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There's an App for That!

A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting and Implementing Apps

· Bookkeeping Tips,Cloud-Based Bookkeeping

In today's fast-paced digital world, there’s an app for everything! Gone are the days when accountants and bookkeepers would spend countless hours hunched over ledgers and spreadsheets, manually recording transactions and balancing books. Enter the age of endless apps—powerful, intuitive, and incredibly efficient tools designed to streamline financial management for businesses of all sizes.

Whether you're a seasoned bookkeeper looking to enhance your firm's internal processes or a small business owner aiming to simplify your financial interactions with clients, choosing the right app can make a world of difference. But with so many options available, how do you determine which one is the best fit for your needs?

In this post, we aim to guide you through the essential considerations when selecting a bookkeeping or accounting app. We'll delve into the differences between firm-based and client-facing apps, highlight the features and benefits of each, and provide practical advice on adoption and change management. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision that will elevate your bookkeeping processes to new heights.

So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let's embark on this journey to discover how the right bookkeeping app can transform your financial management practices, making them more efficient, accurate, and enjoyable for everyone involved.


Understanding Bookkeeping Apps

Bookkeeping apps are software applications designed to automate and streamline the financial record-keeping process. They help manage and track financial transactions, generate reports, and ensure compliance with various accounting standards. The primary purpose of these apps is to reduce the manual effort involved in bookkeeping, minimize errors, and provide real-time insights into the financial health of a business.

In essence, bookkeeping apps transform traditional accounting practices into a digital format, making it easier to manage finances from anywhere at any time. They offer a range of functionalities from basic bookkeeping tasks like recording income and expenses to advanced features like financial forecasting and tax preparation.

Types of Bookkeeping Apps

There are primarily two types of bookkeeping apps to consider: firm-facing apps and client-facing apps. Each type serves a different purpose and caters to distinct aspects of the bookkeeping process. Understanding the differences between these two types is crucial for selecting the right app for your specific needs. While this blog is written with the bookkeeper and client relationship in mind, these principals can be easily adapted for the business owner managing their own books.

  1. Firm-Facing Apps
    Firm-facing apps are designed to enhance the internal bookkeeping processes of accounting firms. These apps focus on improving efficiency, accuracy, and security within the organization. They offer features such as detailed transaction tracking, comprehensive reporting and analytics, and integration with other business systems to streamline operations. Firm-based apps are typically used by professional bookkeepers and accountants who need robust tools to manage large volumes of financial data. They prioritize security, compliance with accounting standards, and the ability to handle complex financial transactions.
  2. Client-Facing Apps
    Client-facing apps, on the other hand, are designed to improve the interaction between accounting firms and their clients. These apps provide user-friendly interfaces that make it easy for clients to access their financial information, submit documents, and collaborate with their bookkeepers in real time. Key features often include simplified invoicing and payments, expense tracking, and communication tools. Client-facing apps aim to enhance client satisfaction by providing transparency and convenience. They enable clients to stay informed about their finances without needing to understand the complexities of bookkeeping, fostering better relationships and smoother financial interactions.

By distinguishing between firm-facing and client-facing apps, you can better assess which type of app aligns with your specific needs and goals. Whether you need to streamline internal processes or improve client interactions, understanding these differences is the first step in choosing the right bookkeeping app for your business.

Firm-Facing Apps

Features and Functions

Firm-facing apps are tailored to meet the rigorous demands of professional accountants and bookkeepers. These apps are equipped with advanced features that enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and security of financial management within an organization. Here are some key features and functions:

  • Detailed Tracking of Financial Transactions:
    Firm-based apps provide comprehensive tools for tracking every financial transaction, including income, expenses, and asset & liability management. This ensures that all financial data is accurately recorded and easily accessible.
  • Reporting and Analytics:
    These apps offer robust reporting and analytics capabilities, enabling bookkeepers to generate detailed financial reports, perform trend analysis, and make data-driven decisions. Customizable reports can be tailored to meet specific client needs.
  • Integration with Other Business Systems:
    Seamless integration with other business systems such as payroll, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM) is a crucial feature. This integration ensures that all financial data is synchronized across different platforms, reducing the risk of errors and enhancing overall business efficiency.
  • Security Features:
    Given the sensitive nature of financial data, firm-based apps prioritize security. They incorporate features like encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security updates to protect against data breaches and ensure compliance with industry regulations.


