Looking for the best apps for accounting firms?

You’ve come to the right place.

This article will give you a curated list of the best cloud software for your firm to help make you more efficient, more automated, and more productive.

Let’s take a look.

Communication Software for Accounting Firms

One of the first areas where applications for firms (and all businesses) have made an immense impact is communication. Especially important due to the onset of remote work.

A communication or a messaging app will enable accounting firm teams to tailor their communication in a way that improves work. If you dread opening your email and using the inbox to find out what’s going on — it doesn’t have to be that way.

Two primary communication apps include:

Instant messaging (mobile app and desktop)

communication apps for accounting firms 2

Instant messaging is a precious tool for teams. The advantage of making concise statements without resorting to a call, or a mini-meeting. Messaging apps let you reference the chat and ensure there are fewer minor misunderstandings as there’s a record of the conversation.

Cons of relying on a messaging app?

The potential for constant pinging causes interruptions when you’re trying to get work done. A remedy here is to create policies and ensure your team follows guidelines explaining when DMs are ok, and when they’re not.

Plus, set up appropriate channels so the right team members get notifications, and others aren’t roped into unnecessary chat.

Here are two top-rated options for teams:

Video Conferencing

communication apps for accounting firms

Video conferences have become a part of everyone’s life in one way or another. For firms, or even if you are a small business owner, they give you the option to have real-time virtual face-to-face communication with your team. Admittedly, it’s not the same as a physical face-to-face meeting, but it’s the next best thing.

  • Zoom: This conferencing app has become the standard in video communication, and it’s most reliable and priced affordably. A big plus is that most people are familiar with it by now, so implementing it into your workflow is usually very easy.

File Storage and Management

google drive apps for accounting firms

For effective client management, a centralized file storage system has been one of the key elements of an accounting practice’s workflow. It usually involves having a network with a server that stored all the files so your accountants could have convenient access to all the data.

Security is a major factor here, since your clients’ bank statements, online banking, social security numbers, and other financial data are sensitive information. That said, transitioning to a cloud-based data setup, with remote access, makes access easier (while remaining secure).

Remote document management is easy to implement, affordable, and secure. Here are some of the best options.

  • Google Drive: Google’s file storage system is a great option. It’s easy to integrate with G Suite and is affordable. It also gives you the option to give your team full access, or read-only access.
  • Dropbox: An alternative to Google Drive. It’s competitively priced and has large storage space options.These 2 are highly useful apps for accountants or even business owners for its storage management.

Securely Share Information

As you collaborate with clients as an accounting business, it’s also important to properly share passwords and logins. Do not email passwords, client’s accounts, especially for bank accounts, or even share with your Google Drive/Dropbox.

The best way to get around these potential security issues is with a tool like Lastpass.

  • Lastpass: With LastPass as a password management app, you can securely share passwords, create your master password, and add confidence to the collaboration in your firm. This is one of the tools that you can access with your team even if you work remotely and data entry is automatic.
  • Practice Protect: This app is a data security platform designed for firms. Easily onboard/offboard employees’ accounts, manage their passwords, and a whole slew of other features to help keep your firm secure.

Accounting Software Apps to Build Your Firm

Cloud Accounting Apps

automation in accounting xero dashboard

At the core of your business in building an accounting firm is the accounting software you choose to interact with clients. Tax professionals will also rely on an accounting system in order to export this data into their tax software.

There are two dominant accounting software players in the industry, and which you choose depends on a variety of factors.

  • Xero: With Xero as cloud accounting software, you can expect live bank statements and feeds, a robust integrations marketplace, cash flow management abilities, and all the necessary components for reconciling and reporting.
  • Quickbooks Online: Like Xero, Intuit’s cloud product, QuickBooks Online, provides a superior experience to QuickBooks Desktop, which includes live bank feeds, a variety of integrations, and the ability to efficiently serve clients from all locations.

One advantage of Quickbooks Online accounting software compared to other accounting software or cloud accounting apps is its long-standing name familiarity. Which tool you decide on will largely depend on personal preference, and many firms and small businesses serve clients on both platforms. Both of these are excellent apps for accountants and bookkeepers. It all comes down to choosing the right accounting software at the end of the day.

