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Project Management Software for Accounting Firms

James Huang | 2023.03.14

Do you ever wonder if you are managing accounting projects in an optimal way?

Large accounting firms often use robust, organization-wide enterprise resource planning (ERP) project management software, which can be cost-prohibitive but ultimately effective for these large, global organizations.

However, small and medium-sized accounting firms that don't need or can't afford such sweeping project management accounting software have different options. Unless you have very small, occasional accounting projects or engagements, your small or medium accounting firm probably has a formalized project management approach supported by technology. That can range from an Excel spreadsheet to affordable dedicated project management tools, of which there are many.

These types of tools can manage project management in accounting to varying degrees. For example, one might require the user to manually create timelines and define critical paths while others help automate these essential components of effective project management.

It is important to clarify that in this post we are discussing project management software, not practice management software. Practice management software is for professional accountants who need to communicate with clients, manage workflows, and automate manual processes. The kinds of project management tools covered here are more advanced task management tools that can be used in almost any industry, including accounting. Practice management software for accounting will be covered in a later section.

When we have an informal or undefined approach, we use a combination of productivity suites like Microsoft Office or G Suite, email clients like Outlook and Gmail, and chat apps like Whatsapp to manage accounting projects. It's not the most sophisticated approach, but it works for the basics of stakeholder management, scoping, scheduling, and planning, albeit in a very manual way.

For example, let's consider basic task management, an essential part of project management. Let's say we are scoping out an accounting project and defining its timeline. We need Staff A to acquire key project documents from a client to achieve a project milestone. In this scenario, we don't have visibility of Staff A's accounting project workload, so we can't easily determine their availability. When we do communicate with Staff A and manually figure it out, we can better define the project scope. But wait. Whether we've scoped the project in Excel or PowerPoint (as many still do), we have to manually adjust many moving parts to shift the project to a realistic timeline.

This scenario probably sounds familiar to many of us, but it's alarming that we still do it when there is an array of free and affordable options that do most of this time-consuming manual work for you. With streamlined project management software, the scenario above looks very different. When we need to define Staff A's capacity, we view their schedule and incorporate that availability into our automatically updated project plan, all within a scheduling tool.

There are many options available, but we have built project management tools for small and medium accounting firms. We encourage you to experiment with it before deciding on which path you want to commit to.

Our solution provides supporting project management architecture that can be easily adapted to suit a team's established workflows and patterns. Users can virtually eliminate email by using the tool's seamless in-app communication architecture to discuss project status and details within individual projects and tasks with AUDIT Trail and automatic timeline.

Our projects default to a task list-based format, but can be viewed as calendars or boards or kan-ban. Dependencies and milestones can be easily defined, making scoping and scheduling a breeze — once your team has fully configured the system.

Our strength is in keeping all project timelines, documents, and other materials in one place. By syncing with Google/Microsoft cloud storage, we can be a one-stop-shop for managing projects as well as supporting materials.

In summary, you can use the tool that works best for your team and can easily map to existing processes or standardize poorly defined processes.

In the next step, you can use our solution to integrate with other workflows for timely decision-making, accurate timekeeping, and integrated client management. Access engagement information such as staff profitability, deliverables, and budget utilization from anywhere to help you make timely decisions. Reduce administrative overhead through automating draft timesheet creation based on calendar entries and time in specific engagement files. Simplify client relationship management by integrating all aspects of the client relationship within a single solution rather than managing standalone systems.

Project Management Software for Accounting Firms
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