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The Power of Processes: Why NOT to Avoid Them

Keith Bateman
Posted by Keith Bateman on May 12, 2021 8:13:30 AM

Unfortunately, many accountants and bookkeepers are accidental. They accidentally develop processes and accidentally select components of their tech stack. Or, even worse, they use software dictated by their clients rather than selecting the best fit for their practice. Don't be accidental. 

In the first article in this five part series, we discussed the importance of developing a robust process that will allow your firm to achieve success by taking steps to modernize its tech stack. Circling back, we want to emphasize the power of that process and give you some additional steps to help you improve and optimize your approach to deliver better results for your practice.

Each time you’re looking at a process, you need to ask yourself these questions.

How many steps does the process have?

Identifying the number of steps in the process is in line with ensuring all of your critical steps are in order. Secondly, It’s essential to look at the entirety of the process to determine its complexity and the completeness of the steps. Finally, understanding the number of actions within the process is critical to developing a long-lasting implementation and ensures that your process exists to support and engage the more incredible organization.

How much time does each step take?

While the number of steps within the process can help determine the overall complexity, it’s also critical to implement a firm timeline for initiating each action. Deciding from the beginning how long each step should take can allow you to determine if your process is still on track, and if not, how you can adjust to remain on track. Then, making those quick last-minute adjustments will help drive success for your implementation and keep the process moving when unexpected changes occur.

Which business functions or team members are involved?

As we mentioned earlier in part one, stakeholder management is essential, and it’s necessary to understand who needs to be involved in each of the steps. This will allow you to make sure that everyone is updated, and you can move forward with the necessary approvals to get your plan on the road.

When looking at your overall process, it’s essential to take a step back and determine which business units should be involved and who is the key representative from each area. This will ensure that you can create and facilitate meaningful lines of communication that keep your organization informed, engaged, and committed to the success of your project.

What is the impact on the total cost and quality of the process?

Having a backup plan is essential, and doing so on a step by step basis is a necessary evil when business continuity comes to mind. However, it’s a lot more straightforward when you can tie the various stages of the plan to measurable performance indicators. Take the time to match the multiple steps to a traceable metric, be it productivity, cost, or effects on the sales force. This metric-backed position provides the additional reinforcement that the team may need to deliver.

Attributing value in some form allows you to track impact and enables you to help demonstrate the importance of meeting the deadlines you have laid out. In addition, understanding the cost serves as a reinforcement to the overall purpose of your process and provides a line item to each milestone.

What opportunities exist to improve it?

Before you start executing, take the time and attempt to “break” your plan. In essence, you should try to stress test your plan and identify areas that exist to improve. Ask yourself, “Is this an achievable timeline?” or “Am I accounting for potential laggards?” Poke holes in your plan to help make it real-world-ready. This ensures that you are creating a process that is built on reality and can be completed. This step is essential but often overlooked. Proper planning can help prevent headaches down the road.

The importance of process cannot be overlooked, especially when attempting to drive institutional change. With the speed that technology moves, it is vital to make sure that you understand all the pieces you will navigate and build a powerful coalition of internal stakeholders that provide you with the insights you need to drive profitability and productivity at your firm.

For modern bookkeepers, it can be easy to quickly find a solution and immediately start your trial and scale from there. But when looking at the technology, you must approach your advancements with sustainability in mind. It may work great on day one, but what happens three months later when you need to train additional staff, features change, and things aren’t as smooth anymore. Unfortunately, this reality is all but too common for firms when they start developing their tech stack. This is why we stress the power of process and why you should embrace the three-prong approach to developing and implementing your new technology.

1. Planning and Discover
2. Implementation
3. Analysis

With these in your back pocket, you are on track to create a modern firm.

Click Here to read part one, Power of Process: Automation Implementation

Click Here to read part two, What Sets the Best Firms Apart

Click Here to read part three, Why They Need You (and How to Keep Being Needed)

Topics: Modern Practice


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