Running a successful accounting practice is just as much about effectively managing your client’s needs as it is understanding tax codes and financial statements. And while you can do this manually, many savvy accountants and strategic advisors leverage practice management software to optimize their processes.
But is that enough to effectively communicate with your clients? Or is an email management platform another tool worth investing in?
What is Practice Management Software?
Accounting Practice Management Software was created to help firms manage their clients with a task-based approach. It allows a firm to track work, delegate tasks to team members, and make sure that all work can be billed and completed on time for the client.
Practice management solutions usually require full implementation across an entire firm in order to manage all work done for clients by team members. A good practice management solution will introduce an efficient system and process for doing client work that is tracked, easily collaborated on, delegated, and completed on time.
Some of the features that you might expect from good practice management software include:
- Task management
- Project management
- Workflow management
- Collaboration tools
- Time tracking to aide in billing
- Document storage and sharing
- Alerts and notifications
Does Practice Management Software handle email?
Yes, sort of. A PMS system can help firms handle some email; however, the software is not usually built to manage all of your firm’s email and various mailboxes. For instance, there are email messages your team receives that you wouldn’t want to clutter up your PMS.
Practice management software was created to do exactly what it says: help manage your entire practice and the work you do for clients. But it is not the only tool your firm needs to help communicate with and serve clients. It was built to manage client work, making it efficient both on the client-side and the back office side.
Most firms who use a PMS solution still use email providers like Gmail or Office 365 to email clients, partners, vendors, etc. However, firms still struggle to efficiently work together to manage incoming email. Headaches and breakdowns regularly occur: emails slip through the cracks, sick time or vacation time lead to late responses, or long email threads include far too much internal back and forth. These problems slow your team down, hurt productivity, frustrate your clients, and prohibit the growth of your firm.
If you have a PMS solution and still experience some of the email problems listed above, then you should consider adding email management software to your firm’s tech stack/toolkit.
What is Email Management Software?
Email Management Software helps companies centralize all their email and their entire team into one tool. This software allows firm owners to have total visibility into their firm’s email communication while allowing team members to more easily collaborate, stay organized, share knowledge, and reply faster with consistently professional email responses:
The right email management software — sometimes referred to as a shared inbox tool — will complement good practice management software and will help your firm spend less time handling email and more time getting client work done. You can use practice management software to collaborate and delegate client work as well as schedule, track, and bill client work. But email management software can be used alongside a PMS to help firms collaborate on all email from your team, your clients, your prospective clients, your vendors, and your partners.
- Easy access for your whole team to all relevant incoming email
- Collaboration tools within the email client to increase efficiency
- Reduced security risks with better email password management
Email management software will allow you to improve your response time to clients, prospects, vendors, and partners; track your responses, and collaborate with your team safely and securely.
Email Management Software features
Some of the features you should expect from a good email management software solution include:
- Access to various mailboxes through one secure login for each team member
- Assignments within the inbox so team members can have better collaboration and accountability
- Private, internal notes on emails (never seen by anyone outside your firm) for easy collaboration without having to leave your inbox
- Saved email templates to ensure proper responses in a timely manner. You can answer frequently asked questions from clients and prospective clients quickly, but professionally.
- Email routing rules to get the right emails to the right inboxes and team members seamlessly
- Contact management across all mailboxes
- Real-time analytics and reporting to track response times and increase productivity
- iOS and Android mobile apps so you can manage email on the go
Your whole firm, working together in Outpost
Most teams struggle to manage their accounting@ inboxes and never-ending client email. Missed messages, duplicate replies, and inbox confusion are common because traditional email wasn’t designed for teams. That’s why we built Outpost: to make managing email truly collaborative.
With Outpost, your team can work together in the same inbox, without sharing passwords or stepping on each other’s toes. Outpost is simple because shared email should be.
Take the pain out of managing client email so your whole team can see everything in one place, respond quickly, focus on billable work, and provide excellent service.
You can start a free trial of Outpost today, or schedule a custom tour to learn how Outpost will help you save time and get more done. And because Outpost is designed to manage your email alongside other efficiency tools it has been priced to be extremely affordable and easy to implement for all your team.
Right now, we’re offering accountants a special offer to ensure you’re set up to avoid email overload this tax season. Save 45% on your first year with Outpost. Start for free today »
If you’d like to know how other Accounting firms have implemented Outpost, you can read a case study about an Accounting firm that was able to improve the way they managed email with Outpost.
Posted in: Email