CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: CRM

CRM: Blog Post

Practice Management with CRM: Can You Have It All?

Does it really need to be so complicated?

Over the last decade, "practice management" has become an industry unto itself.  Beyond the hundreds of private consultants and year-round seminars, we've seen a proliferation of task-specific software.  As a result, it's little wonder why many accounting firms now find themselves operating with multiple - and not always harmonious - systems.  The various applications sometimes work from different platforms.  Staff must be trained and retrained.  And as expensive new tools are added, firms must continually reinvest in IT expertise.

Does it really need to be so complicated?

Even more frustrating, a cobbled network of practice management software might be adequate for basic internal functions, but it does little to build a firm's business through client development and opportunity management.  In today's environment, we know that client retention and cross-selling of services are paramount.  Yet in a recent survey by Harris & Associates (Accounting Today, 2/15/2010) "well over 90%" of executives complained that their firm "isn't spending enough time" cross-selling to existing clients.

The proven solution for this strategic imperative is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology.  CRM is by now the standard throughout the financial services sectors, not to mention its widespread and sophisticated use by retailers and manufacturers in the consumer marketplace; yet many in our industry have been reluctant to embrace it.  Despite that 90 percent number quoted above, our own recent Templeton study found less than 5 percent of accounting firms have given state-of-the-art CRM systems a try.

Why is this?  From our experience in the field, one big reason stands out:  Despite its undeniable business-building advantages, until now CRM software has been designed largely as a free-standing technology - separate from the practice management functions of most accounting firms.  Thus executives have been (understandably) reticent to invest in what they see as yet another costly layer of IT complexity.

But what if CRM included all the necessary tools of Practice Management?

The question arises:  Why not a single solution?  One completely integrated system that seamlessly combines everything you need in Practice Management with everything you want for CRM.

That question is exactly what we asked ourselves at Templeton.  And recently we partnered with Microsoft to create a solution - a single comprehensive system for every aspect of practice management plus customer (client) relationship management.

First of all, we wanted it to be simple:  a single log-in system that's intuitive, easy to learn and operates on the same Outlook format we already know.  It had to be fully-integrated to handle time and billing... accounting and reporting... tracking and project management... personnel scheduling... a workflow engine... everything.

And something more:  We wanted built-in account management capabilities with a range of up-selling, cross-selling and opportunity management CRM features.

Here's a partial summary of our "must have" list for this integrated practice management/CRM system:

  • Time and billing
  • Resource management and personnel scheduling
  • Document management system
  • Project management, reporting capabilities and forecasting
  • WIP and realization reports
  • Tax filing management and due-date tracking
  • Workflow engine
  • Sales "pipeline" and CRM opportunity management system to nurture marketing efforts
  • Contact and account management

Above all, this integrated program had to be tailored to the nuanced needs of a busy accounting firm like our own.  Is that too much to expect?  Not anymore.  Our firm now operates with a simple turnkey system that takes practice management not just to another level - but a new dimension.  We call it CRM for Professionals.

CRM for Professionals finally solves the old quandary of how build a viable business development strategy within the often fragmented environment of an accounting practice that is structured on individual partnerships and "silos."  This new system puts everyone on the same page, and keeps them reading from the same book.

It took an accounting firm to develop a solution for... accounting firms.

It didn't take long for our new system to attract interest from frustrated executives - many of whom now are coping with two or three practice management software tools and no built-in CRM capability whatever.  What they immediately perceive are two things:  1) the lower cost and convenience of one unified system; 2) the chance now to create and sustain real "brand loyalty."

In the commercial marketplace, of course, the brand is king.  And the linchpin is CRM technology to consistently "remember and reward" loyal customers, while cross-selling additional goods or services.  This vital function is not left to individual initiative or index cards - with CRM it is automatic.  In our industry the "brand" is you:  your name, your people, your expertise, your range of services.

Practice management software alone cannot hope to address this dynamic customer relationship management role, and until now CRM could not do the essential work of a dedicated practice management system for accounting firms.  The good news is, now you can have both.  And in this case, one plus one provides an exponentially better answer.

We invite inquiries about CRM for Professionals.  This new system solved our own management dilemma and chances are it will solve yours too. For more information, please contact info@templetonco.com

About the author: 

Christopher J. Gryskiewicz, CPA, CITP

Chris Gryskiewicz is the Executive Vice President of Templeton & Company, an accounting firm headquartered in South Florida.  He also serves as a senior executive with Templeton Solutions, a technology consulting subsidiary of Templeton & Company.  It is in this role that he manages high-level IT projects and leverages his business and accounting background to identify opportunities for successful, thoughtful integrations.

More Stories By Sarah Parker

Sarah Templeton serves as the Director of Marketing and manages all aspects of Templeton's strategic marketing, public relations initiatives, as well as sponsorships and special events. Prior to joining Templeton, Sarah marketed professional services in the civil engineering and health care industries. Her work has included award-winning branding campaigns, marketing and recruiting strategies, complete collateral and website design and development.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.