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The system that outdoes your to-do list

Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by Gary Hunt

Hand_List By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

In the midst of a busy career, keeping track of everything you have to do can be a task in itself. If you find yourself a slave to email messages and multiple to-do lists floating around your desk, Kevin Martin, CPA, president of Martin & Associates, suggests using a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

His presentation Wednesday at the Columbus Accounting Show, “Stop Relying on Your Outlook Inbox: Why CRM Is a Tool for Every CPA Firm,” focused on what to track when using a CRM system and best practices to use when adopting a CRM.

A CRM system can help track accounts, contacts, tickets, activities, calendars and more. The user can keep track of everything in one program and sort out tasks by importance, date or other factors they choose. Especially in the professional services industry, maintaining industry relationships and following up on important contacts is a crucial part of the business.

“I know who I’m behind with and I know who I’m ahead with,” Martin said.

He said he started aggressively using a CRM system in 2004 and it was an eye opener in terms of organization.

The wide variety of CRM programs available means there are plenty of options to choose from. In his presentation Martin discussed Sage, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics CRM programs, among others. He advised looking carefully at different pricing models, to be sure that the investment for each user long-term is worth the money.

Once your office commits to a CRM, Martin warned against falling into the trap of too few people using the system. It works better when everyone is involved so they can work off each other’s knowledge and information. So if your office has 40 people and only 13 are using the CRM, it’s not worth the time, effort or money.

“It’s just wonderful to be able to collect everything from a CRM system and not live from my email anymore,” he said “I’m not worried about where that third to-do list is.&rdquo

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