When you first decided to start your own accounting firm, everything about managing your workflow seemed to click into place easily and without much effort.
The bureaucracy from having worked at other firms melted away. And you caught yourself thinking how you had discovered the secret to making work better and you had mastered the business of accounting at last.
Then, you got busy.
To keep up with the constant inflow of new and returning clients, you added more team members, office equipment, and tools. You stopped celebrating every new client, and instead found yourself popping the bubbly when a project completed without a hiccup.
Work stopped working.
It wasn’t so easy anymore. And you realized you needed to invest some serious time and effort to research how to make work more efficient and lessen your need to continue workflow monitoring.
You need to get back to focusing on gaining new clients, developing business strategies and plans for your now-bustling enterprise; and you really need to be able to get back to enjoying your work fast.
So, let’s talk about workflow management and how improving your firm’s work management process gets you closer to your goal of a more efficient accounting firm.
Why Is Workflow Management Important for Accounting Firms?
Managing the work of your team is a hurdle that business owners of all types and sizes must overcome. To be successful as you grow your business, you need to put processes and systems in place that help (not hinder) your team members and keep your clients happy.
What Is a Workflow?
Workflows are chains of tasks that work together to complete a business goal. A task could be anything from onboarding a new client to submitting a tax document. But what is workflow management?
A map of your workflows is a diagram that represents the day-to-day operations of your business and its major systems. Workflows show how tasks relate to other tasks, how long a task takes, who is responsible for it, associated documents, and so on.
With workflow monitoring software like Jetpack Workflow, you can measure where different clients are within the structure of your workflow pipelines. This software also helps you gather data about each task and client so you can pinpoint inefficiencies and adjust accordingly.
3 Signs You Need Help Managing Workflows at Your Firm
The workflow management process is both an art and a science. Like most components of running your own business, some people are better at it than others. It’s important to recognize that, and if you’re not skilled in this area, to find a partner or tool that can help you.
Sign #1: Your team is missing deadlines.
Maybe you’ve closed the deal with this client yourself, and you know that certain tax documents need to be completed at a certain time each quarter. However, a few days after the end of Q2, you get a string of emails from your team that something was missed in the process and the tasks were not completed on-time. Or worse, you get an email with an exclamation point or a call from your client directly. A due date tracking system would be great in this case.
Sign #2: There is confusion over who is responsible for a particular task, project, or part of a project.
Clarifying roles and responsibilities is difficult for many organizations, big or small. But there can be workflow process issues when one team member believes someone else is handling a task. This confusion can lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, or productivity declines.
Sign #3: When your team members cannot manage a project, you feel like you need to do it for them to complete the task correctly.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes when you delegate a task to someone else, they come back with seemingly endless questions. Wouldn’t it be easier to just do it myself? Resist the temptation. You need that person to help you scale your business, so equip them with the tools to accomplish their tasks and succeed in their job.
How Implementing Workflow Management Can Help You Grow Your Firm in 4 Important Ways
We’ve talked to thousands of accounting firm owners, and we know that workflow tools help them be the best owners they can be. Workflow management software can help you manage your business in many ways, but here are just four that sum up the issues CPA firm owners face most often:
1. Workflows help remove distractions and make teams more productive.
Does your team have too much time on their hands? It can take up to 24 minutes to get back on-track after an unexpected interruption or issue arises in the workplace. So, to ensure they’re spending their valuable time wisely while on your dime, the distractions need to be under control.
2. Process mapping clarifies inefficiencies and bottlenecks.
Writing things down on paper helps the mind recall details and tasks much more clearly and often. In the same way, by mapping processes by tasks, project-types, and responsibilities, you can use those datasets to drill down into the details when things get lost, missed, or take longer than expected.
3. Everyone understands their role and individual tasks.
In any given project in a workflow management software, roles will be clearly defined when assigned to specific tasks. This helps ensure everyone on the team understands who is doing what and when. No endless email strings included.
4. You can get back to being an awesome firm owner once again.
Ultimately, you want to get back to working on the things you are best at and most passionate about as a business owner. This is why you decided to go into business in the first place! So letting go of the minute details of individual projects and tasks frees up your mind and time to allow you to focus on growing your business, advancing your team members, and having happy clients.
Workflow Management Made Easier with Jetpack Workflow
You hired team members to grow your business and help you with the tasks and work to ensure that growth. If one or more of the signs above sound like you, it’s time to take your team one step further to managing your firm’s workflows to maximize productivity and better serve your growing client base.
Excited to make your workflow management process easier? Give our 14-day free trial a try, and we’ll help you create your first workflow.