What technology and tools do you use in your Practice? The response to this question is likely the same across most firms:
- Practice management software
- Tax software
- Audit software
- Excel and other Office Tools
What these and the many other tools CPAs use in their Practice have in common is they focus primarily on specific tasks that need to be performed for the client. What they don’t address is how the work is processed and managed by the firm.
That’s where workflow comes in. Workflow touches virtually every part of your firm – and you are doing it today – but it may not be well automated or managed. For example, the engagement letter often falls through the cracks in many firms. The firm performs the work, reviews it with their client and then realize they don’t have a signed engagement letter. A simplified version of this workflow would be:
Complete Client Work>>>Execute Engagement Letter Fire Drill>>>Look Unorganized to Your Client
A great first step to figuring out your firm’s workflow is by shining light on the existing ways you service your clients and your firm’s internal process management. You need to figure out how work gets assigned and executed in your organization. This gives you the opportunity to redefine and standardize how work gets done. Your workflow solution can then be set up to facilitate the most efficient and effective process for your firm.
What if you are using one of the CPA suite solutions? Since all the applications are on one platform, doesn’t that mean workflow is built in? The short answer is no. The longer answer can be found in this article. Just remember, it’s up to you to define how the work is prepared and processed in your firm!