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Why putting good tech into poor processes gives bad results

9th May 2023
Brought to you by
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Aurelia are the automation and software experts for accountants and finance leads. We want to to...
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As we talked about a few weeks ago, spring is often the time accountants start crafting their shopping lists and hunting for new tech solutions to add to their toolkits. 

But investing in a shiny new piece of tech won’t fix anything unless it’s used correctly — and plugged into processes that are already well thought through. 

That means taking a critical look at the way your internal processes are designed and set up. Otherwise you’re running the risk of poor results and low levels of tech adoption among your team and client-base. 

Good tech in poor processes gives bad results | Aurelia on AccountingWeb
epixx // iStock

Audit your processes

It’s easy for processes to be — and remain — inefficient, simply because that’s how you’ve always done things. 

But taking the time to improve the way your firm operates, making things as slick as possible before you start implementing tech, is one of the best exercises in efficiency you can undertake.

It’s important to think about processes in two ways: your internal way of working, and the way you expect your clients to work and interact with you. 

Let’s look at some examples of processes that can be clunky on both sides:

  • Clients irregularly or incorrectly categorising expenses or not tracking receipts, meaning it’s difficult to determine the impact of transactions accurately 
  • Lack of clarity over who’s responsible for different parts of client engagement, from onboarding to booking calls or answering queries
  • Reports being run for clients because they’ve been done historically, but aren’t providing genuine value or being used correctly
  • Clients being unclear of deadlines or unresponsive to requests for information, meaning lots of chasing!

To audit your existing processes, start by looking closely at the way your team (and clients) carry out each step to spot delays and identify any bottlenecks. 

Are there convoluted approvals processes holding things up for payments, for example? Do invoices need to be collected from several different sources before the data can be put into the system? 

Is each person clear about their own roles and responsibilities? Are your processes themselves documented — or do you need to explain things afresh to new colleagues and clients each time?

Working through any sticky parts of your regular accounting processes, so that you’ve got a good idea of how things could run most smoothly, will allow you to see where automation and smart workflows could have a real impact. 

Audit your existing solutions

Next, it’s time to look at the software solutions you’ve already got in place. Good tech providers are always innovating, building on their products to improve user experience, so it’s a good idea to regularly review how you’re using them.

Ask yourself: are you making the most of your existing tech’s functionality? Perhaps there are new features you haven’t explored, or workarounds you’ve created that elongate things? 

If you’re using tech to its fullest extent, it should ultimately be saving you time. Take financial closing as an example. If your team is using the tools correctly, there shouldn’t be much to reconcile — because most of the data that you’d check and copy across systems has already been done. 

Once you’ve analysed your existing solutions, you’ll be in a strong position to judge whether or not you’ve outgrown your tools. Make sure to evaluate things with your team to find out what’s missing, and what features they could really do with, to check what fits best.

Processes make perfect 

Your tech stack can either create incredible leverage or cause huge inefficiencies; the way it swings ultimately rests on how good your core processes are.

That’s why it’s critical to start with a frank audit of the way you do things — looking for gaps, duplication, or steps you could cut out — and go from there. 

By ironing out your processes first, then selecting tools that meet a genuine need and taking time to implement them properly, you’ll give good tech the best chance of yielding good results.

When was the last time you analysed your processes? Let us help you take a look at the inefficiencies - book a chat with Jasper. And if you're confident your processes are in a good place, take a look at Aurelia. With AR and invoice processing in one tool you can save money, time and brainpower.

Chat with Jasperor Visit Aurelia