When you’re running an accounting practice, it’s easy for the to-do list to be endless. There are receipts to keep track of, clients to keep happy, paperwork to take care of and numbers to crunch. Before you know it you’re drowning in a pile of things to do.
But that doesn’t have to be the story of running your accounting practice day-to-day when you have tools in place to help you streamline the process of completing the necessary tasks to keep your business running.
Not enough accounting firms take advantage of what automation can do for them and their team, like handling time-consuming tasks such as time tracking, client management, reporting and analytics, and billing. Yet there are steps you can take to streamline the running of your practice that don’t have to cost you a ton or add extra steps to your daily to-do list.
Below, we go through five of the essential tasks you can streamline with accounting practice management software, including:
- How you can make time tracking work for you
- How to use client management to your advantage
- Leverage reporting and analytics
- Get billing under control
Time tracking is an integral part of virtually any job. Where firms specifically get stuck is the best way to handle time tracking, especially because some projects take much longer to complete than others.
How do you track the time spent on different clients with more precision? How do you make sure you’re adding up the right hours for the right project? How can you see, at a glance, how much time you’ve spent on said project? How can staff members enter time tracking information without having access to sensitive private data?
These are all additional tasks that are hard without a streamlined process. But with time tracking software like the one we’ve designed at ImagineTime, you can answer these questions and take care of these tasks in a matter of minutes – if not seconds.
The timer feature allows staff to time more than one activity as they work. It also lets your accounting staff members report and summarize time by either work code, task, or engagement. With features like these, cutting your task management time is inevitable. It’s a great way for staff to get a better hold of their day and turn in work with more accuracy.
Your team’s hours are of the most precious resources your firm has to offer. Keep an eye on project budgets and get notified automatically of overages.
Efficient client management is a must for every accounting firm that wants long-term success. Clients today want to cultivate trust with business partners. They want to know what you’re doing every step of the way.
And they want to know it on their time. We’re all busy, after all. That’s where a client portal can be an invaluable part of your streamlining process. It used to be that you had to call clients to get in touch, or send emails with sensitive information.
But now you don’t even have to do that if you create a secure space where you can keep all your client data, including time and billing records, for them to check out on their end whenever they want.
This does two things:
- Frees you from having to grapple with them to complete menial items
- Gives you and the client more time to focus on more important tasks
At ImagineTime, we’ve taken the time to create a group of expertly crafted client portal tools so you’re always communicating with your client and easily exchanging sensitive financial information.
For instance, our client portal lets you securely send digital paperwork like:
- Custom collection letters
- Custom labels
- Email blasts
Along with a safe e-signature feature that lets you skip the “chase” that comes with getting important signatures, the customer relationship ecosystem is built so that clients get top-notch treatment and access to anything that might be necessary.
Reporting and Analytics
Every business needs to check in on how it’s doing periodically. With your accounting practice it’s no different. But as your business grows, you want to create a streamlined process for checking on your numbers.
Your reporting and analytics don’t have to be a hassle when you can check your profitability at a glance. ImagineTime’s reporting tools make it so that you can look at employee performance reports, client profitability reports, and current year profits.
For instance, client reports can be extremely time consuming to create. The more clients you juggle, the more hours you have to dedicate solely to creating such reports. ImagineTime’s tools make it so that you aren’t spending a ton of hours on overhead work that turns into an unnecessary expense.
Once you integrate your reporting and analytics tools with tools like billing and client relationship management, you start to build a centralized system you can count on for daily management. You can’t forget about your profit and loss reports, some of the most important numbers you always want to stay on top of, especially when it’s time to file taxes for your own practice.
Having the ability to make data-driven decisions matters. It’s one of the best ways to pursue better numbers or even reward your best employees for their efforts and diligence. As you streamline the systems in your practice, it’s important to keep this at the forefront when making changes.
Getting paid might be one of the most satisfying parts of a job. But not so much when it comes time to create and send the bill and you’re met with a mess that has to be sorted out at the last minute. A streamlined approach to billing is the best way to ensure you’re charging your clients accurately and that you’re actually turning a profit based on accurate numbers.
But what billing tools are out there that can help you streamline? There’s always the archaic option of using a spreadsheet. Or you could buy some one-off tool that promises to do the basics for you.
At ImagineTime, we took a different approach to billing. We knew that we wanted to create a billing system that let you keep and do everything in one place. There are different billing options to choose from too. For example, if you do value billing instead of charging by the hour, ImagineTime makes it simple to log billing for that method.
And you can take advantage of our electronic billing features. Take care of charging payments instantly with our Mangobilling management tools.
Project management involves managing lots of simultaneous deadlines, project statuses, and ensuring you’re delivering and meeting expectations.
This often involves recording and keeping client notes, which if you don’t have a way to organize from the beginning, can turn into an unorganized mess. ImagineTime’s task and detail tracking features ensure that you’re always on top of all your accounting projects, whether they’re straightforward or more complex.
For instance, do you have a detail tracker that helps you keep a finger on things like when the task was started, when it was completed, or even the time budget you’ve allocated to it? Moreover, do you have a way to assign different tasks to all your staff members?
Standardize your workflows and create template projects. With our Accounting-specific workflow features, your team will never miss a beat.
Tools like these can help you speed up the process of intaking clients, creating a project, and effectively assigning the tasks that’ll drive it to completion. Mangobilling lets you in on daily or weekly project overviews, so you never miss a deadline and are always equipped to complete tasks on time.
It’s important to have an eagle eye view on all of your projects, especially during tax season. With Mango, you will never miss another due date and you can keep your finger on the pulse of your firm.
Streamline your accounting practice with software
Running a sustainable business boils down to being able to see a comprehensive picture of all your operations. How can you do that without massively increasing expenses and drowning in a sea of tools? Insightful reports, client portals, and employee management tools can help steer you in the right direction.
It’s common knowledge that software is changing the way we work. Where businesses often fall short is knowing how and which software tools best fit their needs. It’s one of the reasons why we designed ImagineTime, an accounting practice management software tool, to meet the exact needs that every accounting practice deals with on a daily basis.
But don’t take our word for it. Check us out and get a demo for free here and learn about all the ways you can make our accounting tools work for you.