If there was ever a year when having 20/20 vision across your firm’s operations was critical it was, ironically, 2020. None of us need to be reminded of how abruptly the Covid-19 pandemic forced dramatic changes in the way people across the world live and work. For accounting firms the pandemic accelerated shifts to remote work, cloud-based technologies and new client service models, as well as the need to have a comprehensive view of firm operations to manage all of these fast-moving priorities.
Managing this much change in such a short period of time has been challenging for even the most prepared accounting practices. The shift to remote work arrangements for staff, the demand for a completely virtual workflow, and the urgent needs of clients facing the financial impacts of Covid-19 have all added layers of complexity to practice management which, if left unchecked, can undermine your efforts to optimize operations and take valuable time away from revenue-producing activities.
Optimize firm operations by simplifying your practice management process.
Simplifying your practice management processes should be a strategic priority moving forward in order to optimize your firm operations. Doing so will help your firm leverage the benefits of proactively increasing efficiencies and productivity, while avoiding pitfalls such as staffing issues and workflow bottlenecks.
The first step in developing a 20/20 vision of your firm’s overall operations is to identify and then manage the following key performance areas:
- Monitoring capacity across your entire team so you can easily adjust your staffing needs based on each team member’s workload.
- Assessing workflow integrity to ensure all of your client work stays on track and is efficient without losing any deliverables through the cracks.
- Managing personnel activity to ensure that the right people are handling the right tasks in a timely manner.
- Analyzing internal and external collaboration to assess the effectiveness of your team’s responsiveness, productivity and ability to provide higher levels of client service.
Having a centralized view of these four areas will help you make faster and better informed decisions about your firm’s operations based on workflow output, team capacity, and client behavior patterns. Using an integrated practice management platform with a comprehensive dashboard summarizing your firm’s performance simplifies the process of optimizing your firm’s operations even further.
Using a comprehensive practice management application enables you to leverage a single, seamless source of data and gain clarity on the status of each client relationship and workflow deadline while also providing insight into which areas need adjustment in order to meet your firm’s needs and overall goals.
Putting the technology infrastructure in place to capture operational insights will not only give you a detailed understanding of the operational strengths and weaknesses of your practice, but it will also help you make smarter decisions about staffing, workflow and client service which will continue to be beneficial long after we close the books on the year 2020.
As we move forward into a new year and toward a new normal, having 20/20 vision across all of your firm’s operations will be an integral part of successfully adapting to any unforeseen changes ahead. Although some of the operational shifts in your practice may have been ushered in by necessity during the pandemic, many of them are predicted to become permanent. Having a clear vision of how these new ways of operating are impacting your entire firm requires a new level of capability and the discipline to monitor, manage and successfully adapt how your firm responds to the changing environment.