There are over 42,000 accounting firms in the U.S. alone. Of those, 41,600 are small businesses looking to grow.
If you’re one of these, you’ll know how difficult it can be to grow your accounting firm. Clients can be hard to come by and with so much competition it can be difficult to make yourself stand out.
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Accounting automation as a business development strategy
As technology advances, 60% of accountants surveyed believe that basic accountancy services will be fully automated within the next 5 years. When this happens, small accounting firms will have to look for ways to diversify their business and increase their overall billing.
While it may seem like a tough prospect, there are several software solutions you can use to increase your accounting firm’s revenue, profit, and client list, and run a successful accounting practice.
First steps for growing your accounting firm
According to Firm of the Future, growth happens through one or more of the following ways:
- Increasing fees on current services
- Attracting more clients
- Offering more services
- Increasing efficiency to produce more at a lower cost
From this list, you can see there are two main directions to take: increase revenue, clients, and/or fees or decrease overhead, waste, and inefficiency.
For the first approach, you’ll be focusing more on growing your business with outbound strategies. And the second, you’ll be looking inward to assess processes, teams, and software to improve the way your firm operates.
Let’s take a deeper look at the second option, as more firms can get started here and see an impact without making drastic changes.
Increasing your firm’s efficiency
The unfortunate truth is that most workplaces operate with some waste. Whether that’s wasted time, an inaccurate allocation of resources, or clunky processes that hold your team back, there’s likely a way to improve efficiency.
To do so, look at the following:
- Workflows – Is there a better way to get work done?
- Client communication – Are you using the best routes to save time and make sure clients are up-to-date?
- Time tracking software – Are you keeping track of how each work hour is spent?
And on that note, look at your software in general. When was the last time you updated your software or tried a new, more efficient system?
Accounting software can provide the solution you need to grow your accounting firm. It can help you increase revenue and profit from existing clients by helping you understand just how much time you’re actually spending on their work.
Different types of accounting tools can help you become more efficient and less wasteful, and they can help you refine your outreach and approach to help you get new clients.
Have a look at our list of top accounting software to help you grow your accounting practice.
5 Best workflow management software for accountants
Hubstaff allows you to more accurately bill your accounting clients while reducing your overhead and increasing profits. Hubstaff works by tracking your employees’ time and productivity.
With Hubstaff, you can:
- Track time from any device or computer with apps that make it easy to start and stop a timer
- Customize productivity tracking features for your firm, such as random screen capture (blurred or standard), and app and URL tracking
- You can use these features to give clients an accurate picture of how time is spent on client work, or turn them off altogether
- Exports time into daily, weekly and custom timesheets
- Allowing you to quickly bill clients for the right amount
- And, use that time to pay team members
- Offers online invoicing that uses timesheets for calculations
- Speeds up the time it takes to invoice and allows for online payments
- Built-in time off tracking so you can track paid holidays, vacation and more
You know the saying, “It’s better to keep a client than find a new one,” and with Hubstaff you’ll be able to both keep a client and maximize their billing.
Hubstaff’s premium plan with all of its time-saving features is only $10/per user per month.
Try it free for 14 days.
2. Practice Ignition
Practice Ignition is a software that helps you take the stress out of creating proposals and chasing clients for money.
It allows you to:
- Create well-designed proposals using templates
- Request customer credit card details in your proposals so billing is streamlined, efficient, and fast
- Integrate complex billing styles like pro-rata, tax calculations, and more
- Create recurring payments
- Understand sales and data analytics using metrics and analysis
Practice Ignition helps you save time on proposals and increase the speed you get paid. Pricing starts at $79/month for 100 active clients.
Karbon helps accountancy firms stay organized and efficient. It offers workflow management software that works with firms of any size.
Karbon’s features include:
- Project management to help stay on top of deadlines
- Automation for repetitive tasks that can be simplified and automated
- Search to help you find any detail about a client account or proposal
- Chat to allow you to communicate with team members for faster progress and better efficiency
- Analytics to keep track of your firm’s efficiency, profitability, and your client behavior
- Integrations with a variety of other software and email providers so you can easily add it to your firm
Karbon starts at $49 per month.
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4. Pascal Workflow
Pascal Workflow is software designed to help you grow your accounting firm. It offers a variety of features for managing clients and workflows.
Pascal Workflow’s features include:
- CRM for managing relationships with clients
- Proposal automation for engagement letters and other documents
- Automated follow-ups to help chase clients for information and help speed up the onboarding process
- Client portal that allows you to store tax returns and documents and allows you to charge fees for accessing documents if needed
- Recurring billing capabilities
- E-signature and 8879s allowing you to improve the turnaround time of documents and make sure you’re compliant
Pascal Workflow is free for up to 5 users and 500 contact records. Paid plans start at $55 per month per user.
Canopy is accounting software that helps you streamline your firm’s workload. Centered around document management, it allows you to access a range of features to help serve clients and grow your accounting firm.
Canopy helps you:
- Store IRS transcripts
- Host client documents and files to help everything stay centralized and easy-to-access
- Treat clients better with a client portal where they can access their returns and files
- Take online payments so you get paid faster and clients can pay more easily
- Automate your workflows to help grow your accounting firm faster
- Work from the cloud so you can access documents wherever you are
Canopy was made for tax experts and accounting firms. It starts at $899 per user per year.
Ready to start growing your accounting firm?
If you’re looking to grow your accounting firm in 2019 and are wondering what top accounting software can help you achieve that, hopefully this list gives you some good ideas.
While there are a variety of choices, there are two clear types of software to start with: time tracking and project management.
Hubstaff’s time tracking software can help you to grow your accounting firm by automating routine tasks and reducing your overhead per project. This helps reduce the stress of having to go out and try to win new business.
The first step to growing your accounting firm in 2019 should be maximizing your existing clients.
While you do that, work on onboarding your new clients more efficiently so you can process faster and easier. Tools like Practice Ignition can help you sign up clients quickly and easily so you never have to worry about missing documents or incorrect payment details.
While growing your accounting firm may seem like a daunting prospect, with the tools and accounting software above, it’ll be easier than ever.