Inefficiency can cost your accounting firm between 20 and 30 percent of its revenue. Time is a finite resource, and you need to figure out how to make the most out of each workday. Identify the top efficiency killers in your firm and implement relevant solutions in order to boost productivity, morale and profit.
1. Automate Your Data Entry
Logging data manually drains your time, especially if you have to enter it more than once. If you're a principal, manager, or anyone else who bills their time, you're wasting money, too. Even when administrative employees are occupied with data entry, they could better use their time on productive activities, like finding revenue-generating opportunities for your practice. Finally no matter who's logging data, they probably feel depleted and want to procrastinate the task after a while.
This is why you should use software that supports automation, whether it's within your billing processes, time and expense entry, business analysis, accounting, or anything else. Furthermore, if you use separate software systems for related work, make sure that they integrate with one another. Doing any kind of automation will not only save time, but also reduce errors.
2. Improve Communication
Adopting a centralized communication tool allows everyone to check the status of an engagement at any time. Ideally, this tool can used to assign tasks, foster communication between team members, and allow for deadline management.
Look for an engagement management system that includes automated billing features and integration with the platform you use to store data and documents. If it has messaging and to-do capabilities, these will also help enhance your firm's communication and collaboration.
3. Drop Archaic Systems
Managing a paper-based system is slow, results in redundancies, and increases your printing-related expenses as well as your environmental footprint. Moving to an electronic system will streamline your workflow and allow multiple employees to access the same files and share updates in real-time.
Some of your old computer-based systems might also need to be replaced. An old system hosted on premise could be replaced by a cloud-based solution that will handle multiple processes and provide you with detailed analytics. A cloud-based CRM solution would also improve the way you communicate with clients.
4. Optimize Task Assignments
Your firm should have a standardized manner of handling engagements. Each step of the process should have a detailed framework, and analytics can report how much time is spent on each task and on each step of the process.
Once you have developed this framework, automate how tasks are assigned. A centralized engagement management system would help keep track of your workload and make sure that everyone's workload is well-balanced. Administrative staff can focus on routine tasks, while your senior accountants' time usage can be optimized by assigning them the engagements that require more extensive analysis.
5. Enable Work on the Go
Being able to work from anywhere is another reason to adopt a cloud-based engagement management solution. Employees using a secure mobile app will be able to communicate with the rest of the team, enter time and expenses, run reports, send bills, update documents, check the status of engagements, and so on, all while traveling or visiting a client.
Your accounting firm would likely benefit from adopting one or more of these efficiency-increasing processes. You should take a good look at your workflows to look for bottlenecks and other obstacles, then find ways to solve them using digital solutions. It might be time to entirely overhaul your workflow or to simply upgrade existing processes with new technologies.