Tax & Accounting Blog

Expert-Level Juggling

Accounting Firms, Blog, CS Professional Suite Firm & Workflow Management Solutions September 24, 2015

When you’re running a tax and accounting practice, there’s an awful lot to juggle. But how do you keep all the balls in the air? Let a practice management system do it for you.

A practice management system keeps everything you need to know about your operation in one place, from workflow to billing and more. Plus it can integrate with all your other systems for seamless collaboration and connectivity.

Step right up and see some of the reasons a practice management system is a good business move.

A Ringmaster for Business-Critical Information

The tax and accounting profession is starting to view practice management systems as the central hub for everything that goes on in the firm, says Matt Jagst, director of product management for Thomson Reuters.

A practice management system is the repository for all the information a firm needs to easily and efficiently provide top-notch service to clients. That’s why Jagst suggests firms keep their most current client and contact database in their practice management system.

“If a client calls with a question, you immediately have a dashboard view of that client relationship and anything you’re working on for them,” he says. “Instead of having to call them back after you find what they need, you can answer their question immediately.”

Firm Details Appear Right Before Your Eyes

Not having up-to-date information to manage their firm’s business is a real pain point for practices, says Jagst. A practice management system allows them to manage their firm efficiently—and in real time.

“A big part of a practice management system is the robust reporting that comes with it, which paints a picture for the firm’s managing partner or owner so he or she can get a good grasp of what’s going on with the firm,” Jagst says. “They’ll be able to tell which clients they’re making money on, which clients they’re not and which tasks employees are best at.”

Even small firms can benefit from the big-picture view a practice management system like Practice CS provides, he adds. “We’ve had lots of firms tell us, ‘We had no idea we were losing money on what we thought were some of our best clients,'” Jagst says.

No Slip-Ups, Eeven When You’re Walking the Tax-Time Tightrope

With hundreds of projects going on at any given time, especially during tax season, firms have a lot to keep an eye on. There’s constant fear of missing a deadline, something that’s not likely to happen with a practice management system in place.

“It’s really easy to see what needs to be done, who’s assigned to it and when it’s expected to be completed,” Jagst says. “It also gives you the information you need in order to see if there’s a better way to distribute the workload among employees. It’s an efficient way to make sure you have the right people on the right projects at the right time.”

Billing and Accounts Payable That Hit the Target

Every firm likes to keep a steady cash flow, but that means being efficient with billing and collecting payments—a task that sometimes gets put on the back burner during busy times. With a practice management system, firms can post their invoices or bills online, which clients can pay via credit card, thus cutting down on the effort and time involved for everyone.

The Work-Life Flexibility of an Acrobat

As more and more tax and accounting professionals seek to balance their work and personal lives, technology that lets them do business from anywhere is vital.

“It’s a trend in this profession, so there’s the challenge of keeping everyone connected,” Jagst says. “The ability to connect to essential client information, whether employees are in the office or not—including access through a mobile app—is where a practice management system really comes into play.”

Being able to access data from anywhere means staff members can collaborate on projects without being in the same place at the same time.

When a practice management system is integrated with other accounting software, such as client portals, that means better collaboration with clients, too.

“Everyone can be looking at the same data at the same time,” Jagst says. “And even when your staff isn’t on the clock, your clients can access information through a secure portal any time they need it.”

Build Your Business for Peanuts

With a robust practice management system, firms can keep track of not just their current clients, but their prospects, too—without having to invest in a separate customer relationship management (CRM) solution.

“It’s much more expensive to go out and bring in a new client than it is to get additional business from an existing client,” Jagst says. “Firms can use a practice management system to look for opportunities with current clients as well as keeping track of prospects.

Want to know more about the magic a practice management system can work for your firm? Check out our recorded Practice CS webcasts at CS.ThomsonReuters.com/Events/.