In any business, there can be too many tasks and not enough people.
In today’s workforce, it’s a common and wise decision to outsource your accounting. Letting a CPA or accounting firm handle the money allows the business to dedicate more resources to the company's core tasks. The accounting firm hired will help from all angles, from daily bookkeeping and tax preparation to auditing and other consulting services.
When hiring accounting, your business wants to feel confident in its competency and workflow. If their practice is disorganized, it’s obvious.
You’d hope that the accounting firm reaccesses its practices every year to make better decisions the following. However, experts have found that only 49% of hired accounting firms have reviewed their business workflow in the last year, and 26% reviewed their practices in the previous five years. These facts are alarming but, at the same time, somewhat understandable if you’re an accountant.
Accounting teams have lots to do with seemingly no time to pause and reflect. As they acquire more clients, they risk missed deadlines, lost documents, and tax filing errors. These overwhelming results come from that “too busy/too much to do” feeling, which can significantly lower efficiency and confidence, hurting the firm’s reputation.
To continuously provide excellent services and client satisfaction, accounting firms need to update and improve their workflow consistently. A “pause to reflect” sounds harder than it is. But with anything, if you stop to think and strategize for improvement, you’ll be acting long-term and can expect a more efficient, pleasant, and streamlined workflow that people look forward to rather than dread.
To save you time and encourage reflection, we’ve listed our top three tips to streamline your accounting business so that work feels more doable and success is more likely achieved.
All employees working at accounting firms have various roles and responsibilities to fulfill. To maximize efficiency, each employee’s role in the firm and who they work with should be clearly defined. When all employees have defined collaborative roles, they can offer an intentional contribution to the company.
Designated roles also create individual accountability so that mishaps can be directly and quickly addressed, assessed, and solved - something essential in keeping a smooth workflow. When all employees know and understand their roles, they can collaborate with colleagues, share ideas and create workplace camaraderie, which improves employee satisfaction, project management, productivity, and efficiency.
For more tips on accounting project management and how to overcome challenges, see here.
Due to the influx of vast amounts of data, the risks of physical damage or loss of documents are imminent. Data organization is a must for accounting firms, especially with many clients. To prevent mistakes, it’s better to get with the times and shift from paper to digital.
Once your firm switches from printing documents to sharing digital copies via email and cloud-based systems, your firm will experience a massive shift in data flow processes. Read all the benefits of cloud-based firm management here.
This digital shift leads well into and fully supports our next tip.
It’s just the way it is. The world continues to make technological advances for improved functionality in anything and everything. If you’re not keeping up, you’re far behind.
The accounting sector must adapt to these changes in today’s technology to explore more efficient ways of streamlining processes. Advanced technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and blockchain-based software help improve client satisfaction. Your firm can give more accurate predictions and analyses to aid in business growth through these technologies.
New accounting software also limits manual data entry work, giving accountants more time to focus on strategies and other functions. If the firm leaves the manual labor to the computer, its accountants will have more time to allocate to projects and client relationships.
Read this blog on Workflow Management Software 101.
While all this is well and good, these top three workflow tips do not become effective right after implementation. You will have to give your firm enough time to transition and adapt to the changes.
Along with this patience, it’s a good idea to make yourself aware of potential challenges that your workflow can run into.
Life is unpredictable. There’s no escaping it. If you hold fast to the above tips, you'll level up your business and streamline your workflow, but if you’re not prepared or ready to overcome potential setbacks, success is harder to reach, even with goodwill and best intentions.
Read our advice on pinpointing and managing potential (or already running) issues to solve inefficiencies in workflow and better manage your business time and work environment.
Receiving source documents can be overwhelming. If your processes are disorganized, files can go missing and cause time delays. So, it’s essential to create a seamless system, where after the preparation and review, you implement new and creative stages to ensure a successful process. For instance, to avoid insufficient client documentation, you can add a notification to prompt them to solve any issue before proceeding to the next steps.
Proper procedures minimize slack, keeping every detail in order, saving time and energy.
It’s a relatively common professional rule in every system to know the status of each stage. Monitoring keeps everything in check so that issues don’t pile up. To save resources and time, stay in direct communication and monitor every process. This type of organization might feel like micro-management, but it’s not. Staying on top of projects and having a clear understanding allows for better productivity and overall confidence, as every issue is solved upon notice.
Due dates can cause panic in the workplace. Even a minor detail can raise questions, so everything has to be perfect and orderly. This can take tons of time and effort for most accounting firms, re-reading the entire process and ticking off checklists.
To solve this, you must enforce real-time reporting. Like monitoring, this prevents the piling up of issues. Set a due date for your staff and implement a system.
Frequently having to search for information and documentation can be a tedious task. While necessary, you can still double up on efficiency by integrating a digital scheme. Work has become a lot easier nowadays with the rise of innovative software that cuts the effort with precision.
New accounting software such as Firm 360 and its features can now integrate multiple tasks into one digital tool. Spend less time and effort on opening and checking various Excel sheets. Transform your workflow into a faster, more precise system with the help of digital and integrated software.
Inefficiencies in an accounting workflow can compromise the productivity and happiness of your staff. Implementing our streamlining tips and knowing how to avoid workflow challenges will ease your team’s burden and bump up productivity, generating more value for your business in the long run. For more ways to streamline your CPA firm, see here.
If you're looking for a CPA practice management software or ways to streamline your workflow today, Firm 360 is what you're looking for. Our management software helps you monitor your team's tasks, manage documents and projects, improve customer relations, etc. From our advanced reporting to our time and billing tools, we have it all in one platform, allowing you to manage and organize in one place.
Firm360 was developed by accountants who understand how consolidating client and project data can be a firm's pain point. Our cloud-based platform has many benefits and can help you and your firm achieve optimal workflow and efficiency. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help with our accounting management software. Our demos are 100% free.