpack Workflow, Canopy, Karbon, and Aero Workflow. However, Jetpack Workflow is the only modern software with straightforward pricing that is a truly effective workflow platform.
When considering Monday.com for your accounting practice, keep in mind that it’s not tailored to an accounting team’s needs specifically. While it has some pre-loaded templates, Monday.com is most frequently used by HR and sales and marketing teams.
Should that hold you back? Not necessarily, but it helps to compare Monday.com’s capability to other options on the market before making the final call.
Monday.com’s “Work OS” is designed to visualize everything. That’s a great advertisement for team leaders who are stressed out and need to know where each step of a project is, and how final due dates will be affected.
If this describes you, Monday.com is going to look extremely appealing. All you have to do is login, set up a project, assign tasks out to the relevant team members, and then you can arrange your work timeline any way you want: board-style, Gantt chart, task list, and more.
Here is a list of what you can accomplish in Monday.com’s platform:
- Use one of Monday.com’s templates, or drag and drop 30+ column types to build your starter workflow.
- Groups, items, and updates are all kept in sync in real time.
- There are status buttons to reflect where your team is at, which you can see at a glance.
- You can add files and link different boards together.
The biggest way that Monday.com differentiates in a crowded project management and productivity tool marketplace is in their speed to onboarding. They state that anyone can jump in and get started immediately, with no training needed.
While this may be true, if you have a complex workflow, or even a simple one (but you can’t find a template in Monday.com’s library that fits) this may not be the reality for you and your team.
Okay, so you’re thinking about alternative options. Does the perfect tool existing to manage the growing workloads of accounting teams?
As you examine different software options on the market, keep in mind that you should choose a tool to help you solve today’s problems and make an impact right away. This is how you’ll see the biggest investment return. And each tool is going to have a different focus and varying strengths in certain categories.
Jetpack Workflow is the ideal way to create workflows that work for accounting teams. This is especially true when you’re growing your business with scalability in mind. The built-in library of easy-to-use templates helps your team get up to speed faster, and make clients happy faster too.
You can use a free trial offer for 14 days to see what you think of Jetpack Workflow, then there are flexible pricing options starting at $36 per user per month.
Users report an intuitive interface, convenient features like the ability to forward emails and automatically create tasks, and capacity management and planning to make sure you stay ahead of the work. It also integrates with QuickBooks.
For due dates related to all tax matters, and if you’re working with enterprise level clients, Karbon could work for you. You can communicate back and forth with clients, and ensure you’re hitting targets on timeline and on target.
It’s definitely a good fit for very large teams, and you’ll need the budget to match the depth of the tool.
If you’re looking for a tool that does light workflow and also includes new client acquisition tools, Canopy may be a fit. While you’ll have to pay per name for the CRM capabilities, there is potential value in having all of your business activities in one place. It’s lower down on the scale of accounting-specific project management picks, but it’s a decent holistic solution.