Date posted: 01/02/2024 5 min read

When is the right time to invest in practice management software?

Your firm’s growth relies on your team having the right tech at the right time. Here’s what’s led other accountants to make the move to practice management software and a CRM system. Brought to you by The Access Group.

For decades, accountants seeking to manage relationships with clients have tended to rely on one product: Excel. But as practices grow, client data and client needs increase. This can overwhelm practices, leading to mistakes and resulting in teams spending more time on admin than on the work that drives results and revenue.

“That’s a key transition where people say, ‘I need to get a workflow tool to replace the Excel sheet I’ve got’,” says David Francis, general manager of The Access Group’s accountants division.

Enter practice management software, designed to help practices manage workloads, assign jobs to staff and keep businesses operating at their maximum potential. It enables practices to gain more visibility over their operations, increase employee motivation, exceed revenue targets, increase productivity and facilitates workflow optimisation.

David FrancisPictured: David Francis, The Access Group

Nurturing relationships with clients

The Access Group has built a practice management solution on the Salesforce platform specifically for accountants, which contains all the traditional practice management functions such as workflow management and timesheets – as well as customer relationship management (CRM) functionality.

Unlike some industries such as recruitment, accountancy has not been a big adopter of CRM. Research by The Access Group found 80% of practices have a practice management solution, yet only 45% have customer relationship management, so having CRM built into the practice management system is a great solution for accountants who live in practice management all day.

“It means you don’t have to go and buy and maintain a separate system,” says Francis. “If you want to be tailoring your approach and your services so the client feels like you are just there for them, then CRM is very handy.”

Access’s practice management solution includes:

  • Client data in one place
  • Systems that integrate with each other for forecasting, reporting, tax and more
  • Real-time access to client information and insights
  • Streamlined compliance workflows
  • Remote access as standard, for hybrid working
  • A system that can grow with you, as you bring on staff and clients
  • Implementation and training tailored to your practice’s needs.

“It enables you to define your clients (and future clients) by demographics, psychographics, industry and region. Who are the decision makers? Do they prefer email communication or phone communication? This is data that enables you to tailor your approach for individual clients. It positions you as the specialist,” Francis says.

“If you want to be tailoring your approach and your services so the client feels like you are just there for them, then CRM is very handy.”
David Francis, The Access Group

It’s time for practice management software

So, how do you know when it’s time to invest in practice management?

“When you are finding it hard to track what everybody’s doing, when profitability seems to be slipping, predictability of work is difficult and potentially your client satisfaction is dropping,” says Francis.

“Excel is a beloved tool for accountants, but there’s a time at which you say, ‘This is just too hard. I need some specialist software to manage my practice’.”

Find out more:

Click here to hear more from David Francis about the benefits of an integrated practice management and CRM solution in the recent webinar series: Blueprint to running a successful accounting practice.