According to Nucleus Research, for every dollar spent on client relationship management (CRM) software, organizations get an average return of $8.71 – which is over 800 percent. Why such an impressive return?
Because clients are literally the lifeblood of any business, the way in which you manage your relationships with them can make or break the success of your company. An effective CRM system allows you to keep track of customer data and interactions, while also automating certain processes like lead generation, sales pipeline management and marketing campaigns.
As an accountant, it’s important for you to choose a CRM that can help you manage all aspects of client relations – from client onboarding through to invoice reminders and follow-up calls. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is best for your business?
Our list of top 6 CRM platforms
If you've spent any time researching or trialing different CRM platforms, you'll know that they don't always suit your needs well enough to warrant your investment.
For instance, perhaps you're a life coach who needs to store extensive client notes and have an easy way to book appointments. Or maybe you're a financial advisor who needs powerful reporting capabilities to track client progress and performance.
While regular CRMs offer useful functions like lead scoring and contact management, the best CRM for accountants is one that can handle more complex tasks like tracking invoices, sending automated reminders, and managing client data.
Here are the specific criteria that we looked for when choosing the best CRM for accountants in 2023:
Custom fields and templates – the ability to create custom fields and templates for invoices, emails, reports, and other documents, so it takes less time to prepare accounting documents
Advanced reporting and analytics – comprehensive analytics and reporting to help track your financial performance and identify areas for improvement
Integrations with accounting software – the ability to integrate your CRM with popular accounting programs like QuickBooks, Xero or Wave for a seamless workflow
Secure data management – end-to-end encryption for optimal security of your sensitive data
Mobile access – the option to access your CRM from any device, anywhere
Ease of use – an intuitive user interface so you can quickly and easily navigate the system
Based on these criteria, here are the top six CRM platforms for accountants in 2023.
All-rounder platform with tools for accounting, client management, and project management
Extensive library of pre-made templates reviewed by law professionals
Customizable client portal to make the onboarding and retention process easy
Integrations with apps like QuickBooks, Calendly, and Zapier
Only available in English at the moment
Best for: Coaches and Accountants
Bonsai is the utility knife of business management software. Where other tools focus specifically on accounting or project management, Bonsai is an all-in-one platform that allows you to manage every aspect of business with ease.
The platform itself is incredibly intuitive and aesthetic. Both your clients and your employees will love the customizable client portal, which makes onboarding and retention a breeze. Plus, you’ll also save loads of time on administrative tasks with pre-made templates for everything from contracts to invoices.
Bonsai's pricing schedule is very modest compared to other platforms; the Starter plan is $17/month, the Professional plan is $32/month, and the all-inclusive Business plan is $52/month.
If you're looking for a multi-functional tool that takes the manual admin labor out of running a business, Bonsai is the perfect choice.
All plans (including free) offer powerful process automation
Easy-to-use mobile app
Insightful analytics and reporting to help make valuable improvements
Free plan is quite limited
Poor customer service
Best for: Administrators
If you want a CRM platform that can be set up without the help of IT professionals, Zoho CRM is your best bet. It focuses on sales, marketing, and service teams, so it’s perfect for administrators who are looking for a way to automate their processes.
Zoho CRM is incredibly easy to use, and its mobile app makes it even easier to stay on top of your business from anywhere in the world. Automation is available in the top price tiers to help speed up menial administrative tasks.
In terms of pricing, you can pay a minimum of $22/month for the Standard membership and a maximum of $80/month for the Ultimate membership. The free version is limited in features, and customer service is poor, so it's best to move quickly onto the first tier.
Covers the entire client lifecycle, including CMS tools
Outstanding UI and UX compared to other platforms
Integrates with a wide range of other tools
Free version, while unlimited, can be restrictive for medium and large businesses
One of the most expensive tools in the industry
Best for: Marketing
HubSpot is one of the most trusted names in business management software, and for good reason. Its CRM solution covers the entire client lifecycle from website management to marketing and sales automation.
The UI is extremely intuitive, making it easy to navigate even if you're new to this type of software. Plus, HubSpot offers integrations with a wide range of other tools so that you can create a seamless customer experience.
