April 23, 2023 min read
Darren RootChief Strategist, Rootworks
A holistic approach is what’s needed to run a modern accounting firm today. Getting it right is like building a puzzle. Clients expect a cohesive and simple experience. Your team needs the tools to better serve customers without friction, and you need information that measures what matters.
Data is the key driver that will lead your firm from being only a reactive compliance firm to a proactive firm that holistically serves clients.
Practice management—Contact management, time and billing, and workflow tracking with, at a minimum, these features:
Customer relationship management (CRM)—Firms use a CRM system to track prospective clients and nurture them through the process of becoming a client.
Client portal solution—This is the tool for collaborating with clients, so you can:
Customer service software—A centralized customer service ticketing system (Zendesk is a good example) with which you can:
Engagement letter and payment solution—Streamline the engagement letter process and automate billing and payment for the services provided.
Client intelligence solution—Collect and consolidate all the data about your clients that currently live in various silos…including your head, and the heads of your team members. I like to think of client data in these categories:
Accounting software—This one is self-explanatory because you’re probably using some form of QuickBooks as your firm’s accounting software.
It’s no wonder firms are frustrated with their current state of Practice Management; everything is so fragmented. Above is a good list of the functionalities a modern firm should consider.
Today, no single solution does everything I just listed, although there are a few that include several of the items. When evaluating multiple solutions, consider the following:
Creating a practice management system really is like a puzzle—but the difference is, it’s not one where every single piece must be included to create the final picture. With this puzzle, some pieces will be used, and others will be left out. Plus, there are trade-offs that need to be considered.
But at a minimum, we’re going to include traditional practice management, client portal, client intelligence and accounting software.
This is not an easy puzzle to solve. It requires a lot of discussion, decision-making and implementation that will require process changes. But if you want to be a modern firm, there’s no better time than a brand-new year to start thinking like a modern business.
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Rootworks members can now use an early access version of Insights, which delivers customer segmentation and pricing data as well as reports for your firm and clients. Connection to QuickBooks Online is required for firms and/or clients.