Date posted: 21/06/2019

Three steps to building better operational processes with your team

CA Catalyst highlights three helpful steps to streamlining processes with your staff to ensure the smooth implementation of new technology and workflows into your accounting practice.

In Brief

  • Accounting practices need to leverage people, processes and technology to stay competitive
  • Reviewing workflows helps to identify issues, unnecessary steps, and bottlenecks
  • Management should seek to build a culture in which staff feel able to share their experiences and insights
  • CA Catalyst is delivering a series of Automation workshops in July and August to help you make informed decisions about implementing automation technology

Article written by: Heather Smith CA

Accounting practices can gain a competitive edge by including staff in decisions that improve processes using the changes in technology currently sweeping through society.

We cover three helpful steps to diagnosing and streamlining processes with your staff to ensure the smooth implementation of new technology and workflows.

1. Involve staff in investigating and identifying workflow changes

Start with a clean white board and determine what your practice wants to achieve by aligning business workflows with your strategic objectives.

Involve existing staff in these discussions as they are likely to have a detailed understanding of current workflows and issues affecting efficiencies. Consider engaging external implementation specialists, also known as 'practice cloud integrators', who are knowledgeable about the latest technology. They can review and refine processes and help select and implement software.

Map out your current processes, including the technology you use, and ask these questions:

  • Is there a clear goal for each process?
  • Is the process necessary in the workflow?
  • Can it be automated?

This will help identify any gaps and will ensure there is a clear understanding of the overall workflow, existing issues, unnecessary steps, bottleneck triggers, and ensure the business is in a better position to make informed decisions around potential changes. Online tools that can assist with documenting workflow processes include

  • TeamWork
  • Asana
  • WorkFlowMax
  • Document Management module within MAUS Business Software
Embracing automated, efficient and effective technology workflows helps to replace labour-intensive or repetitive processes.

2. Mobilise staff to own the process changes

When modernising and integrating workflows in your practice, it's essential that your team engage in the process. Keep the communication channels open and keep staff involved in discussions. Ensure staff understand the reasons for the changes and explain how the new technology or refined workflows may affect their roles and daily activities. Be available to answer any questions or concerns staff may have and provide ongoing training and support to help them adapt to the changes.

Consider appointing a 'cloud champion' or 'change agent' who can manage the roll-out of a modernised workflow. This can be a person or a team that drives change management for the practice. They will need to have a good understanding of the accounting technology landscape and be the central point of contact for internal staff and external vendors.

3. Build an open culture of continuous improvement

Management should seek to build a culture of continuous improvement where staff feel open to sharing their experiences and insights. This flow of information can be reviewed, refined and adopted continuously and staff can be encouraged to keep up to date with relevant feature updates. While some staff are naturally more process driven than others, everyone in the practice should be encouraged to take responsibility around streamlining the workflow.

What do you gain?

Embracing automated, efficient and effective technology workflows helps to replace labour-intensive or repetitive processes. Reducing monotony can allow staff to engage in more interesting work and some practices have reported that this has enabled them to add additional income streams, such as management reporting, business analytics, advisory, debtor management, or even reviewing their client's own workflow.

Practice Management Automation Workshop

CA Catalyst has teamed up with leading automation experts to deliver a series of affordable workshops across Australia and New Zealand to help you make informed decisions about adopting automation technology.

Find out more