Every day we hear from firms that their business is becoming more complex, with nearly all firms exploring new lines of business.
While diversifying is always a solid growth strategy, it can however create a very difficult IT landscape with an ever-growing Tech Stack where firms feel the need to introduce multiple, separate software products to manage each area of the business on a different solution. Having multiple systems means staff now have different solutions to learn with different interfaces and different criteria. This also introduces challenges to the IT staff in the cost of building and maintaining integrations between so many different solutions. By managing so many different systems, firms struggle with how to manage the data from a reporting structure as well. Bringing data from multiple sources make it difficult to consolidate and rely on the accuracy of the data for critical decision making.
However, there is a better way – a single unified practice management system.
As the industry accelerates to a digital future, firms are looking for a modern, unified practice management system. A system that can provide a single source of data across all areas of the firm. A unified practice management system provides many critical capabilities, serving as the central system for all prospect, customer, engagement, scheduling, time, and financial data. While at the same time providing standardized workflows that are specific to each functional area with all data residing in one place. A unified system allows for all staff to use the same system and workflows, leveraging data for accurate, real-time insights and granular reporting. Having a solution that resides in the cloud with an open architecture that will allow for firm level personalization in process and workflows can allow leadership to make faster and more accurate decisions.
What are some benefits to consider when evaluating how to utilize a unified practice management system as the foundation of your firm?
- Single source of the truth
A unified practice management systems leverages a single data source for the entire firm. Removing the need for additional disparate software allows firms to shrink their tech stack and no longer have records across multiple databases using differing technology. By eliminating all the disparate systems, firms also remove all data integrity issues. Firms grow, either organically or through mergers/acquisitions, a unified system allows for the same data across multiple offices and enables partners and managers to load balance work over multiple offices or hybrid employees. With a unified system and the removal of disparate systems firms are left with a single source of data to manage nearly all activities within the firm.
- Manage all functional groups from one solution
Using a unified practice management system provides a solid foundation to build on. By not relying on multiple separate systems partners/managers can now focus on growth and productivity rather than reporting. With a unified practice management system in place, staff are enabled to be more productive as workflows are active and easy to follow. Leadership can identify opportunities more quickly using real-time data. And the firm can overall be more efficient as multiple staff are not required to collaborate to generate reporting and firm-level statistics. These time and efforts can be redirected to areas that are revenue and customer centric
- Get everyone on the same page As firms continue to evolve, we are seeing a more collaborative effort within engagements. The engagement within Audit, Tax and Financial Services has always been a team-based effort. However, with the ever-changing workspace the collaboration of the team has become more difficult. Not all are in the same location or time zone. Today, firms are using numerous methods to track business development and engagement letters. They are using a separate and different data source for workflow and yet another for time and billing. Much of this is manually completed and many times must be keyed in multiple times. By getting the firm and all employees on a unified practice management system all of the most critical steps are now part of the workflow process, all billing and time entry are integrated, all client information and invoicing are up to date with one another since they have a single source of the truth. One database holds everything together and creates accountability within a unified practice management system.
- Stay current with your reporting
Most importantly for partners/managers is how well their teams, individuals and the firm are performing overall. Having all the data in a single database allows for granular reporting that is real time. Dashboards provide visual detail to the individual of how they are performing against budgets, they allow managers to see how teams are progressing and partners/leadership to pull real time data on firm performance against pre-set metrics. By having a unified practice management system that in single database, the firm can not only have access to but trust the data that they are receiving. This allows for greater timely insight and decision making at a firm level.
As your firm considers how to become more efficient and productive, consider the value of a unified software that allows you to manage the firms’ entire operations, staff, procedures and reporting within a single solution. A unified practice management system will allow you to better service clients by having a built in CRM, and all client specific data attached. In addition, the ability to bring workflows, time/billing, invoicing, scheduling, reporting, project management and work in progress without the need for additional software solutions. The future of firm management will be shaped and driven by technology. A unified practice management system will allow your firm to grow and work smarter, faster, and more efficiently together.