With the global accounting industry size nearing $500 Billion – and $114 Billion in the US alone, it seems obvious that accounting firms ought to be managed by software solutions that can deliver the best efficiency in a competitive environment. However, in reality, as firms grow older, many accountants stick with their older management software out of sheer loyalty, rather than scanning the horizon to assess new accounting software solutions to stay ahead of the competition. In a way this is a familiar tale because oftentimes clients stick with accounting firms year after year for the same reason: loyalty.
In reality, many accounting firms and CPA’s face difficulties in process management because unless they make use of an all-in-one solution, they can quickly end up deploying multiple solutions from various software vendors, complicating the process for both clients and employees. Below we will take a closer look at what is considered the top 5 software options for accounting practices:
1. Firm 360
This is considered the ultimate “all-in-one” accounting practice management software on the market. All client-side and employee communication can be integrated into this hub, which enables workflow management and time tracking. The document management system enables all stakeholders to upload and edit documents in a secure environment, with workflow routing to various team members in an efficient way. Being completely cloud-based, this is rapidly becoming the “saleforce of accounting” – because it enables a business executive to access things from anywhere in the world thanks to cloud infrastructure that is complimented by a mobile-friendly interface. (Visit their site here: https://www.myfirm360.com)
2. Quickbooks QBOA
Quickbooks QBOA is not expensive and produces beautiful accounting reports. It is not likely to be an “all-in-one” solution and is often used alongside other software, so staff training is an important consideration. The drawbacks here are upgrade fees in an ecosystem that is built to “upsell”, along with no direct professional support.
3. OfficeTools workspace
This is another popular software that aims to group the functions of CRM, Time & Billing, Workflow Tracking, and Document Management into one. On cost, it compared well with other solutions, but since being taken over by Abacus, it has become pricy. Ease of use is the main issue where it ranked low according to a wide number of users. Extensive staff training is typically required to obtain the benefits of the software.
4. Xero practice manager
Tipped to be a cloud-based solution that is quite scalable and supportive of unlimited users, Xero is a good contender in this space. As most companies do, they recently increased the price and no longer include payroll management as part of the standard service. It meant that those already on the program had to upgrade their package and may have been prohibitive for newcomers to the market who evaluated the best accounting software side-by-side.
5. CS Professional suite
A solution offered by Thomson Reuters, popular with some accountants for specific features, but perhaps not the biggest hit in a cloud-based era. The staff management feature is great yet it lacks document management and billing/invoicing, so be prepared to run multiple software solutions to keep going.
Keep in mind that with the above 5 options, we have not exhausted the list: other options include Doc.IT suite, SaasAnt transactions, Backline systems, Aero workflow, Adra accounts and Financial Cents. There is no shortage of options so it may lead to analysis paralysis when making your choice.
So which is the best accountancy practice solution for 2020?
This may be a tough question only you can answer after some research. If you need to have a cloud-based solution that is accessible on almost any device, with its own document management: obviously a few brands are slipping off the list. Add to this workflow routing and scaled team management and the shortlist becomes even clearer.
Therefore, knowing the automation features you’ll require to run an accountancy business smoothly – and opting for them from the start is the key to making the best pick. Indeed, different CPA’s take their own view on this purely because not all of them have to manage the entire ecosystem that an accountancy practice deals with and each may have been trained on a different software, which really affects their view. Firm360 is one that caught our attention for a variety of unique reasons, but of course you should make your pick based on independent research to arrive at the best conclusion.
Accountants will obviously understand that saving both time and money is of the essence. Firm360 says that their typical large client is able to cancel a string of subscriptions, including Thompson Reuters PracticeCS, GoFileroom, Sharefile and Jetpack Workflow. These combined subscriptions can cost over $20k per year, so with a 40% cost saving, Firm360 presents a bold challenge on price.
As major trends like RPA, artificial intelligence, cloud hosting, CRM and 5G converges in 2020, choosing the most up-to-date features can really bring competitive advantage to your organization: this also holds true for the accounting industry.