Optimise your accounting processes

November 1, 2021 Osman Khan

Accountants are busy people. Whether it’s juggling client deadlines, answering queries or adapting to the latest change in tax policy, it’s likely you’ve found yourself on more than one occasion wondering how you’re going to fit everything you need to do into your day.

But there is an easier way. By making use of the right technology and reviewing the way you work, you can optimise your processes to become more efficient, productive and profitable.

Standardise client onboarding

Whenever a new client joins your firm, they’ll have new systems to get used to, people to meet and processes to follow. 

If they’ve left their previous accountant, they’ll have to adjust to the way you do things differently, and if this is their first time working with an accountant, they’ll have several new things to learn.

Ideally, you want this stage to be as smooth as possible to get your relationship off to a good start – the last thing you want is for your client’s first few weeks working with you to feel difficult, stressful and complicated. 

To make things as easy as possible for your team and your clients, standardisation is key. By planning out the stages of onboarding and following them consistently for every client, you’ll take away any confusion, and give your clients the confidence you have things under control.

Building this process can also give you a useful opportunity to address potential problems before they come up. If you’ve had trouble collecting all the right information and documentation from your clients, consider how you can streamline your information gathering – can you ask for everything in one go, and store it in a shared folder online?

If errors have come up in client data in the past, could you reduce that risk by using software to sync their information?

And if clients have expressed confusion before about tax rules, deadlines, or your own firm’s processes, you might decide to create a checklist or cheat-sheet to clarify things for them.

Keep the benefits of remote work

Since 2020, we’ve all had to get used to conducting as many processes as possible remotely. For some accountants, it’s led to the realisation that carrying out remote meetings or sharing documents digitally can actually be much more efficient than doing those things in person.

Instead of having to get your clients into the office every time a form needs signing or you need to talk through their accounts, you can ping the relevant document over to them through a digital portal, or catch up on a video call.

That’s not to say you should never meet your clients face-to-face again – after all, there are some conversations best had over a cup of tea – but it means you can dedicate the time you save on those smaller tasks to providing higher-value services. 

Automate reminders and communications

How much time do you spend emailing your clients about upcoming deadlines, or chasing them for payment? Setting up automatic emails is an easy way to take that task off your hands.

Invoicing, for example, lends itself well to automation. Once you’ve created a template invoice with your choice of cloud accounting software, you can set up a system to automatically pull through the right details, send the invoice, collect payment through an online payment system, and send out customised reminders to any clients who haven’t paid yet.

Hooking this up to other software you use in your firm, such as time-tracking, practice management or customer relationship management tools, can help you to maintain a personalised approach while offering more transparency for the client.

Add services through partnerships or integrations

If you want to start offering a new service but you’re not sure you have the capability in-house, partnerships can often open the door to new options. 

Whether that’s a specialist accounting firm for the service you want to provide or a software provider that works with accountants, making those connections allows you to expand your team’s knowledge and offer more to your clients. 

Whatever route you go down, it’s important that your new service fits seamlessly in with your existing systems. 

If it’s a new piece of software, you want to link it as directly as possible with the tools you already use, to reduce any time spent looking for information in each platform or transferring data from one to the other. 

AIRPA’s cutting-edge integration and automation tools allow accountants to connect and optimise their firm’s systems. Get in touch for a free trial or demo.

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