Building out a workflow diagram for your 1065 Tax Return (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) can be challenging. Which is why we wanted to go over some best practices when building out your workflow.
Getting the team together
The first step is to involve your team or colleagues in the discussion of putting together the workflow. Chances are, they are experts in the current process and can help you identify steps quickly! So set aside a time for you, your team, and colleagues/partners to review and map out your current 1065 workflow.
Your first draft
Next is to create your "first draft" of your 1065 tax return workflow. Whether you're using a whiteboard, mind mapping tool, pen and paper, or even workflow software, the goal is to get the current process out in the open. This is why it's critical to have your team involved, so you don't miss any critical steps.
What to look for
In addition to identifying critical bottlenecks and common errors, it's also useful to think through the client experience throughout the entire process. Are there times in the workflow when the client is often confused, left "in the dark", doesn't understand the process, or bogs down your team members with questions?
How to optimize
Once you've identified what needs removed, you can then review what can be improved, edited, or added. Perhaps there's a common bottleneck (client doesn't submit proper documentation) that can fixed earlier in the workflow (on boarding). Other times, the client relationship and communication is falling through the cracks. And of course, there are times when the staff don't feel empowered to make decisions, thus making the owner or partner the bottleneck in the process.
How to deploy a new workflow
Rolling out a new workflow can be a daunting task, which is why we recommend starting with a sample client (ie: imaginary client) first. Outline the type of client, be specific about who they are, how you communicate with them, how you receive documentation, and how your team handles the process. Run through this a few times with example clients, then a few of your best clients, then the entire client base.