Receipt Management Software

receipt bank invoice

Don’t limit your accounting automation to after the bank recognizes the transaction. You can also use tools to capture and access receipts, send them to your accounting software, and match them up with the proper transactions. Here are some tools and software I love.

  • Dext: Dext’s accounting software (formerly Receipt Bank) is a nice online app that replaces your mountain of receipts. Just snap a photo of your receipts to capture, and Dext then syncs with Xero, QuickBooks Online, or QuickBooks Desktop to record the transaction.
  • Hubdoc: Hubdoc’s accounting software is similar to Dext in features, and also provides automation instead of paper receipts. Hubdoc was recently acquired by Xero, so there is a natural fit for those who build their firms and small businesses on the back of Xero accounting software.

These are also great apps for accountants doing professional bookkeeping services for their clients.

Help Desk and Unified Inbox Apps for Accounting Firms

missive apps for accounting firms

Have a decent number of clients? A dedicated support system often helps mitigate confusion while helping your team recognize and prioritize issues.

Help desk apps help you bridge the customer service gap, provide faster, and leave less room to drop the customer success ball. In fact, I fully recommend them.

Prominent help desk and inbox solutions:

  • Zendesk: This app is one of the most popular options for help desk software due to its range of pricing. They have solutions that are affordable enough for even the smallest firm or small business to consider implementing all the way to corporate-level options.
  • Front: Front is a customer communication platform serving multiple verticals, including professional services (like firms). It gives you the ability to connect inboxes, SMS, and even social accounts.
  • Missive: This solution is based on team collaboration via email, chat, and task lists. So, it could go a bit beyond a unified inbox into more of a light workflow tool. It has a lot of other benefits and I use it myself for Future Firm®.

Proposal and Engagement Letter Apps

practice ignition apps for accounting firms

While accounting apps provide multiple opportunities for efficiency, a great place to start is where they help you get paid faster!

Writing and signing proposals are necessary for onboarding new clients. Are you still printing proposals and getting them hand-signed?

Sending proposal documents with an e-signing option is becoming the norm. It reduces paper usage, makes filing them significantly easier, and opens your target market up to a much larger geographic area. (Proposals, engagement letters, and growing your firm are things I cover thoroughly in Future Firm Accelerate®.)

Here are two great options that are significantly better than Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

  • Proposify: This app gives you all the necessary tools to make sending and signing proposals fast and easy. It also has advanced options such as automation that can help you run the process at a rapid pace.
  • Practice Ignition: Has all the necessary tools to send proposals and engagement letters and is one of the best apps for accountants. It gives you the option to customize them to fit your branding to look professional and consistent with the rest of your marketing material. Also, it opens up the option to automate your payment process and get deposited in your chosen bank accounts since it features a payment portal.
  • Pandadoc: Pandadoc does a great job of making document management easy. That said, it’s not as tailored to the accounting space as a solution, like Practice Ignition.

Practice Management Software

karbon triage

A quality practice management system is critical to the smooth functioning of your firm.

It will allow you to keep your firm organized, keep your team on the same page and streamline your workflows.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Teamwork: Unlike other apps, I like this system quite a bit since it has a great capacity reporting tool to ensure that you and your team aren’t working those crazy 80+ hour workweeks 🙂
  • Karbon: They are one of the top accounting practice management systems for firms. Many enjoy their email triage feature.
  • Jetpack Workflow: This is one of the simplest and easiest to use systems around for accounting firms.
  • Clickup: If you want a super-powerful system with a million bells and whistles, Clickup is a popular app for many technology-forward firms. Just be prepared to sink some time into getting it set up.

Ready to Try Some Apps?

If you’re looking to get more productive with your small business or firm through the use of accounting process automation apps and accounting technology, then hopefully the above list of popular apps is a step in the right direction to help you get there. These are just a few of the best apps for accountants and bookkeepers I think are definitely useful.

Choosing the right tools can help you manage your business.

Which app or software do you plan on implementing next? Do you have other favorite accounting tools or other accounting applications that you can share?

Let me know by commenting below!

Ryan Lazanis

Hi! I'm Ryan. I’m an entrepreneurial CPA that founded Xen Accounting, a 100% cloud-based accounting firm, in 2013. Following its acquisition in 2018, I started Future Firm to help accountants fast-track the growth of a modern, scalable accounting firm of their own.

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