How to Simplify Project Management for Your Firm
April 18, 2022
The goal of an accounting firm is to serve clients to the fullest with the tools available. Project management happens to be one of the most beneficial tools that an accounting firm can use. It allows for effective time and budget management. In addition, it helps ensure that paperwork is processed and submitted on time, and any payments are also made on time.
So, if you're wondering how you can further simplify the project management process for your firm, this guide is for you. We’re here to share with you some best practices for implementing this important accounting process.
Project Management Made Simple
While the use of project management may be new to you, it’s been used by many other firms since its inception in the 1920s. The following are four of the most common project management phases and how they can improve your firm’s accounting operations.
1. Project Identification
In this phase, you define what exactly the project is. Categorize the project by how it fits into your firm’s overall strategy. (For example, is it a new product or service/solution for a client, or is it something that will re-imagine a business process at your firm?)
Based on this definition, you will then assign a project number and name to the project. This will allow you to easily track the phases of the project and gauge its progress.
2. Project Planning
Now that you have defined the project, you can start to plan for its execution. This will include how you will approach a project to ensure it is completed successfully and efficiently.
First, you need to define the deliverables for the project. Determine the expected outcome for the project and what is required to produce it. For example, a deliverable for an accounting firm may be a set of financial statements and tax returns. Similarly, a project management deliverable could be a project scope statement and a project schedule.
Next, you should map out the project’s high-level timeline. It should detail the major critical path activities and the project’s dependencies.
Finally, you will determine the resources (people and money) necessary to complete the project. This will be broken down by resources needed, duration, and cost.
3. Project Execution
In this phase, you will begin to track the progress of the project. You will begin to execute the project’s activities, such as working with your team to gather the necessary information and resources to complete a project’s activities. This will include tracking the project’s budget and making sure it is on budget.
As you track the project’s progress, you will monitor the project’s risk plan. If any issues occur, you will be able to quickly uncover the problem and mitigate it.
4. Project Closure
The final phase of the project is the closure phase. This is the phase that contains the final report of the project. It is also the phase in which you can determine the project’s overall success.
In this phase, you will review the project’s status against the planned timeline and budget. This will include determining the project’s impact on your firm, as well as the results it brought in.
Then, you will complete the project documentation and close out the project. This includes completing the final project schedule and providing any final report or presentation.
Ultimately, project management will allow you to be more efficient and better serve your clients. It will allow you to forecast your cash flows, anticipate the impact of projects on your staff and budget, and improve your overall project execution. These are just a few of the reasons why it's beneficial for you to use project management.
It's never too late to make improvements to your firm's existing processes. Firm360 is here to make that process a whole lot easier and even get more work done for less. From project management, time and billing, to online payment collection, Firm360 has all the features you need. Book a demo today to check out all the other features of our accounting practice management software.