CRM WITH RESULTS CRM, OFFICE TOOLS PROFESSIONAL OR SAGECRM
Business development works better with a tool that organizes your efforts. If you’d like to handle client requests better, have a better understanding of what has been said to who and when, and if you want to track referring relationships like attorneys, other clients and other firms, then CRM (Customer Relationship Management) should be in your future. There are 300+ products in this class, but two that have many useful features for tax and accounting professionals are Results CRM and Office Tools Professional. Results CRM uniquely goes beyond basic CRM to deliver a full Business & Information Management system so complete it can also be offered to your clients to help them run, manage and grow their businesses.
FINANCIAL REPORTING WITH BIZNET INSIGHT
We still see way too many Excel spreadsheets for reporting that are not tied properly to the numbers from accounting software. The BizNet Insight used with BizBroadcast is an example of a reporting tool that is tied in real time to the supporting accounting numbers underneath. This tool is sophisticated enough to handle millions of transactions and simple enough to use that if you know how to run Excel, you can connect to all kinds of accounting data and create sophisticated, self-refreshing reports.
ONLINE INVOICING WITH FRESHBOOKS OR SAGE BILLING BOSS
With so many new startup small businesses, getting automation for invoicing right for these businesses can be critical. Whether it is a special interest startup of your own or a small business belonging to a friend or client, automation products are inexpensive and simple, with features that make billing fast and receiving payments easy. And creating financials from the data is a service that you can then perform for your clients. This is much easier and less expensive than having the clients use QuickBooks if they only need invoicing capabilities. Besides, all of the pertinent data can be accessed from an iPhone if needed. Some businesses need nothing more than these products and their cell phone to run their entire operation.
ONLINE ACCOUNTING WITH ACCOUNTANTSWORLD OR INTACCT
If you are ready to step up your service level with collaborative accounting software, both AccountantsWorld PowerPractice or Accounting Relief and Intacct provide more capabilities for accounting in a web browser. Some of you have looked at or are using QuickBooks online, which is another product that has this collaborative capability. Why look at these products? They have more of the right capabilities, ease of use and potentially lower cost to the business or client.
- AccountantsWorld - Accounting Relief
- AccountantsWorld - PowerPractice
(See a review of SaaS-based accounting products at www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/2784.)
ENCRYPTION WITH PGP OR WINDOWS 7 BITLOCKER
With the security breach laws that are in force and with more coming, we recommend using disk encryption on all desktops and laptops. PGP has been our traditional recommendation for around $170, and this product was recently acquired by Symantec. That could be good or it could be a problem. Alternatively, if you obtain Microsoft Open Licensing for your firm for Windows 7, you will have access to Windows 7 Enterprise, the edition that includes Bitlocker encryption software for around a $90 cost of upgrade.
WINDOWS DEPLOYMENT SERVICES & WINDOWS SYNC CENTER
A surprisingly large number of IT teams don’t know about the new desktop and laptop image capture and deployment system that is part of Windows Server 2008 R2. When used in conjunction with the Sync Center feature of Windows Vista & 7, you can copy software, user settings and data from an old machine to a new one in less than 20 minutes. If a machine fails, rebuilding a new one with all the settings is pretty trivial. To keep yourself legal on software licensing, you do need to be on an Open License agreement.