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Accounting

Comprehensive Practice and Workflow Management for Tax Season — and Beyond

Finding the right practice management solution can be challenging especially after an acquisition, as was the case when Maryland-based Faragalla & Associates’ founder, Albert Faragalla, CPA, purchased the accounting practice owned by ...

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Finding the right practice management solution can be challenging especially after an acquisition, as was the case when Maryland-based Faragalla & Associates’ founder, Albert Faragalla, CPA, purchased the accounting practice owned by Karen Smith Racicot (who stayed on as a senior manager) in 2014. In addition to trying to sync firm culture, staff, and clients, the overall management of the firm including workflow and operational tasks must be addressed in any acquisition—and with so many practice management options to consider, finding the right solution can be a daunting task.

TWO FIRMS, TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES

Albert and Karen had dramatically different approaches to workflow and practice management in their firms. He used basic spreadsheets to track client projects which was inefficient and hard to manage. She used a robust practice management system which was too complex. When the two firms came together, they both agreed that Faragalla & Associates needed a solution that would meet the needs of the resulting entity, which now has 15 employees and 1,000 clients.  

Equipped with a list of must-have criteria, Albert and Karen started to vet solutions. “At the top of our list was a database-driven solution that was comprehensive without being more than we really needed to handle our workflow,” said Karen. “When we looked at TaxWorkFlow, it was evident that the system was very intuitive and would meet our needs, and then some—with very powerful workflow, client and document management and storage capabilities. The ability to set up recurring projects and to change information once a project was assigned was also really important to us. We use TaxWorkFlow for recurring and non-recurring engagements.”

AN INTEGRATED AND AFFORDABLE SOLUTION

At only $1,000 per year including unlimited users and unlimited support, TaxWorkFlow meets another very important criterion for any firm—price. The system incorporates all aspects of a practice management solution: robust and fully customizable workflow, client relationship management, staff management, document management and storage, a time and billing module as well as an email campaign module and a client portal.

The platform, which was developed by CPA Jonathan Medows, is designed to offer the most customization and control possible in a streamlined and intuitive interface. TaxWorkFlow even allows users to select local or cloud-based data storage protected by the programs extensive security safeguards.

TaxWorkFlow integrates with QuickBooks and has a built-in dashboard which Karen says has been “huge” for her in terms of being able to see the big picture view of the firm’s workflow. “Previously, I would have to run a report to get a full synopsis of where we stood in terms of staff capacity and client work. Now I can simply look at the dashboard and know in a glance. It’s a big time savings.”

FULL STEAM AHEAD TOWARD TAX SEASON

Although TaxWorkFlow is a very comprehensive system, Karen says it is much easier to use and isn’t overwhelming. “It’s been a very smooth implementation and I attribute a lot of that to the responsiveness and receptiveness of TaxWorkFlow’s support team. They helped us set up the system to fit the needs of our firm and when we have an idea about what we’d like to be able to do with the platform, we can actually talk to the program developers who are enthusiastic about incorporating our suggestions.”

When asked about facing tax season using a new practice management and workflow tool, Karen is confident that with TaxWorkFlow their firm is ready to handle whatever comes their way. “I feel like our firm is moving forward and that nothing is going to be falling through the cracks when things get really busy,” she said. “And TaxWorkFlow is a big part of that.”