Article

Berenika Teter
Berenika Teter 27 March 2020

How To Increase Productivity and Profitability in your Accounting Firm

No matter how productive your team is, every accounting firm can only have a certain number of customers. It takes a lot of time and effort to service clients properly, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Additionally, it is often the case that a large portion of work is time-critical due to tax authority deadlines. Sure, you could hire more staff, but wouldn’t it be better to increase productivity and profitability in your accounting firm with the team and resources you already have in place? Here’s how you can achieve that with a few productivity tips.

What is productivity in the first place?

Productivity can be described as the ability to maximise your results while keeping resources at a minimum. For an accounting firm, it is the efforts and the time of staff which must be managed and kept to a minimum, however decreasing both of these things at once can be difficult, especially without the right tools at your disposal.

Given that 50% of accounting tasks can be automated in some way, and technology is one of the biggest contributors to the evolution of accountancy, it might be time to start taking advantage and optimising your accounting processes.

What are the top productivity tips for accounting firms?

Increasing productivity doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process of incremental gains. There are a few steps you can take toward improving the productivity and profitability of your accounting firm.

1. Engage with your team.

When was the last time you talked with your team members? If you can’t even remember, you should consider changing that. Collecting the feedback gives you the opportunity to consider their workload, and determine whether they are focusing on the right things and are generally performing for the business. If your team feels overwhelmed at any point, their productivity is likely to suffer. Additionally, they might even end up demotivated.

Talk to your accountants to find out what their needs might be. It could be a range of things that will make a difference – perhaps it’s about incentives, additional benefits or expanding the team. It’s always important to remember that while adding more staff might seem like a good solution, recruiting new employees might take a while, and typically won’t be productive and profitable for the business for a few months. Focusing on your existing team first can be much more cost effective in this sense.

2. Rethink your meetings.

In many companies, there are plenty of meetings held each and every day – accounting firms are no different. Of course, some of them are necessary, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The issue, however, is that too many meetings take your accountants away from their work and affect their productivity – especially if these meetings are not really necessary in the first place.

67% of workers say that excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done. Quite surprisingly, in 2019, the cost of poorly organised meetings was estimated to reach $399 billion in the US and $58 billion in the UK. It’s clear that unnecessary meetings have an impact on productivity and can affect the profitability of your accounting firm in the long run as well.

It’s essential to have a clear agenda for meetings and to try to keep them short and focused. Ensure that only the relevant people are required to attend and that the conclusion of the meeting results in actionable items so as to achieve real and practical outcomes.

3. Consider outsourcing.

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider outsourcing. One is that technology has made it a lot easier to engage with outsourcing opportunities. Working with people across the globe can allow you to realise cost savings by removing certain work from your on-shore staff so that they can spend time on higher value tasks. It is important to analyse all of the tasks your employees perform as first step to take before considering outsourcing. You should have a clear understanding of what those outsourced resources will be doing and how they will be able to work seamlessly within your team.

4. Digitise & automate processes whenever possible.

There’s no doubt that digitisation and automation are a big thing in accounting nowadays. In fact, many common accounting processes like tax preparation, payroll, management, and auditing are expected to be fully automated by 2020. That’s hardly surprising given that 56% of accountants have already noticed an improvement in their level of productivity thanks to applying accounting technology within their practice.

There are many ways you could use accounting technology to your advantage – automating your data entry is one of them. For example, if your clients use a POS or e-commerce system to sell their goods, you could implement an accounting integration to reduce the manual labour associated with transferring this information into your client’s relevant accounting package. Integrations can automatically synchronise sales and payment information and reduce the time needed to reconcile this information. There are many POS and e-commerce integrations available that software companies such as Amaka offer.

Improve the profitability of your accounting company right now

There is no doubt that the future of accounting will revolve around technology. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed – It just means you need to invest time in finding ways to make good use of the software available to improve your business.

There are many tools to choose from – but you should also keep in mind that most accounting professionals don’t have the necessary skills to operate accounting automation tools and dedicated software. That’s precisely why you need to discuss the adoption of any technology with your team, and be sure you engage with professionals who can provide you with adequate support where necessary. A proper onboarding process is said to result in higher rates of employee engagement, performance, and retention in your company.

If implemented properly, accounting software can help you decrease the time and effort spent on tasks as well as provide you with more substantial insights on the performance of your team. Now more than ever it’s the time to connect the systems you use every day to synchronise all your data and take the productivity in your accounting company to the next level.

Originally published here.

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