Recently, we looked at how to use ChatGPT for business writing. Here, we will take a deeper dive into using this tool for building efficiency and how to create templates and operating procedure guides for your team in just seconds.
Standard operating procedures (SOP) are something that every firm should have, but many small businesses fall short in this regard with limited time and resources. We get busy making sure we’re always completing billable work and forget to ensure that our processes are reviewed and well documented.
Typically, the short coming isn’t noticed until we suddenly need to train someone new. To continue to grow, or even just to avoid burnout and increase efficiency, we will inevitably have to delegate and doing so will require SOP guides.
ChatGPT can make this process much more painful than many of us imagine. For example, start by prompting it to write a standard employee conduct guide for an accounting firm.
The response is too long to share in its entirety here, but the app will produce, second, a guide addressing everything from attire, to professional, to social media conduct. You can easily customize from there.
It gets better.
You can prompt ChatGPT to write a standard operating procedure for reconciling a bank account in QuickBooks Online and it will produce a six-step process which includes post reconciliation review. The procedure guide includes navigational steps specific to QBO and was produced in less than 10 seconds.
We also prompted it to write a standard operating procedure for a tax preparation firm to prepare a tax return to sign and mail. The steps came out generic but in seconds a step-by-step guide is produced to include review compliance, obtaining the client signature, and filing and archiving of completed returns. Having the foundation of your procedures written within seconds makes the customization thereafter easy.
Templates are also something that can be built quickly and make it easier not just for practitioners to build out workpapers, but faster to train your staff as well. We prompted ChatGPT to build us a 12-month cash flow projection.
We did have to include some clean up prompts to ask that the cash outflows be more detailed using common expense categories to a particular industry (we used construction as the example). The result was a well-built table with cash inflow by month and outflow categories, including principal loan repayments.
The template was built in less than a minute and something could be easily translated for client specific use.
Prettiest of all? We asked ChatGPT to help produce a template for one of our most requested items during tax season. Do you have a list or a template of all the items I should be adding up for my Schedule C Income and expenses?
See the results below complete with instructions to provide your clients. Time it took to make? 2.5 seconds.
Feel free to save this one.
- Enter your business name and the tax year at the top of the template.
- In the “Income” section, list all your sources of business income, such as sales/revenue, consulting fees, and any other income received. Enter the corresponding amounts in the “Amount” column.
- In the “Expenses” section, list all your deductible business expenses, such as advertising, insurance, rent, utilities and travel expenses. Enter the corresponding amounts in the “Amount” column.
- Continue adding rows for other expense categories as needed.
The template will automatically calculate the “Total Income” and “Total Expenses” by summing up the amounts entered in each category.
- The “Net Profit (Loss)” section will calculate the difference between total income and total expenses, providing you with your net profit or loss for the tax year.
- Adjust the template by adding or removing expense categories based on your specific business needs.
Remember this is a simplified template and, depending on the complexity of your business, you may have additional income and expense categories to consider. Keep detailed records and maintain receipts to support your deductions in case of an IRS audit.
For accurate and comprehensive tax reporting, consider consulting a tax professional or using tax preparation software tailored to self-employed individuals and Schedule C filers.