How the Right Accounting Management System Can Change Your Business

choosing accounting practice management software

If you’re reading this, you’re either a firm just getting a handle on how hard it is to manage a modern day accounting practive, or you’re an accounting firm well-versed in the problems of practice management looking to switch accounting practice management software providers.

Running a modern accounting firm is tough. There are so many tools that make each individual employee more efficient but there are not a lot of tools to take your whole firm to the next level. You need to be able to layer the tools, people, and other resources together to run a high performance firm. 

Enter Accounting Practice Management Software as a category. Frankly, your brain is not made to keep track of everything that needs to be kept track of. No one’s brain is – and that’s okay. You need project management software for accountants so that you can ensure every client receives the individualized attention they deserve and no due date ever falls through the cracks.

What is Practice Management Software for Accountants?

Ask this question to a room full of CPA’s, bookkeepers and accountants, and you might get a lot of different answers. To you and the unique problems you are trying to solve in your firm, the answer might seem obvious but it’s deceptively hard to answer. Each accounting management solution on the market claiming to be a practice management software has a different set of features that will meet your unique needs.

Arguably, they can all manage your practice but some will fulfill some functions and others will not. What is important is figuring out your firm’s “Must Have Features” versus its “Nice To Have Features.” 

Simply put, what are the things your firm can’t live without?

We’re going to give you an overview of the leaders in the market to help you make an informed choice. 

Why Trust Us?

We’re the market leader in accounting workflow. We work with thousands of accounting firms in 18 countries around the world. No one else has spent as many hours creating, optimizing, dissecting, and automating workflows as Jetpack Workflow. Workflows are the lifeblood of an accounting firm and solving painful workflow problems drives our team every day.

In short, because of our extensive expertise in accounting workflows, we know what it takes to manage an accounting firm. We’ve seen the business, soup to nuts and know how to best manage a practice. 

Who Is This Guide For? 

This guide is for small to medium-size accounting firms conducting research about accounting practice management software before making a purchasing decision. Generally speaking, if your firm has less than 20 people, then this guide is for you. 

Let me paint of picture of who you are. You probably fit into one of these two categories:

  1. An accounting firm just coming to terms with the importance of practice management.
  2. An accounting firm who completely understands how important practice management is but is looking for alternative solutions to what you have in place right now. 


Firm coming to terms with the Importance of practice management

You’re a relatively small firm, probably less than six employees. You’re the firm owner or a partner. You started out tracking your work in spreadsheets until you realized, “Spreadsheets aren’t made for this.”

Firm looking for alternative solutions for practice management

Your firm employs less than twenty people and has less than six thousand clients (individual and business combined). You’ve got a bunch of disparate tools that help make your employees more efficient but it is hard to keep track of them all. Your tool now might be less than intuitive or lack features you need. 

Who We Tested

Jetpack Workflow

This is us. We are the market leader in practice management software for small accounting firms. We do work with larger firms as well, but our core focus is small to medium-sized businesses. Our workflow systems are simple, intuitive, and cost-effective! We help make sure nothing will fall through the cracks and give you transparency over our practice. 

Karbon

Karbon is a work management tool for multiple industries that utilize Kanban manufacturing techniques to visualize the flow of work. Karbon started out specializing in the accounting sphere but has since expanded to new industries like HR or Insurance. Similar to Jetpack Workflow, Karbon is a new technology company and not a legacy tool. 

Office Tools

Office Tools has been around since 1983 and has grown to become a large player in the space. It’s considered a legacy tool and has many offerings in terms of practice management features. 

QBO Work

This solution is only available with QBO Accountant and is QBO’s 3rd attempt to create a Practice Management Software solution. QBO is the 800lb gorilla in the accounting industry. Chances are you use QBO and your clients use QBO. This is the 3rd or 4th iteration of a task management tool Intuit has brought to market. 

Microsoft Todo’s

This workflow tool comes as part of your Office 365 solution and is not tailored to the Accounting Market. ToDo’s was actually Wunderlist before it was purchased by Microsoft. Like with most broad project management or task software, you can make it work but it won’t fit like a glove. 

Excel

Excel is the standard spreadsheet software. It is made for getting work done, not tracking work. True, you can do anything in Excel! But should you? Every firm in the world starts with Excel to manage their practice and eventually, they all grow out of it. 

Our Methodology

We approached reviewing each product listed above using lenses that captured both what pain point they are solving for and where they best delivered. 

    1. Project planning and task management
      • Simply put, how well does this software help you to plan projects and manage your tasks? This is the most important factor when considering a Practice Management Software because, if the software doesn’t do this well, it should be excluded from your list. Managing your practice is simply managing all of your ongoing projects.
    2. Multi-user interface
      • This factor looks at how well teams can collaborate and work on projects in the software. No firm is an island and communication is hard. A Practice Management Software should make communication easy, not hard.
    3. Simplicity
      1. Your firm is complex enough. Your Practice Management Software should be simple and intuitive to use. If there are 14 different menus with 20 different buttons, then your staff is going to waste time and productivity just trying to get the software to work.
    4. Ideal size of firm
      • Some tools are enterprise solutions. We all know the Big 4 and you are definitely not one of the Big 4. Why worry about Practice Management Softwares that were built for much larger firms? You wouldn’t buy a pair of pants that was 10 sizes too big! You shouldn’t buy a Practice Management Software like that either.
    5. Client communication
      • The Client Chase struggle is real. Your clients are paying you for a service and will often not give you the information you need to do the service they are paying you to do. You need a way to communicate with your clients directly on the work they are paying you to do.
    6. Integrations
      • The accounting world is filled with tools! You need a practice management software that is going to help integrate your tools into one place.
    7. Customer Information Management
      • You need one true source of customer information. Where do you go when you need to call or email someone? Your practice management software should have a place for you to keep all of this client data.
    8. Document management
      • You can’t run a practice without storing documents. Every business needs a filing cabinet! But you want it to be a virtual filing cabinet. Your accounting practice management software should include the ability to upload documents.
    9. Time tracking
      • The billable hour rules accounting. We are all moving toward value priced billing, but until then, your practice management software should have a way for you to store time data. 
    10. Pricing
      • No one wants to overpay for a software solution. You’ll want something that meets your needs, providing the solution you were looking for, without breaking the bank. You’ll also want something that will be there for you when you scale and hire more employees.

Feel free to use our handy chart for a quick comparison:

compare accounting practice management software

Final Recommendation

As you can see from the scores, Jetpack Workflow offers a great mix of features combined with a fair price to give you and your firm maximum value for your investment. Each tool delivers a different experience, and choosing the right one for your firm depends on your priority in terms of features and price.

Since we founded Jetpack Workflow with accounting professionals in mind, we know all too well the administrative pain that firms are going through and why they need practice management solutions. We created our software to solve those pains from the ground up. Good luck in your search for the right practice management tool.