The adoption of firm-based bookkeeping apps brings a multitude of benefits, transforming how financial tasks are managed within an organization:

  • Improved Efficiency and Accuracy:
    By automating repetitive tasks and reducing manual data entry, these apps significantly improve the efficiency of bookkeeping processes. This automation also minimizes the risk of human errors, ensuring more accurate financial records.
  • Centralized Financial Management:
    Firm-based apps offer a centralized platform for managing all financial activities. This centralized approach streamlines workflows, enhances collaboration among team members, and provides a single source of truth for financial data.
  • Better Compliance with Regulatory Standards:
    These apps are designed to comply with various accounting standards and regulations. They provide tools for accurate tax calculations, regulatory reporting, and audit trails, helping businesses maintain compliance and avoid legal issues.

Categories to Consider

There are many firm-facing apps available to accountants and bookkeepers. Here are just a few of the various categories to consider:

  • Accounting Software:
    Accounting software is the workhorse of an accounting firm. These apps assist bookkeepers in recording and reporting a client’s financial transactions. Quickbooks Online and Xero are great for small businesses, while Sage and NetSuite offer solutions for enterprise-level businesses.
  • Integrations:
    Many apps offer native integrations which will connect external apps to the accounting software and other apps. However, if an app you’re using doesn’t have a native integration, check out Zapier as a tool to connect those applications.
  • Sales / CRMA:
    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) app is a vital tool for a firm to manage their client data and interactions, as well as manage the pipeline of incoming prospects. Ignition is a great tool that moves prospects through the process from proposal to signing the agreement and onto billing.
  • Project Management:
    Project management is key to ensuring the firm is on track across their many clients and responsibilities. It can also improve collaboration and automate recurring tasks. There are a multitude of project management apps out there. Karbon and Canopy are designed specifically for the accounting firm, but can be a bit expensive for smaller firms. ClickUp and Notion are more affordable apps and both are very customizable options to fit your specific needs.
  • Password Management:
    Password management apps are a secure and efficient way to share passwords within the firm and with clients. They also have the ability to create unique, long-string passwords that are very difficult to hack. 1Password is the best solution for password management.
  • Reporting & Planning:
    Leveraging reporting tools can allow a firm to offer advanced, real-time reports and forecasts, as well as advisory services to their clients. Jirav is an excellent solution for reporting, but if you prefer to stick to your spreadsheets, there are apps that can pull the data from your accounting software into either Google Sheets or Excel.

By leveraging the features and benefits of firm-based apps, accounting firms and businesses can optimize their financial management processes, ensuring greater accuracy, efficiency, and compliance. The right firm-based app can transform how bookkeeping tasks are handled, providing valuable insights and streamlining operations across the board.

Client-Facing Apps

Features and Functions

Client-facing bookkeeping apps are designed with the end user in mind—clients who need to interact with their financial data and collaborate with their bookkeepers. These apps focus on ease of use, accessibility, and real-time updates to ensure clients can manage their finances effortlessly. Here are some key features and functions:

  • User-Friendly Interfaces:
    Client-facing apps prioritize intuitive, easy-to-navigate interfaces that allow clients to access their financial information quickly and without confusion. This includes dashboards that provide an overview of key financial metrics and trends.
  • Real-Time Access to Financial Information:
    These apps offer real-time updates, ensuring clients can view the most current data regarding their income, expenses, and account balances. This immediate access helps clients make informed financial decisions promptly.
  • Simplified Invoicing and Payments:
    One of the most appreciated features of client-facing apps is the ability to generate and send invoices directly from the app. Clients can also accept payments through integrated payment gateways, streamlining the entire invoicing and payment process.
  • Collaboration Tools:
    These apps often include tools for collaboration, allowing clients to communicate with their bookkeepers, share documents, and provide necessary information quickly and securely. Features such as chat, document sharing, and notifications enhance this collaborative effort.


