Without fail, the New Year is almost always followed by a yearly planning session to determine goals, strategies, and tactics for a new year of prosperity. As a business owner, expanding your business should be on your mind, and many entrepreneurs have trouble making sense of what they need to accomplish in order to acquire more profit in the New Year. The number one thing that any business owner can execute to improve the bottom line, obtain the bandwidth to bring on new customers, and increase revenue is to adopt a workflow management system or update an existing workflow management system to improve the overall efficiency and response time of the business.
Workflow Management Systems Explained
Workflows effectively automate repeated tasks to help streamline internal processes of your business. When properly established, workflows can decrease human errors and increase the overall efficiency of your business. With that, a workflow management system is the collection of tools, software, and people that are involved in completing those workflows. A workflow management system such as Cloud Practice Accounting or QuickBooks allows you to set up your workflow just once, and then they repeat at regular intervals.
The steps involved in workflow management involve mapping out your ideal workflow from start to finish, finding any redundant or repeatable tasks, automating those processes, and then reviewing the overall process to identify and eliminate any bottlenecks.
Let’s say that you manage an accounting firm, and every year you have your staff put together quotes for last year’s accounting services and send out new engagement letters to existing clients. Would it save your company time and labor costs if your workflow management system was able to automatically send out these engagements? By harnessing a workflow management system or accounting management software, you could automate this process and devote your staff’s attention to other, more urgent matters.
Benefits of Implementing a Workflow Management System
Implementing or improving a workflow management system should be at the top of your “business New Year’s resolution” list if it isn’t already. Having a workflow management system in place is extremely valuable and offers the benefits necessary to improve the overall efficiency of your business. Here are just a handful of the benefits you’ll receive by taking the necessary steps to adopt streamlined workflows into your business.
If your business hasn’t spent much time structuring itself, you may notice that some departments or employees aren’t able to share information with others efficiently or frequently. Lack of communication is one of the most common problems to business efficiency, but luckily, is one of the easiest to fix. With a well thought out workflow and a workflow management system in place, you can incorporate critical workplace communication into everyday activities and enhance everyone’s visibility of vital processes. In fact, a good workflow management system will often have this type of information sharing as a core feature.
Better Performance Measurement
It’s been said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Without the ability to monitor performance at each step of a workflow, companies spend too much time and effort only to obtain a fragmented view of the company’s overall results without a broad, overarching view of how the company is actually measuring up to its business objectives. When you implement a workflow management system the right way, you’ll provide your business leadership with a clear, top-level view of your business performance. This information is crucial to answering the questions about if you are delivering results and effectively improving processes.
Identify Bottlenecks and Redundancies
Once you are able to measure your workflows, you’ll be better equipped to find and fix redundant tasks that your workforce is involved in on a daily basis. Eliminating these redundant tasks and bottlenecks adds real value to your business by eliminating wasted time and allowing employees to focus on the important tasks that can’t be handled as efficiently by a workflow management system.
Improve Customer Service
If you’ve ever been on the customer side of a business transaction with a company who doesn’t have an efficient workflow in place, you know how frustrating it can be. If you’ve been in business for longer than a day, you also know that the lifeblood of any stellar organization is placing the customer at the forefront of all your business processes. A workflow management system helps your employees provide faster customer service responses in a manner that is specifically tailored to each customer. By doing so, you’ll be able to improve your customer retention and improve the overall customer experience.
Utilizing a standard operating procedure to set rules and standards for your business operations not only helps improve the customer experience, but can also be intertwined to enhance compliance by avoiding deviations from the way things should be done. By mapping all your workflows you are better equipped to ensure that compliance measures are met.
With properly set up workflows, everyone involved in your business processes knows exactly what needs to be done and who will perform certain tasks. By choosing a workflow management system that allows for task assignments, you’ll be able to determine problem areas without micromanaging your team.
Workflow Management Systems Aren’t Perfect
It should be added that workflow management systems aren’t perfect and can still be susceptible to errors. This is especially true when a mistake is made upon initial set up or tasks that are automated change during the natural course of business. An effective workflow still requires that someone, or a workflow action group, periodically check all workflows and make sure they are still accurate. For example, an accounting client has had bookkeeping and annual tax planning services for the previous five years, but decides that they want to bring bookkeeping in-house. They contact your office admin and advise them of the change, but if your company’s workflow management system isn’t updated the client could end up getting an inaccurate engagement letter next year. Periodic audits of your workflows are crucial to preventing this type of error which might damage your company’s credibility.
Workflow Management Solutions
In 2019, there are an overwhelming amount of tools available in the marketplace that brand themselves as workflow management solutions. It can be a daunting task to find the right solution for your business with so many options. So how can you ensure you choose the correct solution? While pressing matters in the business may arise, you must devote time to first properly map out all the processes involved with the delivery of your services. Once this is done, you’ll be able to identify areas of need and what performance you want to be able to measure and manage. With these key performance areas (KPIs) in mind, you’ll be ready to find a workflow management solution that meets your company’s unique needs. By choosing a workflow management system that is cloud-based, easily integrates with your other software tools, and that measures and reports on your businesses’ KPIs, you’ll set yourself up for better business by increasing efficiency of your day to day activities.
Accounting firms looking for a workflow management system that envelopes improved sales and marketing abilities with a workflow management process specifically geared towards improving efficiency for the accounting industry should contact Cloud Practice Accounting online or by phone at 844-464-8472 for additional information on how we can grow your business.