Today, accounting firms are not just limited to crunching numbers or maintaining logs for the cash spent. They have upgraded to provide financial consultancy, build strategies for clients to stay compliant, guide customers through their tax filing processes to get maximum advantage, and much more.
However, there are situations when some of the accounting firms feel their processes slow down due to inefficiency. These inefficiencies can emerge from the CPAs’ and accountants’ needs to diversify their profiles to make the most out of their knowledge.
Moreover, keeping compliant with the diverse tax laws and regulations rolled out by the IRS regularly also hamper the efficiency of accounting firms. The need to adopt digital methods has become a necessity in the current scenario. Making the switch to a digital platform can also add to the inefficiencies in the accounting firm.
The good thing is, there are several measures that an accounting firm can incorporate in their workflows to be more efficient and get more work done. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Plan The Workflow
Perhaps the best thing that any accounting firm can do to improve their efficiency is to plan their workflow effectively. A workflow defines a step-by-step procedure to complete a process to get the desired results.
A well-planned workflow helps the accountants to prioritize tasks according to their relevance. This will result in improved productivity, satisfied clients, a higher number of billable hours, and increased cash flow. It will also allow the firm to stay ahead in the competition.
A few things to consider while planning the workflow for the accounting firm are:
- Divide each project into processes and assign those processes to the workforce efficiently.
- Create multiple checkpoints for each process to obtain desired results.
- Keep the customer in the loop with the completion of processes and ask for their feedback on the same.
- Prioritize each task and activity based on the relevancy of the project.
2. Choose Software Over Paper
The accounting firms have transformed themselves majorly in recent decades by adopting the digital platform instead of paper. Earlier, creating a balance sheet, financial report, or any other accounting-related report required a lot of typing, printing, and other tedious tasks.
However, with digitization, accountants can undeniably get more work done by working on accounting software. There are a number of accounting software available in the market to choose from based on functions like bookkeeping, billing, document management, tax filing, etc. Digital accounting:
- Automates manual tasks helping bookkeepers, and accountants to create better financial reports.
- Allows accounting firms to complete more projects in less time, increasing the overall profits of the firm.
- Ensures the advanced security of sensitive client information and keeps it safe from scammers or hackers.
- Eases the accessing of the data stored digitally compared to scanning enormous heaps of books for even a small piece of information.
Besides, making the switch to digital accounting from traditional paper accounting is extremely simple. CPAs can share documents over the Internet instead of printing and then mailing them.
3. Find The Right Target Audience
Accounting firms are often worried about getting more billable hours in less time for the overall growth of the firm as well as the workforce. However, that entirely depends on the type of customers the firm has closed the deal with.
Sometimes, the customers will have the same vision as the firm and will be willingly collaborating with the accountants to reach the goals. However, there will be customers who will have a different perspective and expectations.
They would have a traditional method of working contrasting from your digital ways. In such cases, the firm can be at crossroads with them if they are reluctant to update their platforms or meet midway to work efficiently. This implies that they are not the best fit for the firm.
Thus, the accounting firms can consider prequalifying the customers before engaging with them to ensure that they have the same objectives. Firms can assign a team to observe their current clients for determining how their best customers look like. Customers that trust the firm will help through each phase of the process.
Consider growing progressively strong, commonly useful associations with your customers to guarantee that you are both capitalizing on the organization. Finding such customers and creating a persona will help firms to grow.
4. Make Use Of Cloud Technology
Change is inevitable with time, and the accounting industry is evolving as well to keep up with the evolving times. The implementation of trend-setting cloud technology is no more forbidden in the field of accounting. Hence, accounting firms are using cloud computing technology to improve their efficiency and productivity.
Also, the job of an accounting professional is no more restricted to making financial sheets for their clients. The bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs are embracing the features of cloud technology to provide streamlined and efficient results to the customers.
Cloud-based accounting methods help to share data and manage reports more easily. Accounting professionals can work with other team members or clients based at different locations on the same file at the same time.
Cloud technology also eliminates the need for additional IT infrastructure on-premises, saving money. It accelerates the processes and reduces the time that it takes to finish certain tasks. Further, cloud provides high-end security measures, such as two-factor authentication, multiple firewalls, end-to-end protection, and much more.
The efficiency of an accounting firm cannot be improved overnight. It requires the combined efforts of the people working in the firm to achieve the desired goals. One of the essential things that accounting firms often overlook is figuring out which section of the firm is causing inefficiencies.
Also, figuring out a plan that works best for the firm, and dividing the processes into several tasks may take a while.