Accounting firms searching for workflow management tools for accountants and support staff need a finance-specific solution. The ideal system can be tailored for their particular needs in the context of the services they provide, including playing a role as a third-party service.
Automation designed to support financial management firms with task-tracking, workflows, and team collaboration is the answer. The scope of a system’s utility should work for boutique hedge fund managers and large-scale asset management firms, while drilling down to individual responsibility areas, including accounting management.
What Is A Workflow Management Tool for Accounting Firms?
Whether you are a bookkeeper, CPA, or an accountant, work for your clients involves a series of steps that ensure accuracy and competence. Not every client, of course, requires the same steps each time, but as professionals, you review all those steps, if only in the back of your mind.
Within each major task, sub-tasks often exist which also need attention. To raise confidence levels in quality performance for yourself—and your clients—having a codified checklist that you run through each time can ensure you are following established procedures. Taken together, this sequencing of tasks is your workflow management for accounting.
A software platform that acts as a workflow and project management tool can track all these elements. Using one as a checklist, however, is the foundation for more tools and benefits. Built into the workflows, you can set reminders and notifications to help keep you focused on task as well as remind you of things you have had to put on hold or alert your colleagues that their input is necessary.
Who Needs A Workflow Tool and What Problems Does It Solve?
From a management perspective, decision-makers need to look at the big picture of how their businesses perform best practices. Large or small, independent consultants or large accounting firms, you need to approach their accounting procedures with rigor and security.
Single entrepreneurs and small firms soon realize they need some kind of organizational tool to monitor their workflow. Often, the first go-to is setting up a spreadsheet—the favorite for accounting the world over.
They work well, up to a point, but their utility becomes limited over time. They do not have much flexibility, must be manually updated in a slow manner, and do not have easy tools for running routine tasks. As your business grows, the efficiency and speed of spreadsheets declines because they do not have useful scalability.
For medium to large firms, spreadsheets become a frustration as more than one person needs to use a common tracking and data source. Only one person can edit at a time, people forget to log-out preventing access to others, and the notification process for completion of a task is virtually non-existent.
Many firms try to address this problem by purchasing a project-oriented software solution. They soon discover that the software does not address all their needs—and can’t be upgraded for their specific issues—and does not have the flexibility to add other departments into the process for company-wide collaboration.
Why You Need the Right Workflow and Project Management System
The best solution will solve these problems with its breadth of features, flexibility, and scalability. It should work exceedingly well on a small scale as a workflow management tool for accounting as well as a large enterprise solution for global firms.
You need to know if it’s a cloud-based platform? Can it be implemented impressively quickly—even in less than a day for small shops or individual departments? Once the initial planning is established, can it be built on and expanded into the sophisticated data management tool you may need?
Can Your System Keep Up with Your Growth?
Software automation can be designed to work through your process of acquiring and onboarding new clients by providing a step-by-step prompting process that ensures nothing is forgotten. Ongoing clients can have their own access to their accounts with up-to-date, real-time information and reporting functions that are produced directly from within the system.
For team collaboration, as each task is completed, the next task—and the person responsible for it—is initiated with proper notifications that the time to act has arrived. For staff that relies on other departments for information, they can access the workflow tracking features of those departments for status and notification as well as understand who they need to contact for pending information.
With the demand for productivity, efficiency, and speed within the financial market place, accounting businesses need to be in a strong position to meet that demand whether they are a sole professional, an independent company, or a third-party vendor service for larger firms that depend on them.
The right system will put your firm on the fast-track to client satisfaction and impressive growth.