Date posted: 18/04/2019 3 min read

Workflow automation explained – top 5 tips from the experts

Demystifying workflow automation – the reality and opportunities.

In Brief

  • Chartered Accountants must begin automating their practices now
  • Digital transformation opens many opportunities for growth
  • Taking your staff on the journey is key
  • CA Catalyst hosted a webcast on Workflow Automation with a panel of experts who shared their top tips for implementing solutions

Be bold, involve and train your staff from the start, don't fear automation – the opportunities it offers are vast. It's as simple as that. If a one-hour group discussion can be boiled down to one sentence then digital transformation, while inevitable, is exciting, highly productive and profitable. Yes, it has some people running scared but that is the myth rather than the reality.

The reality

Automation is transforming accounting with or without you. If you ignore the opportunity automation provides, you run the risk of being overrun by your competitors who have already leveraged those opportunities. Legacy systems can no longer deliver the modern solutions and services demanded by clients. Simply, it is time for a change.

Top 4 key opportunities:

  1. Driving efficiency in compliance.
  2. Automating transaction processing.
  3. More time to work strategically with clients.
  4. Increase staff satisfaction and attract new business.
"Automation is positive, bring your staff with you, let them be advocates, let them be champions."

Expert advice: top tips for demystifying workflow automation

  • David Weickhardt, MYOB General Manager of Products: Aim high and think positively. You will find the journey becomes easier as you progress. And work with others to do it. It's vitally important, at a holistic level, for organisations to think about how to optimise their business, so they don't optimise one part only to find they get stuck in a dead end where their systems don't talk to each other.
  • Heather Smith, ANISE Solutions, Chartered Accountant: I recommend two apps, Zoom and Loom. They both have free options and will help with training clients and staff internally – both of which are vital in this progressive changing environment. Zoom is a face-to-face conversational app, so you can talk with people in real time. Loom allows you to create short online training videos, and send a link to the client and say, "Watch this”. They can watch it in their own time. You can use these tools to help overcome some of the small hurdles that pop up when encouraging a client to adopt a solution and for ongoing efficient communications with the client.
  • Joe Pien, Principal of Joe Pien Chartered Accountants and Co-Founder of Zapdat: Get out there, start identifying all the mundane functions that are holding you back and move on. You've got to address them in the provision of your services because if you don't, without addressing automation and what you're doing, you're going to fall behind. People are looking for chartered accountants to help them become more profitable and efficient, so you must look at your own functions and what you're doing. If you can get on top of that, you will find the time to help your client.
  • Sue Pak, Head of Accounting at Xero: I recently surveyed a large group of accountants and asked them what's hindering you from making the move to digital transformation or from having different conversations with your clients, changing what you're doing? Fifty-seven per cent said, "Time. I literally just don't have time." And another 18% said, "Confidence." Too many people are just working and doing their job, day in day out. My advice is to block out some time to take a break from your practice. If you don't it will hold you back in the long run. Look outwards. Don't be isolated.
  • Geraldine Magarey, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Leader of Research and Thought Leadership: You've got to bring your staff along with you, from the very beginning. Automation is a positive thing. Let your staff be advocates and champions. Take away that fear factor. Ensure they see the benefits for their own work, career and development. This is where work is going, and they are going to learn a skill they can take with them for life, whether it's in your business or their next move.

Watch the Workflow Automation Webcast by CA Catalyst

Hear more from the experts in our one-hour webcast which is eligible for one-hour CPD. Simply register for the recorded webcast via the CA ANZ Education Store through the appropriate link below:


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