Specialty products like audit confirmations from Confirmation and others are available via the web and headed more toward mobile devices. Workflow products like XCM, Thomson Reuters FirmFlow, CCH WorkStream, Office Tools Professional, and Results CRM are all providing workflow solutions for firms. Office Tools Professional has the added benefit of providing document management and business development through CRM. Results CRM has an entire business management suite that is integrated two-way with QuickBooks.
A Bright Future
What do all of these applications have in common? Each one mentioned here has browser access, has a plan to add usability for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and is investing in your future with innovative updates. Many require no infrastructure in your firm. If you have reliable, redundant Internet access and a good firewall to protect you, these vendors can provide the services for a monthly fee. By the time you look at a five-year rotation of server hardware plus licensing expense, you’ll find that the monthly expense of hosting or SaaS may be a really good alternative.
Most importantly, though, is the ability to service the client the way you want to, where you want to, how you want to, at a time the client wants the service, and with minimal effort and pain. If you find yourself working harder to provide great client service in order to stay even or get ahead in the current economic climate, technology can make it a lot easier. Remember: Technology doesn’t cost, it pays!