Are you in need of a CRM tool for your accounting firm? You have come to the right place! CRMs are vital for boosting and optimizing existing and potential relationships with clients. We break down the pricing, merits, demerits, and target market of the best CRM software in 2023. Let’s dive into the thoughts of your fellow accountants on these software.
Introduction to CRM for accounting
The fastest method of growing a business organization is to cultivate a substantial consumer base. While its size is important, the true value of this consumer base lies in the loyalty of each customer. Customers want to feel like they're valuable to your business and to be treated as your sole client.
As an accountancy firm, how do you earn the trust and loyalty of your customers? You need to communicate with them effectively and make sure they believe you have at the forefront of your mind at all times. After all, finances are a vital part of any organization. An effective CRM tool for accountants can help a great deal with this communication. Making sure you are reaching out at exactly the right time in either the sales process or your day-to-day communications with clients. Ultimately, customer relationship management tools are a business paradigm that helps business owners nurture lasting relationships with their clientele.
What Software is Used for CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a broad field that encompasses many different concepts. Primarily, it is a collection of practices, processes, and technologies designed to improve business relationships. This is especially beneficial to accountants because it doesn't just secure life-long clients; these clients would be eager to recommend your firm to potential customers.
CRM is often used to refer to the software employed in managing customer interactions. Each of these software tries to provide an all-in-one solution. Still, it often succeeds at only a handful of CRM operations. For instance, Active Campaign excels at task automation, while Pipedrive has the best sales pipeline.
Why do accounting firms need CRM software?
Accountants can't make a living filing their own tax reports or giving themselves financial advice. Their entire business depends on the cadre and number of clients they can service. As expected, this number can quickly grow to become unmanageable, emphasizing the need for a CRM tool to handle client engagement as your firm scales.
Accounting firms need CRM software for an integrated view of all clients, smooth communication, and workflow management. Additionally, they rely on these tools to automate repetitive tasks and track client appointments. Ultimately, accounting firms need CRM software to increase productivity and maximize profit.
What is the Most Popular CRM For Accountants?
Although we can’t tell you exactly which CRM most accountants use, according to G2, the most popular CRM software, in general, is Salesforce Cloud, with 15,297 reviews as of 14/08/2022. However, it has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, the lowest of any software on our list. While this rating does not indicate poor quality, it should tell you that the most popular option is not always the best. Consequently, it would be best for you to analyze all options on this list before choosing the one best suited to your accounting needs.
Quick Comparison of CRM software for accounting firms
|Active Campaign||$19||14 days||The best all-round CRM for accounting firms|
|Hubspot||Free||None||Fully featured and advanced functionality|
|Salesforce Cloud||$25||30 days||Best in class reporting & analytics||Salesflare||$29||14 days||Fully focused on sales teams with interesting AI features|
|Pipedrive||$9.90||14 days||Excellent for tracking individual sales agents' performance|
|Gist||Free||None||Excellent live chat automation features|
|Less Annoying CRM||$15||30 days||Simple and ease to use with a quick learning curve|
|Pipeline CRM||$25||14 Days||Extensive customization capabilities|
The Top 8 Best CRM Software For Accounting Firms Are:
1. Active Campaign
HQ: Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Key info|| Price: From $19 per user/mo
Free Trial: 14 days
Support: 24/7 (phone + email)
|Best for||Our best all-round CRM software for accounting firms|
|Pros||+ Fully featured CRM at an extremely low price vs competitors
+ Allows integration with a range of accounting and time-tracking software
+ Comes with built in marketing email templates and tools
|Cons||- Interface can be buggy
- Steep learning curve
|Integrations||Salesforce, Accounting Suite, Xero, Quickbooks, and 870+ more|
Active Campaign is a leading SaaS provider for small-to-medium-scale enterprises. It offers several solutions that address all your business-to-customer and business-to-business needs. Using an automated customer engagement pipeline, Active Campaign helps you forge deeper relationships with your clients.
Active Campaign offers a suite of advanced features missing in most other CRM software. It’s extremely fully featured! With minimal effort, you can create highly detailed email campaigns for any client on your contact list. Active Campaign further simplifies this process with customizable templates.
This CRM is perfect for accountants looking to spend less time performing repetitive tasks and increase productivity. Its smart automation system allows users to build complex pipelines and perform actions based on dynamic conditions.
What's more, the automation pipeline is tightly integrated with the other features Active Campaign offers. For example, you can create an automated campaign system that periodically sends emails to your clients. This case study on how UK accounting firm Plus Accounting reduced hours of admin using Active Campaign is well worth a read. It provides some great examples of what is possible in detail.
Another exciting feature of Active Campaign is the forms creator, which helps you to create embeddable web forms. You can add many in-built and custom fields and even insert a captcha test within the form. The form creator is simple and intuitive, requiring little training to use.
If you're tech-savvy, Active Campaign allows you to style your forms with HTML and CSS, giving you greater control over the layout.
According to G2, accountants love Active Campaign for its ease of use, automation features, and integrations with accounting software like Quickbooks, Xero, and Zoho Books. So much so that 76 percent of its 10,000+ reviews are five-star reviews. In summary, Active Campaign is an excellent CRM automation tool with an affordable price tag that scales nicely as your accountancy firm grows.
HQ: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
|Key info|| Price: From free
Free Trial: None
Support: Phone, email & chat
|Best for||Larger accounting teams that require a fully featured and reliable CRM|
|Pros||+ Incredible range of features
+ Excellent and abundant online video tutorials
+ Great range of accounting software integrations
|Cons||- Can get very expensive if you need every feature
- Workflow can get confusing
|Integrations||Xero, Chargebee, Quickbooks, Zoho Books|
Hubspot offers a collection of sales, marketing, and operations CRM tools within a single platform. Furthermore, it provides a free plan that rivals even the costliest subscription plans of other software. With this plan, you can create accounts with unlimited users, manage up to a million clients, and store large data amounts.
However, beware of choosing Hubspot over other tools simply for its tempting free plan. This is a common marketing tactic used by software companies to acquire customers. Companies give a basic version away for free, people start using it, then after getting set up they realize they need more features and costs start increasing. As they have already invested time and effort in getting set up, they are more likely to upgrade to a paid plan.
This is a common story for Hubspot users. Unlike Active Campaign, the product's features are sold in packages, to get the whole set of features you will be looking at a monthly cost of $3000+. However, make no mistake, you get an impressively full range of features for the ultimate bundle.
You can manage sales pipelines, send marketing emails, send emails and SMS messages directly within the app and even make phone calls. There is also a landing page builder, form builders with custom fields and the reporting and analytics is extensive. It’s a powerful 360 CRM no doubt, just beware of the high cost if you need all the bells and whistles.
UK CRM consultancy firm Intelligentia has implemented Hubspot’s solutions for many UK-based accounting firms and strongly believes in the software’s suitability for this use case. In their Hubspot for accountants article, they outline 8 reasons why they believe Hubspot is an excellent solution for any accountancy firm.
Another of Hubspot's defining features is the sales pipeline that provides real-time deal tracking and analysis. Using the visual dashboard on the pipeline, accountants can obtain detailed reports on productivity and team performance. The pipeline also grants users the ability to make forecasts based on sales trends. Moreover, customers credit the email tracking functionalities.
Email integration is another of Hubspot's strengths. By connecting their email accounts to this software, users can forward messages from specific clients into the built-in inbox. This feature includes a live chat service with customizable bots, web forms, and Facebook Messenger integration.
Remarkably, Hubspot allows you to have voice calls with employees and clients from within the app. It can record these calls and automatically generate text transcripts. You can also export call records in XLSX, XLS, and CSV formats.
It is interesting to note that these wonderful features are available in the free plan. Several more advanced functionalities can be unlocked by upgrading to higher tiers. This pricing model allows you to add components on a need basis, creating a custom user experience. Nonetheless, the steep learning curve may offset this experience.
3. Salesforce Cloud
HQ: San Francisco, California
|Key info|| Price: From $25 per user/mo
Free Trial: 14 days
Support: 24/7 (phone + email)
|Best for||Firms that need best in class reporting and a full feature set|
|Pros||+ Great range of features
+ Incredible reporting
+ Top level security
|Cons||- Has a dated look and feel
- Steep learning curve and very difficult to navigate for beginners
|Integrations||Xero, Quickbooks, Financialforce, Vertex, Freshbooks|
When it comes to the sheer amount of CRM tools available under a single platform, few CMS offer more than Salesforce. It aims to connect all your marketing, customer service, and client management tools under a single interface. Accordingly, Salesforce also provides the Customer 360 software bundle, which includes popular business apps like Slack, Tableau, and Mulesoft.
One of the better-known tools Salesforce Cloud provides is the Sales app. This app allows you to track your progress with potential customers or Leads. It organizes them in a central location, allowing for bulk edits, imports, and exports. In the same way, Salesforce manages your clients and business opportunities.
Another tool is the Service Console, which provides a streamlined customer support interface. This tool can respond to customers' feedback and communicate solutions to their problems. These feedbacks, called cases, have serial numbers for easy identification and fast queries. Also, the Service Console includes the source of each case, be it social media, email, or phone calls.
One prominent feature of Salesforce Cloud is the ability to create custom dashboards using a flexible and intuitive GUI. You can populate each dashboard with customizable reports and display the data using charts. These dashboards also provide insights tools that forecast all pending leads, sales, and opportunities. They also employ artificial intelligence to provide actionable insights that influence business decisions.
Customer opinions are highly polarized when it comes to customer support services. Some praise customer support for their help in fixing common problems. On the other hand, most customers dislike the support team, describing them as spammers. These customers complain about the overwhelming amount of follow-up emails from Salesforce.
All in all, Salesforce is a tried and tested CRM tool with more than 20 years of experience. The ability to organize all information in a central location and integrate external accounting apps and email services make Salesforce a reliable option for your accountancy firm.
HQ: Antwerp, Belgium
|Key info|| Price: From $29 per user/mo
Free Trial: 7 days
Support: Phone, email, & chat
|Best for||Firms with large sales teams that need to manage inbound and outbound sales|
|Pros||+ Easy to use on a mobile
+ Clever AI features
+ Amazing automation functionality
|Cons||- Programming Automation can be confusing
- No webforms
|Integrations||XFreshbooks, InvoiceBerry, Freshbooks, Wave, Xero|
Few companies can match what Salesflare offers in terms of automation and intelligence. Its primary selling point is that customers spend less time telling the software what to do and more time making sales.
It aims and has succeeded to a large extent in eliminating manual data entry. Instead, it relies on artificial intelligence to extract data from emails, social media, and databases and present such data in an understandable format.
Every aspect of Salesflare is automated, from meetings and phone call logs to email detection based on limited data. If you have any questions about your customers, Salesflare knows the answer. If it doesn't, it automatically finds the information you need within seconds. With real-time information tracking, Salesflare can notify you of any conversations clients have about your business on the internet.
Salesflare claims to reduce the time each team member spends performing tasks by up to four hours per week. This is perfect for growing accounting firms looking to take on more clients and increase their workload. In addition, Salesflare automatically builds a network graph that shows relationships between team collaborators and customers.
Salesflare generally has positive reviews on G2 and Trustpilot. Many users applaud the automation features and ease of use. Moreover, they love the highly customizable features the software provides, with many stating that there is a feature for every CRM activity. The customer support team has also received credit for their excellent communication skills.
There is hardly anything to dislike about Salesflare, as evidenced by 4.8 out of 5 stars on G2. The majority of comments state that there are zero issues with using Salesflare. In fact, one customer requested a feature, and within a couple of months, the feature was delivered. This shows that Salesflare is user-oriented and ready to please individual customers.
HQ: New York, United States
|Key info|| Price: From $9.90 per user/mo
Free Trial: 7 days
Support: Phone, email, & chat
|Best for||Firms that want an affordble solution for their sales teams|
|Pros||+ Low cost
+ Great reporting for tracking sales agent performance
+ Integrates with outbound sales call apps
|Cons||- Lack of accounting integrations
- Confusing contact import functionality
|Integrations||Quickbooks, Stripe, QuaterOne, Paycove|
What separates Pipedrive from other software on this list is its focus on driving sales within your firm. What this means for accountants is that they can close more successful deals in less time. Unlike many other CRM software that aim to be all-encompassing tools, Pipedrive dedicates all its resources to helping sales teams optimize their sales funnels and processes.
The sales pipeline is the heart of any sales CRM and is Pipedrive's primary feature. Among its many functions is the ability to visualize ongoing deals and neatly file them away upon completion. You can add your deals to this pipeline, and it will automatically track their progress based on value, estimated completion date, and win probability. Furthermore, you can create unique pipelines with custom stages and coloured cues that indicate the urgency of each deal.
Pipedrive is not limited to the sales pipeline. It contains several other tools designed to augment the capabilities of the pipeline. One such tool is the Live Chat feature that facilitates communication with leads, clients, and prospects. This tool also includes a programmable chatbot that automatically handles questions and responses in your absence.
The automation features extend to workflow automation. Many customers value the ability to create complex triggers and conditions that execute actions effortlessly. They also appreciate the actionable insights and reporting that allow them to create and track custom variables in deals. To top things off, users have commended the time-saving capabilities of email integration.
It's worth mentioning that some customers have reservations about the technical quality of the software. These customers cite various issues, from buggy UI to incomplete features. Nonetheless, these issues are quite minor and do not deter most users, earning it a top spot among contemporary CRM software on G2.
HQ: Newark, Delaware, United States
|Key info|| Price: From Free
Free Trial: 7 days
Support: Phone, email, & chat
|Best for||Live chat features and customer service emailing tools|
|Pros||+ Get 2 users completely free
+ 5 users are just $48 per month
+ Quick to release new features
|Cons||- Basic knowledge base
- Lack of accounting integrations
|Integrations||Zapier, Stripe, Google apps, BetterProposals|
Gist is a general-purpose CRM software for small, medium, and large-scale businesses. It is popular for the advanced marketing and automation tools that make client onboarding a smooth experience. Gist has earned its place on this list, offering an easy-to-understand user interface and email automation.
What makes Gist appealing to so many customers is the free plan it offers. This plan is perfect for freelance accountants and startup accounting firms and is especially generous given its advanced features. You get live chat and bot, team inbox, web forms, and mobile app integration for zero dollars a month. If you decide to upgrade to a higher plan, Gist offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee, reinforcing their commitment to customer satisfaction.
One of Gist's stand-out features is the marketing automation system that provides multiple ways of automating your workflow. You can use the Visual Workflow Tool, an intuitive flow graph that allows you to define triggers, decisions, and parallel paths in executable blocks. Alternatively, you can stick to the simpler Automation Rules for a more linear and easily understood format. Accounting firms can save time and labour costs by delegating tedious tasks to these tools.
Though a very young company, Gist has won the hearts of many customers in less than two years. Many customers on G2 state that they have abandoned their old CRM solutions in favor of Gist. They also reveal that they are looking forward to Gist's growth. One satisfied user states that:
"Gist is a fantastic solution as an ideal, full-featured alternative to Intercom"
While the free plan is one reason for this switch, Gist's extensive functionality also plays a major role. Gist has taken advantage of its youth to learn from the mistakes of its predecessors to provide exceptional CRM software to accounting firms.
7. Less Annoying CRM
HQ: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
|Key info|| Price: From $15 per user/month
Free Trial: 30 days
Support: Phone & email
|Best for||Smaller accounting firms looking for a simple, easy to use CRM solution|
|Pros||+ Excellent customer support
+ Easy to use
+ Excellent training videos
|Cons||- No accounting integrations
- Limited use on mobile
|Integrations||Google apps, Mailchimp, LeadsBridge|
Less Annoying CRM is perfect for accounting firms looking for an easy-to-use CRM solution. In line with its core mandate, Less Annoying CRM is not designed for large accounting firms. Instead, it targets businesses that don't require a large feature set, offering only one subscription tier that unlocks all of its features. With zero hidden charges or complicated contracts, it's not difficult to see why Less Annoying CRM is popular among smaller firms.
Less Annoying CRM's central feature is the Workspace. This tool organizes all tasks, events, contracts, and activities within a single location, allowing you to identify pending tasks and complete them quickly. Additionally, it displays client leads, reviews, and onboardings as charts. These charts provide metrics on won or lost business opportunities.
Team collaboration is another significant feature Less Annoying CRM offers. All users have separate logins, passwords, and any roles and permissions the account owner assigns. All events are visible in one calendar, keeping team members updated with the latest activities. Above all, Less Annoying CRM can be accessed from any device without the need to sync up your data.
Less Annoying CRM may not be for you if you're looking for fully-featured software. It’s more of an advanced contact manager rather than a fully-fledged CRM. As a result, it lacks certain features in other CRM packages, like task automation or email campaigns. Nonetheless, considering the pricing model, this software is a good bargain for those who want a minimalist application.
Less Annoying CRM has positive reviews across all categories on G2. It has a 4.9/5 star rating and scores highly on ease of use, quality of support, and ease of setup. Many customers love its flexibility and the ability to create custom fields and pipelines. Less Annoying CRM may not be the best choice for larger firms, but it is great for accountants with small teams.
8. Pipeline CRM
HQ: Seattle, Washington, United States
|Key info|| Price: From $25 per user/month
Free Trial: 14 days
Support: 24/7 (phone + email)
|Best for||Smaller accounting firms with a basic sales operation|
|Pros||+ Great customer support
+ Easy to use
+ Flexible for specific business needs
|Cons||- Lack of marketing features
- Reporting needs improvement
|Integrations||Zapier, Quickbooks, Excel, Paycove|
Pipeline CRM is an affordable solution for upcoming accounting firms, equipping them with the tools to develop lasting customer and business-to-business relationships. It has one of the highest adoption rates of all CRM software, with more than 18,000 users across 60 countries.
The Sales Forecasting feature is the biggest reason why Pipeline CRM is loved by many users worldwide. This tool records a history of all deals won and lost and presents them in a trend graph. Using this tool, your sales teams can predict the outcomes of pending deals, empowering them to make educated business decisions.
Accountants dealing with large amounts of digital documents will love Pipeline CRM for the unlimited file storage it provides. This feature allows you to store and retrieve all kinds of files, images, and correspondence records for no additional cost. What's more, this feature is available on the most basic plan, unlike other software that requires higher subscription tiers.
Pipeline CRM offers seamless integration with Excel, ActiveDemand, QuickBooks, and other CRM and payroll tools. This integration extends to email services, allowing you to view your inbox within the app without switching between software. You can also conduct email campaigns and track responses as activities.
Despite some criticism concerning mass email organization, customers love Pipeline CRM's ease of use, which renders report creation, modification, and execution trivial tasks. The user interface has been praised for its intuitiveness and user-friendly experience. According to one pleased customer, the best thing about Pipeline CRM is:
“Hands down ... ease of use. I was able to be up and running within minutes, and within a day or two, I was about 90% proficient in using it.”
Finding the right CRM software for your accountancy firm
CRM's primary goal is to improve customer relationships, but each software has a different design philosophy to achieve that goal. Some believe that the key to growth is email and customer tracking. Conversely, other CRM tools focus on automation that handles multiple customers simultaneously. As varied as these tools are, so are the CRM needs of your accountancy firm.
Given the abundant options available, choosing the right software for your accountancy firm can be difficult and time-consuming. Yet, it is a task you must perform if you wish to retain your current clients while adding new ones. How then do you approach this task?
Your best course of action would be to start by writing down what features and functionality your firm needs before trying out any particular CRM software. Only then can you examine your options to find the one with the right combination of features. You should note that some CRMs have everything you need, but you may need to create a custom solution from the different products within their brand.
To sum up, many factors influence your choice of CRM, so you need to identify and carefully analyze each to make the best decision for your firm.
Our Pick - Active Campaign
Active Campaign’s advanced automation system, ease of use, great value for money and extensive integrations with other accounting software make it Toksta's top CRM software for accountancy firms in 2023.
Meet the author - Sam Cassman
Sam is the co-founder and growth marketer at Toksta. He specialises in a diverse skill set including email marketing/CRM, content creation, SEO, PR, programmatic/search advertising, and social media. His 360 skill set allows him to confidently manage the entire customer life-cycle from generation/acquisition, through to lead nurturing, customer conversion and brand loyalty.
An analytical and creative thinker that lives and breathes data but knows thinking outside the box and going against the grain is sometimes necessary to stand out in a saturated online environment.