However, the free version is quite restrictive for medium and large businesses, so it's best to upgrade quickly if you're expecting significant growth. The Professional plan costs about $30,000 USD per year, while the Enterprise plan costs closer to $60,000.
Over-complicated for small businesses that need a simple solution
Very expensive compared to other CRMs
Best for: Growing businesses
Salesforce has been a big industry player for many, many years now – so the company has had a long time to develop its cloud-based CRM. It offers unmatched scalability, so it's perfect for businesses that are expecting to grow rapidly over the next few years.
The benefit of going with Salesforce is that you can seamlessly integrate with the company's other tools. The suite includes accounting, customer service, commerce, and more. Plus, you can customize the platform according to your specific needs – so it's ideal for larger businesses that require a tailored solution.
However, Salesforce is one of the most expensive CRMs in the industry, and its complexity makes it a poor choice for small businesses. The cost varies depending on the features you want to use, but it can quickly add up.
Feels like an incomplete product, as new features are being added periodically
Best for: Agile teams
If you're an agile, sales-focused team, Close.io may just be your new best friend. It's designed for fast and smooth operation with a great user experience. The different dashboards allow you to easily view and manage your leads, as well as track their progress.
Close.io also offers powerful lead management capabilities – allowing you to quickly qualify leads, prioritize follow-ups, and stay organized. The intuitive user interface keeps things simple with drag-and-drop organization for easy navigation.
Since it's a fairly new platform, however, some features that you might expect to be there haven't arrived yet (or are stuck behind a paywall). The pricing for Close.io is modest at $25/month for the Starter level up to $129/month for the Business level.
Features not suited to enterprise-level businesses
Doesn't have the same level of marketing and analytics capabilities as other CRM platforms
Best for: Small businesses
One of the most-loved CRMs for small businesses on the market, Less Annoying CRM does exactly what it advertises right out of the box. It's fast, it's simple, and it cuts out the complicated setup processes you'll find with other CRMs.
The Less Annoying interface is intuitive and easy to use, with automation capabilities for staying organized. It's also one of the cheapest in the market, starting at just $15/month for small businesses.
If you're looking for something with in-depth analytics or high-level marketing tools, however, it's best to seek out another option. LACRM is definitely built for small, simple businesses.
Pricing differences across our top 6
As you can see, there are some quite drastic discrepancies between the pricing for the CRMs we have discussed. Salesforce and HubSpot are by far the most expensive, whereas Less Annoying CRM, Zoho, and our other options on the list offer a great solution at an affordable price point.
The best way to toss up your options is to think about which features are important for you. For instance – do you value in-depth analytical insights? Do you need powerful automation? Some of the features you'd require for enterprise-level operations are only found in large platforms like HubSpot or Salesforce, and therefore, the extra price point could be justified.
If you're a small business that requires a simple platform, however, the other choices on our list will more than cover your needs. Close.io and Less Annoying CRM start at less than $30/month for intuitive, useful lead management tools; Zoho and Bonsai are excellent on the administration side of things, with modest price points starting at less than $30/month as well.
All of our reviewed platforms have either a free trial or a $0 membership tier – so make the most of those before you commit to a paid plan.
How we reviewed our options
We don't mess around when it comes to platform reviews. After rigorous trialing and testing, these are the top 6 that truly stood out to us based on the following criteria:
Ease of use
Integrations and automation capabilities
Analytics and marketing insights available
Level of customer service provided by the company
UX and UI
We're not going to make a definitive call about which is the best overall, because every business has incredibly unique needs and requirements. However, we believe that the 6 platforms discussed above should be more than enough to get you going on your search for the best CRM for accountants in 2023.
If you're ready to purchase a CRM for your business, or you need to upgrade from an old legacy system that just isn't cutting it anymore, there are plenty of options on the market.
We hope that this article has provided you with some insight into which CRMs are best for accountants in 2023, and why they've made our list. Keep an eye out for features like automation capabilities, analytics and marketing insights, integrations, and customer service – as these could make or break your success with clients.
Our own platform, Bonsai, offers the advantage of being an all-in-one tool. There's no need to stitch together five different platforms; handle all your client CRM, accounting, and project management needs from one intuitive dashboard.