Sometime around January 1, many tax and accounting professionals promised themselves they would be lean by the summer—and I’m not referring to waistlines.
Well, summer is here, and I’m guessing many of you are working with the same inefficiencies that frustrated you throughout this tax season and tax seasons past. Fortunately, summer is the perfect time to make impactful process improvements.
Many firms find that the implementation of workflow or project management software increases their efficiency and improves the level of their client service.
Workflow management (also referred to as business process management) can be described as the process of optimizing processes. In other words, it’s a systematic approach to making your firm more efficient and effective. Software like Thomson Reuters Firm Flow and Practice CS can help you manage your workflow, maintain and enforce consistency and report on key performance metrics. However, much of the work—and much of the related benefit—exists outside the confines of the software application.
One of the most critical aspects of a workflow management initiative is also the most beneficial. During the analysis, planning and implementation phase, firm and operations management teams break down the firm’s processes, identify inefficiencies and redesign the workflow for maximum efficiency.
While rewarding and essential to the success of a workflow management initiative, this phase can be quite daunting. Fortunately, Thomson Reuters has a team of expert consultants with years of experience in implementing workflow management software to help guide firms through the process.
While many of the decisions on how the processes will fit together are made by firm leadership, the consultants can help inform those decisions with their perspective and best practice guidance.
The best advice I can offer for getting started with workflow management is to grab a pencil or a dry-erase marker and start mapping out your 1040 process in painstaking detail. You’ll likely identify at least a few inefficiencies that can be corrected with relative ease—and begin to unlock the hidden benefits of workflow management.