• Blogging about Financial and Accounting Industry

3 Keys That Could Predict Your Business Future

The following statements could help unlock the potential of your workflow and improve your business based on whether they hold TRUE or FALSE in your practice.

You can decide to free up more time for yourself, without affecting the business in any way.  TRUE/FALSE

You review the following reports periodically to understand and take action for managing your business

Which clients are more value adding to the business? TRUE/FALSE

Staff productivity for the month of all staff employed. TRUE/FALSE

Profitability across Job categories to examine better alignment for service offerings. TRUE/FALSE

Utilisation efficiency of available staff time versus billable time TRUE/FALSE

You have evolved a Job task structure that is set up in a system like Workflowmax? TRUE/FALSE

If  you have answered ‘FALSE’ more than twice, then you have everything to gain by optimising your workflow management.
We offer a FREE 30-minute call to review your current set up and unveil the opportunities for improvement.
{Click Here}

Sharpen the Saw

In the new digital ecosystem, sharpening the saw for the sake of your practice equates to:

Knowing the tools that can make an impact on your Practice efficiency
Having the capability to implement as well as ‘power use’ these tools
Clarity on how your workflow is mapped, allowing you to spot improvement opportunities, including an application of tools.

If you are a Silver Partner or above, you already have the Xero Practice Manager as part of your software infrastructure. For better utilization, however…

You have set it up correctly. Most people end up with a sub-optimal job task structure . Remember this is at the core, if you want good reports out of the system. And this will remain fundamental even when technology keeps improving.
Reliable and consistent administration. It isn’t tough to administer many of these add-ons and tools, but where people trip up is with consistency. Horses for courses! Accountants and bookkeepers might not make the best tool administrators. You pay the price for short cuts by ending up with an under-utilized and backlogged system

So, reach out to people who take to tools like fish to water. Leave it to those who do it best while you focus on what you do best.

[Click Here] to Schedule a Free Skype Consultation of your Current XPM(WorkflowMax) Setup.

5 Common Mistakes made in Workflowmax – Job Task set up

From our review of Workflows in XPM (Workflowmax), the biggest reason why the application is not able to produce meaningful reports is a poorly set up Job-Task system.
Here are 5 common mistakes practice owners and their managers make while setting up their Jobs and Tasks

What should actually be tasks are called jobs. This causes inconsistency in the information tracked by the  system leading to inferior reporting capability. To overcome this, we help practices first settle on their job task structure and typically achieve it on a spreadsheet, before going and setting this up in the system.
Ad-hoc creation of Jobs. Jobs are added on the fly and sometimes by different staff, as and when new clients are added or new work is available. For generating meaningful reports, it is important to standardize jobs and tasks as much as possible. The system has features that help you categorize and standardize jobs and tasks
Redundancy and overlap of information. We help practices achieve as much MECE (Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive) capture of their workflow in terms of the Job Task structure to avoid repetition of information across the Job and Task set up in WFM
Not knowing the use of templates. Job templates help the standardizing of the system mentioned earlier, but many are unaware of how to apply this feature. It also reduces the time for setting up, especially in a dynamic environment where new jobs are constantly added.
Failing to recognize Recurrence. It did surprise us that few Practices were really using this feature although unlike other businesses, recurring jobs are easily identifiable in a practice. Then there are recurrences that might be hidden away in administrative work [...]

Cloud Accounting – The New Competencies

It is now widely accepted that the Accounting and Bookkeeping industry has been irrevocably altered after taking digital impact.  The days are not far when manual coding will be taken out, as Rod Drury announced at the Xerocon 2016. Cloud platforms like Xero HQ and their collaborators – more than 500 apps for the accounting industry are laying down the new rules of the game for professional practices.  How does this impact the composition of the team that practices need to have for remaining competitive and driving growth?

There are 3 competencies that would be key drivers of performance in the Cloud Accounting industry.

Tech Savvy – This does not come naturally to most people trained in accounting. Most accountants would prefer to stay within the technology environment they got familiar with. This is why in every geography there has been a dominant accounting application with over 80% share of the small business market. This is of course changing.
Resourceful – Having a collaboration mindset and willing to learn and use new apps and approaches with people in a connected network. This also means being aware of the app landscape and continual skilling up in a few at a time.
Workflow and Process competency – This one is more engineering than accounting. For making full use of the tool, you need to set it up right. In an ecosystem of tools, you need to have your workflow set up right. To do all this, you need good workflow and process competency.

