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When comparing the capabilities of practice management software (PMS) with dedicated resource management software, there are some key differences to consider. We define and compare the key features of each solution to help you identify the right software to meet the needs of your accountancy firm.

What is accounting practice management software?

Accounting practice management software (PMS) is used to help accountancy firms to manage and streamline their front and back-office operations. Practice management software can be used to manage client work end-to-end and is a place where teams can produce, collaborate and track the progress of past, current, and upcoming work.

A practice management solution is usually implemented with the aim of improving the organisation, communication, and efficiency of overall service and project delivery. A strong practice management platform will also act as a central store for tracking and managing the firm’s performance across its processes, workflows, and finances. From workflow tasks, proposals, and payments to producing reports and client communications, a PMS system is simultaneously the place to record and action a firm’s operations. Ultimately, a good practice management tool should allow daily processes to run smoothly and increase overall efficiencies for teams and clients.

Who uses accounting practice management software?

Professional service providers across accounting, tax, medicine, and law utilise practice management systems to simplify and automate routine processes and maximise productivity.

Accounting practice management software is used by accounting or tax professionals, CPAs, and bookkeepers to manage tasks, projects and collaborate with their team and clients. As a practice management system touches so many areas of work, it is often used by a wide range of roles within an accountancy firm including project managers, resource and engagement managers, finance managers and those responsible for client services.

What type of accountancy firm needs practice management software?

Accounting practice management software is used to help improve productivity, communication, and efficiency in firms of all sizes. By decreasing administrative strain, practice management software can support a better experience for both your team and clients. As firms grow and become more complex, optimising practice management processes becomes even more critical to successfully deliver efficient and profitable client engagements.

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What are the key benefits of accounting practice management software?

Each practice management software solution will differ in the exact set of features, functions, and benefits it can offer. However, a good accounting practice management tool should provide your firm with the key benefits highlighted below.

Reduce manual, low-value tasks

For CPAs practice management software can transform day-to-day operations by reducing repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as manual billing or data entry. By minimising the level of resource required to maintain and fulfil manual processes a firm can increase efficiencies and free-up time for teams to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Another benefit of the software is that it can usually help to streamline, standardise or automate workflows to provide more uniformity across recurring tasks and reduce the risk of errors. Bills and invoices can also be managed and tracked within the software which reduces the need to work across multiple systems.

By lifting the administrative burden and allowing teams to focus on the tasks that add the most value to their clients, firms can support better client service, job satisfaction, and retention.

Increase efficiencies via one central system

As an accountancy firm grows, so too does the number of staff, processes, and decisions to be managed. A practice management system can help to combine key business functions and workflows into one system to increase efficiency and ease of access to key information.

Using a single central system, teams can track the status of projects, manage client registrations, organise billing and invoicing, and share information with team members. Another key benefit of practice management software is that data does not need to be replicated across different platforms, saving valuable time and providing a single source of truth. By replacing error-prone, manual data migrations your firm can use your practice management software to increase accuracy and quality across your business operations.

Improve collaboration and client communication

The right practice management software can be extremely useful to help improve client communication and collaboration across teams. A system that allows teams to easily access, update, and share information in real-time will help to make collaboration and communication easier.

With all of the right people having access to the right information exactly when they need it, client service can also be improved. Practice management software can streamline client management by pulling key client information and communications into one place, this includes contracts, proposals or invoices sent, and payments received or outstanding. This central hub can help to facilitate greater accountability and visibility across your team and ensure that your client communications are timely and correct. Some practice management tools have email automation and template options built-in, meaning less time dedicated to organising inboxes and more time to servicing clients.

What are the limitations of practice management software for resource planning?

While there are many benefits of practice management software, many firms find that the resource management features and capabilities do not adequately meet their needs for optimal resource and engagement planning. For this reason, many firms recognise the need to integrate a dedicated resource management tool to better meet their business objectives.

In the next section, we discuss the benefits of taking a best-of-breed approach when selecting a resource and engagement planning solution for your firm. It is important to note that resource management software is not designed to replace your practice management software, instead, it should integrate seamlessly to optimise the resource and engagement management functions.

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What is resource management software?

First, let’s define resource management and understand what resource management software is used for.

Resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating organisational resources in the best way possible to maximise the value and potential of your resources. In the context of accounting, the term resource usually refers to the firm’s fee-earning staff and their billable hours. Interestingly, in this context, the resource is both the primary source of revenue and the core cost base for accountancy firms. For this reason, optimal resource management is critical to the survival of these firms and other professional service organisations. This is where resource management software comes in.

Resource management software is used to optimise the overall resource management process, from resource planning to allocation, scheduling, utilisation, and forecasting. This type of software allows users to analyse resource capacity alongside demand to ensure the right skills are available at the right level, and at the right time.

Who uses resource management software?

Resource management software is primarily used by resource and project managers. In the context of accounting, another key user would include engagement managers and those responsible for supervising engagement performance. Although often used by project managers, resource management software is not to be confused with project management software.

Why firms choose dedicated resource management software

If your firm has over 100 resources to manage or are looking for a solution that can be scaled alongside your growing business, integrating dedicated resource management software will be a key decision in driving the long-term success of your firm.

An intelligent resource management solution such as Dayshape, provides a number of specialised resource scheduling and engagement planning features that a standard practice management software cannot. By optimising resource and engagement management end-to-end, the right resource management software solution can allow your firm to gain and maintain a unique strategic advantage.

Here are some key features that Dayshape offers to help you gain better visibility and control of engagement performance, save valuable time, and be more strategic in your resourcing decisions.

Advanced resource scheduling

Reduce the admin burden on your team and optimise your resource planning with automated engagement scheduling. To streamline the scheduling process, resource management software can be used to automatically identify and deploy the best people for the job, ensuring that skills, qualifications, availability, location, and all of your key criteria are accounted for. By streamlining the decision-making process and reducing manual steps, resource planning software can also increase efficiencies and free up time to focus on more strategic tasks.

Live engagement economics

Make more informed decisions, faster, with live engagement economics, automated project controls, and reporting all in one system. Intelligent resource management software allows you to see the impact any resource changes have on your engagement financials, monitor actuals in real-time and make changes to prevent reduced margins and potential overruns.

Automated and configurable workflows

Effective resource planning is essential to maintain visibility of capacity, monitor and adapt to ongoing changes, and identify resourcing risks. Intelligent resource management software can offer configurable approval workflows, which can be automated to ensure engagements are reviewed by the right people, at the right time and remain on track.

Automated project controls and alerts can also be used to speed up the process of resolving clashes or prevent them from happening in the first place. These features work to minimise disruptions and delays on projects will also benefit teams and client service as a result.

Configurable reports

Establishing, monitoring, and leveraging the right metrics is key to optimising your resource management strategy. The most efficient way to measure and optimise your firm’s resource management practices is to combine in-depth reporting and data-driven insights with a powerful resource scheduling software solution. Configurable reports let you drill into the information you need quickly and reduce manual steps to speed up the overall decision-making process.

In-depth reports can also be used to track the skills, qualifications, and experience required and acquired over time, giving resource managers the insight they need to understand resourcing risks alongside current and future demand.

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Final thoughts

The right practice management software can transform and streamline your practice operations, allowing you to centralise key processes and add efficiencies to benefit your teams and clients.

However, the key to success for any accountancy firm, no matter how big or small, is their ability to effectively plan, utilise, and optimise their people’s time to maximise profitability, quality, and client satisfaction. A dedicated resource management software solution is designed to empower your firm to achieve exactly that.

Get in touch with us to discover how your firm could benefit from integrating a dedicated resource management software solution.