When people discuss the effects of technology on accounting firms, they often focus on how it improves client service. While that’s certainly important, that doesn’t quite paint the full picture.
What’s discussed less frequently is that AI-powered and cloud-based software also improves accounting practice management. These improvements are a catalyst for improving all the inner workings of your firm — accountant job satisfaction, productivity, efficiency, etc. — which will in turn allow your firm to better serve clients.
By being an early adopter of innovative management software, accounting firms can take their operations to the next level and differentiate themselves from the competition. Here are some ways accounting firms can use digital tactics to improve accounting practice management.
Communicate within the company
Communication and transparency are the backbone of a successful firm. In order for communication (both client-facing and internal) to be successful, it needs to happen via channels that the recipients respond well to. In this case, digital communication not only reaches people on preferred lines, it ensures that all communication systems can be integrated.
For example, integrations with Microsoft Project, Outlook, and project management tools give full visibility into the firm’s current projects and availability. That way everyone is on the same page when it’s time to communicate with the client or execute a project.
Automate time and billing
Automated time tracking and billing gives firms everything they need to manage employee time and expenses so that all work can be properly tracked and billed. This includes integration features like Outlook syncing to auto-populate timesheets based on calendar items and assignments.
Software can also automatically check the accuracy of timesheets and also notify team members of late, missing, or rejected reports so all time is accounted for. This gives managers the visibility to ensure that time is used efficiently and is accounted for in billing.
Keeping an accurate track of PTO is important for complying with company policies, keeping workloads manageable, and not making the mistake of assigning something to someone who is not available. Technology can enable requests and approvals directly within the platform and automatically sync them to calendar apps for improved visibility. Software also gives management the ability to define different time off types, like vacation or sick, to make sure time off complies with company policy.
Arguably one of the most important parts of accounting practice management is properly allocating resources. Having the right people work on the right tasks is key for productivity and accuracy.
Resource management technology gives managers access to everyone’s schedules, with drag-and-drop features for assigning projects. There are also filters to see available resources based on schedule, time off, specialty, seniority, and others. That way you can ensure resources assigned to specific projects have the right skills for the job.
Accounting practice management is one of the underrated ways that firms can set themselves apart from the competition. By adopting cloud-based software, accounting firms can streamline operations and create an overall better experience for employees and clients.