Do you have the right mix of these important competencies in your team today? How easy is it to acquire these competencies? If you are struggling in this area, the good news is that [...]

Four challenges practices face in their business

A survey from the 2014 Bookkeeping Business Benchmark Report conducted by the Australian Bookkeepers Network took a look at the top challenges that bookkeepers face in their business:








Evidently, right up there as one of the biggest concerns for you in business is sourcing new clients. Efforts on this can seem both time-consuming and costly, and often gets bumped to the bottom of the pile when you’re trying to make time for revenue-generating tasks instead. Typically, accountants and bookkeepers are not natural sales people. While they get the job done, they are not so great when it comes to telling everyone about it !

Time Management is also a challenge for many and this may actually be correlated with the challenge of sourcing new clients.

One of the ways that you can get great client references is by including business advisory  in your service offering. And great client references drive new clients your way.

If you are interested in finding out where you are with your business advisory offering , Click on the [LINK] below and find out rightaway.


For  time management, I also thought our [EBOOK] on how Accountants and Bookkeepers can save time by Optimizing their Workflow might help.  [ Click Here ] for the [EBOOK].

The Ebook generally outlines our experience with Bookkeeping and Accounting firms in Australia and the 5 steps that helped them free up time for themselves.

Once again here is full link to the Ebook.



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    Find out how you can get your Business Advisory offering to take off

Find out how you can get your Business Advisory offering to take off

“Generally of every 100 firms that want to offer a business advisory service only 30 succeed in a reasonable time. “The rate of failure is scary,”  says Mark Holton of Smiththink. Mr. Holton also says the two main reasons why firms fail are a lack of commitment and a lack of capacity.

You know what? Holton was spot on. We conducted a survey recently finding out the HOAD ( Headaches, objectives, aspirations and desires )  of around 200 practices that are Xero Platinum, Gold and Silver Users and here are some revealing stats.

27% of the practice owners who took the survey said that Business advisory still remains a desire for them
23% of the practice owners who took the survey said that Business advisory services they currently offer hardly impact their revenue

Want to find out how you can rev up your Business advisory offering?  [Click Here] to complete this insightful checklist and find out.

“Lack of commitment”, that’s because it’s never as important as compliance and what happens to stuff that’s never as important? When does it get done? Never!

The second “C” is the “lack of capacity”. Because of the lack of commitment we are not putting enough resources towards it so we lack capacity. “That’s the single biggest issue,” he said.

In the very same survey mentioned above we asked the practice owners which “C” that they lacked and the response took us by surprise.

A whopping 62.5 % of the practice owners said that it was Lack Of Capacity.
18.8% of the practice owners said that it was Lack of Commitment.

So which “C” do you lack [Click here] to complete this insightful Checklist and receive a fresh perspective on how you can overcome these ‘C” blocks and get your Business Advisory services to soar.
Complete the checklist to find out!.

Here is the [...]

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    These 6 steps to turbocharge workflow are helping Accountants and Bookkeepers recover Time and Money

These 6 steps to turbocharge workflow are helping Accountants and Bookkeepers recover Time and Money

Meet Sarah a self-styled aspiring Cloud Accountant! She had been postponing the decision to move to XPM for improving her client workflow management.

Although she did have Practice Manager setup, like all other cloud applications she knew she was not using it to its highest potential.

Since she was so busy with the daily tasks comprising mainly of Bookkeeping and Compliance, the task of optimizing Practice Manager was kept away for later every time.

Then she met Sally who shared with her how  a friendly Practice Manager Advisor suggested Six Simple Steps that revolutionized her practice workflow and freed up precious time for her.
Step 1: Get all your Client and Client Contact Information into Practice Manager :
Setup all your clients in Practice Manager. Thereby having one place where all Client contact details are available. So you can send emails from within Practice Manager with a click of a button.

Helpful Tip: You can add Custom Fields in the Client Details to add their Skype Details, Dropbox links, Whether they support Essendon or St. Kilda and what not
Step 2 : Take some time and breakdown the work you do in your practice into tasks :
Take some time and breakdown the tasks in your practice which you are being billed for and create rates accordingly. Also set Base Rates for your staff for each of these tasks .

