What I Implemented at the Peak of Tax Season
Published in My Office Today – June 2009
Exclusive Interview: Toni Springer talks about Practice Managment
What the Right Practice Management Suite Can Do for You
Practice Management Suites come in many flavors but how do you find the right one for you? My Office Today interviewed Toni Springer, owner of Toni B. Springer, CPA, with an office of six employees in Altamonte, FL. Toni looks to Office Tools Professional to help her run the business efficiently
MOT: How has Practice Management software changed your business?
Toni: Office Tools Professional (OTP) has allowed me to streamline procedures due to all my information being in one place. This allows my staff to find information like where a document is, who had it last and what the outcome was, quickly and efficiently.
As a business owner, I have found that Office Tools Professional provides me with the ability to track my costs, time and client status. I used to have to go from employee to employee to follow a project from start to finish, which cost my firm valuable time and money. With OTP each client status is available to me in seconds, saving time for both my staff and myself.
MOT: Why did you switch to Office Tools Professional?
Toni: I was looking for a solution geared toward an accounting firm in order to track our work. I was very excited to find OTP, an economical solution that interfaced with two big products that we use, Outlook and QuickBooks. In the past, I tried other programs and found that unlike OTP, they did not have a good project management system. Other project management systems had checklist after checklist and still required that I run around and check with staff for a status update. Now, everything is in one place and easy to find.
MOT: What features do you use the most and why?
Toni: When we started using Office Tools Professional it was at the peak of tax season so we decided to introduce each feature individually. In February we started implementing the contacts and calls feature(s), in March we started on time sheets, by April we had moved onto projects and by June we were working with the billing feature. We are now looking to utilize the Document Management feature in November. If not for Tax Season, I feel we could have been up and running the majority of the features in no time.
Projects: This feature is what initially drew us to Office Tools Professional. With all the different practice management programs on the market, I found others to be lacking when it came to project tracking and management. Once implemented we found the project function in Office Tools to be highly valuable.
Billing: Currently we use the billing feature to it’s fullest. While there is still some tweaking to be done, we find the time, billing and QuickBooks sync to be valuable functions within the program. I have found the billing to be more precise than software I have used in the past. It is much easier to see where you are at, even if it has not been billed yet.
Contacts: I love the fact that you can customize certain fields. For example, I use this option to keep track of what version of QuickBooks my clients use. This dramatically cuts the time I spend gathering information in order to prepare a document or correspondence.
Scheduling: Before OTP I was using a separate application for scheduling, and it did not provide the ability to look at my schedule as well as my staffs’ all from one screen. I no longer have to go to each staff member and check their schedule, and on the flip side my employees always know what my day looks like, which reduces interruptions and miscommunications.
Calls: Having the call tracking option available to me is HUGE! With all the documentation requirements I must comply with, it can get very laborious; but with Office Tools Professional I can take a call, start a timer for billing and take detailed notes within the call. This allows me to look back and find exactly what happened on what date and how much I should bill for it. Not only can I do all this, but I can automatically pull the time into the billing function for invoicing.
MOT: How has Office Tools Professional improved your relationship with your customers?
Toni: Incredibly! When customers call the office, any one of my staff can address the question being asked immediately, without having to track down the information. This not only saves time for staff, it also saves time for the client. They no longer have to be put on hold or wait for a call back. If we are missing a piece of information we have a variety of ways to determine what it is and what the client needs to do to get it to us.
MOT: How has Office Tools Professional improved your relationship with your staff?
Toni: My staff wanted a solution like Office Tools Professional for a long time. Not only has it made work easier for individuals, it has made working as a team more productive. OTP has helped shorten our staff meetings, by allowing everyone to be on the same page and ready to address issues in a clear, concise manner. We can now work effectively as an office by knowing what everyone is doing and why. Office Tools Professional has revolutionized processes for my whole firm, from intake to the completion of the process.
MOT: Has Office Tools Professional affected your bottom line? If so, how?
Toni: My bottom line has been affected in a very positive way. I have been able to cut hours spent on admin duties because I no longer need one designated person to answer phones and track down information. Anyone in our office can answer the phone and assist clients with every aspect of their account. Office Tools Professional has also cut the time staff spends on projects and tasks, therefore cutting what I pay in time and overtime. OTP has also increased what I am able to bill out, due to the ability to track time spent on phone calls (using timers) and meetings. Having everyone’s activity list available to me gives me insight on the productivity of the office.
Office Tools Pro pricing starts at $550 for a single license and $225 for each additional user. 888.667.8440