Implementing client-facing bookkeeping apps provides numerous advantages that enhance the overall client experience and foster better business relationships:

  • Enhanced Client Satisfaction:
    By offering an accessible and transparent view of their financial data, these apps significantly improve client satisfaction. Clients appreciate the ability to stay informed and engaged with their finances without needing extensive accounting knowledge.
  • Streamlined Communication and Collaboration:
    The built-in communication tools facilitate seamless interactions between clients and bookkeepers. This streamlined communication ensures that queries are addressed quickly and that necessary documents are shared efficiently, reducing delays and misunderstandings.
  • Faster Payment Cycles:
    The invoicing and payment features help accelerate the payment process. Clients can send invoices and take payments directly through the app, reducing the time taken to complete transactions and improving cash flow for businesses.
  • Maximized Efficiency and Accuracy:
    By utilizing bookkeeping apps, the day to day accounting functions can be significantly streamlined for the business and their employees. They can also automate tasks, which can increase accuracy by decreasing human error.

Categories to Consider

As with firm-facing apps, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of client-facing apps on the market. Here are just a few of the various categories to consider:

  • Accounts Receivable:
    Apps to assist with accounts receivable can streamline the collections process and decrease the time between invoice and payment. These apps offer a variety of online payment methods so customers have selection when paying their invoices. Quickbooks Online is one solution, but there are many others depending on the needs of the business.
  • Document Management:
    Google Drive, Dropbox, and One Drive are great apps for organizing and storing documents. Hubdoc is another great solution for document management, because it is very cheap and also integrates with Xero and QBO, so its a great tool for pushing bills into the accounting software, while simultaneously organizing and storing them.
  • Expense Reimbursements & Receipt Management:
    These apps organize expense reports for employees so that they can be reimbursed by the company. Many of these apps can also handle the documentation of corporate credit cards. Fyle takes the gold medal home on this category. This app has native integrations to various accounting softwares and will streamline your expense reports and corporate card receipts like a dream! It also includes built-in mileage tracking and per diem reporting.
  • Payroll:
    Payroll apps simplify the payroll process, while managing all of the compliance issues on your behalf. They also can connect to accounting, time tracking, HR, and other apps to help streamline the entire process. Gusto is our go-to payroll company, but there are many out there that offer a variety of features.
  • Communication:
    Communication is key and there are a variety of ways clients and firms communicate with each other. Email and Slack are popular methods and many firms are implementing the use of a client portal to communicate and share documents, while maintaining strict security standards.

By adopting client-facing apps, bookkeeping firms can significantly enhance the client experience, offering transparency, convenience, and efficient financial management tools. These apps not only simplify the bookkeeping process for clients but also build stronger, more collaborative relationships between clients and their bookkeepers.

Key Considerations When Choosing an App

Selecting the right bookkeeping app is a critical decision that can significantly impact the efficiency and accuracy of your financial management processes. Here are the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing an app:

Needs Assessment

Before diving into the specifics of different apps, it’s essential to conduct a thorough needs assessment. This step involves understanding the unique business requirements and identifying the specific challenges you aim to address with a bookkeeping app.

  • Assessing Current Bookkeeping Challenges:
    • Identify pain points in your current bookkeeping process (e.g., time-consuming manual entry, frequent errors, lack of real-time data).
    • Gather input from your team or clients about the difficulties they face with existing systems.
    • Evaluate the impact of these challenges on your overall business operations.
  • Identifying Specific Business Needs:
  • Determine the primary goals you want to achieve with the app (e.g., streamlining invoicing, improving financial reporting, enhancing client communication).
  • Assess the volume and complexity of your financial transactions.
  • Consider the level of detail and customization you require in your financial reports.


Ensuring that the chosen bookkeeping app is compatible with your existing systems and workflows is crucial for a smooth transition and ongoing efficiency.

