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Firm Management

2016 Reviews of CRM Systems for Accounting Firms

While some may think that their Outlook or other email system offers the same basic tools as a CRM system, this is far from accurate.

Although CRM usually stands for “Customer Relationship Management,” in the accounting profession, we prefer the term “client” over “customer.” When focused on the needs of an accounting firm, these systems can offer a centralized location for tracking all communications with all clients, as well as with prospects and other new client generating activities.

While some may think that their Outlook or other email system offers the same basic tools as a CRM system, this is far from accurate. While Outlook and the others do offer varying degrees of additional management functions, dedicated CRM systems track much more than just email, offering tools for managing and tracking phone calls, voice messages, text messages and notes, as well as client documents that have been digitized. Additional tools found in some systems include advanced practice management and workflow optimization controls.

The primary goal, however, is to centralize and streamline the management of client outreach and contacts, replacing antiquated or separate systems, such as phone call notes, note pads and spreadsheets.

Although I don’t consider Outlook to be a full CRM system, it does offer benefits above a basic client roster, and since it is used by a vast majority of professionals, we’ve included it in this article. At the least, it will allow users to benchmark their current system and see if they are utilizing Outlook fully.

So let’s take a look at what the market has to offer. These are the CRM systems included in this review:

For each solution we have included information on the usability of the program, key features and functions, options for customization, integration tools, and pricing.


John Higgins, CPA.CITP is the president of CPA Crossings LLC. He is a strategic technology advisor to accountants and tax preparers on workflow automation, cloud accounting and other applications of technology to increase productivity and profitability. John has recently launched his firm’s new Cloud Accounting Learning Center. Visit his web site at for more information.

See inside March 2016

2016 Review of Keystroke Advanced POS

Optimally designed for retailers with that require more comprehensive inventory management and distribution capability, Keystroke is an easily navigated product that offers scalability and excellent reporting capability.


2016 CRM Systems — Wolters Kluwer — CCH iFirm

A cloud-based system, CCH iFirm is a user-friendly program that provides advanced CRM functions. The application can be accessed via most modern browsers, with no software maintenance or updates.