There’s no secret formula to making tax season feel less hectic for your accounting firm, but that doesn’t mean your stress levels must be tied to the ebbs and flows of the annual accounting calendar. Successful capacity planning can help your firm meet the needs of clients in every season—without making your team feel overworked.
It’s easy to make a smart capacity management strategy when you use the latest accounting project management software. These solutions are designed to help you allocate resources more effectively and get more work done without overwhelming employees.
What is capacity planning?
Capacity planning is a data-driven process that involves optimizing your accounting firm’s available resources—capital, employees, and time, for example—to meet the needs of your clients.
Ideally, accounting firms seek to strike the perfect balance between resources and demand to maximize revenue.
Having more resources available than client demand may mean a firm is spending too much in certain areas, like salaries, without getting an adequate return from revenue. On the other hand, the inability to meet client demand can leave clients dissatisfied (and staff at risk of burnout).
Capacity management doesn’t just save accounting firms money or increase revenue—it allows them to scale their growth when the time is right. For instance, if capacity planning reveals that a firm is employing more team members than required for the current client load, growth-minded accounting firms can be more proactive in seeking out additional clients.
In short: effective capacity planning helps firms more accurately estimate client demand so they can prepare to exceed client expectations, even during tax time.
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Four steps for using accounting practice management software to maximize your resources
Effective capacity management doesn’t happen by accident—it takes effort. But you already have the inputs you need at your disposal.
The best way to determine what resources your firm needs to meet annual client demand? Use the data you gather during everyday business operations to accurately project client needs. And when you partner with an integrative accounting software solution, you can measure demand and capacity without wasting valuable business hours.
1. Make sure your practice management software supports integrations
Capacity planning relies on pulling together as much data as possible. If your tech tools are siloed from one another, you could risk missing out on valuable insights.
Very few accounting firms rely on just one software. Your firm may use a robust practice management software solution, but if it doesn’t integrate with supporting software, it will be ineffective at helping your firm with capacity planning. Without a bird’s eye view of your firm’s time tracked, allocated expenses, and client documents, for example, you won’t be able to determine whether your team is managing your current clients efficiently.
Unlike other software options on the market, Mango integrates with most other accounting tools, including QuickBooks, Outlook, MailChimp, and Google, allowing firms to maximize data insights while reducing data entry errors and extra administrative hours.
2. Use reporting and analytics data to evaluate client demand and analyze efficiency
Without understanding your current business trends, you’ll be unable to accurately determine the number of resources your current client load demands.
That’s where client reporting software comes in. When built into your practice management software, analytics help firms visualize the amount of time spent on particular client accounts, lines of business, or even administrative efforts. By projecting this data into the year ahead, you can effectively estimate client demand year over year—and target your most profitable clients or tasks for future business growth.
Once you’ve assessed the level of client demand at your firm, you can look at whether you have the resources available to keep your clients satisfied without overwhelming your employees. Using the aforementioned reporting and analytics features in practice management software can help firms easily determine how employees spend their time, which tasks are the most costly, and which employees are over- (or under-) performing on a regular basis.
3. Streamline employee workflow and maximize working hours with the right tools
With all of your data ducks in a row, it’s time to consider what could go better.
For example, are there specific tasks, clients, or processes that take up unnecessary time for accountants and staff? Identifying low-level tasks that can be automated, processes that can be
To get the most out of your time, make sure you’re leveraging the following tools:
Document management tools
Make all client documents available on the cloud so employees never miss a beat when working from the office or from home. Document management tools keep client files organized, send automatic notifications to clients and team members, and help prevent missed deadlines or filing errors.
Billing and invoicing software
Tired of dreading the monthly client billing cycle? Integrate time tracking and invoicing tools to automatically generate client bills in a few clicks. When it’s time to invoice, use batch invoice processing and accept payments online to streamline the process.
Client collaboration tools
Easy-to-use client collaboration tools like eSignature, secure file-sharing, and an intuitive client portal can empower clients to find answers to common questions while improving the client experience.
Project management support
Schedule your weekly tasks with customizable project templates that help you work with clients more effectively and efficiently. In the midst of busy seasons, track performance and upcoming deadlines with a comprehensive project management dashboard that updates as you check off tasks.
4. Adjust resources as necessary to effectively meet client needs
The last step of capacity planning is about action. Understanding client demand and the available resources will only take you so far unless those insights are used to drive your overarching business decisions.
There are many avenues available to balance supply with demand, including:
- Hiring additional employees to meet client demand
- Sourcing additional leads to maximize client load
- Providing additional training or resources to support employees with time-consuming tasks
What works best for your firm depends on your specific needs and resources. One thing is certain, though: balancing your firm’s capacity effectively is easier with the right practice management software solution.
Maximize your accounting firm’s potential with support from Mango
Mango’s innovative accounting practice management software helps large and small accounting firms as well as solo practitioners use their resources to the fullest.
Mango is packed with efficiency-boosting features like:
- Client communication tools
- Workflow management
- Integrative time and billing software
These features are designed to optimize accountants’ workday without adding extra tasks to the to-do list. With easy-to-understand reporting capabilities, Mango takes the guesswork out of how to maximize your firm’s potential.
To see Mango in action, schedule a free demo.
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