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Top 10 Lessons Learned: A CPA Firm’s CRM Implementation

A 50-person CPA firm recounts their best practices from a Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation

Templeton & Company, a 50-person CPA firm headquartered in South Florida, implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2002.  Although the company has a subsidiary firm, Templeton Solutions, which a Microsoft Dynamics Partner, the accounting practice still dealt with its own struggles and challenges in rolling out the solution firm-wide.  Here are their lessons learned:

  1. Tightly integrated process/people/technology. With your business processes and workflow outlined and mapped out, it will enable your firm to easily address and visualize how it should be automated in the system.  Many companies who do not have this mapped out run into the pitfalls of trying to have the technology guide how they run their business. It should be the other way around, otherwise, it's just a waste of resources.
  2. Define your goals. What is your picture of success?  Do you want to have a one-firm approach to clients and prospects?   Having measurable goals in-place from the outset will help you better gauge whether or not your implementation is "worth it."
  3. Establish the team. The team should be comprised of members of the marketing team, IT group the leadership team as well as other users - maybe even from other offices so you can garner a true cross-section of your firm.
  4. Manage Expectations: Tell the story as to why this is a tool that will benefit all users and plan to show them how.  Communicate effectively and routinely
  5. Promote from within. Think about the communications train and each stop along the way.  Talk about the process that the firm will go through, that the firm is going through, and what the end result will look like.  Don't assume everyone knows what's going on.
  6. Identify "WIIFM" What's in it for me across the entire firm.  If you are expecting people to shift gears as far as how they work and operate and get them out of their comfort zone, be sure to back it up by explaining what the firm will accomplish with their participation.
  7. Quick wins are important. Roll CRM out in phases, and don't make the common mistake of biting off more than you can chew at any given time.
  8. Meet face-to-face consistently. Gather the pre-determined team and set  up weekly or bi-monthly meetings.  Be open to feedback during the meetings
  9. Measures of accountability. Define what will motivate your team to use it whether it be compensation, peer pressure, or the new firm standard. Stick to it!
  10. People need single source for all their needs and questions. Have a sort of ombudsman who has the soft skills where staff will feel comfortable addressing concerns to him or her, but also have the technical knowledge and authority to make sure that the message is heard from the technical and pre-established internal CRM team.

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.

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