This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Accounting practice management software manages the front- and back-office operations for firms providing accounting services. The best software should allow you to easily send invoices to customers, track time worked by employees, assign work and monitor the progress of projects, and create personalized workflows to improve collaboration. When choosing the best practice management software, we also looked at factors like pricing, customer service, and mobile apps.
Here are our top six picks:
- OfficeTools WorkSpace: Best overall accounting practice management software
- Jetpack Workflow: Best practice management software for small accounting firms
- QuickBooks Online Accountant: Best free practice management software for accounting firms with clients using QuickBooks Online
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best practice management software for accounting firms with clients using QuickBooks Desktop
- Xero Practice Manager: Best accounting practice management software for firms with clients using Xero
- TaxWorkFlow: Best practice management software for tax firms
Comparison of Best Accounting Practice Management Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Dedicated Mobile App
One user per subscription
Starts at $45 per month
One user per subscription
Starts at $499 per year
Accountant Desktop: 5
Enterprise Accountant: 40
$149 per month until Silver status
$1,500 per year
Which Accounting Practice Management Software is Right for You?
Answer a few simple questions to receive a customized suggestion for the best accounting practice management software in 2022.
OfficeTools WorkSpace: Best Overall Accounting Practice Management Software
OfficeTools WorkSpace provides easy-to-use, comprehensive practice management software for certified public accountants (CPAs) and accounting, legal, and tax professionals. Its features include contact management, time and billing, scheduling, due date reporting, project tracking, and document management. OfficeTools helps consolidate databases, track all necessary data, and streamline workflows.
These features help put an end to redundant data entry from separate programs and help complete tasks and track projects more effectively. Because of its robust set of features, we have selected OfficeTools WorkSpace as the best overall accounting practice management software.
- Time and Billing: The WorkSpace portal allows you to track time, create a digital invoice to bill for your services, and accept payments online. OfficeTools Workspace integrates with Abacus Payment Exchange (APX), which allows you to process credit card payments and ACH transactions securely from within the system.
- Project Tracking: Create new projects, assign them to your team members, and view the status, as well as hours incurred to date.
- Document Management: This feature enables your clients to view, accept, sign, and automatically add their documents to their files.
One of the major bonuses of OfficeTools WorkSpace is the document management feature, which allows users to manage all documents easily from a single location and provides the ability to share documents with clients easily via the client portal. Because of its robust feature set and integration with such programs as QuickBooks, Lacerte, and Office 365, we consider it the best overall accounting practice software. It is a good choice for accounting firms that are looking for one comprehensive solution for all of their needs.
Jetpack Workflow: Best Practice Management Software for Small Accounting Firms
Jetpack Workflow offers a great mix of features combined with a fair price to give your small accounting firm maximum value for your investment. It offers a range of easily accessible features that allow you to assign tasks to team members, set up recurring jobs across clients, and set up personalized workflows quickly for the onboarding of new clients.
- Job Management: Create a new job, assign it to a client and your team members, and track until it’s completed successfully.
- Repeat Scheduling: Set up tasks to occur on a recurring basis, so you won’t have to create separate jobs for projects with the same schedules.
- Team Collaboration: Jetpack Workflow provides a single platform where you can track each employee’s performance in real-time. It sends users email digests, with details of which tasks are due or overdue and which have been completed.
Jetpack Workflow is an ideal solution for small accounting firms that communicate frequently with clients and who are looking for strong project management features at an affordable price. It helps firms become more productive and profitable by providing a transparent 360-degree view of everything that is going on in the firm. Because this application is geared toward managing your team as well as working for recurring clients, it allows you to automate recurring processes by creating templates and tracking the projects your team is working on to ensure that clients don’t fall through the cracks.
QuickBooks Online Accountant: Best for Accounting Firms With Clients Using QuickBooks Online
We have ranked QuickBooks Online consistently as the best small business accounting software. QuickBooks Online Accountant is required to access the books of QuickBooks Online Clients, but it also provides free access to QuickBooks Online Advanced which you can use to manage your firm’s books. Because the program comes with access to the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program, you’ll be able to support your clients no matter which QuickBooks Online product they are using, whether they’re a midmarket client on QuickBooks Advanced or a small service company on QuickBooks Simple Start.
- Accountant Toolbox: QuickBooks Online Account has specialized accountant-only tools that let you reclassify transactions, close books, write off invoices, and review and adjust your client’s books for tax filing.
- Access to the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program: The QuickBooks ProAdvisor program offers benefits that get better as your practice grows. You’ll earn rewards such as free training and software discounts for QuickBooks products.
- Access to QuickBooks Online Advanced: When you sign up for QuickBooks Online Accountant, you gain access to QuickBooks Online Advanced to use for your firm.
QuickBooks Online Accountant is must-have software for accounting firms that manage QuickBooks Online clients. When a client invites you to share their books, the only way for you to access the books is through QuickBooks Online Accountant. You can also access tax returns prepared in Intuit ProConnect Tax directly from the client information in QuickBooks Online Accountant.
However, the program is more than just a portal to your client’s information. It includes a free subscription to QuickBooks Advanced to use for your firm, free access to the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program, free training and other educational materials, and a listing on the QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor website.
The software is also ideal for firms that require remote access to files, as users of QuickBooks Accountant benefit from real-time access―no matter where they are. It also has automation that is supported by artificial intelligence (AI), which will help you improve your business by providing key trends based on client data, performance indicators, and financial ratios.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best Practice Management Software for QuickBooks Desktop Clients
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is a special program that was developed with accounting specialists and their needs in mind. It allows you to complete and manage accounting tasks for multiple companies in one place, with the ability to create invoices, process payroll, and manage projects.
