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9 signs you need to review your practice management solution

Your accounting practice management solution sits at the heart of your firm’s operations. Considering its immeasurable importance, you should be diligently monitoring its ongoing effectiveness at driving positive business outcomes for your accounting practice.

9 signs you need to review your practice management solution
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  • Alex Alexandrou, General Manager - Operations
  • November 18, 2021
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It might seem impractical to replace or upgrade your practice management solution. But hobbling along with a subpar solution isn’t a way to grow your practice, reduce admin burdens, or better manage a team.

In a rapidly automating world, with richer sets of data and ballooning system scope, futureproofing your operations should be at the forefront of every accounting practice’s mind.

To keep your finger on the pulse and avoid stasis in your approach to practice management, there are a number of warning signs you should be monitoring to ensure you aren’t underperforming needlessly.

Keep an eye on the following factors to better identify weakness in your approach to practice management. Weakness that will inevitably lead to poorer client and business outcomes.

1) Poor access to data and insights

Do you have loads of data about your clients, your practice and your team yet have poor access to it? Is client data easily accessible and highly visible? Do you have poor ability to gain actionable insights from this data?

2) Duplicate data entry

Are you rekeying data across different systems? Do you have to manually enter data multiple times in your workflows? How much time is spent doing this and what is the potential for human error?

3) Manual end-of-year reporting

Assess how many manual processes are involved in your end-of-year processes. Do you have any to speak of or is your entire process automated end-to-end?

4) Real-time team goal tracking

Does your team have real-time (and up to date) visibility on how they’re tracking in terms of the individual team member’s goals? Do you have the same real-time visibility over the broader practice’s goals?

5) Job and budget visibility

Do you have easy access and high visibility over individual client job progress? At a glance, can you see the exact stage of an individual job, including which team member is currently working on what and how this job is tracking in terms of your budget?

6) Team capacity and workload

Do you have an easily accessible and a bird’s-eye view over your team’s capacity? Can you see the current workload for each team member, what they’re presently engaged with and what kind of bandwidth they have left over?

7) Poor user experience

Do you have the essential functionality you desire from your practice management solution, yet are being hamstrung by an anti-intuitive interface, breeding a poor user experience? How easy is it for all team members to readily understand and interact with your solution?

8) Lack of future road map

Does your solution provider have a visible and well-communicated road map of where the software is going next? Do you know what new features and functionality will be rolled out to better serve your needs now and in the future?

9) Remote suitability

Does your solution have, or is it working to have, cloud-based functionality to serve the needs of an increasingly WFH workplace?

The case for reviewing your practice management solution

How many of the above pain points correctly capture your experience?

Even if you only ticked off a couple of these warning signs, you’re clearly missing out on the benefits afforded by a top-tier, powerful and intuitive practice management solution.

Technology is rapidly evolving. What was fine for yesterday’s tasks is a growing issue that needs to be regularly addressed to avoid tedious workflows, inefficient practices, murky visibility and, of course, less-than-ideal client outcomes.

With client datasets growing exponentially and the concurrent need to better manage your team’s capacity and workflows, the requirement to keep a sharp eye on your tools and the way you work is also growing.

As Kelly Jones, head of engagement at APS, adds on the importance of practice management solution review: “If you’re always doing what you’ve always done, the chances are there’s a better way and it may be time to review your practice management solution.

“A year is a long time when it comes to technology and most software companies in the accounting world are moving at a quickening pace. Whether that be on improvements to the user experience, productivity, enhancements to automation, reporting or data management.”

‘Work smarter not harder’ may be an enduring cliché, but there’s a good reason for that. Blunt tools will continue to dull the longer you use them, so investing in modern toolkits and solutions will always pay dividends in time saved, money earned and quality of outcome.

Coasting along on what worked well enough yesterday may be a thorn in your side when it comes to competing in tomorrow’s marketplace, retaining the best talent and continually serving your current and future clients to the best of your ability.

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