  • Integration with Existing Systems:
    • Check if the app can seamlessly integrate with your current accounting software, payroll system, CRM, and other business tools.
    • Look for APIs or built-in integrations that facilitate data synchronization across platforms.
    • If no native integrations exist, can you bridge the gap with Zapier? Zapier allows you to search for app pairs and then provides a list of the zaps you can perform all before you even sign up. There’s really nothing to lose here!
  • Ease of Data Migration:
    • Assess how easily you can transfer your existing financial data into the new app.
    • Ensure that the app supports importing data from common file formats and other accounting software.

User Experience

A user-friendly interface and accessible features are vital for ensuring that both your team and clients can use the app effectively.

  • Intuitive Interfaces:
    • Choose an app with a clean, easy-to-navigate interface that simplifies complex bookkeeping tasks. Avoid clunky designs that make it difficult to find what you are looking for.
    • Look for features like customizable dashboards, drag-and-drop functionality, and easy access to key tools.
    • Make sure that the mobile app has the functionality that you may require in the field. Oftentimes, mobile apps have reduced features, so be sure to test both the mobile and the desktop app if applicable.
  • Training and Support Availability:
    • Evaluate the quality and availability of training resources provided by the app vendor (e.g., tutorials, webinars, user guides).
    • Ensure that reliable customer support is available, including live chat, email, and phone support.
    • Ensure that the promised response time by the developer is in alignment with your expectations.


The cost of the app should align with your budget while providing good value for money. Consider both the initial investment and the ongoing expenses.

  • Pricing Models:
    • Compare subscription-based models versus one-time purchase options.
    • Consider any additional costs for premium features, integrations, or user licenses.
  • Value for Money:
    • Assess the app’s features relative to its cost to determine if it offers a good return on investment.
    • Look for apps that provide scalability and can grow with your business needs.
    • Calculate the cost of the existing process including labor and then estimate the cost of the new process, including the app subscription fee and the reduced labor costs. Compare the two to determine if the app is worth it.


Given the sensitive nature of financial data, security is a paramount consideration when choosing a bookkeeping app.

  • Data Protection Features:
    • Ensure the app uses robust encryption to protect your data both at rest and in transit.
    • Look for additional security features such as multi-factor authentication, regular security updates, and user access controls.
  • Compliance with Regulations:
    • Verify that the app complies with relevant accounting standards and regulations (e.g., GDPR, SOC 2, HIPAA).
    • Check if the app provides audit trails and other compliance-related tools.


Choose a bookkeeping app that can grow with your business, accommodating increasing data volumes and evolving financial management needs.

  • Ability to Grow with Your Business:
    • Ensure the app can handle an increasing number of transactions and users without compromising performance.
    • Look for features that support expanding operations, such as multi-entity management and advanced reporting capabilities.
  • Adding New Features or Users:
    • Check if the app allows for easy addition of new features or modules as your business needs evolve.
    • Evaluate the cost and process for adding additional users or expanding functionality.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select a bookkeeping app that not only meets your current needs but also supports your long-term business goals. The right app will enhance efficiency, improve accuracy, and provide valuable insights into your financial health, ultimately contributing to your business’s success.

Adoption and Change Management

Implementing a new bookkeeping app involves more than just choosing the right software; it requires a well-thought-out plan for adoption and change management. Successfully integrating a new app into your business processes can enhance efficiency and drive long-term benefits. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensuring a smooth transition.

Planning for Implementation

A structured implementation plan is essential for integrating a new bookkeeping app. This plan should outline the steps, timelines, and responsibilities involved in the process.

  • Steps for a Successful App Implementation:
    • Project Kickoff:
      Define the scope, objectives, and success criteria for the project. Assign a project manager and assemble a team responsible for the implementation.
    • Data Migration:
      Prepare and clean your existing data for migration. Ensure all data is accurate and up-to-date to avoid issues during the transition.
    • System Integration:
      Integrate the new app with your existing systems and software. Test the integrations to ensure data flows seamlessly between platforms.
    • Customization and Setup:
      Configure the app to meet your specific needs. Set up user roles, permissions, and workflows that align with your business processes.
  • Setting Realistic Timelines:
    • Establish a clear timeline for each phase of the implementation process. Factor in time for testing, training, and potential troubleshooting.
    • Communicate the timeline to all stakeholders to manage expectations and ensure everyone is aligned on the project schedule.

