• Blogging about Financial and Accounting Industry

Innovative Recruiting To Make Your Practice Competitive

The rules of how you recruit into your Practice are changing. Technology is perhaps the biggest influencer.

Robert Half points out how Workflow Automation has altered Accounting jobs. You can no longer afford to go with traditional approaches in searching for talent.

So what are the new competencies and skills you need to consider while recruiting talent? Are there non-traditional approaches that can work for you?
New Competencies and Skills for the Digital  Practice

Information and Data Stewardship
Driving value-added services to grow your business
Comfortable not just with a technology, but the technology ecosystem itself
Subject matter expertise for content-driven marketing

Non-traditional approaches for acquiring such talent

Channels that others like you are finding more effective
How to take advantage of outcome defined, value based offerings.
Recruit or Out task in an environment where even offshoring has become traditional

Do you have a Tech Talent Challenge?

Technology is revolutionizing the Accounting profession.
The main drivers for this are Cloud applications which allow companies as well as practices faster access to improved business intelligence resulting in an enhanced capability for advising business decision makers.

CPA Australia lists the following tips for harnessing the power of modern technology on its website:

Treat technology as the key to your business success
Use workflow management to assess how technology can help you become more efficient
Commit appropriate levels of expenditure to maintaining and upgrading your IT systems
Embrace the benefits that flexible operating systems and online communication systems, such as the cloud and Skype, can offer clients and staff
Maximise the commodity of time with automation, integrating your systems and processes
Ensure your practice management software is ready for Standard Business Reporting
Utilise data analytics to unlock the hidden drivers of your practice and hone business performance
Explore social media as a business communication tool and to collaborate with peers

To achieve these, you need to answer an important question.

Do you have the required talent deployed in the appropriate role?

Download this important article on “How to apply emerging roles to grow your Practice”

3 Steps to Prime your Xero Practice Manager for XeroHQ

Managing client work as you grow rapidly can be challenging. If your existing systems aren’t scalable, you will soon outgrow them. We asked Practice Owners in Australia on how they allocate the jobs and close to 54% said they use team meetings and emails. All good, except, tracking client communications can be chaotic if clients were to double in the next financial year!

Here are 3 steps to scale your business with ease using various features in workflowmax:
Step 1: Better Utilization of Job Templates
As a practice owner, I am pretty sure that you are on top of the different types of services that you offer to your clients. Barring the one – off jobs that you do this might do during the course of the year the jobs that you do may not change when you are handling one client and when you are handling 100 clients. So create Job Templates in Workflowmax with relevant tasks, costs, and milestones and with a click of a button you can create jobs, rather than the last minute work that we usually tend to do.
Pro Tip:
If your Quote Management system is in Workflowmax, you can assign the job template to the quote and as soon as your client accepts the quote in one click your quote becomes a job with all relevant tasks, costs, and milestones.

Step 2:  Create Recurring Jobs in Workflowmax:
Here is a really useful feature. Once you scale your business say from 10 to 50 clients you will not have the time to create individual jobs for each and every one of them. In order to avoid this conundrum, workflowmax have come out with this feature called Recurring Jobs. Create a [...]

Creating Insightful Reports with XeroHQ

With XeroHQ the flexibility and ease with which insightful reports can be created improve further. However, some fundamental disciplines and workflow set up are required to gain full advantage.

Below are Three Tips to achieve great reporting and a bonus report package right at the end:

Begin with the End in Mind:
Take some time out and list down the most important questions you might want to ask for your practice. We will all agree that it is important to work on your practice instead of only working in your practice. And again, the way you categorize the jobs and tasks in Workflowmax is also very important, from a reporting standpoint and therefore demands your careful consideration.
Great reporting in WorkflowMax is easy when the system has been correctly and comprehensively setup to include the flow of all information and data in your practice. As much as its features support, remember to move everything over to Workflowmax. For example, you can move in your client quote process in, especially if you have been using another system for this purpose.

Manage time with greater diligence:
Daily time sheet entries will give you the most accurate data for better reporting. Additionally,

You can use custom notifications to alert teams when their actual time is approaching the estimated time on their jobs.
Lower your risk of project overruns by being able to review jobs daily.
You can issue and approve invoices promptly in the system –and track your AR status for managing it more effectively.

Keep your WIP in check:
The Work in Progress Manager or WIP in Workflowmax shows unbilled work – detailed by month or job status and provides customizable filters.
Make sure that the job [...]

Decoding the Job Task Structure in Xero Practice Manager

Over the past year, my colleague and I (both certified practice manager advisors) have been looking at different practices and small businesses and observed a fundamental flaw in how they set up their XPM/Workflowmax Job Task Breakdown. If you don’t get your task list and job settings right, then you end up with inferior reporting capability.

So we designed a 5 Step Programme to help with easy implementation in the form of an Infographic:

Reminder – If you are hard pressed on time with other priorities, there is a good news for you…Help is at hand! Check out our Special Offer that gives you a leap forward.

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    Get your Xero Practice Manager(WorkflowMax) ready for XeroHQ

Get your Xero Practice Manager(WorkflowMax) ready for XeroHQ

How important is Operational Efficiency to you as a practice? If it is, you need to think about improving the utilization of your XPM/Workflowmax.
I am delighted to announce a service offering that we recently launched. This will be a strategic addition to your toolkit. We carefully prepared this based on interest expressed by a number of our clients and can offer this to the first 5 that Sign Up.

