Professional services firms can easily get bogged down in manual, labor-intensive management functions such as project tracking, time management, accounting, billables, expense management, lead tracking and forecasting.
Since these are business functions, most managers don’t view them as wasted time, but they can be done a lot more efficiently and that opportunity cost is often overlooked. In fact, failing to automate these processes is so inefficient that it can result in losing as much as 20 percent or more of firm revenues.
Additionally, so much information in modern businesses and professional services firms are housed in varying technology platforms. Although most of those platforms have now moved to the cloud, the data from different areas of the business often exist in silos that cannot interact with each other. This is as great a loss as inefficient workflow processes since more connected data allows management to dive deeper and gain more insight into business performance, logjams and projections.
If you’re ready to help your firm digitize its workflow and reduce the inefficiencies and data issues of the manual processes that too many rely on, this post will help you identify great places to start.
Digital Invoicing and Payments
This goes two ways: inbound and outbound. Your accounts receivable (AR) will get healthier as you encourage your clients to pay you electronically, which has been shown to dramatically reduce the amount of time between when they receive your invoice, and when they pay.
And for accounts payable (AP), by paying electronically you can ensure vendor, utility and other bills are paid on time without penalty, and can even gain reward points if using certain business payment cards.
All in all, streamlining day-to-day operations like AP, AR, billing, and expense management can greatly reduce manual processes that are time wasters.
Tracking Projects and Engagements
Keeping a better eye on the status of projects will help ensure that those projects stay on track. You will also be better able to identify bottlenecks that are hurting productivity, and automatic notifications can keep management on top of key deadlines, issues, and productivity goals. All client communication can also be tracked with project information, giving users better insight into all matters related to it.
With digital integration of staffing, project, financial and other business data, and with the reduction of manual reporting and paper-based processes, firms with a digital workflow increase their efficiency through the use of customizable dashboards and automated reporting that sifts through the data to produce the insight management needs to maintain a competitive advantage and guide their clients.
The leading workflow automation and practice management systems, like BQE Core, now offer artificial intelligence capabilities and machine learning, which let users dig deeper into their data simply by using their voice and asking their smart devices to perform analysis, find comparative data, pinpoint logjams, determine profit ratios, notify you of pending AP or AR items, and find out the most profitable services and staff within the firm.
These business analysis features can do a deep dive into financials, and also keep you abreast of your to-do list, and make suggestions as to how to improve your productivity.
Being able to work on client services from home shouldn’t be any different than working from the office. Professionals must have the same, full-powered functionality regardless of their location, and the freedom to move about as they need to. Digital workflow management systems like the powerful tools in BQE Core enable firm staff and management to maintain the highest levels of productivity, wherever they are working from, which can also be a benefit in attracting and retaining highly-skilled staff.
Digitizing your workflow can unlock more powerful back-office accounting, including automated reconciliations with bank account integration, financial statement generation, forecasting, more accurate GL and charts of accounts.
Thanks to intelligent systems that can cross-reference data, the user can access more powerful analytics. Above all else, digital workflows save time and give you greater insight into your firm. If you’re ready to begin digitizing your workflow, BQE CORE is the perfect place to begin.