Technology is transforming businesses everywhere. For any one task or set of tasks, there are easily a dozen different software applications that can get the job done. Often, accounting firms adopt multiple tools, believing they can better service clients already using them in their existing back office functions. But in the end, you amass a high cost, high maintenance, redundant set of systems that are a nightmare to manage on an ongoing basis.
Alternatively, accounting firms lock down on legacy systems that they have “used for years” and that their staff are comfortable using. Not a bad strategy if you’ve adopted best-in-breed solutions that are widely used and are continuously evolving such that they are “future-proof.” But let’s face it - that’s probably not the case with anything desktop, because desktop is DONE. The problem that many firm owners face is that they are so busy servicing clients that changing systems seems daunting. Furthermore, you may not consider yourself “tech-savvy” which makes things even scarier.
At Enkel, we’ve worked with a variety of software solutions to service our customers in the areas of bookkeeping, payroll, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. We’ve done a rigorous evaluation of many relevant tools on the market over the past year and have selected a very narrow tool stack for a reason: we believe that these tools are the best in class. By reducing the number of applications we work with, it’s enabled us to better scale the business, and deliver a higher quality of service. Our team has fewer tools to work with, but a deeper knowledge of each of them.
In this blog post, we’d like to share the tech stack we’ve adopted at Enkel with other accounting firms.
1. Quickbooks Online
Considered to be the industry standard for small business accounting software, Intuit’s QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a great choice for a variety of businesses, especially those that regularly work with bookkeepers or accountants. QBO is a cloud based financial management software designed to slash the time spent managing business finances.
- In our experience, QBO has the most reliable bank feeds we’ve seen in Canada.
- It has robust reporting tools and report customization options.
- There’s greater granularity with user roles and access rights, making it easier for organizations to properly involve their team members at the right levels.
- It integrates with more than 750 apps and has the greatest number of banking integrations.
- We see an easier app sync with nightly automatic downloads.
- You can automatically send invoices and statements.
- Bank and credit card transactions download nightly.
- There’s an option to receive payments by credit card and ACH electronic payments.
Formerly known as Receipt Bank, Dext is cloud-based software that allows business owners, accountants and bookkeepers to electronically capture and store receipts, invoices and other documents that organizations depend on to ensure they maintain accurate and secure financial records. Dext eliminates the need for manual entry. Business owners simply upload receipts to Dext and the software takes it from there.
- The Dext Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is truly amazing. The time saved by minimizing data entry is significant.
- Dext integrates seamlessly with QBO.
- Clients are able to code expenses in Dext so that they don’t have to be actively using QBO, which minimizes the risk of human error.
- The coding rules are simple and allow you to minimize the work that the client needs to do. That said, if you don’t pre-enter these, Dext will eventually learn the Client’s coding patterns.
- Eliminating the back and forth of bags and boxes of receipts.
Karbon is a collaborative cloud-based (see a trend?) practice management platform for accounting firms. It enables seamless communication and workflows between your internal teams and clients ensuring that everyone knows who is doing what, when, why, and how. Karbon checklists are one of the “features” that our clients love the most!
- Karbon is by far the best project/practice management tool on the market and was built specifically for accounting firms.
- It enables you to keep teams accountable for their work with customizable dashboards so you can easily identify challenges with delivery timelines.
- Karbon has integrated time tracking so that we can more clearly understand where capacity challenges are. This has been a huge win for us, providing the insights we need to make better people and process decisions and investments.
- The Triage functionality is the best! This is your main inbox for emails, notifications, work items and notes, where you can reply, forward and comment as well as assign emails to yourself or a team member.
- We’ve worked with Karbon for about 5 years but doubled down on it two years ago. It’s been a long journey, but we are seeing great results with it. It is a very robust system and like Salesforce and other enterprise applications, you need someone internally who “owns” it.
Karbon just announced that they are introducing AI into their platform.
A recent winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies with the Platinum Club designation, Payworks is - you got it - a cloud-based Payroll Services solution that also offers other modules including HR, Time Management, Absence Management, Applicant Tracking, HR Advisory Services, Workforce Analytics and Employee Self Service.
- Payworks offers great service. Their solutions are dependable and they are always available when we have questions.
- They have the capabilities of the likes of ADP and Ceridian, but are way more nimble.
- Processing payroll is easy, fast, and super reliable.
- Their integrated absence management and time and attendance modules are a big win for clients.
- The system is totally scalable. You can run it for 2, 200, or 2,000 people. We’ve yet to see a client outgrow Payworks.
Plooto is the leader of end-to-end accounts payable and receivable software. Their system simplifies, streamlines and automates business payments. When you aren’t a big corporation, you are largely ignored by the banks. Plooto’s founders wanted to develop financial tools for small to medium-sized businesses to help them run smoothly and efficiently. They knocked it out of the park!
- Again, like many others on this list, Plooto offers amazing customer service.
- Plooto fully integrates with QBO, which significantly minimizes data entry.
- International payments are a no-brainer.
- Expenses go from Dext to QBO and then into Plooto without duplicating data entry (and in many cases, the data entry is done by Dext through OCR!)
- The system is super simple to use and it’s easy to set up automated approval chains and processes for clients.
In 2016, Enkel was launched with a simple premise: You can’t build a great business without good books. Since we opened our doors, we’ve been on a mission to continuously improve and optimize our technology and processes so that we can consistently provide our clients with just that. Today, we believe that we’ve landed on a world-class suite of solutions that are great for both our business and our clients.
Telling a client that they need to move to a new system can be a big point of friction, but if you can instill the confidence in them that you will do it “for” them and that it will be seamless, then everyone wins in the end.
While there can be costs and challenges associated with migrating to new tools, once you have things up and running and working well, you’ll be happy you took the time and made the investment. Quality and tool consistency are closely linked - if you want to deliver high-quality work to clients, your team needs to be comfortable with, and well versed in your technology stack. Fewer tools, deeper knowledge, and repeatable processes are the key to success!
How We Select and Evaluate Our Recommended Software
We thoroughly research and test the apps we include in our regular workflow for Client bookkeeping services. After deciding on criteria for evaluating the software and then researching the app itself, we tested the app, noting its strengths and weaknesses. We then work with the app for at least a few weeks before deciding whether to recommend it to our readers. We use the software as it was designed for its intended tasks. For a detailed walk-through of how we select and evaluate software, please see the details of our process.