Digitization

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 [...]

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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 [...]

Three Simple and Reliable Upgrades for your Practice

The harnessing of technology, how you position your services and the new expectations from staffing – are each instrumental in developing your Digital Practice. With these 3 initiatives in place, you will be able to drive efficiency within your firm, which in turn brings in the profits for you and your partners. Below is the infographic on the three efficient upgrades for your practice:

9 Essential Tools for your Practice Tool Kit

Practice owners are emerging as the trusted advisor for not just business accounting but also on the right applications or tools which can add value to the business while working seamlessly with a cloud accounting software. But do you  practice owners practice what you preach? We conducted a survey recently and turns out that many don’t.
Only 29% of the practice owners said that they are completely on top of technology and know the right tools to use for their practice. Close to 53 % of the practice owners are aware of tools but are still looking out and investigating the right tools for their practice. So we thought we could help. Below is the Infographic which gives you the 9 Essential Tools for your Practice Tool Kit:

With the practice owners not just working with people in the office but from around the world, knowing the different tools which help turbocharge such a business model is absolutely vital in successfully growing and taking the business  to the next level.
Also in this digital age, practice owners might work with clients around the world and that requires them and their staff to move from the typical 9-5 time window to working with different time zones and from different locations (home, coffee shops etc). You are going to need  a virtual platform as well as workflow with cloud applications to help you with all the information and management control required.

Take a look at the 9 Essential Tools for your Practice Tool Kit and let us know if you agree with what we say or if you have other cloud tools that help you with your practice.

3 Simple & Reliable Efficiency Upgrades for your Practice

The harnessing of technology, how you position your services and the new expectations from staffing – are each instrumental in developing your Digital Practice.
Yes, it is all about improving the efficiency of your firm.
Efficiency has everything to do with what your current workflows reveal and how you are able to harness the technology that is already available to automate, free up time and boost the value of your offerings to clients, resulting in profitability.

3 Simple Action Points for upgrading efficiency in your Firm
Workflow Management
Panalitix ran a survey and found out that accountants over the year’s do the same 5 tasks every month. On an average, it takes them 30 hours to do those tasks.
To reduce the time for those tasks you will need a workflow management tool like WorkflowMax. Which will help you get the following in place:

All information in one system ( no need to switch between emails, files, and documents)
Ease of Scheduling so your staff know what to do when and can focus on the job at hand
Clarity and Transparency of Deliverables and Deadlines in one system
A systematic management approach enabled by insightful reports from a well designed Job-task structure in Workflowmax

Talent Spectrum
An average accountant spends a considerable amount of time on administrative work that they should not be doing. They should rather be focussing their time and effort on core accounting tasks.
A task like this should be addressed by a client administrator. He\She will be responsible for scheduling tasks, managing workflow, client information and admin tasks.
Talent like that will need enough tech-savvy to manage workflow management tools. Rather than go after fresh talent and train them [...]

3 Keys That Could Predict Your Future Business

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

Utilization 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 optimizing your workflow management.
We offer a FREE 30-minute call to review your current set up and unveil the opportunities for improvement.

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 –
1. You have to 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.
2. 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.

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 which [...]

Four challenges Bookkeepers 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.
For time management, I also thought our Ebook on How Accountants and Bookkeepers can save time by Optimizing their Workflow might help. This Ebook generally outlines our experience with Bookkeeping and Accounting firms in Australia and the 5 steps that helped them free up time for themselves.

 

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    6 steps to turbocharge workflow that helps Accountants and Bookkeepers recover Time and Money

6 steps to turbocharge workflow that helps 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 [...]