Training and Support

Providing comprehensive training and support is crucial for ensuring that your team and clients can effectively use the new app.

  • Providing Training for Staff and Clients:
    • Initial Training Sessions:
      Conduct training sessions for staff and clients to familiarize them with the app’s features and functionalities. Use a mix of live demonstrations, hands-on practice, and Q&A sessions.
    • Ongoing Education:
      Offer ongoing training opportunities, such as webinars, workshops, and online tutorials, to help users stay up-to-date with new features and best practices.
  • Ensuring Ongoing Support:
    • Help Desk and Customer Support:
      Set up a help desk to address any issues or questions that arise during and after the implementation. Ensure that support is easily accessible via phone, email, or chat.
    • Knowledge Base:
      Create a knowledge base with FAQs, how-to guides, and troubleshooting tips to provide users with self-service support options.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Regular monitoring and evaluation of the new app’s performance are essential to ensure it meets your business needs and delivers the expected benefits.

  • Regularly Reviewing App Performance:
    • Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the app’s impact on your bookkeeping processes. KPIs might include time savings, error reduction, and user satisfaction.
    • Schedule regular check-ins to review the app’s performance and address any issues that arise.
  • Gathering Feedback from Users:
    • Solicit feedback from staff and clients to understand their experiences and identify areas for improvement. Use surveys, feedback forms, and user interviews to gather insights.
    • Act on the feedback received to make necessary adjustments and enhance the user experience.

Managing Resistance

Resistance to change is a common challenge when implementing new technology. Addressing concerns and communicating the benefits of the new app can help mitigate resistance and foster acceptance.

  • Addressing Concerns and Resistance to Change:
    • Identify potential sources of resistance, such as fear of the unknown, perceived loss of control, or concerns about the app’s complexity.
    • Engage with stakeholders to understand their concerns and provide clear, reassuring information about the new app and its benefits.
  • Communicating Benefits Clearly:
    • Highlight the advantages of the new app, such as increased efficiency, improved accuracy, and enhanced collaboration. Use real-life examples and case studies to illustrate these benefits.
    • Speak directly to the concerns, fears, or pain points of the user. It’s more meaningful for the user to address their specific needs when managing resistance.
    • Keep communication open and transparent throughout the implementation process, ensuring that everyone is informed and involved.

By following these steps, you can successfully adopt a new bookkeeping app and manage the associated changes effectively. A well-planned implementation and robust change management strategy will help ensure that the app delivers its full potential, enhancing your bookkeeping processes and driving business success.


In the evolving landscape of financial management, adopting the right bookkeeping apps can significantly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of your processes. As we've explored, understanding the distinctions between firm-based and client-facing apps is crucial in selecting the right tool to meet your specific needs. Whether you aim to streamline internal workflows or improve client interactions, the right app can transform your bookkeeping tasks, making them more manageable and effective.

When choosing an app, it's essential to conduct a thorough needs assessment, consider compatibility with existing systems, evaluate the user experience, balance costs against value, prioritize security, and ensure scalability for future growth. These considerations will guide you towards making an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

Furthermore, the successful adoption of a new bookkeeping app requires careful planning, comprehensive training, continuous monitoring, and effective change management. By addressing these aspects, you can ensure a smooth transition and maximize the benefits of the new technology.

Ultimately, the goal is to choose a bookkeeping app that not only meets your current requirements but also supports your long-term business goals. With the right app in place, you'll be equipped to handle financial management with greater ease, accuracy, and confidence, paving the way for sustained business success.

So, take the leap and explore the world of bookkeeping apps. Evaluate your options, plan your implementation, and embrace the change. Your future self—and your business—will thank you for it.



Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Consult with a qualified professional for personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation.