Small businesses can take many forms. An entrepreneur could be a retailer, a baker, a real estate agent or even an accountant or CPA. For an independent endeavor of this magnitude, the small business owner needs a high-level tool to work with, mainly, an accounting CRM. It is crucial for anyone who works in the CPA industry or an accounting firm to not only nurture their relationships with clients, but to ensure the utmost organization when it comes to monitoring tasks and correspondence with each contact they have.
At this point you might be asking yourself what that looks like–what is CRM in accounting? We’re about to break it all down for you with the five most robust features that a CRM for bookkeepers must have.
Investing in a CRM for CPA firms that is able to integrate with different apps that you use to run your business is imperative. As an accountant, you are responsible for maintaining an unobstructed view of your clientele’s transaction history, assisting you in providing consistent and reliable accounting services. If you use an accounting software like QuickBooks, for example, you would be able you to input new data revolving around your client’s financial history and transaction material directly into your CRM. Or you can enter it into QuickBooks and have the programs sync so the information is automatically copied over and all of the data can exist in one centralized place.
In your CRM, you can create a new customer account with all of their contact information including transaction history, tax files, etc. that has been migrated from your QuickBooks app. From there, the CRM will keep a record of all of your interactions with a single client without having to scramble to find lost files or emails, which can waste so much of your valuable time. Instead, streamline your workflow with the integrations feature.
More efficient onboarding
Having an onboarding process in place is essential as an accountant whenever you bring on a new customer. You need to organize documents such as their tax history, email correspondence, a timeline of consultations and appointments, etc. You also need to ensure that your clients know what tasks they are responsible for as well as deadlines they need to be aware of, clearing up any confusion and making you look more professional and organized from their perspective.
Your accounting and CRM software should allow you to establish and organize a streamlined onboarding process that will ensure all of your clients receive the same information at the optimum time. Of course, a lot of these processes are better utilized through automation, which we will discuss in the next section that will make completing your accounting tasks so much simpler.
Let’s face it, the very nature of the job as an accountant is quite repetitive–if you think about it, data entry is a huge part of your job. Well, what if we told you your accounting and CRM software can shave hours off your time with automation?
The beauty of employing a CRM to help run your business is that you can customize it to your industry and start building automated workflows, in this case, bookkeeping tasks. Your workflows can be structured to satisfy the constant shift in the needs of your accounting firm. Treat it like a “when, then” situation–prompt your system to automatically trigger an outcome when one task is initiated such as when someone signs up to be a client on your website, then a welcome email is automatically sent to that person.
Better client communication
Speaking of communication, successful accountants should be in constant contact with their clients, especially during tax season. That being said, calls and emails play big roles in maintaining strong relationships with clients. Sure, you can use a system like Outlook to maintain your messages, but nowadays, more than 85% of SMS and text messages are read within the first 10 minutes of being sent. Considering this, having a CRM that provides a business line is an even better option, as all of your correspondence, not just email, can be recorded and saved in your notes.
Your accounting CRM allows you to keep an interaction thread for each client each time one of them reaches out, providing a reliable communication record that you can always refer back to when something is in question. Not only will your business line keep everything in one place, but you can also customize different templates via text or email to save time in sending the same message over and over again.
You can also set your business line to Do Not Disturb after business hours with a customized away message so that your clients know you’re not neglecting them, you’re just not available. Work-life balance is essential–let your away message do the work for you while you’re spending quality time with your family.
Invoices and payments
As an accountant, this is a biggie. Having the ability to keep track of payments and send invoices in one place creates a seamless process, especially when your accounting CRM allows you to accept credit cards or integrate different payment providers such as PayPal, WePay or Stripe. Simply set up a “pay now” button when you send your invoices and your clients simply make the transaction right there and then. You can establish different payment frequencies such as daily, weekly or monthly based on your business needs. You can also send automatic reminders to ensure on-time payments.
In the instance that someone misses a payment or they’ve warned you ahead of time that it will be late, avoid any awkwardness or friction when chasing down payments that are past due by automating friendly reminders to your clients, letting your CRM be the bill collector instead of you.
Best CRM software options for accountants
Using the criteria that we just outlined above, here are the best CRM software for accountants and CPAs alike:
At the end of the day, it’s your choice. You know what works best for your accounting business and which CRM would be the most conducive in executing your daily tasks and fulfilling your clients’ needs.
Don’t just take our word for it. Take a test drive of Keap today with a free trial and see how it is the best CRM solution for small accounting firms.