August 31, 2023

The Best Practice Management Tools for Accounting Firms

For accounting firms, practice management tools can be assets to streamline operations, fortify data security, and optimize client interactions. These tools safeguard sensitive client information and free up time-consuming administrative tasks through automation.

Practice management tools also provide a scalable solution for firms as they grow. As small businesses evolve into larger enterprises, they ensure that document management remains relatively consistent. Learn about how practice management products confer great benefits, and determine which works best for your firm.

Enhancing Efficiency Through Practice Management Tools

Practice management tools are pivotal in optimizing document organization within CPA firms. They offer a systematic approach to managing the vast array of documents integral to daily and long-term operations. By facilitating organization, they ensure secure storage and ease of access to essential files. This can provide many advantages, including substantial time savings and enhanced operational efficiency.

When combing through the market for the "right" features, some important ones particular to accounting become evident. Some to look for include:

  • Time and billing: At the most fundamental level is time tracking and billing. Any tool should keep track of these mission-critical aspects to reduce the far less desirable alternative of manual input.
  • Staff management: Staff scheduling and payment is paramount to staying on top of a firm's workload, even in the busiest season. Proper staff management keeps everything running and ensures the team can focus on what needs to get done.
  • Workflow: Automated workflows, even AI-driven solutions, are becoming more recognized for their help in making firms more efficient. Not all tools need to be that cutting-edge, however. Even just basic process drafting and saving features make workflows trackable and easier overall.
  • Document management: It can seem like accounting work is document after document. Pairing that with disparate methods for document management is a recipe for severely reduced organizational capacity. Stay on top of it all with document management features that make a place for everything without requiring excessive upkeep.
  • Due date tracking: You can manage documents, staff, and billing, but without managing your time, you risk getting stuck behind during busy months like in tax season. Due date tracking features can display and notify relevant staff on when they need to get things done so they can plan accordingly.

As accounting firms grow, collaboration becomes paramount. The right practice management software can harbor against chaos and disorganization when used properly. For example, it could enable employees from separate departments to work collaboratively on a time-sensitive task with instant access to shared files. This eliminates bottlenecks, empowers teamwork, and enhances overall productivity.

Integrated Security

A good practice management solution should incorporate robust security measures. This provides a fortified environment on top of the organizational function, protecting documents from unauthorized access. Here's a closer look at security features some offer:

  • Document Encryption: Secure practice management tools employ advanced encryption mechanisms to encode documents and data. Only authorized users with the appropriate decryption keys can access and decipher the content. This encryption technology acts as a secure barrier, rendering documents useless to any unauthorized parties who may attempt to intercept them.
  • Password Protection and MFA: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) further enhances security by requiring users to provide additional verification beyond their password, such as a code sent to their mobile device. Users are required to create strong, unique passwords that serve as the first line of defense against unauthorized entry. This multi-layered approach minimizes the risk of unauthorized access, even in the event of a compromised password.
  • Activity Monitoring: Practice management tools incorporate comprehensive activity monitoring capabilities. Every action related to documents—whether it's opening, editing, sharing, or deleting—is meticulously tracked and logged. This audit trail provides a detailed record, which is useful for both security and process tracing.
  • Secure Cloud Storage: With cloud-based solutions, data is stored in encrypted formats within highly secure data centers. In addition to being secure, cloud clients allow for ease of use and reduced reliance on local instances.

Practice Management Solutions for CPA Firms

The right practice management tool should strike a balance between organization, security, and your firm's unique needs. Here are some strong options for CPA agencies:

TPS

Cloud Axis alone is a powerful cloud tool, but all the features of TPS Software meet the needs of firms large and small. Easy to implement and highly scalable, TPS is one of the strongest overall offerings for CPA firms at a reasonable price. It shines in document management while also making workflows universal. Accounting feels less tedious when managed by TPS - the goal of any good practice management solution.

Price: $13-25 per month

Empire SUITE

Empire SUITE provides an array of features helpful to accounting firms. For one, it's integrated with CCH Axcess. It goes beyond Axcess alone by implementing online, cloud employee time management. Empire's tools make tax scheduling automated and doable online. Furthermore, its TIME OFF tracker works perfectly with Axcess.

Price: $9-10 per month

Abdo Compass Analytics

The cloud-based Compass Analytics software from Abdo Solutions makes CCH work even better by focusing on utilization, billing, and cash receipts. It's data-driven and updates in real time. Power BI-based reporting similar to CCH's own module makes it familiar and accessible. Compass is a winner for firms looking to hone in on managing their financial situation.

Price: By quote

4impactdata Thrive Business Guidance System

Thrive is a great way to look at broad performance data and channel it into actionable measures. With simple interfaces and integration into common programs like Excel, it's an accessible tool for measuring where your firm is at, quickly. It enables powerful visualization of performance across sectors. Accordingly, Thrive proved more useful than some of its competitors at detecting potential issues in their early phases.

Price: $500

APS Practice Management

This crown gem of APS's offerings for CPA firms provides an Outlook-like interface for practice management. It's built on Microsoft's SQL platform, which makes APS's solution both customizable and scalable for firms of all sizes. APS Practice Management is especially strong for providing due dates, tasks, and time tracking for peak efficiency.

Price: $300 per user

PracticePro 365

PracticePro 365 is a comprehensive cloud-based practice management product. It's loaded with useful features and dashboards for time and billing, expenses, and workflow automation. PracticePro is a complete CRM and is based on Power BI, which makes it closer to an all-in-one solution for on the business operation end. Ultimately, firms get robust cloud security mixed with thorough tools to take on any accounting challenge.

Price: By quote

IT Solutions Enable Practice Management

The best software solutions cater to distinct firm sizes, ensuring seamless operations and enhanced productivity. From streamlined document management to versatile tracking, these tools empower CPA firms to provide exceptional client services.

Cetrom seamlessly integrates with your existing infrastructure, minimizing the total cost of ownership while elevating your management process. Our cloud suite of management tools ensures continuity of operations. Cetrom's expertise in IT and cybersecurity furthers your ability to securely manage your practice. By harnessing automation, cloud services, and security, Cetrom's hosted solutions make for streamlined operations.

Protect your firm's most valuable data assets with the right IT and data security solutions. Say goodbye to local-based processes and manual procedures and welcome a future of efficiency and security. Witness the evolution of your CPA firm's operations, driven by Cetrom.

Contact us for more insights into secure cloud management for your firm!

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