How you can put your XPM (Workflowmax) to work in the way it was meant to

Full setup of all your services in a job task breakdown. This will give you control over your workflow as well as job and task allocation across staff.
Even for the compliance services, intermediary milestones can be set up, that will give firm control over the compliance deadlines
Setting up all staff (both in-house and outsourced staff) with the various billing structures. This will give you better control over staff planning as well as staff costing
Reports that will give you insight on your business: Customized Weekly and Monthly Reports on the Overall health of your firm can be designed and set up. You can have a track of Staff Productivity and efficiency for instance, through these.
W.I.P ( Work In Progress ): A snapshot view of the WIP of your firm is a helpful health indicator at a quick glance. We can have this going for you

We now can allocate our Advisor to work closely with you to achieve the above objectives. This comes at an attractive package price of $825 on a 3-month schedule.

 

New Roles That Are Becoming Essential

“Digitization, machine learning, and the life sciences are advancing and combining with one another to redefine what companies do and where industry boundaries lie. We’re not just being invaded by a few technologies, in other words, but rather are experiencing a combinatorial technology explosion. Customers are reaping some of the rewards, and our notions of value delivery are changing” — McKinsey Quarterly, April 2017
As the professional services industry deals with digital disruption, with business models and service offerings being altered, practices and business owners are well served to take note of the role of a Digital Workflow Manager that can become a game changer for your business. Here are key characteristics that outline the scope of this role.
1. Workflow Set-up and Optimisation: The scope begins with setting up your workflows in the digitized environment,  identifying the optimal combinations of application add-ons as well as talent and administering the workflow tools to ensure effective utilization of all the technology that is available to you.
2. Intelligent Business Dashboard: Bringing you insightful information on a regular basis that will help you better manage your practice/business.
3. Ongoing administration of workflow tools: While most cloud and digital applications are easy to use and intuitive, the ongoing administration would still be best entrusted to someone who brings training and aptitude for such a role. The increasing attention to the tool set-up and administration may not be a good use of your time and best left to a specialist.
4. Scanning the App marketplaces: The shelf life of apps and add-ons are getting limited as more and more apps enter the marketplace. New and improved features of the latest arrivals on the scene may require you to [...]

Keeping the Pace With the Dynamic Tech Ecosystem

Application and Add-Ons revolution has ensured that newer feature-rich competitors enter the fray every 6 months.
  If you look at the document management tools, for instance, it started with the document repositories among which Dropbox, Box etc were popular. Today newer versions and newer apps like Hubdoc and Receipt Bank have gone on to provide increased document management automation options. Your bills and statements can now be pulled into one secure hub. It gives you one login to view and manage the documents from all of your accounts. These apps automatically sort and organise all of your documents into searchable and customizable folders as soon as they arrive while employing bank-level security to ensure that your data is safe.

Scanning the ecosystem for the latest options available for your workflow, therefore, has become an unavoidable exercise.

Having a documented digitised workflow for your end to end processes will once again prove very useful for such an exercise.  If you do not already have this in place, make it a priority to engage a workflow engineer to document this for you. This document will provide you the basis to evaluate new applications and make clear judgments on what might suit your workflow.

If you do not consider yourself as the best person who can keep an eye out for new and emerging technology, be sure that you assign this responsibility to another trusted resource. Have this resource update at least quarterly on the technology ecosystem that is relevant to your business and any tools or add-ons that you might need to consider. If you do not have the right talent within your organisation, you have the opportunity to engage such a role virtually on a part-time basis. Service providers [...]

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    How will you know if you are utilizing technology well enough?

How will you know if you are utilizing technology well enough?

There has been an explosive invasion of technology into every area of professional engagement in our times. But that does not mean that a small business owner or the key decision maker of a firm is harnessing the power of technology well enough. So how can you do a quick assessment on how well you are utilizing technology that you already have?
Here is a simple test. Write down the most important questions that you need answers to, on a regular basis. How easily or quickly does your existing technology environment provide you the answers?
For an example here are 3 questions put down by a client of ours – a practice in Australia. The technology environment involved was Xero as well as Xero Practice Manager (Workflowmax)

How do my clients compare between each other with regard to the overall effort my team and I put on their account Vs. the actual time we bill them for?
How much time overruns is my firm experiencing across client accounts when compared  to initial estimates?
Can I look at a consolidated performance summary for each of my staff to see how I can better incentivize them?

Now, the questions can be different for each business and the experience and wisdom of the leaders of the firm will determine the best questions in each case. The important thing for you is to write these questions down and investigate how well they are being answered by the systems you already have in place.
In case you are interested to look at the reports that were generated for the above example, please Click Here.
Of course, our client has journeyed on to fine tune these reports and [...]

The Tyranny of the Mechanics and the Protection of the Core

An important question that you need to ask periodically with intentionality is – What are the core components in your business that require your time and what are the ‘mechanics’ or the ‘rinse and repeat’ type repeatable tasks that can be out tasked.
You need to actually write down these under two lists. This is a strategic exercise that will have multiple benefits. You need to resolve to focus your time on the identified core. Thanks to the advances in digital technology, a good portion of the mechanics can be handled by technology. But many business owners are discovering that having the technology on hand is simply not enough. Appropriate set up of technology with clear alignment to the business model and its workflows  is a vital success factor. Ongoing administration and management of technology is also very important to ensure that it serves your business well.
If you have technology and it’s administration sorted out, you will have the privilege of insightful reports that will help you spot deviations and their causes early and apply correction.  Spending all your time to get set up your technology ecosystem  in this manner is not proper use of your time. You must out task these mechanics to experts. Examining insightful reports and strategizing the growth of your business however, is core. That is where your time needs to be put.
Clear distinction between tasks under these two categories – core vs mechanics, also helps you look at the best options that are becoming available today in the digital, collaborative economy.
Distributed teams constructed on the social glue of trust enabled on digital platforms is revolutionizing the older paradigm of offshore outsourcing. Demonstrated competencies, proven reliability and [...]