Now that the busy season is out of the way, it’s time to start reviewing your accounting processes in order to make next year go even smoother.
Accountants: you can finally breathe again. Your fearful trip is finally done; the busy season is finally over. If this year had you feeling exhausted and stretched thin, your accounting processes might be to blame. Every day, we waste a lot of time and energy on unnecessary steps in our procedures. In order to take some of the stress out of next year’s busy season, you can start taking a look at these processes now. Here are some steps you can take to review your workflow – and make your workflow work for you!
Figure out what was hard
The first step to reviewing your accounting processes is to figure out what those processes are. The idea of more work might be the most horrific thing you can think of right now, but taking the time to identify your processes and their effectiveness will save you trouble in the long run. For each process you undertake during the busy season, make a clear list of every step involved. Then, ask yourself which of these processes could use improvement.
Analyze the problems
After you’ve identified what processes surround tax season at your accounting firm, you can take steps to understand and alleviate the problems. Be honest with yourself and be experimental in your problem-solving. Is one process riddled with far too many steps? Would implementing a new software drastically improve your efficiency at another task? Is switching between different apps making a process more convoluted than it needs to be? Figure out where the speedbumps are. Don’t be afraid to ask around the office as well. Consider surveying your staff to figure out what processes are taking them far too much time and need to be altered.
Implement new processes
Got a new plan? Implementing your new process can be a difficult job. You need to make sure that everyone at your firm is aware of the upcoming changes and understands how their job will change. If new software is being brought into the picture, make a plan for training your staff to use it. Create an environment where your team feels comfortable asking questions and making suggestions. One of the main takeaways from the process of designing and implementing new procedures should be this: it is important to always have a plan and system in place for making changes at your accounting firm.
Write everything down!
One of the most important things you can do to better your workflow is document your procedures. Once you’ve got a new plan of action established, you’ll want to write it down and store it somewhere secure. Consider formatting your procedures as checklists. That way, your staff can use these documents in the future while they are working their way through a process. This can help you make sure no steps are missed. Lastly, make sure that all of your staff has access to the files when they need them.
We can’t promise that the busy season will ever be less… busy. However, making a commitment to constantly improve the way you do business can take a lot of unnecessary hassle out of the period.