5 tech tools for running an efficient practice

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Work smarter not harder. There are a lot of places that CPAs add value to their clients, consulting, planning and strategic thinking, but there’s about a million tasks that have to be done in our firms each day that are necessary but not necessarily add value to those we serve. Here are five tech tools to help automate your admin processes and help get you back to doing what you do best, serving your clients:

Docusign

The easiest, fastest and most user friendly KBA signature software out there. The IRS has continued to update their list of forms they’ll accept electronic signatures on, however throughout COVID this list expanded to allow for more remote options. Docusign automatically time stamps all electronic signatures and most importantly, includes identity verification required for documents like e-file signature authorizations.

It also is widely used, helping to ensure that even you are not so tech savvy clients will be familiar with the system. Clients will receive an email notification letting them know that their signature is requested on a document, they will have the ability to open and review the document prior to signing.

RingCentral

Have as many phone lines as you want to ring to your mobile. There are a plethora of phone services available out there, Ringcentral makes your call center management easy with both a desktop and phone app available. In addition to being able to have calls ring directly to your cell phone, you can also easily send and receive faxes directly from your computer or laptop with no separate fax machine. Think easy IRS communication.

Scheduling features allow you to set your account management to Do Not Disturb during hours that you don’t want to receive calls and voicemails will go both to your phone and your desktop app, as well as be emailed to you with an audio file you can play right from your computer. Voicemail translation has allowed me to respond to voicemails via email even while traveling to ensure your clients always receive the fastest replies.

Zapier

Just the name of this software sounds fast. Zapier integrates with dozens of various softwares, everything from bookkeeping tools to time tracking applications to email. Top Zapier integrations can cover everything from helping to automate your social media posting, to tracking survey replies, logging emails, and more. Zapier can help you respond to leads quicker, create tasks for important events that you need to be reminded of, save notes you’ve made and create a customer contact list.

Zapier integrates with tons of popular applications like Gmail, Trello, Slack, Evernote, Asana, OneNote, Facebook and Salesforce. If tech is not your passion, I recommend getting some help with this one to initially set up your zaps for maximum utilization but you will love the automation once in place.

HubDoc

Ever have trouble collecting documents or getting answers from your clients? Even for tax only clients, having access to their QuickBooks or Xero accounts can be a huge help to do due diligence on their record-keeping or get answers to questions like, “What is in prepaids at the end of the year?” Hubdoc is another great tool to enhance efficiency when it comes to capturing underlying documentation. Hubdoc integrates with both QBO and Xero.

The user-friendly application allows clients to simply take a picture of receipts, invoices, purchase orders, etc. from their phone application and automatically upload the document. Images of invoices can easily be coded to expense categories right from the app and can then be auto-matched to bank transactions in accounting software.

Having access allows you to see all uploaded invoices and receipts as well as where they were coded to, easily giving you the ability to see underlying documents for transactions you may have questions on while simultaneously streamlining your clients’ document retention procedures.

Karbon

Project management and CRM software is key for finding efficiency in your practice. One of the best features of Karbon is its overlay with Microsoft office. You can login directly through your Microsoft 365 account and your “Triage” screen in Karbon will be an upload of all your daily emails. Quickly and easily sort your inbox between tasks for follow-up with the ability to schedule to do’s and items that need to be assigned to client files. Karbon files all documents and communications saved to client folders, including email attachments, allows clients to upload documents and can even auto-send task reminders.

The workflow screen lets you easily see what’s assigned to you for the week as well as what’s assigned to your team to project manage deadlines. A key feature when managing a tax practice, clients can be grouped when related to make it easy to see what individual returns may be related to business returns by keeping everything in a group.

The key to technology analysis is always to look for tools that solve a need in your firm. Identifying where you’re spending the most admin time will help you to better identify where to focus your technology implementation efforts. All the solutions presented here also are price-friendly for smaller practices.

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Christine Gervais is a licensed CPA, using her skills to help businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential. Christine has a Master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in addition to holding her CPA license for over a decade. Notably, Christine is a nationally recognized speaker providing education to other CPAs on how to best serve clients as well as instruction on a wide variety of topics for business owners on how to maximize success. Christine prides herself on the value she can bring to clients with her extensive tax knowledge and providing strategic, forward-thinking financial strategies to help clients grow. When not behind her desk, you can find Christine spending quality time with her daughter and stepson or tending to the family’s excessively loved farm animals.