Best Accounting Practice Management Software in 2020
The Accounting Practice Management Software mentioned in this article is listed in no particular order of importance.
- Financial Cents – An easy to use solution built for small to mid-sized accounting firms. Priced at $15/ month per team member.
- Karbon – A solution built for enterprise accounting firms. Priced at $69/month per team member (minimum of 3)
- Jetpack Workflow – A solution built for small to mid-sized firms. Priced at $36/month per team member.
- Aero Workflow – An older solution built for small to mid-sized firms. Priced at $40/month per team member.
Let’s get started
Implementing an accounting practice management software is a critical part of taking your firm to the next level. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant, bookkeeper, or CPA. You need a practice management tool to establish the infrastructure necessary to scale your firm.
However, there are so many options that it can make the process of picking the right one for your firm very difficult. If you aren’t careful, you can waste months picking one. Or worse, pick the wrong one for your firm. That is why we decided to write this article to help you choose the right accounting practice management software for your firm.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Accounting Practice Management Software?
Accounting practice management software manages the back-end of your office. It helps you track client work, communicate with your team, store client information, and ensure everything gets done at the end of the day.
When picking an accounting practice management software, there are a few essential categories to take into consideration.
- Project Management – Allows you to delegate work, track your team’s progress, streamline your workflows, and ensure that everything gets done on time.
- Team Collaboration – Efficient and organized team communication is crucial as you grow. If you can’t communicate with your team quickly, you miss important details, and stuff will fall through the cracks.
- Workflow Automation – As you grow, you will take on more and more clients, which means more work. You need a tool that will automate critical tasks and reminders to prevent human error and save you time.
- Time Tracking & Billing – Tracking time is vital for firms that bill hourly or on monthly engagements. It helps you provide accurate invoices, get paid faster, and identify work that may be over budget.
- Client Management – Organizing all your client information and storing it in a place allows your team to easily access everything they need to get their work done on time.
- Reporting – As you grow, you will need insights into your firm’s performance so you can identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks that may be holding you back and shrinking firm profitability.
- Setup and Training – Accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs are always busy. So the accounting practice management software you choose mustn’t take too much time to implement and train your team.
- Pricing – At the end of the day, you need an affordable solution that can scale with your firm. Growing firms need to reinvest their money into growth, and if you are spending a significant portion of your budget on new accounting practice management software, it doesn’t leave much money left over.
It’s important that you think about your process and decide which of the categories above are essential to your firm. Use that insight to help you decide on the best solution for you as you read this article.
Now that you have taken a moment to think about that let’s get started…
Financial Cents is an accounting practice management software built for small and medium-sized accounting, bookkeeping, and CPA firms. We also serve larger firms, but our focus is on firms with 1 – 30 employees.
We have worked closely with hundreds of firms over the years to build a solution that is easy to use, quick to learn, and has everything you need to take your firm to the next level.
Project Management is the core focus of Financial Cents. We believe that delegating, tracking, and completing work on time is the most challenging thing to do as a firm grows
When you log into Financial Cents, the first thing you see is a dashboard that lets you track all the client work across the firm. You can see what status it is in, who is working on it, and when it will be completed all in one simple view. You also have workflow filters that let you quickly view work for specific clients, team members, statuses, and time periods—making it easy to locate particular work in seconds when a client calls.
If you don’t establish a standard operating procedure for completing particular work as you grow, it becomes tough to maintain work quality. Financial Cents provides you workflow templates and also allows you to create custom workflow templates. This makes it easy to standardize your process, so everyone on your team knows every step they need to take to complete their work.
Financial Cents has team collaboration built directly into the project management solution. Your team can ask questions, leave updates or have open discussions on the client work so anyone taking over can quickly get caught up to speed and have all the context they need to keep the work moving forward.
Financial Cents provides a lot of different options to automate time-consuming and important parts of your workflow.
Automate Client Data Collection
Chasing down clients for information and documents can be a time-consuming part of an accountant’s job. That is why Financial Cents automates the client data collection process for you. You can schedule a request list to be sent to your client every month and have the system automatically follow up with them until your client completes the tasks.
The client will be able to access a portal (without having to set up a login or password) where they can upload documents and ask you questions. The best part is that all the documents and client communication are stored on the relevant client work so anyone on your team can access it at the click of a button and have everything they need to pick up where you left off.
