In recent conversations with clients and prospects we constantly run into the same reasons that motivate firms to review their processes – even when they are managing a small number of clients. In our second White Paper focused on Practice Management Software, we describe the common challenges faced by partners and present best practice solutions to improving processes. Many firms still see a Practice Management solution as a “luxury” rather than a necessity for maximum return on investment.
Perhaps that’s because many are often complicated by using multiple systems and / or manual processes. These conditions not only drive up costs; they make it very difficult to gain an insight into how to align staff or maximize the value of a system. Consequently, as managers begin to face pressures of reducing costs, they often find it challenging to quantify the benefits that result. To maximize the real value to the firm, managers must boost efficiency and clearly demonstrate how a system contributes to the firm’s success and align the team with the company’s overall strategic
An integrated Practice Management platform enables partners / managers to achieve these goals. It consolidates all of the tools and services needed to support the entire business life cycle into one system. It facilitates tremendous efficiency gains by eliminating manual process steps, data entry tasks and dramatically reducing time spent managing or searching for information.
Traditional methods vs New Cloud Technology
Traditional methods (including Excel) purely emphasize record-keeping. It is predominantly about to-do lists and calendars. Most basic Practice Management systems can tell users:
What job needs to be done?
Benefiting from an integrated Practice Management System
When you are dealing with day-to-day client responsibility, you need to ensure that you are not increasing the risk of missing deadlines as a priority. As your database expands beyond a few dozen clients; spreadsheets and other informal ways to track activity and due dates can easily break down. The person(s) responsible for managing these need a robust system with in-built rules for all relevant and timely reminders / alerts for critical deadlines.
A good integrated PM system can be considered a “Shared Central Services Platform” whereby tasks, staff and clients can collaborate effectively. This type of service doesn’t have to be benefited by only the larger firms.
It can also help in other important ways:
Automated workflows for efficient handling of matters as volume grows, eg electronic
Document, image and email storage for one-stop access to all information.
Excellent reporting tools – An example could be reports on the time taken for particular jobs against the income being generated. Reports like this enable you to ensure you offer the right pricing to your clients.
Integrated with your tax solutions to automatically update deadlines and submissions made. There is absolutely no need to manually update anymore as this would be automated and captured instantly.
The resulting factor of having everything integrated?
Making the right decisions on your next investment in software is crucial. An effective Practice Management system must go beyond tracking the deadlines of your clients.
Within an integrated Practice Management system, every activity is captured into one data system. This enables a business to gain new insight into planning, efficiency, and strategic alignment. Having everything centralised also reduces data entry risks and efforts, making it fast and easy to find the information you need and reduces IT costs for supporting multiple, incompatible systems.
As you grow and take on staff, every person using the system has clear defined responsibilities. The system can be easily configured to give each person a view of their own tasks, as well as a clear picture of the overall status of any client matter. This streamlines and personalizes access for the users and reduces security risks.
Flexibility & Reliability
The system can be customized to meet the evolving needs of the company. It automatically updates in response to changes as well as development releases.
Information is instantly available and presented in an easy-to-use format. What’s more, given you have the option of cloud technology – you can access this anywhere.