The Secret Leverage Behind Workflow Audits

Podcast

Summary

  • Five Tasks of the Effectiveness of Workflow
  • An Example of the Intake Stage
  • An Example of the Payments Stage

Resources

What is the secret leverage behind workflow audits?

In this solocast, Jetpack Workflow Founder and CEO David Cristello will help you elevate your firm and become a critical thinker when conducting your workflow audit. He focuses on how you can build a metaphorical engine to help you execute more efficiently and effectively.

If you designate yourself in the “I do it” bucket or rely on your employees, take a step back and think of a different way to approach your audit. If you want to create an enterprise or develop an “engine” that will build up your firm, you are ready to take on your audit.

Five Tasks of the Effectiveness of Workflow

David recommends doing an audit of your key workflows at least twice a year. Post-tax season and fourth quarter are two great times to start. The goal behind doing an audit multiple times a year is trying to assess the way your firm is offering services, your firm’s client mix, etc. You won’t know the answers to all of your questions until you begin investigating your firm.

Here are five tasks that your firm can use as “jumping-off points” to begin assessing the overall effect of your firm’s workflow.

  1. Intake
    • Is data coming back in a timely manner?
  2. Processing
  3. Review
  4. Payment
    • How quickly are we getting paid?
  5. Client Satisfaction
    • What does our client retention look like? What does our word-to-mouth look like based on new client growth?

These five major points present themselves in an array of examples:

  • Tasks/sections in the system
  • Lines in a spreadsheet
  • Individual post-it notes

The point is, once you define these workflow stages, you can dissect them to figure out what’s really going on within your firm.

With these five stages, you want to make sure you understand the output of each stage. This helps determine how well jobs are being performed by your employees within your firm.

Once you understand these key stages/outputs, you can begin building questions such as:

  • Where are we based on cash flow?
  • Where are our deadlines falling through the cracks?
  • Where or when does our client growth or retention grow stagnant?

These questions–and other similar questions–help you understand which of the five tasks you need to optimize.

As an example, let’s take a look at the intake stage.

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An Example of the Intake Stage

Perhaps intake causes a lot of issues and drama within your firm. Maybe the handoff and the timely data that is usually apparent in intake are not meeting your standards.

This begs the question: what’s causing the criteria within your intake stage to be flimsy?

Maybe you’re intimidated to reach out to the client to let them know what has been missing or you call the client, but we don’t send a follow-up email.

This presents the case where we are being timid about client reminders. More innocently, maybe we didn’t realize something was missing when we transitioned into processing.

If this is the case, you need to design a simple quality assurance or review checklist. Go through a question-and-answer checklist and make sure all of the boxes are filled. As an added bonus, you can even communicate this process to your clients.

Once you build these checklists, you should also populate them to every project or job you have in the system. For every stage, develop a checklist that will assist you in making all of the right steps for your firm.

Let’s look at another example–this time, with payments.

An Example of the Payments Stage

Say you are averaging 45 days between sending invoices and receiving payments and your goal is to get it down to 15 days.

How do you fix this?

You need to dig into what’s really going on and investigate everything that is found within your payments task. As you get into the data, you may realize that everybody is on autopay. They’re either getting through immediately or, at most, three days after the invoice. This means your average is misleading.

Now, you have to dig into those 100-day clients and figure out some possible problems:

  • Is it tooling?
  • Is it expectations?
  • Is it a bad client?

Once you figure it out (let’s say, in this example, the problem is a tooling issue), you need to:

  1. Make sure that this is part of your new client onboarding template.
  2. Create a task or project.

If you create a new task or project, you should get this updated for your clients and let them know why you are doing this. You could say, “We want to make a friction-free payment experience for you. The large majority of our clients are on a platform. And, we want to move you onto this platform as well. We will work with you to make it an easy transition.”

Whatever you do, you need to make sure that you assist your client with setting up and getting adjusted to a new system. Your firm had the issue. Now, you have to fix that and also help your clients.

Now that you are in post-tax season, it’s time to think about some key adjustments you can make that will help your firm become more performant. As you concentrate on these five examples of important stages in your audit, you will improve your workflow processes and build leverage in your firm.

To learn more, listen to David’s solocast above!

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