As an accountant, you do a lot of repetitive work (bi-weekly payroll, monthly bookkeeping, annual tax returns, etc). In Financial Cents, you can set projects to recur, so it automatically recreates a new project for future work. For example, you could have your monthly bookkeeping project recreate itself every month, so you don’t have to remember to manually create the same project every month. This saves you time and removes the risk of forgetting to add it to your to-do list and fall through the cracks.
Task dependencies help ensure work is done correctly and notify team members when they can begin their work. You can set dependencies on specific tasks that won’t let you complete a task until the previous one is completed. It will also automatically notify the next team member in line when the previous task is completed and begin their work.
Time Tracking and Billing
Time tracking is built directly into your workflow solution to help you seamlessly track time. This is a huge benefit because it prevents you from tracking time in a completely separate app, which saves you time and money.
You can also integrate Financial Cents with QuickBooks Online so your time entries automatically get added to QBO. This allows you to seamlessly create invoices and bill your clients from the time tracked in Financial Cents.
Financial Cents provides a client management solution that allows you to keep all your client information in one place, so it is always easy for your team to find.
Each client has a profile where you can store their documents, notes, contact information, passwords, security questions, and other information. This makes it easy for your team to access important information on demand to get their work done.
You also have an audit trail that keeps track of your firm’s interactions with a client. If someone on your team talks to a client has a meeting, an important email, etc. It is stored in chronological order so quickly know who talked to a client, when and about what at the click of a button.
Financial Cents makes it easy to manage your team’s workload. In the capacity management solution, you can quickly identify which team members have too much work on their plate and reassign the work to someone with more capacity. This ensures that everyone has enough time to get their work done on time. Also, it helps you realize when you may need to hire another staff member to support the increased workload as your firm grows.
Effective Hourly Rate
Financial Cents has built-in profitability metrics to help you identify which clients are not profitable for your firm. You can easily see which clients are constantly going over budget on time and making you the least amount of money. This gives you the hard data your need to quickly renegotiate engagements with clients and be successful. Ultimately, boosting your bottom line.
Time Tracking Reports
You can quickly run time tracking reports to see where your team is spending their time. You can see reports on a client level to see which clients are taking the most time, a project level to see which work your team is spending their time on, and a team level for insights into your team and payroll.
Setup and Training
Financial Cents is very easy to use and provides a lot of great content to help you get started. That being said, firms have been able to get set up within their first day.
However, if you need help, we offer live training, client import, template creation, and a dedicated success manager for FREE.
Financial Cents is one of the most affordable accounting practice management software on the market. We offer two plans:
- Annual – $15/ month per team member (paid annually)
- Monthly – $19/ month per team member (paid monthly)
We also offer a full feature 14-day free trial which you can start here.
Karbon is a robust accounting practice management software built for large enterprise firms. They have many useful features built into their solution, but this can make it a little overwhelming for small to medium-sized firms.
Karbon provides a workflow dashboard that helps you track all your client work and their deadlines. A plus to their dashboard is they also offer a Kanban view, which can be auseful way to visualize your work.
Karbon provides you with workflow templates to streamline your workflows. You can also create your own workflow templates and customize them to your process.
Karbon does a great job of providing features to help your team collaborate on work.
Like in Financial Cents, You can collaborate on the client work to keep everything organized for your team to access later.
However, they also have an email integration that allows you to see any conversations your firm has with a client. This gives your team valuable context on the work and client.
Karbon provides a lot of great automation tools that can save time and help streamline your process.
Automate Client Data Collection
Just like Financial Cents they can help you automate your client data collection process. This saves your firm a lot of time. You can schedule automated request lists for your clients and have their solution follow up with your clients until the tasks get done.
You can also set your projects to recur, so you don’t have to recreate repetitive work continually. Again, this saves your time and prevents work from falling through the cracks.
The Automator makes it easy to update the status of your client work as it moves through the process. This will recognize where in the process your work is and change it to the appropriate status, so your team doesn’t have to do it manually.
Time Tracking & Billing
One downfall to Karbon is that they don’t have built-in time tracking. They do have an integration with TSheets; however, the functionality is limited and doesn’t compare to the other accounting practice management software’s time tracking capabilities in this post.
