CRM for accountants: Why traditional CRMs fail to meet the needs of accounting firms

A group of business people walk together and look at paper reports

Today’s accounting clients seek a wide breadth of nonlinear, on-demand services. Unfortunately, traditional CRMs focus on linear, transactional buyer’s journeys rather than multidirectional, interdepartmental relationships. The horizontal, business-to-consumer nature of generic CRM software often distracts and frustrates accounting teams, and fails to meet their unique, industry-specific needs.

Rather than trying to bridge the gaps that traditional CRMs and “one-size-fits-all” management solutions present, your firm needs a specialized, purpose-built CRM for accountants that offers industry-focused features. Learn how investing in a specialized CRM for accountants can exceed your firm’s needs and your clients’ expectations.

Traditional CRMs don’t support your multidirectional relationships

Before investing in a CRM, it’s critical to evaluate whether the software addresses the ways you and your colleagues interact with clients. According to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) Digital Transformation Reimagined report: “Successful [digital] transformation includes understanding the human impact, such as how we develop and maintain relationships, socialize, and collaborate, as well as addressing the ongoing need for learning and flexibility.”

In a typical partner-led and relationship-based accounting firm, clients don’t build relationships with sales personnel, as many CRM platforms assume. Instead, your partners, tax professionals, and tax consultants foster long-lasting relationships with their clients. In turn, your clients spend a lot of time interacting with major points of contact at your firm, and, consequentially, referrals drive a significant portion of new business.

Rather than considering your client relationships holistically, generic CRM solutions are designed to simply move clients down the sales pipeline through a one-directional buyer’s journey that begins with a sales enablement team and continues through various sales touch points; this sales-centric workflow fails to address the close interactions between your accounting clients and your firm’s professionals.

By offering a purpose-built CRM for accountants, Intapp gives your accounting firm the automation and workflow tools you need to grow existing client relationships. Intapp CRM gives your professionals a deeper understanding of clients’ needs. Partners can use this knowledge to identify gaps, display expertise, pitch new services, and manage follow-ups.

Recognizing the importance of client retention, Intapp CRM also maps client and firm connections, and sends your professionals automated notifications regarding clients in jeopardy. Relationship intelligence and mapping help you build your firm’s loyal client base, boosting resells and referrals.

Your accounting firm’s needs vary based on your service lines

Your firm needs CRM software with configuration and personalization to accommodate complex relationships, engagements, and a variety of client services, including standard bookkeeping and financial reporting, cash flow management, advisory and consultancy services, and taxes. Even a small-business client may require multiple services, from cash flow forecasting to tax preparation.

As client demands and expectations increase, your firm must offer expanded services to remain competitive. Most modern firms provide advisory services, in addition to their core accounting products. Accounting services are diversifying across the board, and a growing percentage of firms now acknowledge that they can no longer restrict themselves to traditional tax and compliance services.

Generic CRM software doesn’t provide built-in business models to streamline or support your firm’s service lines. Instead, most deploy generic applications, integrations, or plug-ins for each individualized service, which ultimately silos your firm data and complicates business processes and project management. Your partners and staff are left to juggle multiple applications for a single client, and can’t provide in-depth, consolidated analysis.

Alternatively, a dedicated CRM for accountants ensures that all of your firm’s client data remains readily available and consolidated — not siloed in disconnected systems — no matter how many service lines your firm maintains. Your partners and staff can easily communicate and collaborate across multiple departments in real time — even if they’re working remote — within workspaces tailored to each service line and engagement.

Inboxes quickly become unmanageable

Thankfully, the OnePlace Marketing & Business Development Microsoft Outlook add-in lets you sync and access all this information without ever having to exit Microsoft Outlook. It even analyzes the information and surfaces relevant data such as relationship scores in within OnePlace Marketing & Business Development.

“Clients can leverage our technology to quickly determine who to talk to, why they should be talking to them, and how to best leverage people at the firm to build relationships,” explained Adam Goodman, a Practice Group Leader for Accounting and Consulting at DealCloud, an Intapp Company. “By making these insights readily available, firms can make better-informed decisions around outreach, and can build and maintain stronger relationships than before.”

Firms can also leverage Intapp’s pre-formatted report templates and tear sheets, which you can easily tailor for contacts, companies, or deals. You can generate Intapp’s push-button tear sheets from the web platform, mobile app, or within Microsoft Word with just a single click, and you can also pre-schedule your reports to reduce administrative burden.

Intapp offers the best CRM for accountants at your firm

Your accounting firm needs to meet the evolving needs of its clients and scale your services to adapt to a changing market — and generic CRMs simply don’t provide the functionality, tools, or analysis capabilities to achieve this end. You need a dedicated CRM for accountants that lets your team scale and remain agile while balancing lead management and the customer experience.

With Intapp software, your accountants gain a completely configurable suite built for their needs — regardless of their unique client demands, departments, or hierarchy — and benefit from complete coverage for client and pipeline management.

Even if you dedicate resources to customize a generic CRM to support your service lines today, it may not support the capabilities you’ll add to support growing client requirements. You need a dedicated CRM backed by accounting expertise — one that can grow with your firm and the accounting industry at large. Throughout our 20-year history, Intapp has built capabilities and integrated components that meet the needs of firms just like yours.

Schedule a demo to learn more about Intapp and how Intapp CRM for accountants can help meet your firm’s needs.