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Document to Improve: Mapping Workflows to Streamline Accounting Processes

Posted by TechnologyAdvice on Aug 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM

This is a community post provided by TechnologyAdvice

Unproductive procedures and practices slow us all down in the workplace. You’re not alone. Office demands in this day and age are higher than ever, and only continue to escalate. We often move quickly, forsaking quality for timeliness. Unfortunately, out-of-date office technology and unnecessarily arduous procedures are often the causes of costly inaccuracies and overly-manual processes. Rework your usual methods and meet quality standards with a few simple solutions to workflow problems.

Create a document organization structure.

Many business leaders have procedures and functions that don’t coordinate with other internal systems, or even with their outside partners or clients. Without strict oversight and consistent attention to process efficiency, tracking documentation becomes an insatiable process on which employees waste countless amounts of time. According to a study done by the International Data Corporation, companies who streamlined their document organization and turn-in process increased revenue by a whopping 36 percent and reduced costs by 30 percent.

Document organization comes in many forms, but try some of these first:

  • Designate a document storage plan for your shared cloud storage solutions
  • Formalize a nomenclature for all documents to make them searchable for any user in the company
  • Schedule document clean-up and reviews periodically to ensure data cleanliness

Be clear and record.

Take the time to map out exactly what your firm does, and the steps it takes to get there.

  • What are the skills you provide?
  • Do they fluctuate from client to client?
  • Are the steps different for each one?

Map out each process and use it as your checklist to define and record your workflow. Make sure it is thorough. Don’t leave out anything, no matter how small it may be. Sometimes it can be the smallest things that get us stuck in the long run.

Use a project management software to help document each of the parts of your workflows in a centralized location where all team members can view them and follow the steps. TechnologyAdvice.com has reviews and recommendations of the best project management software available, if you need some help picking a good software. Look for project management tools where you can save your workflows as templates, use automation to reduce manual labor, and get analytics for project speed and efficiency.

Actually put the plan in to practice.

Once the steps and corresponding checklists have been made, calculate the duration of time and work involved for each task. This is not as easy as it may sound. Think about the resources needed for each task, and be sure to incorporate each individual employee’s fortes, limitations, and familiarity with the material. How many clients have they worked with before, and what are the current expectancies, challenges, and requirements of their present-day clients?

It may take one employee 10 minutes to complete a form, and another two hours depending on the client and amount of experience the employee has. Use this as a means by which to reevaluate clients to match them with the right employees. Your workflow doesn’t just make employees more efficient or make it easier for you to monitor them. It enables you to manage employee work in a way that will help you, your team, and company grow.

Know that nothing will ever go as planned.

Be comfortable with the fact that change is inevitable. You may spend a countless amount of time working on a fully logical, rationalized, and well thought out workflow that takes in to account your team dynamic, employees, and client relationships. Even then, life has a way of intruding the best-laid plans, both in and outside of work.

Plan for contingencies. An employee may be at home sick for a week, or a client may go on a last-minute vacation without answering emails. Know that the workflow you spent a lot of time on will need to be amended for it to serve the needs of you and your team in the best way possible. Plan for contingencies and document who will cover which clients in emergencies, and you and your schedule will thank you.

Save time and money on preparation, laborious document packets, and technology with a comprehensive and well thought-out workflow for each of your employees and each of their different types of clients. Keep better track of your employees by leveraging your expertise the best in doling out responsibilities to those you know can take care of each respective task in the best and quickest way possible.

With documented workflows, you’ll know what each of your employees is working on at every given moment, know when to ease off on one of them, or have one of your team members help out another when the workload is getting to be too much. You will have a greater sense of control without having to stay in constant communication.

TA guest post author imageNeha Tandon is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. She has a Masters of Arts in Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. With a background in marketing, public relations, and advertising, her true passion is for business journalism.

Topics: CPA

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