Posted at: September 13, 2021
Managing an office entails equipping yourself with tools to enhance productivity. At a minimum, you'll want tools for scheduling appointments, storing and organizing documents, invoicing and billing clients, and assigning tasks to employees. You might also want to keep a CRM database and customize an email notification system.
You could start out by using only a couple of these software tools, adding more as you find the need for them. That might save you a bit on costs in the short term. In the long term, you could end up with multiple account subscriptions to varied software tools that can't even talk to each other.
A better approach? Opting to use an all-in-one suite of software tools. Not only would you pay for one account subscription instead of several… you can share data between tools. No need to enter the same data again and again.
What kind of tools do you need in an all-in-one software package? Let's consider the options.
Every tax office requires appointment software. You can write down appointment schedules in a notebook, or keep notes in your smartphone, but that is a risky approach. You could misplace a notebook or forget to bring it with you. Your mobile phone could die or get damaged. These may be unlikely scenarios, but it's still better not to have to worry about them at all.
Good appointment software helps you maintain a calendar that you can access from your desktop, laptop, or mobile phone. Having more than one option is always advantageous.
With an all-in-one office management suite, the calendar software lets you quickly select the client and/or team member involved out of your digital records. If the software incorporates a client portal feature, you can have clients setting appointments with your office online.
That makes appointment setting more efficient and precise. You can also set up email or text SMS notifications that trigger when a client or team member schedules an appointment. You can quickly respond to the parties involved and easily edit appointment details.
Tax preparation offices need to collect and store numerous files provided by clients. Whether you're doing a client's tax return, referencing a previous years' data, or preparing for a consultation, you'll want the ability to quickly find and open documents you need.
You'll want document management software that can safely and securely store client documents. Ideally, it should integrate with a client portal solution. That will let clients send you their documents online.
The documents should be collected into cloud storage. That will allow you to access the files from anywhere that has an Internet connection. You won't have any issues even if you lose the digital copies of the files on your device. You can access them on cloud storage and download the files again.
Finally, the document manager interface should be easy to navigate visually. You want a manager that can easily organize documents by client, title, date, or tags. It should include a search function where typing a keyword will quickly present you a list of stored documents. It should also have a robust tag management feature, which will let you organize files using custom keywords of your choice.
With an all-in-one software solution, you can easily configure permissions. That means you can limit which documents can be viewed or edited by clients and/or team members.
The term “client portal” has come up a few times. It's a very helpful feature that streamlines client communications. Your tax office can use it to set up an online portal that clients can use to send you key documents.
The feature integrates with your CRM database (client list), appointment calendar, and document manager. Via a client profile in the CRM, you can send a client an invitation to login to their own personal client portal. Then they can use it to send documents to be stored in the cloud. You can use the document manager to access these documents.
Your client can also schedule an appointment through the portal. You will receive an email notification and be able to view the new appointment on your calendar app. From there, you can assign or reassign the appointment, edit the appointment details, or contact the client regarding the appointment.
In many ways, the client portal serves as a virtual office for handling certain types of interactions with clients.
Many tax preparers are learning the importance of customer relationship management in business. When you have office management software that already maintains records on clients, it's a short step to a full-featured CRM tool suite.
CRM software simply involves creating a knowledge base of client profiles. This includes basic information such as names, job titles, companies, email addresses, and so on. You can include info about the client's birthday, the name of their spouse, the names of their children, and other pertinent details. Information that you can use in conversation with a client, with the aim of developing a friendly relationship. It's all about building trust and keeping your client's business!
Your tax preparation business needs to get paid. There's no question about that! Generating invoices and facilitating payment can be a tiresome task. Automating the processes can save you a lot of trouble. It will also reduce human error, ensuring that your client's invoice states the correct amount. That will help you avoid disputes!
Office management software needs to help you run things more productively and efficiently. That extends to supervising employee assignments and task schedules. Ideally, you should be able to view what appointments each team member is assigned to cover, and when the appointments are taking place.
Team management software involves keeping records on your employees, with roles that can be defined for each one of them. Granting a role is equivalent to setting the permissions afforded to a team member in using the software. For example, it can determine the clients they can email, the documents they can view and edit, and the appointments they can schedule.
You can also grant employees the ability to set blockout times on the calendar application. Then clients will be unable to schedule appointments with an employee that fall within that employee's blocked out hours.
ProClient was envisioned as a solution to the dilemma of needing multiple software tools. Designed by tax preparer Mike Steele for tax office managers, ProClient is the all-in-one office management software that combines different tools in one package. It provides client appointment software, document management software, CRM database software, employee scheduling software, and invoicing software in a single package.
Those are not the only features provided by the ProClient software suite. It also includes client portal services, email message automation and customization, and even SMS (text) messaging automation and customization.
The power of all-in-one software is the great convenience it offers and the time it will save you. No need to type in client data for every separate software account you're using. Enter it once, and you're done. Edit the client profile, and the changes will be reflected in all the tools.
You know what else takes too much time and effort? Switching from one program to another on your device. This can also use up computer memory and possibly drain the life of your battery! Dealing with too many software applications at once—that's not good for your efficiency and productivity.
And that's far from the only issue. You are likely to get inconsistencies, and waste time clearing them up. Does the client info in one application differ from that in a second application? Which one holds the most up-to-date info? That could be a real hassle to clear up.
Avoid errors and inconsistencies by using one software application. With an integrated suite of tools, everything draws from a single, shared information database. The result? Consistent data. Less time spent on correction and coordination.
Do you really want to be paying for multiple software subscriptions? Wouldn't it be better to pay for only one? Of course, as long as the software delivers.
Many tax preparation offices don't need highly specialized tools for appointments, CRM, document management, invoicing, payment processing, and so on. All they need is a software suite that can perform these functions—no frills necessary. Of course, they would also want customer support and online help. That's all part of what makes a software subscription a worthwhile investment.
ProClient offers all that—the tools, the customer support, the single subscription fee. You pay for one subscription, no more. That can help you reduce costs while increasing productivity. Not per user per account. ProClient was developed to save you money and time.
If you're looking for an affordable software package that can serve all of your tax office management needs, then look no further. Get a free demo of ProClient today! You can register for the demo at this link.