Intuit continues its efforts to enable accountants to be trusted advisors by focusing on two key areas: matchmaking, with its recently enhanced Find-a-ProAdvisor (https://proadvisor.intuit.com/app/accountant/search?region=US) directory, and practice management, with a new cloud-based solution that allows accounting professionals to manage their workflow from one central location.
Practice Management, which is connected through the QuickBooks Online ecosystem, gives accountants more control over their business and ultimately frees up their time to provide quality service to their clients. Practice Management aims to solve for the three main pain points accountants currently experience when managing workflow – tedious management, maintenance burden and disconnected communication with clients.
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Currently, most of accountants’ workflow is manual. Accounting professionals spend a lot of time tracking deadlines and compliance for every client. They often use multiple solutions to track their work, switching between each tool to maintain progress and status separately. Moreover, Intuit estimates that accounting professionals spend approximately 65 percent of their time tracking down source documents from clients. Client communication usually happens outside of the context of their work, so accountants don’t always have visibility into what they’ve asked for, what they’ve received and what they’re still waiting on at the point of client communication.
Practice Management allows accounting professionals to move from the cumbersome, disjointed experience of manual tracking to a unified view of work for managers and their teams. It not only provides visibility across all initiatives, but also supports integrated task creation and completion from within QuickBooks Online Accountant, so that accountants no longer need to track their work in multiple places. Users will also automatically see task suggestions based on their client activity so they can always stay on top of the most important deliverables. Customers can also override this feature at any time, if necessary. With Practice Management, accountants will always know what was requested, received and still needed from clients, minimizing the time spent trying to collect source documents.
“Practice Management is our first step in helping accounting professionals better manage their workflow. This solution will create a more efficient and cleaner communication stream between accountants and their clients,” said Ariege Misherghi, director of product management, QuickBooks Online Accountant. “Our mission is to give accountants the confidence that nothing will fall through the cracks without creating a maintenance burden for them and their team.”
Practice Management features a new dashboard that provides accountants with an overview of all their workflows by showing every task assigned to them. Managers within the practice can receive insight into what their team is working on so they can better plan their week or month by managing the workload across their team. This increased transparency helps managers make informed staffing decisions, such as whether to permanently or temporarily increase staff.
The dashboard is also client-loaded, allowing professionals to see all the tasks that belong to a client they are working on, regardless of who is assigned the work. Since client tasks are rarely isolated, collaboration is common among professionals who work with the same client. As such, it’s often helpful for professionals to see what other staff members are working on so they can see how those tasks impact the tasks assigned to them. Practice Management also allows managers to create new jobs and tasks within each project, along with individual deadlines and assignees, requests for clients and communication chains, as well as change the status of tasks and who they are assigned to.
“Efficiency is built into Practice Management, taking seconds for users to create and assign new jobs and tasks,” said Misherghi. “We are going to continue investing in this space to help accountants grow their practice.”
Practice Management is free and natively integrated within QuickBooks Online Accountant. Accounting professionals can access it from their phones, making it easy to manage their workflow anytime, anywhere, while small business clients can see communications from their accountants all in one place under “My Accountant” in QuickBooks Online.
Intuit will roll out Practice Management starting the end of April through early May, and accounting professionals can get more information from the dashboard of the QuickBooks Online product they use. A demo of the Practice Management capabilities within QuickBooks Online Accountant is available at http://intuit.me/2mSIAWn.