Like most of the tools in this post, Karbon also offers a client management solution that allows you to store all your client information, notes, documents, and communication in one place. This makes it easy for your team to access anytime, anywhere.
They have several reports that help you get insights into your firm’s progress on work and compare your performance over specific periods.
They have several reports that help you get insights into your firm’s progress on work and compare how your performance has been over specific time periods.
They also offer reports that give you insights into the number of emails your firm has been sending and receiving. This is great for keeping a pulse on the level of communication you have been keeping with your clients.
Setup and Training
Karbon offers several paid setup and training packages priced between $999 to $2,999. They include one-one training and onboarding sessions.
Karbon is the most expensive accounting practice management software on the market, but it also provides the most functionality. If you want to get access to all the features mentioned above, you will have to sign up for their business plan.
- Annual – $69/ month per team member (paid annually)
- Monthly – $99/ month per team member (paid monthly)
Jetpack Workflow is a well-known accounting practice management software. They have been in the accounting space for a few years and offer an easy solution for small to midsized firms.
Like the other solutions, Jetpack workflow also offers a dashboard that lets you track all your client work in one view. This helps you keep a pulse on your firm’s workflow.
They also provide a library of templates that you can use to create a standard process for work as your team grows to maintain work quality.
Jetpack workflow lets you collaborate with your team on client work so it is easy for your team to find.
Jetpack Workflow also offers the ability to create recurring projects to automate work creation for future work.
Jetpack lets you set up dependencies on tasks that prevent team members from completing tasks until the necessary tasks are completed. It will also notify the next team member in line when their work is ready to begin.
Time Tracking and Billing
In Jetpack Workflow, you can track both billable and nonbillable time on client work. You can integrate their accounting practice management software with Quickbooks online to sync the time entries and seamless create invoices.
Like Financial Cents and Karbon, Jetpack also has built-in client management to store client notes and information.
Jetpack Workflow doesn’t provide as much reporting as some of the other tools in this post. But like Karbon, they also provide a useful progress report that helps you get a snapshot of how many projects you have completed and what you still need to get done for a specific period of time.
Setup and Training
Jetpack Workflow offers several setup and training packages that range from $299 – $1,299. That includes a customer success manager, client import, template creation, job creation, and live training.
Jetpack Workflow keeps their pricing simple with just two pricing plans. Compared to the other options, they fall in the middle.
- Annual – $36/ month per team member (paid annually)
- Monthly – $45/ month per team member (paid monthly)
Aero Workflow is another popular accounting practice management software that has been around longer than the other options mentioned. They started back in 2013 and serve small to midsized firms.
They offer a workflow dashboard; however, it doesn’t give you as much visibility as some of the other accounting practice management solutions mentioned.
This is one of the most popular things about Aero Workflow. They provide you 60+ workflow templates when you sign up. They also offer a premium library of templates, but cost an extra $40/ month to access.
Similar to the other accounting practice management software Aero has team collaboration built into their workflows. You can leave notes on projects for other team members to see. However, there aren’t built-in notifications that notify the team members when someone makes a note.
Aero doesn’t offer a lot of workflow automation, but you can set your client work to recur, just like the other options. Again, this helps automate work creation and prevent it from falling through the cracks.
Time Tracking & Billing
Just like Financial Cents and Jetpack Workflow, you can track time inside your workflows and integrate it with Quickbooks for seamless invoicing.
Aero Workflow also offers the ability to store all your client information so your team can easily access it for relevant client work.
This is another excellent part of Aero Workflow. They provide a lot of different reports that you can run to track your firm’s performance. This is great for identifying inefficiencies across your firm and improve your firm’s overall performance. You can see some of the reports listed out in the image below.
Setup and Training
Aero Workflow offers several onboarding services that range from $1,000 – $2000. They include things such as a customer success manager, client import, template creation, job creation.
Aero Workflow only offers monthly plans. Their pricing starts at $39/ month; however, if you want to get access to their premium template library, you will have to pay an additional $40/ month, which comes to a total of $79/ month.
Wrapping everything up
Again, every firm is different, so when picking accounting practice management software, you need to decide what is essential to your process. Once you determine what is essential, hopefully, this article can help you make the right decision.
FYI, there are other accounting practice management software options out there built for accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs. However, after conversations with over a thousand firms, I believe these are the best options.
Do you have any feedback or ideas on how we can improve this article? Let us know by commenting below!