Learning how to a robust bookkeeping workflow diagram can be challenging, but in today’s post, we want to walk you through 3 critical phases of the workflow for your bookkeeping, accounting, and/or CPA Firm or Practice.
When you’re developing a bookkeeping workflow, it’s a good idea to separate different stages into “buckets”, so you can identify the areas that need improved. Let’s go into three common workflow “buckets” during the bookkeeping workflow.
How to start:
Organize yourself and/or your team together with a white board, post it notes, pen and paper, mind mapping software like xmind, or your project workflow software. At this stage, the tool isn’t important, just use whatever one will get you up and running the fastest. For many, this means going to the white board or post it notes and mapping everything out. That is a great start… the goal of this stage is to get everything out of your head (related video here)!
Bucket 1: Request and Receive
During this phase, we focus entirely on receiving the proper documentation from the client. This includes the client expectations during the on boarding phase, their understanding of getting you the right documentation, their ability to do so, and the firm or practice providing clear instructions on how to submit or sync this information. You’ll notice a common bottleneck in this process is getting client information incomplete (or not all at all), or sometimes complete but very,very late! The goal is to ID these bottlenecks and then try to understand WHY this is happening. Then ask “How can we make this process easier to the client so we can get complete information in a timely manner?” But this question only comes into play once you’ve laid out all the pieces in your workflow.
Bucket 2: Process and Fulfill
The next step would to lay out all the step required to complete the bookkeeping engagement. In this step, similar to the previous ones, we lay out every task required and look for bottlenecks in the process. For example, is there a significant amount of information that is being sent back because all the documentation wasn’t properly submitted? This issue is part of “bucket 1”. Or, are there other steps that need to be considered?
Bucket 3: Review and Complete
Finally, we look at the review and completion of the job. This includes the final review process, final client communications for that job, payment options (also include payments in your workflow, or else they will be ignored!), and any additional client meetings or reports. This is also a part of the workflow where additional services, suggestions, or even referrals can be requested or reviewed.
With that in mind, the first step is to visualize your bookkeeping workflow, then after the baseline is established, begin to identify key areas that can improve productivity and profitability.