In this era where the accounting industry has been and continues to be disrupted by cloud technology the importance of the idea of workflow cannot be overstated. Below is a brief introduction to workflow:

So what is a workflow?

Workflow is the flow of information and control in a non-manufacturing process. Workflow applications vary from simple processing of expense reports to complex loan processing applications.

Workflow processes are made up of three distinct categories of activities:

  1. Value Adding
  2. Hand- Off
  3. Control Activities

The percentage of time and resources that are value-adding is quite small (5-15 percent) while the amount of hand-off and control activities time is quite large (60-85 percent). Thus, significant improvement opportunities exist in workflow management.

What is an automated workflow?

The Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) defines automated workflow management as “the automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information, or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.”

Types of Automated Workflow:

1. Transaction workflow:

With transaction workflow, a very involved policy or procedure is typically described and imposed by an practice on a particular process. These processes are usually evolved over time and are usually done on a day to day basis with very little change. Example for this type of workflow:

Scanning the paper documents (Tools like Receipt Bank and Shoe-boxed) and syncing it into the accounting system.

2. Ad-Hoc Workflow:

Some tasks and activities in practices are more project oriented . Ad-hoc workflow applications have goals and deliverable whose steps are more difficult to define with any degree of predictability . Ad hoc workflow tends to involve creative and usually higher-level knowledge workers. Sometimes, these tasks are performed without the help of workflow systems. Example for this type of workflow:

Any one off project like budget works which come your way through the course of the year.

3. Administrative Workflow:

As the name suggests these workflows are mainly for administrative tasks. Example of Administrative Workflows:
Expense approvals, purchase requisitions, travel requests, vacation requests, and so on.