You can import your clients’ QuickBooks Desktop books to find and fix entry errors, among other things. It also allows you to customize each user’s access to the software’s features. This is especially useful if you have employees that are assisting with data entry, for example, but you may not want them to view or make changes to important financial data.
- Bill Payment: A new feature in 2022, QuickBooks Desktop Accountant now lets you pay your bills within QuickBooks through Melio. You can schedule a specific day to process the payment and choose from various payment options, such as bank transfer and debit or credit card.
- Accountant Toolbox: Just like QuickBooks Online Accountant, QuickBooks Desktop Accountant has specialized tools for accountants that help them review and adjust their client’s books, write-off invoices, and batch-enter transactions.
- Mobile App: Though very limited, the mobile app can be used for tracking expenses by taking a picture of your expense receipt and creating a digital transaction out of it. Another new feature of the mobile app is the ability to record bills.
Our Expert Opinion
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is the only way for accounting firms that work with QuickBooks Desktop clients to import their accounting information, make adjustments, and return the information to the client without ever disrupting the client’s current-year bookkeeping. QuickBooks Accountant Desktop is equivalent to the general-business edition of Premier but can also toggle to Pro and any of the five industry-specific editions of Premier. Because the software also comes with access to QuickBooks Desktop training and certifications, you can complete the QuickBooks Desktop certification to maximize your productivity and demonstrate your expertise.
Xero Practice Manager: Best Practice Management Software for Accounting Firms With Clients Using Xero
Xero Practice Manager helps streamline the management of client jobs, practice workflows, timesheets, and invoicing. The software lets you assign work to staff, track and invoice time, integrate with Xero for invoicing and payments, and create customized reports. It is based on the cloud infrastructure, which allows you to access accounting data from anywhere in the world.
- Access to the Xero Partner Program: The Xero Partner Program is similar to the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program, where members get benefits that increase with every upgrade in status. When you reach the Silver, Gold, or Platinum status, you can use Xero Practice Manager for free.
- Invoicing: If you need to send invoices and collect payments for your customers, Xero Practice Manager lets you do just that. You can automatically attach tasks to invoices by creating task descriptions and viewing the dollar value of all work in progress.
- Mobile App: The Xero Practice Manager app, which is available on Google Play and App Store, lets you manage your practice’s workflow, time tracking, and job costing on the go.
If you have clients using Xero and need a strong billing system, this software may be worth a look. The software was also designed to oversee tax return preparation and annual accounting services with a good due-date system. Xero Practice manager also generates performance metrics that can provide useful insight into your firm’s profitability.
TaxWorkFlow: Best Practice Management Software for Tax Firms
TaxWorkFlow is the best practice management software for tax firms that provide ongoing services such as annual tax returns, monthly bank statement reconciliation, and compilations of financial statements.
- Workflow Management: You can set up firm-specific tasks and assign them to members such as accountants and tax preparers. You can organize all tasks assigned to individual staff, track missing tax return information for each client, and optimize the way your team works.
- Client Portal: The client portal provides a secure place for your clients to access, sign, and upload their documents.
- Document Management: Organize all your documents in the cloud according to customer, category, and other relevant elements. You can drag and drop them or attach files to TaxWorkFlow from your local file system for easy file sharing.
TaxWorkFlow is an ideal solution for tax firms who are looking for features beyond the standard offerings of accounting practice management software, such as the ability to set up email marketing campaigns. It also has a flexible reporting tool that allows you to create a variety of reports from scratch and save them as templates. Also, because of its strong time and project tracking tools, you can analyze profitability across both employees and clients.
How We Evaluated Accounting Practice Management Software
We took several factors into consideration during our evaluation of accounting practice management software:
- Cost: For many accounting firms, cost is the most important factor when determining which accounting practice management software is the best option. We evaluated software that ranged in price from free to $1,500 per year.
- Client portal: Many accounting practice management software programs offer a client portal where they can log in with a secure ID and password. It can be used to send announcements, send and receive important documents, and give clients access to their invoices.
- CRM tools: Organizing all of your client information and storing it in one place allows your team to easily access everything they need to get their work done on time.
- Time and billing: Whether your firm bills on retainer or by the hour, it’s important to have the tools in place to gather data and send out invoices for timely processing. A billing process that runs smoothly from beginning to end can assist you with navigating collections efforts or challenges with onboarding new clients. For firms with multiple accountants, tracking realization by job and accountant is very important.
- Reporting: The number and types of reports available are crucial factors to consider when deciding which software is right for you. As you grow, you’ll need insights into your firm’s performance so you can identify inefficiencies that may be affecting firm profitability.
- Workflow management: Without proper task and project management tracking, your software is essentially useless. For example, the ability to attach due dates to projects is critical. We evaluated how easy it was to add work to the software, assign work, and track deadlines.
- Integration: If you’re looking to automate workflows in your firm, you’ll likely have to rely on third-party apps that can integrate within your accounting practice management software. The more integrations available, the more flexibility you’ll have.
- Collaboration: Once the work has been added to the software, we evaluate how easy it is to collaborate with your team and clients. We also looked at what functionality exists to help make it as efficient as possible.
If you’re just getting started and need help starting your own bookkeeping business, you might want to check out our article on how to get started.
The best accounting practice management software for you depends on your specific needs. We have provided six options, from the best overall to the best for QuickBooks and Xero users to the best choice for small accounting and tax firms. Once you consider your needs and the type of businesses that you cater to, you will be able to select the best fit for your business.