Over the last decade, dynamic changes have been observed in the way a Chartered Accountant(CA) carries on his practice. Digital wave has become stronger than ever. Firms that take initiative to move day to day routine office management to systematic system-based practice management solution will set themselves up for success in future. It is time to take office management to the next level.
As per a survey conducted by Western India Regional Council(WIRC) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India(ICAI) in 2019, in India less than 2% CA’s in practice use practice management software. The survey points out a direct correlation between using CA Office management solution and improved efficiency.
This is part 2 of the 2-part series article. In part 1 we discussed the need & benefits of office management software. In this concluding part, we cover the important factors to consider while choosing a practice management software.
While every office management software claim to be the most comprehensive and user-friendly, it is up to CA’s to decide what are the main requirements of their office and what will work best given their typical office scenario.
Important considerations for selecting a vendor
Considering the Indian scenario, we are yet to overcome the myths surrounding security aspect. But ultimately security on-premise is only as reliable as the security policies put in place and enforced. Online office management software providers understand fully that thousands of customers entrust their data security to them. Consequently, they are required to meet the highest security standards in the industry. With Personal Data Protection bill 2019it is imperative for any IT company to follow best practices for privacy and confidentiality.
Industry best practices
While any IT company can create a task management software for CA, the requirements of a CA firm are different considering the never ending due dates and high employee turnover ratio.So a generalised task management tool will not suffice. It is expertise of CA Firm involved in development of tool which enhances ease of use for CA. The software should help you in implementing the industry best practices for improved efficiency.
Availability across all platforms
It is important that the software you choose should be available across all platforms namely android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows and browser so that there is no constrain as to the device you or your team members prefer using. This can go a long way in encouraging team members to use the software. Team can access software on their mobile (Android or iPhone) while travelling on the way to office to check what all tasks have a target date of today. So, by the time he/she reaches office the mind already has a map of things to be done. Thus, improving team efficiency which is the need of the hour.
Updates are a regular affair for CA’s in this new era of digitisation. Software should also be one which has regular updates. It should not be a stagnant one but the software should also evolve with evolving practice. Vendor who has the capability to bring regular update should be sought after. Vendor who can understand your business requirements better and shares the same thought process with you should be given preference.
After sales service
One of the important considerations in finalising a vendor has to be his standing. The vendor should be able to provide full support that a CA firm will require for onboarding and training to your team. This is not just a system change but a business change. Brief background check of the vendor and his approach in providing client satisfaction is worth checking because it will definitely help in the long run.
Cost is one of the primary concerns while implementing any solution. This is particularly true in the case of Indian scenario. A product which meets your requirements as well as is economical should be your go to option, since this is not a one-time expense but a recurring one. Office management tools are usually provided as a Software as a Service (SaaS) model and calls for renewal annually.
Allowing clients to login further enhances your practice because your clients can themselves check the scenario of their tasks, due dates as well as required documents can be downloaded by the client through the software itself. This might seem like a negligible factor but a lot a CA firms waste considerable amount of time in just providing the documents/ copies of their returns to the clients time and again.
Employee turnover is a very common problem in CA firms. Software should be such that it would have a flat learning curve so that even the least tech-savvy person in the office can get their hands on it easily.Many times even after purchasing, firms do not use the software because of its complexity or because the software does not have the desired speed.
An automated permission management system helps to have a fine grain control over all the data saved in the software. This also ensures that individual team member sees only his/her respective tasks, clients or reports. Usually an office management tool also gives an option of viewing the same reports at team level i.e. the team leaders, managers or partners can view the reports specific to their respective teams. This becomes very fruitful in offices where a team hierarchy is followed.
Implementing Practice Management Solution
After choosing the software, the key challenge is to implement it in office. This is the most crucial stage for successful use of software. Though the vendors take the responsibility of training each and every member, there may be some members who would be reluctant to adopt a new technology or quite possible the organisation may not be willing to adopt it in its entirety due to time constraints or a number of other factors. It is important to constantly motivate the users to update their work entry, tasks etc on a timely basis and also the firm should be mentally prepared to dedicate time to this biggest ever business change they are signing up for. Once implemented fully, productivity in a firm can go in only one direction – high up!!
Jamku is the most promising software which covers all the features and is extensively used pan India. Even Tax Consultants, Company Secretaries (CS) and advocates have implemented this software to improve efficiency in their firm. The icing on the cake is that the software has been developed by a team of CA’s along with Engineers unlike any other software in India. They work hand in hand to deliver the best to the members of the fraternity they belong to.
About Jamku Office Management
Jamku is an online office management software, primarily designed keeping in mind the needs of Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Tax Consultants. Since 2013, Jamku has revolutionized the practice of many CA's across India and helped organize and scale-up. Being a software for CA, it has all the features you need to manage like compliance, tasks clients, passwords, digital signature and many more.