How practice management software could transform your accounting business

8 min read
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Ros Hodgson is Director of BCAMS Ltd Business Accounts & Training, and a QuickBooks Certified Trainer. Running her bookkeeping and accounting practice, Ros and her team helps clients across many industries, and further offers training to businesses and other accounting and bookkeeping professionals on how to manage their books. 

With the launch of QuickBooks Practice Manager, Ros shared some of the benefits her firm has experienced by adopting a practice management solution.  

What is a practice management solution?

A practice management solution is software designed to support the day to day running of your accounting business. It can be used to help streamline workflows and manage both front and back office operations with ease. Most commonly, accounting practice management software is used to keep track of workflows, assign tasks, manage client relationships and even invoice. By adopting a practice management solution you can set yourself and your clients up for success.

Set yourself and your clients up for success 

Setting your practice up for success can come down to a few basic principles: ensure accuracy across your practice, and build strong client relationships. 

Getting these right takes time, but can really help your practice in the long run.You can save yourself and your team a lot of time, and focus on what really matters - effectively advising and supporting your clients, giving them accurate books, and keeping them compliant. 

Having the right foundation laid in your practice, with accurate information and strong client relationships, helps you get so much more out of your practice, and lets you make the most of tools available to work smarter - and not harder. 

A key tool which my firm uses is a practice management solution, which has really supported us to save time, and money, and run a more effective accounting and bookkeeping firm. 

How accounting practice management software has changed the game

When we introduced a practice management solution in our firm, we did our homework and scouted several options. 

The one we picked gave us such granular information in our firm. Once you have the bookkeeping done, there was now a whole new level of insights provided with the solution, which really changed the game. We could now see major tasks, key milestones, track everything, and ensure a much greater quality of work, as no steps were being missed. 

Of course I was price conscious - we needed a price point that  was really competitive for us, while also delivering the right features and functionality. 

In my practice, when I started growing and hiring more team members, I had a standard operating procedure for tasks, but it was often manual and time consuming. As you start scaling your practice, you will need a system that allows you to maintain a high standard. When I introduced a practice manager solution in my firm, it was easy to set up a seamless process and operating procedures, set up tasks for clients and for staff, and keep the accurate flow of data -  the practice management solution ultimately gave us real flexibility, while maintaining accuracy and a high standard in our practice. 

The benefits of practice management software for accounting firms

From my experience, here are some of the key benefits I’ve seen with adopting a practice manager solution in my firm. 

1. Supports your firm’s growth

With a good practice management solution, you can grow your business more easily, because the solution scales with your practice. A practice management solution allows you to streamline and automate processes, and have a solid operating procedure in place. This ultimately means you can take on more team members to support in your practice, and take on more clients. Plus in my experience as a business owner, a practice management solution gives clarity and peace of mind: I’m able to delegate and let team members pick up tasks more seamlessly, onboard new team members with practice processes quicker, and it lets me step away when necessary, and my practice can keep running smoothly. 

Moreover, clients expect that everything is running smoothly in your practice - they don’t want your practice operations and potential team changes to affect how you work with them. So even if you’re not looking to grow, a practice management solution still gives you a great deal of freedom. 

2. Enjoy more seamless onboarding 

I see a big time saving benefit with having a practice management solution in my firm - especially when it comes to recruitment, and when I take on a new member of staff. 

Onboarding new team members and subcontractors was taking a lot of time, with lots of client checklists and how-to notes. Now with a practice management solution, I direct them to Practice Manager in QuickBooks to see the steps for this client - this includes notes, documents and videos for the client. This is proving to be a great foundation for new team members, as it gives them all they need  to know about a client. So these days, the conversation I need to have with the trainee is very brief, which as the practice owner, saves me hours of onboarding staff and of clients.

3. Save time chasing clients 

A feature that we probably use the most, and the feature our clients tell us they like best, is the client task feature where they can upload their documents. This is a real time saver, and easy to use by clients as it simply ticks off a list of documents they’ve submitted to us. 

Many accountants and bookkeepers will likely agree: it’s a common pain point to chase clients for a document and get a response back ‘I'm sure we've sent you this before’. With Practice Manager features, it ticks the documents off when uploaded - saving a lot of time communicating back and forth with clients, and also gives less room for misunderstandings. It further allows all client communication to be in one place, which is a feature I personally really like, as you can file these in folders and keep records. 

4. Stay on top of deadlines

As an accounting professional, deadlines are critical - you need to be on top of a lot of dates year round, including VAT returns, annual accounts, and payroll runs. With practice manager, anything that has a hard deadline, you have the ability to filter e.g. by VAT returns or payroll, which makes it a lot easier to stay on track. The feature of being able to filter was initially one of the key reasons why I adopted a practice manager solution in my firm, and I’m not looking back. 

5. Streamline your practice workflows

A great feature that streamlines my practice workflows is the task list available in Practice Manager. Like many other practices, we used Excel or a Google Sheet previously to keep track, but then there were times I’d wake up in the middle of the night worrying if I’ve covered everything - and I didn’t want to keep doing that. I was looking for something where I could filter by key tasks and by team member, and have greater clarity on tasks to be done and deadlines. Introducing a practice manager solution has helped me to do just that - nothing has had to drop for a client, and no more waking up in the middle of the night worrying. 

Task lists is a particularly helpful feature when presenting a set of books as ready. This feature is a really good tool for making sure that no key steps have been missed, and we’ve fulfilled all of the criteria for that client. 

6. Enjoy customisation and seamless integration 

One of the biggest wins is the deep linking between Practice Manager and Quickbooks, and the ability to move between customer profiles, and directly within the books. Furthermore, one of my favorite aspects of the practice management solution is the customised fields feature on the client page. This is useful because once something is in a customised field, it can then be included in an email - when we realised this, it changed the game for us in terms of customising our email or standardizing our emails. 

Plus the solution did all the good things you would expect, like linking to Companies House and pulling this information into QuickBooks Practice Manager. This means more automation, and really does help my practice save time.  

7. Stay in control of your practice 

When I introduced Practice Manager in my firm, it ultimately allowed me to get better oversight to manage my practice end to end. I have clarity on client work and can see client tasks, have better sight of workflows, can identify potential bottlenecks in my practice, and have processes in place to help onboard team members and clients seamlessly. Ultimately, this gives me a source of truth for my practice, and Practice Manager has been a great investment for my firm. 

To wrap up, my practice has really benefited from adopting Practice Manager, and I would recommend other accounting and bookkeeping professionals to explore adopting a practice management solution too, if they’ve not yet done so. In my firm, getting a practice manager solution has given me peace of mind, control, and supported with clear processes that has ultimately helped save time so we can focus on running a successful practice, and support our clients.

QuickBooks Practice Manager has launched in the UK. Discover more about Practice Manager, and how it can support your practice.


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