An efficient workflow process can reduce your firm's turnaround time, hours budget and increase capacity for new projects or clients to drive revenue. How can your firm do this? You have to implement a business improvement strategy that will more efficiently track the progress of your firm’s projects. To do this, follow the four major components of the efficient workflow system - selling, setup, doing and selling.
First, you have to sell the workflow process and the value of the job. Using a calendar system, have your client service coordinator schedule the work in advance. Don’t bring all of your work forward early, space it out by deadlines. Meet with the client to discuss and scope out the project. Remember the clearer the scope, the better the service. Then value the price of the job and discuss the project with others - team members or other accountants - to get a better feel for the upfront price. Communicate the price to the client, have them sign off on the project and then pay either a deposit or the full amount to your client service coordinator.
Second, you have to setup the job or project by collecting materials and getting it ready for action. Your client service coordinator is heavily involved in this phase. Make sure your client knows everything you need by having your client service coordinator send a checklist to gather all materials and information. Check that everything has been received and if materials are missing then contact the client immediately. Be proactive by calling, emailing or even visiting the client to receive the missing information. This will help minimize the number of open jobs your firm has. Log the job into your electronic and visual workflow systems. Visually displaying your system like on an office whiteboard as well as electronically will increase team accountability per job. Draft the internal hours budget, and have a team discussion to determine how to challenge and minimize the hours drafted. Then, allocate and explain the job to the team member doing the work.
Third, is doing the job or creating the product you setup. During this phase, you want to think about the PANALITIX Awesome 8 to find additional services to offer the client. You’ll often find there are services your client needs but don’t have because they haven’t asked for them. Stop waiting and ask them yourself. What other opportunities are there to provide extra services to this client that they aren’t already using? While doing the work, ask yourself what ideas do you have to fulfill each of the Awesome 8 for this client. These ideas are your conversation starters for the next time you meet with the client.
Fourth, back to the selling drawing board. Meet with the client to present the finished project and present your new ideas established during the doing phase. Communicate these ideas and then sell the next project to this client. Be sure to also ask the client for a referral, especially if they are an ‘A’ class or ‘B’ class client. Follow up with the client about the new project, revert back to element one and repeat this efficient process over and over again.
By implementing this process and following the four major elements within the 18-step workflow process, your firm will increase efficiency, increase average hourly rates and your write-offs will become write-ons. Take back control of your workflow because it’s your business, not your clients.
Rob NixonCo-founder at PANALITIX
About the Author
Rob Nixon is the world’s foremost authority on how accounting firms can achieve peak performance. Since 1994, he has been running businesses that specialize in helping Accountants run better, more profitable businesses. His speaking work has taken him around the world where he has spoken to in excess of 170,000 Accountants. Currently, his landmark strategies and products are used by Accountants in over 30 countries.
On average, clients increase profit by 75.5%, enhance capacity by 30.6% and achieve sustainable revenue growth of 52.1% - in just 12 months.
Rob is the author of two best-selling books “Accounting Practices Don’t Add Up – why they don’t and what to do about it” – and “Remaining Relevant – the future of the accounting profession”. Both have received rave reviews from Accountants and industry professionals from around the world.
Rob’s latest book “The Perfect Firm: Your Playbook for Building a Perfect Accounting Business” aims to help Accountants build their perfect accounting firm.
In 2005, he created the revolutionary coaching model called coachingclub. The coachingclub model enabled firms to be accountable, to consistently learn and to share ideas amongst their peers. So far, over 800 accounting firms have graduated from his coachingclub program. The vast majority of firms have doubled or tripled profits because of the program.
Rob is a keen golfer (single figures) and adventurer (he is ticket holder 293 on Virgin Galactic to go into space). He lives in sunny Brisbane, Australia with his lovely wife Natalie and three children.