There comes a time in every growing accountancy practice when you just can’t keep a handle on everything yourself. You may be working towards this, or perhaps that moment when you needed to let go may have become a distant memory.
Fortunately, in this age of cloud-computing there are powerful software solutions that allow you to grow seamlessly. They let you not only keep on top of a growing client base and workforce, but actually deliver better service and higher productivity than when you did it all manually.
The technical term for what we are talking about is accounting workflow management software.
What is accounting workflow management software?
It is helpful to think of accounting workflow management software as a project management tool. It helps you break down the big task of looking after each client into lots of smaller components. It allows you to allocate each task to the right team-members and track the progress.
But in reality, the impact of accounting workflow management software runs much deeper than just being a project management tool. Used effectively it has the power to transform your practice, drive collaboration and productivity, improve the client experience, help you monitor performance and identify where greater or fewer resources are required.
And because most packages are delivered via the cloud you always receive the latest innovations as the software is updated.
Let’s take a look at how to use accounting workflow management software, and then explore the benefits in greater detail.
How does accounting workflow management software work?
It is normally best to start by deciding which projects to manage within your software package. Is it a holistic approach or something more specific like an upcoming tax season? In the end you will get the most value by using it across your firm, but you have to start somewhere.
Next, when you are setting up your tasks, it is essential to populate them with as much information as will be useful. It may front-load the work a bit, but as a team you will function much better with the right information on hand. As with any system, the quality of the output is partly decided by the input.
Use your system to identify your priorities and work towards them in the order of importance. It will help you meet deadlines, feel in control and avoid missing any must-do tasks. These systems are built with teamwork in mind, so once all the information is inputted you can allocate tasks to your employees. This is what it is all about, freeing you up by giving you the confidence that all the work is being done.
With your team at work efficiently, you can keep an eye on things, be on hand to help or answer questions, share files and information and see when tasks become complete.
The benefits of accounting workflow management software
As we have suggested, accounting workflow management software is packed with benefits:
Gone are the days when you have to hold all the information in your head, or risk things getting missed from the to-do list. The top examples of this kind of software will help you itemise tasks, assign specific jobs to specific people, leverage templates, track time and the journey towards your project goals.
As well as managing tasks you can manage people and team work. These workflow management tools have great functionality for sharing files securely, communicating within teams, and granting people different levels of access according to their station. Because they make workflow so transparent, they bring a new level of accountability – it is all there to see when something has not been done.
Due to their capacity to track workflows and store files, accounting workflow management systems are a great way to keep and access records. The best ones will both be secure and make it easy to retrieve information when required – be that for a team meeting or because a client is requesting it.
In order to deliver a seamless service to your clients you need efficient systems underpinning your practice, and this type of software is perfect for fulfilling that role. Depending on which package you go for, you should be able to issue communications directly from the software, be reminded of key times of year for each client and keep documents at your fingertips ready for client meetings.
When you run your practice through workflow software, the data on your operations that it allows you to interrogate is invaluable. It can give you real insight into the performance of your team – where you are doing well, where there are gaps. This can feed into performance reviews, help inform recruitment decisions, and identify where you can make efficiency gains.
Automation and integrations
Software often comes into its own when it allows you to automate repetitive tasks or it integrates with other digital tools you use, and accounting workflow packages are no different.
At PracticeWeb, we always choose our software partners based on the functionality that we know accounting clients need. This means that our websites are always built with integrations in mind and the workflow management software we recommend will plug into popular bookkeeping, comms and other business software.
Our websites for accountants are designed to attract your ideal clients, turn visitors into leads and enable your firm to measure your return on investment.