Episode 42

Published on:

29th Sep 2022

W is for workflow

There are many ways to define a workflow, but, put simply, it’s the organization of work so you can see how it should move from one stage to the next. Today's episode we discuss key elements to consider when it comes to workflow. Most firms have recognized the importance of workflow software, but few have it fully implemented, let alone reaping the benefits of it. The benefits are there, and it'll be worth the pain of change in the short term.

Below is the content of the document Penny referenced regarding workflow:

There are many ways to define a workflow, but, put simply, it’s the organization of work so you can see how it should move from one stage to the next
A clear workflow gives every team member involved the opportunity to see all the steps and plan their own tasks accordingly. It also gives the operations or project manager a high-level view to help keep things running smoothly. Still, having it laid out in a graphic really isn’t enough to support a successful remote workflow.  
  • It will decentralize the work and the information 
  • Increase visibility 
  • Streamline collaboration—automate routing of information 
  • Less chances of repeating conversations over and over again 
  • A quicker search capacity for conversations 
  • Less need to rely on memory  
  • Ultimately better teamwork  
Example: Monthly Reconciliation is not just a recon of a bank account 
  • You need to allocate or (old school) input transactions 
  • Gather the statements 
  • Confirm any unknowns 
  • Check for any new accounts 
  • Look for any app inputs 
  • Create final report 
All that seems simple enough.  But if it is so simple and easy to know why are so many not done? 
Workflow with checklists can define the why of work not getting done which allows you to then correct it by finding the stop gap and removing it.  
Good workflow should be  
  • Customizable 
  • Bring EVERYTHING into one place--- internal and external work 
  • Allow for sharing easily  
  • Automate repetitive steps 
  • Reduce delays 
  • Have great reporting on what when where and how 
  • Be adaptable to Changes (it does after all point out when change is needed) 

If you'd like to pick our brains on workflow software or ask us any questions (including to share feedback), please connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter. And remember to rate us, like us and share us, so we can spread the word.

Penny Breslin - LinkedIn | @PennyB57

Damien Greathead - LinkedIn | @Damien_GH

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About the Podcast

Strategy and the Virtual Controller
Helping accounts and bookkeepers build the firm they want, their way
Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

About your hosts

Penny Breslin

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Penny Breslin is the founder of MoneyPenny, a consulting firm specializing in helping accounting firms and other businesses embrace the power of technology to simplify their operations and increase their profit margins.

Drawing on her years of experience and her knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business, Penny oversees the development of back office processes for her client firms. From the initial evaluation of the firm’s workflow, to technology selection, and assisting in the on-boarding of the firm’s clients, Penny works with her clients to maximize the benefits of a paperless and cloud-based firm.

Damien Greathead

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Damien has been working in the accounting industry for more than 15 years. In addition to getting his hands dirty preparing tax returns and doing bookkeeping, but the bulk of his experience comes from consulting to both accounting firms and the technology companies that serve the industry.

He set up 2020 Group USA which was a membership group for small and medium sized accounting firms and then went on to set up Receipt Bank (now Dext) in North America.

He regularly speaks to industry bodies on technology, marketing and change management.