Helpful Tip: Sit down with a Practice Manager Advisor and see how best to organize the work in your practice into tasks in Practice Manager.
Step 3 : Create Job Templates and Recurring Jobs ONCE and your STAFF will know what to do FOREVER :
Set a Job Template and a Recurring Job for each of your clients. Do that once and get notifications of work on [...]

Digital Disruption and the Accounting Industry

Accountants, especially the early mover types are advising their clients onto cloud applications like Xero, but the question is: are they themselves taking full advantage of the incoming digital disruption? 

Smithink 2020 founding director David Smith talking to AccountantsDaily about digital disruption and the accounting profession says “So the biggest challenge I think is for accounting firms to rethink their own business based on all these developments and be willing to experiment and try different ways of doing things; different ways of engaging with their clients and different services that they can provide. I think many of them are still doing what they’ve always done even though this new technology is there, they’re not leveraging it.”

 Here are 4 ways that might look a bit different to what you are currently doing.

Set up a truly digital workflow that will help virtual engagement. Cloud applications are transforming every process and workflow. It will not be in the distant future when accountants will meet with their clients mostly on high resolution interactive screens. High definition TV steaming through broadband at high quality and consistency will soon make it a preferred option. “I think in the end, people say they’d much rather sit across the desk from somebody but when the clarity and quality of that communication is so good perhaps people will be more comfortable with it and particularly when you get to the next generation, Gen Y etc. they’re going to be even more comfortable again” says David Smith. This ought to convince Accountants to review their current workflows and make the necessary changes that will take advantage of the digital disruption. 

Talent efficiency: It is not only about the cost efficiency of equivalent talent which offshore outsourcing already provided, but [...]

Getting Ready for the Hollow Out of Work

According to London Business School Professor Lynda Gratton, 47% of the current jobs will be automated in a decade and by 2025, 5 Billion people will have access to the Internet.

“Work is becoming more complex and it’s becoming more complex because work is now hollowing out. There is highly skilled work on one end and low skilled work on the other, but the mid-skilled work has almost completely disappeared,” she says. Gratton says this disappearance of mid-level skill jobs has occurred because more processes have become automated and everything else has been outsourced to countries with a lower labour cost.

How should business leaders get prepared for this new global reality? Here are a two important responses that can make a big difference.

Digitize workflows. Digitizing is fundamentally about seeing things in terms of discrete discontinuous values. You can break down work to discrete components making it easier to identify those which are high skilled, complex and low skilled. Complex work here refers to work that has the constraint of physical availability on location – eg: care giver, cleaner or server.The power of digitization is that it allows you to lay out the workflow in the cloud for maximum cost efficiency.

Deploy Virtual Talent. As we transition from an industrial era to an intelligence era and the rules of the game evolve, the biggest efficiencies are often connected with the placement of talent in the workflow. Low skilled work gets outsourced to countries with a lower labour cost and only complex work gets done on site.  Higher skilled work can be performed by deploying the right talent virtually. A key driver for this is a digitized workflow, where each component is discrete.

StylusFMS helps small and medium sized [...]

Time’s up On Hourly Rate?

“What’s your hourly rate, mate?

Hmmm….that is  a quarter of what goes here….lemme try them out and see….

Wait….the guy over there in the other country… he may not be as switched on…but he’s even cheaper… what the heck, it’s just keying in stuff….nothing’s complicated …..

Hey look, you may be cheap, but I can do the work in a fraction of your time, not to mention the time I spend reviewing your work. I’m beginning to see why your rate may not be as attractive as I thought earlier….”

Some of us have been involved in strikingly similar conversation and others have at least heard it in the market.

Time based billing is fast being replaced by fixed billing. Output and not effort is going to be the focus. Hourly rates provide a perception of cost efficient or premium services as the case may be, but output or deliverable connects with value.

What keeps firms that are not yet on board from getting there sooner?

The answer is Workflow Management. In fact the very workflow culture has to change. It becomes important to understand and define the deliverable that the client values. Then the processes and tasks behind each deliverable needs to be defined. When the discrete components of the workflow become clearly visible, we call it a digitized workflow. Nothing like a digitized workflow for efficient resource management.

Offshore outsourcing for lower hourly and FTE rates may not be as attractive as before. The new wave will be talent engagement with deliverable based billing. Global talent can be mapped on to digitized workflows for improved cost efficiency. Talent engagement will be reviewed and remunerated for deliverable.

6 Reasons Why StylusFMS can assure you greater value through a deliverable based model 

Pioneers of [...]