Small Accountancy Practice Case Study #4: Learning to Use A CRM
For our case study, we’ve chosen Jetpack CRM to help this small accountancy business save time, improve customer relationships and, ultimately, boost its profits.
Firstly, Jetpack CRM requires the user to download and install the WordPress platform. Then downloading and installing the CRM on top of it is easy and quick, it takes under five minutes for an average skilled user to get started:
- Install the Jetpack CRM plugin
- Step quickly through the Welcome Wizard
- Add your first customer
The interface is intuitive and there are several videos the developers have created to help the user get started:
Jetpack CRM Walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9miPZx_mkPc
Jetpack CRM Adding your first customer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WepIml_wWEM
Jetpack CRM Client Portal in less than 2 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIAbJhndZE0
So, once Miss Leen has installed the WordPress platform and the Jetpack CRM using the Welcome Wizard, she can go straight in and from the start she can add and manage customers, quotes and invoices, which will save her a lot of time in the future.
Having all her client information stored in an Excel spreadsheet however, she would save even more time setting up the database, by importing this data straight into the CRM. This is where the CSV Importer comes in handy:
This will also allow the download of client data from the CRM into a csv file.
Another way of getting the client data uploaded automatically and from then on kept up to date, is through the PayPal Sync. This extension updates regularly by checking PayPal transactions. This is a very useful tool for retail businesses especially, as the number of new and/or unique customers can be quite high, even more so when several types of products are sold to the public. In the case of Leen Accountancy, the initial input of client data can be efficiently done through the CSV Importer, and thereafter kept up to date with the PayPal Sync tool, as all of her clients use this method to pay her.
So, having set up the client data base and selected the method for regularly updating it, she’s almost ready to go. Next, a very useful way of managing the customer data is to enter notes and assign tags to each customer. This may be a job that can take a whole Friday morning, but in the long run will save Miss Leen time and energy searching and organizing the communication with her clients.
For example, she can go into the record for the client named Thomas Dawson, and assign the following tags, which are user defined: ‘Solo’ (as in sole owner and director), ‘PersTax’ (prepare and file personal tax return for the owner/director), ‘CorpTax’ (prepare and file corporation tax for the company), ‘AGM & BoD’ (prepare AGM and Board of Directors meeting agendas), ‘AA filing’ (annual accounts filing) and so on.
This then allows Miss Leen to later search through the database for specific information, depending on her communication or work planning needs. Say it’s September and she wants to check which clients with a 31st December annual accounts deadline haven’t sent her their documents through. She can go to Customers à Search and on the right hand pane there’s the list of assigned tags, she can click on ‘AA 3112’. On the left hand pane she will then get a list of all the customers which have a 31st December annual accounts filing date.
Furthermore, she can add notes to each client’s record in the CRM, such as ‘directors on business trips Jan – Mar’, ‘accelerated depreciation method’, ‘rent expense 30%’ and so on.
Let’s say the annual accounts for one of Leen Accountancy’s clients have just been signed and filed. Miss Leen needs now to prepare an invoice to the customer. This can now be easily done in the Jetpack CRM, by going to Invoices àAdd New and add all the details, as previously done in Word, except that the Jetpack CRM template already stores the logo, allows the selection of the client’s name from a drop down list and also generates a unique sequential invoice number automatically. This invoice is automatically assigned to the customer record, so that in the Manage Customers view, Miss Leen can have an up to date view of the invoicing process.
What’s more, with a client portal, once invoices have been created, her clients are also able to view them using their client logins, and initiate payments. Quick, easy and transparent. Which takes us back to Leen Accountancy’s core values. Once set up, customer management is streamlined, lean and transparent. It is also secure, being hosted on the user’s own server.
Now, for her own cash flow management and business planning, Miss Leen would like to see some basic sales analytics, to help her assess her performance on an ongoing basis, without having to spend time updating spreadsheets and building charts every time. Jetpack CRM offers just the solution for this, the Sales Dashboard extension, which is a very simple analytics tool, showing metrics such as Revenue, Net Revenue, Revenue Per Customer and Total Customers in a given period and comparatives. The period is customizable and the data is live. So, Miss Leen could really benefit from this extension:
- She can assess the seasonality of her business
- She can work out how much each client earns her on average
- She can assess her marketing needs, based on revenue and number of new customers
- She can use the revenue figure to try and assess the amount of dividends or director’s salary she can take in the year.
By using all of these features of the customer relationship manager, Miss Leen can have a clear, up to date view of the interactions with her clients, each client’s specifics, she can more easily and thoroughly organize her work, her cash flow needs and estimate the profitability of her business at any point, through a few clicks. This will save her time doing admin work, which will leave more space to do her accounting jobs more thoroughly and on time, avoiding potential penalties for late filing. It will help improve relationships with her customers, which could lead to her getting more work out of each client. She can also much easier assess the overall and per client profitability, meaning she can focus her efforts better and further increase performance.
What’s great about Jetpack CRM is that as it’s ideal for solo entrepreneurs and small online businesses, it’s set up to suit the skills of average users and it can be installed and learned very quickly. Its core functions are suited to a starting business and then there are a few extensions that are sold in bundles. It’s all designed to be lean, practical and time saving. No countless hours working out what all the options do, risking data duplication, and actually not being cost effective. Jetpack CRM does what it says.
So, this post has dealt with the basic features of Jetpack CRM and a few of its extensions and how those could be used by our hypothetical small accountancy business, Leen Accountancy, to save time, streamline and improve customer relationship management and boost profits.
Read our last post in this mini-series: #5 – Small Accountancy Business Case Study: Summary