When was the last time you stepped back and looked at all of the different tech tools and software solutions you’re using to run your practice? Are they still serving you, do your team know how to use them (correctly), and are there any opportunities to revisit previously tried and true ways of working for new productivity punches?
If you think it might be time to jump in the helicopter and revisit some of your ways of working, here are 3 tools and tips you might like to consider to help you turbocharge your productivity across 3 key business areas.
Our practices are full of paper – albeit mostly electronic these days. But the shift from notepad to Notepad has led to huge variation in how documents are stored and managed. Even when systems are in place to help your team manage the wealth of documents they work on, many cut corners – in fact 23% of those in accounting, advisory, and management consulting firms admitted to keeping documents as attachments in email! Poor document management can be incredibly costly: searching for documents costs professional services firms nearly $4,000 in lost productivity per employee each month!
Tool: Implementing a robust document management platform can help you significantly reduce the cost, and headaches, that come with managing a multitude of files. Integrating with all practice management platforms, HowNow’s intelligent filing and search capabilities let you say goodbye to the pain of trawling through files on an endless quest for a mislabelled document.
Tip: Document the documents
When it comes to implementing a new document management system, make sure you take the time to thoroughly consider and document how your practice interacts with client information. Map out important fields and implement a structure naming convention. The most important part of your file name is the document’s description – so take the time to create a filing reference sheet / guide for your practice, and review and update this regularly.
Once you get what you need from your clients, it’s vital that your systems and process support your team to process the work efficiently and effectively. That can be hard when your main data source – your client’s ledger file – is different for every client!
Tool: Solutions like Reportance make it easy to import, edit and generate reports regardless of your client’s own accounting package. To really amp up the productivity, integrate Reportance with Smart Workpapers to easily complete reconciliations, calculations, and other proactive tax planning activities while maintaining quality control.
Tip: Paint a picture
A picture is worth a thousand words, and solutions like these also make it easy to generate graphic client reports for inclusion in your standard report packs. Including visual cash flow, net income generated, or family group structure reports can lead to engaging and dynamic conversations in your annual meetings. Talk about being efficient AND effective.
Our teams aren’t the only ones becoming tech savvy – more and more clients want to be able to communicate with their accountant quickly and across a variety of channels. Gone are the days of posting bulky parcels full of paper, many clients expect to be able to access a copy of their annual reports from their pocket – having them easily on hand for bank dealings and business deals.
Tool: With malicious emails on the rise, secure document portals provide protection and productivity when it comes to sharing files with clients. There are a host of portals on the market, such as HowNow Portal which includes integrated document signing to provide a reliable and secure solution to send, sign, and store important files, easily accessible in one place for your clients.
Tip: Take them on the journey
The key when implementing a portal solution is to plan ahead and support your clients during the transition – communicate the benefits and make the process as smooth and simple as possible for them. We can provide you with a handy checklist to help you out – click here to download.
Luckily, accounting is an industry with no shortage of tools to help us be more productive. The key is in ensuring you support your team in the adoption of different technology solutions with the right training and awareness, and that you regularly review your systems and processes to make sure they’re still serving you and helping you work smarter.
If you’d like to find out more about how your practice productivity could benefit from one of the Business Fitness solutions: click here to register for an online demonstration, or get in touch with our team here.
Brad Geelan | Business Fitness | www.businessfitness.com.au
Brad also co-ordinates the annual benchmarking study “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Australian Accounting Profession.”
In his spare time you will find Brad in the backyard playing cricket with his two boys.