Which productivity improvement project will you implement next?
Your accounting practice has weathered the Working From Home (WFH) storm and you’ve no doubt started to think about what the new world looks like as and when your team start to return to your office base. Our latest Good Bad Ugly Insight Report 2021 Rates, Pricing & Outlook has revealed that the efficiency of processes is one of the top challenges facing firms across the board. So if working remote has prompted you to experiment with doing things differently, don’t stop now! Here are our top five tools to help you maintain the momentum so your team can be as productive as possible, from anywhere. Which productivity improvement project will you implement next?
Automating your marketing machine
With the flow-on effects of the Coronavirus pandemic likely to be felt for many years to come, it’s not surprising that Australian accounting firms rate getting new clients as one of the top 5 challenges facing the profession over the year ahead. In the latest Good Bad Ugly Insight Report, firms large and small all indicated that getting the right clients and strengthening existing client relationships are top priorities to improving business performance. However, while it has never been more important to help people find your practice, sales and marketing often come with a big administrative time burden. Thankfully, with the surge in marketing automation platforms into the market and over recent years it’s a great time to leverage technology to help you connect with new and existing clients. If you’re using an email marketing platform such as MailChimp or Active Campaign, set up an automated 3-part email campaign to onboard new clients, introducing them to your practice and team, and sharing recent blog articles or resources they might be interested in. Emails can be heavily personalised using stored data and depending on where your client data is housed, you may even be able to automate the updating of your email lists using a handy tool like Zapier, a free online tool that allows you to integrate a whole host of online systems to automate manual tasks.
Keeping the lines of communication open
Without everyone being in the same office space at the same time it is easy to feel disconnected and unsure of where things are at. There are a host of great collaboration tools on the market, but one that we’ve found particularly useful at keeping the communication up between the team is Microsoft Teams. The all-in-one online messaging platform can be used to facilitate phone calls and screen sharing, and you can access, share, and edit Microsoft files in real time – making it a great solution for collaborating and connecting in one place.
Staying on top of compliance and regulatory changes
With the raft of legislative changes to keep on top of, particularly in light of the various government stimulus packages relating to Coronavirus, keeping across the wealth of information and ensuring your practice’s processes and systems reflect the latest and most current requirements is no easy task. A great solution for firms looking to reduce the administrative burden of maintaining and updating rafts of documents is to take advantage of pre-built and templated workpapers. Solutions like Smart Suite Workpapers are updated by qualified CAs and CPAs as soon as legislative changes happen and can be combined with your own templates to improve accuracy and consistency across your data.
Finding files with ease
Have you felt frustrated more than once trying to find an important file from your home office? A robust and well-maintained document management platform can have big benefits for your business by automating workflows, improving communication, and enabling collaboration across documents, not to mention supporting a more structured approach to storing the wealth of information your business collects and manages. There are a host of solutions on the market to choose from (our own included!) but the key is to ensure the solution is fast/responsive, intuitive & easy to use, integrates with your existing practice management solution, and has comprehensive security capabilities as standard (hint: HowNow ticks all of the above!).
Getting your documents signed off securely and simply
Tried and tested alternative document sharing and signing solutions while your team was WFH but yet to find one something that ticks all the boxes? Client portals are a great value-add when it comes to adding accessibility to your client’s data and allow you to distribute documents securely without creating oversized emails. As one of our clients recently discovered, integrating a document portal with their existing document management system not only made document distribution easier for their team working from home, but clients were also appreciative of the ease of access and secure storage of important documents that the portal provided. HowNow Portal integrates with HowNow Document Management and includes Adobe Sign to allow clients to legally sign off on a whole host of documents, from trust resolutions to ASIC documents and tax returns, without needing to print and scan/copy back to you.
So, which project will you pick?
With working remotely likely here to stay in some form, it’s a great time to take stock of your systems and processes and pick a project to help you power your practice from anywhere. The key is in ensuring you support your team in the adoption of different technology solutions with the right training and awareness, and that you regularly review your systems and processes to make sure they’re still serving you and helping you work smarter.
Wondering what else is on the radar? Download the latest Good Bad Ugly Insight Report here to find out where other Australian accounting practices are putting their focus and what you can expect as the industry navigates the new financial year in the face of the Covid-19 fallout.
If you’d like to find out more about how your practice productivity could benefit from one of the Business Fitness solutions: click here to register for an online demonstration or get in touch with our team here.