All the Cloud Tools You Need to Keep Your Accounting Practice Running From Home
In times like this, simply emailing your commitments to your clients by way of an update appears to be lost-in-translation as every other business does the same. This blog serves to empower you with real resources that take your commitments to the next level. Want to support your client’s well-being at a distance while maintaining your firm’s high level of service? Here are 21 apps you can activate right away in 6 key areas of public accounting life to continue business as normal, but in the cloud, aka the Internet.
Cloud Client Onboarding Tools
Whether you are face-to-face or over the phone, providing clients with a seamless onboarding experience will be key to providing superior service. This resource will do just that.
- What it does: Practice Ignition is an accounting automation solution designed for managing all aspects of your accounting practice, enabling you to create and tailor client proposals in a matter of minutes.
- How it does it: The platform is equipped with the core capabilities of other business systems, including:
- Smart proposals and engagement letters,
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Billing, invoicing, and reporting
- Project and proposal management.
- Digital signatures
- Special offer: Practice Ignition has extended a special offer to Gusto Partners of 15% off their Professional and Scale annual plans until March 31, 2020.
Cloud Client Collaboration Tools
Knowing your client and their preferred communication style is, to say the least, a great opportunity. Despite the decrease in face-to-face communication, these collaboration tools will assist you in creating a long-lasting relationship while online.
- What it does: ClientHub eliminates waiting for clients. It’s a simple online platform that automates all client interactions and unblocks your firm’s work.
- How it does it: Collect client documents, instantly resolve questions, and share deliverables and files, all in one place.
- Special offer: ClientHub has extended a special offer to Gusto Partners of 10% off their first 3 months. Use promo code GustoPartner.
- What it does: Teamwork is a project management application that enables you to keep projects on track and deliver them on time.
- How it does it: Key features include instant comprehensive reports, Gantt charts, milestones, time tracking, and task management. The best part is you can perform task coordination, documentation, and communication in one place to make your team’s work more deductive.
- Pricing: Teamwork offers a “Free Forever” plan for teams just getting started with project management, providing two projects with up to five team member access.
- What it does: ZenDesk is an easy-tuse, dynamic, intuitive customer service tool that optimizes messages to customers.
- How it does it: It consists of support, chat, call center solution,and knowledgebase modules that you can upgrade separately. This setup affords a startup or small business to implement at once an industry-class help desk.
- Special offer: ZenDesk offers a free trial for getting started.
- What it does: Service Hub enables your team to coordinate and systematize the approach to addressing customer concerns, giving you a suite of tools to help you engage, guide, and care for your customers.
- How it does it: Service Hub provides a host of features such as ticketing, conversational bots, email scheduling, meeting scheduling, live chat, contact management, email sequencing, phone & email support, along with a whole host of additional services to support your clients.
- Special offer: Save up to 20% with annual plans.
Cloud E-Signatures Tools:
Believe it not, electronic signatures are safer and more secure than traditional paper documents. Not only do they contain a signature, but they also contain traceable information on who signed the document, and when and where they signed it. These tools assure your clients that the electronic form of their signature is usable from the comfort of their own home.
- What it does: PandaDoc is a web-based document management solution that allows users to create, deliver, and share documents online and place their legally binding signatures for faster paperless transactions and processes.
- How it does it: With its advanced analytics, PandaDoc provides real-time analysis of proposals that comes in handy for all your internal team members.
- Special offer: Save up to 30% with annual plans.
- What it does: DocuSign changes the way business is being done by speeding up the workflow or approval with its secure digital signature technology.
- How it does it: If you only need to sign documents, use DocuSign Free Edition and you can sign as many documents as you want. You can also easily access all of your signed documents from DocuSign’s secure cloud storage.
- What it does: HelloSign is a cloud tool that lets users sign documents with legally binding e-signatures. You can retrieve documents from various sources like email, Dropbox Google Drive, Drive.com, Evernote and Skydrive.
- Special offer: HelloSign offers a freemium plan that permits 3 signature requests per month.
- What it does: SignEasy is a digital legally binding signature platform to help businesses and organizations simplify the signing process.
- How it does it: You can easily sign your business documents or request for signatures from any party without having to send an actual piece of paper.
- Special offer: 14-day free trial.
- What it does: SignNow eliminates static processes like creating, printing, sending, or faxing documents to signers so they can affix their legally binding signatures.
- Special offer: Save up to 50% with annual plans.
How to Take Your Accounting Firm Online—In 5 StepsIndustry Trends
Cloud Practice Management Tools
Running the back-end of your accounting practice can be a daunting task. From streamlining communications between team members, managing client projects and related tasks, all the way up to managing documents across the business. These tools will help you streamline your internal management efforts, keeping the client needs centric while online.
