Accounting Workflow Software – All the Facts

For better or worse, most tax and accounting firms revolve around deadlines. While many firms would prefer to provide year-round services for their clients, the reality is still that a large portion of the work is seasonal. Dealing with this seasonality is a major challenge for firms. That’s why it’s not surprising that workflow software has caught on so quickly. This category of software is relatively new, but growing quickly in popularity. To better understand what workflow software can accomplish, consider the following questions.

What does accounting workflow software do?

The primary purpose of accounting workflow software is to help firms keep track of projects and meet regulatory deadlines. Workflow software helps firms efficienctly move projects through to completion. By setting up project templates and worksteps, firms can create consistent processes. Consistency makes reviews easier and produces better client experiences. In addition, electronic route sheets make it easier for managers and partners to keep track of project status and monitor workloads for bottlenecks.

Must-Have Workflow Features You Didn’t Know You Need

What is the difference between due date tracking and workflow software?

Tracking due dates is an important feature of accounting workflow software, but there’s more to workflow than just due dates. Before a project is complete, it goes through any number of steps along the way. Workflow software helps firms define what these steps are, monitor how long each step takes, and take action to move work from step to step. Workflow software provides project management features to make it easier to find and access a clients tax returns, workpapers, and other documents. It can also help firms calculate budget-to-actual comparisons and monitor KPIs like cycle time. Workflow software is designed to improve collaboration and efficiency. This helps firms meet regulatory deadlines as well.

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How does workflow software make me more efficient?

Workflow software can help firms become more efficient in a number of ways. First, by creating consistent workflows, firms can reduce or eliminate the confusion of “what do I do next?” Secondly, workflow systems smooth the transition of projects from one step to another. Bridging the gaps that sometimes happen when a project changes hands is key to making sure that nothing falls through the cracks. In addition, integration with other software in the firm can make workflow software seem transparent. If staff can update project statuses without opening up a separate program, work tends to move more quickly. Finally, by providing line of sight into project statuses and cycle time, workflow software can help managers and partners spot red flags and bottlenecks.

Three Steps to More Efficient Workflows

What kinds of workflows should I use accounting workflow software for?

Workflow software can help your firm with any repeatable process in your firm. Most people think of tax workflows when they are searching for workflow solutions. However, many firms have also had success using workflow software for accounting and audit work and consulting engagements. You could even use workflow software to manage your new employee onboarding or other internal firm processes.

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How can I help my staff decide what to work on next?

Assigning work can be a headache for many firms. Not only is it time consuming for managers to manually assign projects to each staff member, but it can also negatively affect morale. Your staff will be more engaged if they’re able to self-assign their own work. However, in order to make this work, your employees must be able to easily find the projects that are most appropriate. You might not want a junior staff member taking on a complex tax return. Or, you may want to make sure staff in one office or team don’t work on projects that belong to a different office or team. A system that lets you categorize and group projects by complexity, urgency and other attributes will help your staff identify what they should work on next.

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Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall