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July 9, 2013 | Tech | Posted by Craig Baldwin Craig Baldwin

CRM Reviews for your CPA Practice

Accountants are known for being expert practitioners. They know all the answers to your tax and accounting needs, and help your business grow. Yet how many times do you think of them (or yourself) as a salesperson? At the end of the day, bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs have to eat too. As they’re going about honing their marketing message and handling their leads, what’s the best way to go about it? Today Accrew dishes out on four prominent CRMs.

Salesforce – The “Grand Daddy” of them all. Salesforce is the original cloud CRM platform, and has one of the largest networks of apps, add-ons, and customizable tools. While it’s ubiquitous in many sales departments, I’ve admittedly never used Salesforce.

For SMBs, the common complaint is it’s cost prohibitive. Yet a lot of that complaint focuses around usage. If you’re a business who has a dedicated sales team, the price may be worth it.

Pros of the Salesforce platform are it’s customization, social integrations, team collaboration via Chatter and real-time mobile access and flexibility.

Stride – Stride is specifically made with SMBs in mind, in fact they profess to be made for business owners, not traditional sales people. The interface is extremely clean, simple, and easy to use. The functionality is very basic, with the ability to insert leads, track along at five different stages, “Lead, Pitch, Negotiation, Closing, Won.” Stride currently offers integrations through Zapier and Ecquire. And the price is digestible at $12/month with one user and unlimited “deals.” Pricing is then tiered upward depending on the amount of users you’d like to add.

The negatives revolve around the simplicity. If you’re looking to track e-mails, social activity, and e-mail campaigns in one place, this may not be the system for you. Stride said this isn’t for the typical salesperson, and they’re right.

Highrise – Also made for small to medium sized teams, Highrise provides simple and clean contact management. Like all 37 signals products, it’s extremely easy to use. Yet it’s focus is primarily contact management and deals. Highrise doesn’t have the robust set of options that a Salesforce would have, so adding or integrating additional tools may be necessary. Thankfully, integrations are capable with all other 37 signal apps and a huge list of products.

Highrise plans start at $24/month for 5 users, 6GB, and 10 deals and the tiers go up to $99/month.

Base – Base seems to exist somewhere between the Salesforce and Highrises of the world. It has many features and functionlities, but still prides itself on a friendly dashboard. Unlike Highrise, Base integrates directly with e-mail, as well as various other products. The arrangement of pricing plans allows for basic CRM functionality all the way up to enterprise level features (tracking calls, advanced reporting, team based permissions).

Pricing for Base starts at $15/user & month for a basic package, moving all the way up to $125/user & month for enterprise level packages.

Accrew would love to hear if you’ve used any of these CRMs or others out there to run your bookkeeping or CPA practice. There are hundreds of CRMs out there, but which ones give accountants a leg-up in their sales and marketing processes?

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