- What it does: Slack is a messaging app that gives you one platform for all your communications, offering real-time messaging, file sharing, archiving, and search.
- How it does it: It’s built for modern teams so you can have all your communication in one online location, instantly searchable, and immediately accessible from whatever connected device.
- Special offer: Slack offers a freemium plan for small teams trying out Slack for an unlimited period of time.
- What it does: Monday.com is one of the market’s leading collaboration and communication apps for teams.
- How it does it: It syncs all information in a single, accessible hub, and empowers agents and team members to make important decisions together.
- Special offer: Save up to 18% with annual plans.
- What it does: Karbon is an advanced task management and collaboration platform that takes your clients emails and makes them manageable.
- How it does it: Karbon offers you “Triage,” an inbox that lets you focus on action, integrating your email, whether it is Gmail or Office 365, you can align email communications with your tasks for contextualized discussions, task assignments, and activities.
- Special offer: They provide accounting firms working remotely guidance.
Xero Practice Manager (XPM)
- What it does: XPM is a comprehensive tool for tracking time, managing workflow and billing all built in the cloud.
- Why use it: Practices that have 3+ staff and more than 200 clients would benefit from XPM.
- What it does: Google Drive is the world’s most popular cloud storage system offering that enables you to store your documents, photos, music, videos, etc. all in one place. It syncs all your data with your mobile devices and your computer, meaning every device that is linked to your account receives the updates and shows the changes you have made.
- Special offer: With a Google Account, you get 15 GB of storage for free.
Cloud Meeting Tools
Social distancing has never felt more personal with online tools that make it feel like you are right in front of your clients. Easy to use, quick to set up, and if your client doesn’t have a camera to video chat, the option to dial in is right there. These solutions will keep a healthy distance between you and your client while still allowing for the personal touch needed to keep the relationship close.
- What it does: Google Hangouts is a singular communications platform developed by Google to help users initiate and engage in various communications channels, including text, voice, or video chats.
- Why use it: It’s a great solution that is effective in either one-on-one implementation or in a group. Hangouts are integrated into Google+ and Gmail. For added mobility and versatility, mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are also available.
- What it does: Zoom is designed for hosting webinars, teaching online courses, and conducting online training, video demonstrations, virtual meetings, and video conference.
- How it does it: The platform is built to host and broadcast online meetings that can cater to up to 100 interactive video participants and 10,000 view-only attendees.
- Special offer: Zoom offers a freemium basic plan, hosting up to 100 participants, and unlimited 1 to 1 meeting, and 40 minute limit on group meetings.
- What it does: Cisco WebEx is a flexible audio and video conferencing solution designed for businesses of all sizes.
- How it does it: Its broadcast-quality audio, conference calls, and teleconferencing system allow users to set up an effective team workspace that enhances group collaboration and brainstorming.
- Special offer: Cisco Webex offers the 1st month free when you sign up for a monthly plan and 4 months free when purchasing an annual plan.
Cloud File-Sharing Tools
One of the main advantages of online file storage and sharing is that the exchange of information is smooth. You can share files instantly, access information quickly, and avoid any unnecessary delays. That’s not all; these resources will help you work from anywhere and collaborate in real-time with people in any part of the world.
- What it does: ShareFile is a secure file transfer suite that can cover the needs of businesses from all scales and industries.
- Why use it: ShareFile offers a variety of advanced secure and smooth sharing features, categorized in more than one payment plan to meet specific needs without going beyond users’ financial possibilities.
- Special offer: Save up to 10% with annual plans.
- What it does: Dropbox shares and stores systems, devoted predominantly to individual users looking to exchange data for free.
- Why use it: A business package and one for pro users are also available, but companies are encouraged to consider Dropbox Business for more storage and sharing opportunities.
- Special offer: DropBox offers a free 30-day trial.
- What it does: Box is a file-sharing service that enables secure collaboration from any device, allowing you to easily manage and share files across your business. Users can use the platform to work on documents, along with others anytime, anywhere.
- Special offer: Box offers a 90-day free trial in its Business Plans to all small to medium-sized businesses.
Overall, adopting cloud solutions offers a real opportunity to change and enhance the relationships you have with your clients. It further speeds up the work process and helps to serve them better. While you may think it is inevitable that the value of an accountants’ relationship will be questioned with, “is there an app for that?” Business owners everywhere realize that they will always need guidance from a trusted professional like yourself… and there is no app for that.