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7 signs your accounting practice needs better workflow management [and how to solve them]

5th Nov 2019
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uku
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Accounting workflow management is notoriously plagued by starts and stops. 

According to research, accountants in practice work an average of 42.09 hours a week. Industry accountants work a slightly higher average of 43.05 hours a week, demonstrating that accountants work significantly longer hours than usual.

If this sounds like you or your accounting business, maybe it is because you are experiencing any of the 7 problems outlined below, now is the time to address them. 

It is time to set the stage for efficient accounting workflows for years to come.

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1. Management of missing information 

Problems with accountancy workflows tend to arise as soon as source documents are received. 

Firms are only made aware of any missing vital information when they begin the review stage. 

Your staff need to know what information is present. Missing files cause delays and waste everyone’s time.

Tip: You should keep the linear aspect of the workflow by adding optional stages after the preparation and review stages. 

For example, add a notification within your workflow when a client fails to supply all the necessary documentation. 

Workflows are paused until all materials are obtained. Software like Uku has a task checklist so users are aware when documentation is missing.

Plus, accounting software has the function to assign files and tasks to those who need to add their input should the workflow be paused. 

Having this level of workflow control identifies suspension in the workflow and what information is needed to get the process moving again. 

2. Tracking work in progress and on-demand reporting 

Accounting is demanding on your resources: 

  • scheduling work
  • monitoring the status on each task and 
  • keeping the staff productively moving the work forward 

A lack of knowledge on a clients case smacks of unprofessionalism. Appearing professional is critical to both your accounting practice's revenue and reputation. 

If this sounds like your firm, then you are adding more unneeded stress to your practice. You do not need this on top stressful periods throughout the year, for example, when tax returns are due at the end of each January. 

Tip: This issue is resolved by having the capability to report on work in process and the various task stages at a moment's notice. 

You will no longer have to scan information online, download a report and read it.

By being able to filter reports by drilling down into their details means you can locate the required information your client needs.

3. When due dates cause panic

Accountancy practices fret about missing something when client and task due dates become closer. 

Have I included all the necessary documentation?

Did I check all the specific boxes unique to my client?

Should I re-read the entire process to double-check?

Any of the above questions sends shudders down an accountant's spine. Checking and rechecking only drains further hours on you or your staff's resources.

Tip: The answer to this problem is whether your firm can perform real-time reporting. 

When dealing with accounting due dates, having the ability to check en masse, accountancy tasks and their workflow stages, ensures staff identify when something is missing or is not completed. 

Furthermore, staff can extend or amend due dates and in the process, remove the panic that often comes with approaching due dates. 

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