Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? Most of the time, there’s a simple fix—you take the too-expensive ballpoint pens or uncomfortable office chair back to the store (or Amazon affiliate), get your money back, and likely never think of it again. But for accounting firms that regret their choice of practice management software, turning back the clock and selecting another solution can prove to be more difficult.
After all, implementing a practice management solution at your accounting firm involves migrating client data, training (or re-training) employees, and ensuring that your accounting firm operations are correctly mapped onto your practice management workflows. And if you choose the wrong one, you have to start all the time-consuming and expensive process over again.
Instead of learning what you want—and what you don’t—in an accounting practice management solution through multiple rounds of trial and error, consider these six things before you buy.
1. It matters to find the right-sized software for your practice
When choosing practice management software, the name of the game is right-sizing your solutions. Some practice management software is priced on a pay-per-user basis, which may be a good option if you manage a small or growing team. Other solutions charge a hefty fee no matter how many employees use the service.
Additionally, some software solutions may offer tools that are unnecessary for small accounting teams—which means your firm may be paying for functionality you’re never going to use.
For example, small firms may outsource marketing tasks because their team is not large enough to handle them in-house. But practice management solutions designed for large firms may have built-in email or marketing automation tools that small firms simply aren’t operationally ready for yet. Look for software solutions that offer tiered subscription plans to help your accounting practice tap into the right tools for right now—and further down the road—without maxing out your budget.
2. The importance of technical support
Unless your accounting firm has a strong in-house IT team, you’re likely going to require technical support at some point when working with any software product. The question is, should your firm have to pay each time you have a question about your practice management software, or would you rather access support for free?
Integrating practice management software can be a challenging process, especially at first. Accountants need to ensure all client data is securely transferred to their new system without disrupting workflow, missing deadlines, or losing any important financial information.
When accounting teams work with Mango, they don’t need to navigate this process alone. Our technical support team is available during business hours for one-on-one meetings and screen-sharing support, free of charge. We also offer free demos, on-demand webinars, scheduled workshops, and user onboarding sessions.
3. Cloud-based software is essential for modern firms
Even just a few years ago, most software tools used by modern businesses were downloaded directly onto a computer. This meant that employees had to physically access their computers to view client documents or work outside of the office—and a lost, stolen, or broken computer could put valuable client information at risk.
Today, firms increasingly turn to software hosted on the cloud. Cloud-based software is available on the internet, no matter which device is used to access it. This means accountants can access client information from a laptop, desktop, tablet, or even from a smartphone with the proper permissions and login credentials, improving accessibility to valuable work.
Some accounting firms may be pivoting to hybrid or work-from-home environments, but even those that require employees to work in-office can benefit from cloud-based software solutions. Increasing accessibility to work can help employees who are out of the office—working from home, attending an appointment, or meeting with a client off-site, for example—access documents and stay on top of tasks.
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4. Client collaboration tools make it easier to achieve client satisfaction
The best practice management software shouldn’t just make it easier to get daily accounting tasks completed on time. It should also improve the client experience. Choosing a practice management solution packed with client-facing features can help optimize accountants’ workflow while boosting client collaboration.
No accountant (or client!) enjoys playing phone tag to discuss invoices or tax documents. Empowering your clients to access their own information with automated online invoices, a secure client portal, and online payment options can cut down on unnecessary communication and benefit both your team and your clients. Additionally, easy-to-use features like secure file-sharing and eSignature can make communication faster when required.
5. The best software fits into your current practices
Most accounting firms are looking for a practice management software solution to boost their existing tools and processes, not replace the processes entirely. That’s why it’s important to find a practice management solution that complements what you do and what you use.
Before you commit to a new practice management software, check out their list of integrations. If critical tools—like tax software or calendaring platforms—aren’t supported, you have two choices:
- Inquire as to whether they have integrations in the works for the software in question OR are able to build one for your team
- Keep searching for software that better fits the bill
Keep in mind that customized integrations can be helpful, but unless they are well-established, they may create a headache for your accounting practice.
6. Not all practice management solutions are equally secure
Unless you’re well-versed in technology, you might assume that all practice management software solutions are equally secure. After all, what could be more important than safeguarding client financial data? Unfortunately, not all software options prioritize data security, leaving some accounting firms vulnerable to security breaches when performing daily tasks or sharing files via email.
Nothing is more important than the security of your client data—your clients’ well-being and your account firm’s reputation rely on it. Don’t settle for less than the highest security standards in the business. At Mango, we use the same security protocols as banks and the military to ensure client data is never compromised, even when hackers attempt to strike.
For flexible practice management software that fits your firm’s needs, try Mango
There’s never been a one-size-fits-all solution for accounting practice management—until Mango. Mango’s flexible suite of cloud-based practice management tools is expansive enough to accommodate both large and small accounting firms, and our comprehensive tools can be paired with your existing software to complement your current practices.
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