The standard accountant works 40 hours a week, but specialty accountants tend to work longer hours. The accounting department handles all financial transactions, statements, among other duties. An efficient accounting department is integral to a business’s success, but that’s easier said than done for most businesses.
A lot of businesses struggle with improving accounting workflow. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to ensure an efficient accounting process. The entire process should ensure the seamless flow of information to all concerned parties.
If you’re having trouble streamlining your accounting workflow, worry not; we’re here to help. Today, we’ll be highlighting a few ways your business can improve its accounting workflow for better productivity.
- Isolate the Most Crucial Business Processes
To identify the most crucial accounting processes, you must first look at what processes your business can’t do without. These are the processes that would bring your business to a halt, should they stall or be disrupted. A few examples of these processes include:
- Accounts receivable process
- Accounts payable process
- Payroll management
These are just a couple of processes you should isolate to optimize them and improve accounting workflow. Deal with each process separately, first, before taking the holistic approach to improving accounting workflow.
- Blueprint All Accounting Processes
Create a blueprint of the accounting processes to make them easier to interpret. A great way of doing so is by creating a flowchart of the accounting processes. The flowchart should show information flow and how different facest of the accounting department interrelate
Make sure your accounting flowchart captures the following information:-
- Members of staff involved with a particular workflow
- Client involvement frequency in every process
- Time, money, and materials needed for each process
- Results accuracy in every process
The more detailed you are, the better you can figure out what aspects of your accounting workflow needs improvement. As such, make sure you capture particular micro metrics like time taken to enter data, conduct research or disburse payments. Also, try to split payment types into categories instead of dealing with jumbled-up payments.
- Define Roles and Points of Collaboration
It’s imperative to understand what roles and responsibilities each employee in the accounting department play. Understanding each employee’s roles can help enhance accountability and eliminate confusion. It can also enhance collaboration within the accounting department for improved efficiency.
Giving employees specific roles helps them understand their contribution and own their roles. Have open discussions with your employees on how they can collaborate better for better productivity.
- Replace Paper Work With Digital Technology
Accounting entails handling copious amounts of data, even for small businesses. There’s always an existential risk of losing or mishandling data. It’s also possible for a competitor or business rival to steal your data.
Dealing with paperwork makes your data very susceptible to theft, mishandling, or destruction. A much better alternative would be to transfer your data to a digital platform. Digital technology also reduces the chances of error, inaccurate entry and improves overall efficiency.
Here are a couple of reasons why you should switch to digital technology:
- To keep your data secure from theft or unauthorized acquisition
- To reduces the time it takes to bookkeep for faster transaction processing
- To make data flow seamless with only a few clicks
- To make data access and retrieval easier, instead of rummaging through a pile of papers
Switching to digital technology can also help your company some money. You don’t have to spend a bundle on paper and ink because you can now attach documents to emails and send them to your clients.
- Embrace the Latest Technologies
Move with the time and embrace all the latest technology to enhance the efficiency and synchrony of your accounting processes. New technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence have found plenty of use in the accounting sector.
Embracing new technologies like software, bid data, and cloud computing better places your accounting department for ultimate efficiency. Here are a couple of technologies you should consider adopting to improve your accounting workflow:
Blockchain: Blockchain is a ledger of transactions spread over a network of users that can’t be altered. Blockchain ensures accurate identity management and helps keep track of client information.
Big data: This is an endless store of data crucial for analytics and developing strategies for better collaboration and productivity.
Cloud computing: Cloud technology allows the safe storage of data in non-physical media. That way, any authorized entity can retrieve the data from anywhere around the world.
Artificial intelligence (AI): Helps the accounting department reduce errors, redundancy and increase efficiency. AI takes over tasks that humans would otherwise handle and does them much faster while eliminating human errors.
Accounting software: Accounting software helps you keep accurate records, simplifies analytics and calculation, and enhances communication. Particular software can also supplement workflow management to boost efficiency in the accounting department.
Most of these new technologies require quite a bit of monetary investment, but they are worth every penny. Also, liaise with your IT department to ensure they have the necessary equipment and staff to handle the technologies in question. In some cases, a little training is necessary before you can roll out the technologies for use.
- Empower and Motivate Your Employees
Employees are the lifeblood of any business. As such, you need to motivate your employees to do more and maintain a conducive work environment. A little motivation will go a long way in improving workflow in any department. Here’s how you can boost your employees’ drive to do more and work harder:
Speak freely to your employees and encourage a culture of openness. That way, your employees can share their grievances and suggestion, and you can work out a way forward. Being free with your employees encourages workplace camaraderie and facilitates a healthy work environment for your workers.
Encourage employees to level up their skills and give promotions where necessary. This encourages your employees to grow their skills so they can climb the corporate ladder.
Also, be more stringent with your recruitment process and only welcome the best talent into your accounting department. Underqualified and unmotivated staff only hurt your accounting department’s efficiency.
Workflow Processes You Need to Have on Lock
Accounting is a culmination of processes that work in synchrony to achieve the intended result. We already mentioned some key processes you need to keep your eye on to streamline your workflow. Apart from those mentioned above, here are a few other processes and workflows you can’t afford to get wrong.
Sales qualification basically means how likely a prospect will translate into a client/customer. It predicts the success of your marketing endeavors and whether the company meets its projected sales.
Having the sales qualification process down pat means that the business is focused on bringing the right customers/clients onboard. This greatly reduces the time the business uses hunting down leads and converting them to customers. It also saves money that you would otherwise spend on chasing down the wrong prospects.
Clients want professional advice as much as they want your products. Ensure your department is well-poised to offer appropriate advice to customers and clients on demand. You should have a strategic plan in place that ensures clients receive professional advice from the right people.
Keep in mind that there’s a huge probability that your clients will keep you accountable for every piece of advice you offer. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the department gives advice that adds actual value and addresses the clients’ grievances.
Proper communication is at the core of every successful business. Communication is more important if your accounting department has remote branches. You should ensure clear and consistent communication across all branches to ensure continuity and maintain productivity.
For the greatest results, you should try adopting a systematic approach to communication. To do this, you need to connect all communication to the task at hand and the intended result. You must also centralize your communication to a distinct location.
This location is where all your staff and clients will get information if they need clarification on any matter. Ensure your responsiveness is as efficient as possible, even if it means expanding the workforce.
Customer Onboarding Process
New customers mean that business is good, but is your accounting department ready for the new entries. Ensure you absorb any new customers as soon as possible. You can do this by ensuring seamless communication and responsive customer service.
Streamline Accounting Workflow
The above information is all you need to improve your accounting workflow and enhance your overall productivity. Remember to get everyone on board s you can work as a holistic unit. Also, talk to your IT department to implement some of the solutions mentioned above correctly.
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