Excel and spreadsheets have been the most preferred tools for Accountants since they are easy to get started with no costs involved while most of the job can be done using them. However, as small Accounting firms grow in size, maintaining and managing Excel can become frustrating, error-prone, and non-productive.
While Excel and spreadsheets have had their fair share of usage in the Accounting industry, Excel makes it difficult to present and manage an in-depth financial history for clients including information like old invoices, orders, etc. Now it is not unheard of how technology is influencing every sector, the Accounting industry hasn’t been left out of these advances. Many small and large-sized firms are switching over to CRM software over the traditional spreadsheets
Let’s get into a detailed analysis of how using spreadsheets is affecting Accounting firms and why CRM is the solution to this problem:
Advantages of a CRM over spreadsheets:
Need for better collaboration between teams and clients
Accounting firms that handle clients data need a single shared source of all contacts including sharing data within the team as well as with clients. While Excel can be shared, it can lead to unnecessary complications since it isn’t a single shared source and anyone can view and edit the data. However, with a CRM, multiple users can access specific data at the same time and any changes made to the data by one user can be traced and are instantly reflected to others. This allows each member to be up-to-date with the latest data.
Intelligent accounting systems like CRMs have already automated 50% of the Accounting tasks like quoting and invoicing, lead management, etc. However, using Excel that largely depends on manual data entry is both time consuming as well as resource exhausting which ultimately affects productivity. With large amounts of data to be handled, Excel management becomes tiresome and using a CRM over the traditional spreadsheet can eliminate the extra effort.
As discussed above, working on excel requires manual data entry, which makes the process more prone to human error and testing them for quality assurance again requires extra effort and still there’s no guarantee. According to research by Dartmouth College, 94% of excel sheets contain errors. However, with a CRM, the entry can be automated, thus minimizing errors and increasing accuracy with less effort.
Excel which is a Microsoft Office product has its own limitations when it comes to integrations with other Accounting software like Freshbooks, ZohoBooks, Hubspot, etc. This makes it difficult to transfer information between software. And the only options left are copy-pasting or re-creating information, etc. However, CRMs like Nomisma are designed to integrate seamlessly with business applications including Accounting apps which makes it pretty easy to transfer data without any data discrepancies. CRM software can easily integrate with Calendar tools, Invoicing software, as well as other commonly used business applications that make managing processes timely and well-organized for Accountants.
Data and information are like the oil that drives businesses in the 21st century making it of the utmost importance. And for Accountants and Accounting firms, financial data is something that can make or break them. When using an Excel, accessing and editing data without being traced makes data breach and irregularities a major threat. However, CRM can eliminate such threats by offering multi-layer cloud encryption. Accounting firms can easily maintain client’s data in secure cloud servers. Moreover, you can set permission on the data as to what they can edit or change.
Adapting to the changing industry:
The Accounting industry has been one of the industries that has succeeded by adapting to technological advancements. Those that haven’t adapted have been overtaken by the larger whales in the ocean. Between 2017 and 2019, nearly 490 small firms perished either by complete takeovers or due to the difficulty to adapt to the changing industry.
Using Excel in the age of CRM significantly hampers the firm’s productivity alongside exhausting resources and time on unnecessary manual tasks. But using a CRM can bring in positive results for accounting firms as evolution is the need of the hour.
As an accounting firm grows, so does its information and data handling that can cause information overload for users. With Excel, extracting previous data to manually create insightful reports from the vast database becomes very complex. Depending only on Excel in such scenarios can cause reporting complexities. CRM can help in overcoming such challenges by offering on-demand reports by using various integrated templates for the concerned use cases.
CRM can ease reporting by making it simpler and faster with zero error. CRM can be used as a data warehouse as well as a reporting tool.
Nowadays, some CRMs like Nomisma also offer services like onboarding that can help new Accountants to get started and understand the requirements of each process. Such CRMs can help Accountants with creating a workflow for each step of the process and help them better understand the end to end process. Also, using a seamless CRM like Nomisma, can help Accountants in maintaining a full lifecycle and history of the client which makes it easy to access old data efficiently.
Excel and traditional spreadsheets have a lot of limitations and do more harm than good for Accounting firms. They drain out resources out of them, both man and money. Switching over to CRM is a possible solution to this problem that can help them out of this struggle. The various advantages of CRM over traditional spreadsheets will ultimately help your bottom line.