Accountants continue to increase their use of technology and process automation in an effort to accomplish more with fewer available hours, both from themselves and from employees and contractors. However, even with tools and automation helping to manage the workflow, the human side of CPA practice still needs to be addressed—specifically, managing team members and engaging and collecting from clients. This month’s column presents two applications that are specific to accounting, as well as workflow and engagement issues, and that allow potential users to learn more about the applications without signing up for demonstrations. Two good sources of blogs and podcasts are also presented.

Monitask Boomr Time Tracking Integration

Boomr Time Tracking Integration (https://www.monitask.com/en/integration/boomr-time-tracking) is one of the products offered by Monitask, an employee time and task tracking software provider. Boomr automates tracking time and integrates a timesheet management system along with the user’s accounting software. Upon creating an account, users can add an unlimited number of employees’ email addresses to invite. Employees will need to download the Boomr application to begin tracking their time; however, administrators can access the software’s online dashboard without any special installation.

Boomr is specifically targeted to accountants, as well as attorneys, small businesses, and self-employed service providers. It can be used to assign projects to team members and review work hours and progress, which makes it efficient for remote operations and flexible work arrangements. Administrators can review employee screenshots, productivity levels, and internet usage. Users can generate reports through Monitask tailored to the specific information they would like to review.

Two features that may be of most interest to small- to mid-sized CPA firms are employee scheduling and time tracking. The scheduling function (http://tinyurl.com/5n6whzwb) begins by creating a scheduling template that includes dates and activities for each employee, which is adaptable as needs and projects change. Supervisors can then review staff availability and skills, in the application’s database, to decide how to allocate projects. Activities can also allow employees to “bid” on them as suits their interests, as well as provide a sense of ownership in the collective team effort.

Monitask Boomr Time Tracking Integration

https://www.monitask.com/en/integration/boomr-time-tracking

The time tracking software (http://tinyurl.com/yz8ew56e) can be installed on company computers and other electronic devices, as well as any personal devices employees use for work purposes. The time tracking tool logs team members’ time and activities automatically, and can be used to create invoices and generate reports—ideal for identifying projects that are going over budget before it’s too late. In addition to invoice creation, the application can also be used to track expenses.

The Monitask Blog (https://www.monitask.com/en/blog/) is generally focused on human resource, time tracking, remote work, outsourcing, and other related issues not specific to accounting, but some articles may be of interest to practicing accountants. For example, “Time Budget – a Powerful Trick to Get Everything Done in Time” (http://tinyurl.com/r53r73zr) presents a detailed discussion that addresses topics such as creating a time budget, sticking to a time budget, and the benefits of using a time budget. The most common mistakes in creating a time budget include underestimating the amount of time needed for tasks, not factoring in breaks and distractions, and not prioritizing tasks.

Practice Ignition

Practice Ignition (https://www.ignitionapp.com/) is a one-stop platform that helps users prepare online contract proposals, digital signatures, invoicing, billing, and other client engagement tools for accounting, bookkeeping, and professional services. It provides resources such as software applications and templates to create and send proposals and engagement letters. The website also presents public access to selected template information for typical accounting services. A blog offers articles tailored to client relationships, invoicing and collecting, and accounting firm trends.

The proposal feature allows users to create up to three proposal options for a client to allow the client to select the level of services to be provided. Proposal templates are tailored to accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services. Users can track when clients have opened and viewed a proposal, as well as schedule reminders for clients to return accepted proposals. Engagement letters are available that have already been legally vetted and use standard professional terminology. Users can create pro forma letters, which can then be tailored to list specific services, prices, engagement terms, and billing frequency.

Practice Ignition’s website allows users to preview selected proposal templates for free, as well as to view the client side of receiving an online proposal [http://tinyurl.com/y4uxa9dv]. For example, a QuickBooks services template creates a proposal to assist clients with getting started using QuickBooks Online software. The template includes specific services to be provided, recommended pricing, and options for personalization, among other features.

Ignition’s blog (https://www.ignitionapp.com/blog) presents a link to a free downloadable report and a humorous two-minute video on a “state of client engagement” report. The 23-page report summarizes the results of a survey by Ignition of decision makers at U.S. accounting and bookkeeping firms with as many as 50 employees. The study addressed the types of awkward situations that arise in dealing with clients, and the financial and human costs in avoiding or delaying difficult conversations. The report estimated that accounting and bookkeeping firms are losing, on average, almost $77,000 annually in unrecovered out-of-scope work. A large majority of respondents (94%) indicated that they had to pursue clients for late payments. The report concluded with some helpful tips to navigate the interpersonal discomfort; for example, take the time to listen and be clear on the client’s requirements, anticipate and make provisions for outof-scope work, and regularly review and address any needed changes.

More Accounting Practice Blogs

Unison Globus (https://unisonglobus.com/), headquartered in India, provides finance, taxation, payroll, and accounting outsourcing and remote staffing services to CPA firms. Its website offers a blog (https://unisonglobus.com/blog/) that addresses a variety of accounting practice issues. A recent blog post, “8 Mistakes You should Avoid with Accounts Outsourcing,” includes not defining your outsourcing goals, not assessing the outsourcing company carefully, and not properly communicating requirements. “ChatGPT for Accounting” is somewhat dated (April 2023) from a technology perspective, but it presents several beginner-level examples of uses for ChatGPT.

Practice Ignition

https://www.ignitionapp.com/

Future Firm (https://futurefirm.co/) provides information and services to CPA firm owners to help them manage their practices and improve their work/life balance. The web-site offers access to practice management articles (https://futurefirm.co/learn/) and industry-recognized podcasts (http://tinyurl.com/y2dfxjhj) created by owner Ryan Lazanis. Articles vary in length, and generally include links to further resources and screenshot illustrations. “Accounting Automation: The Definitive 2023 Guide” describes accounting automation, presents the benefits of automation, and provides an overview of how to automate. The article also covers 15 specific examples, including general ledger accounting software and tax planning.

Future Firm podcasts are short (approximately five minutes) and aim to provide one actionable item. “How to Raise Prices on Legacy Clients” covers several options, such as meeting with individual clients, identifying services they may need, and offering the client a choice of level of service. “The Key to Innovating Your Firm” addresses finding new ways to better serve clients and better run a firm as the big-picture approach to improve a CPA’s own quality of life.

Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA/CGMA, is the Louis J. and Ramona Rodriguez Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Tex. She is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.