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Three reasons why growing accounting firms should document their processes and workflows

We’ve teamed up with workflow experts and practice management software, Pixie, for a guest blog post on how their new workflows for Fathom can help accountants with their processes.

Here’s a statistic for you,

“94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven” – W. Edwards Deming

And it’s easy to understand why this might be the case. After all, businesses run on systems, and people run the systems. So if the systems themselves aren’t up to scratch, then it’s hard for people to work efficiently. But how much of what you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis is documented and systemised?

For most firm owners, it’s a case of it often being quicker doing the work, than it is to spend time documenting the work. But as your firm grows, and you bring on more clients, more team members, and potentially more services, the need for clear processes becomes much more important.

Watch: Forecasting in Fathom helps Milestone's clients grow

Here then, are three key reasons why documenting your processes can save you time as your firm grows.

It saves mental energy and increases productivity

People often talk about physical energy, but there’s not enough focus on mental energy. Throughout the day, most of us only have enough mental energy to deal with things before you start to experience the familiar fried brain sensation.

Even though you might have completed tasks hundreds of times before, when you’re busy and juggling five balls at once and thinking about the next job you have to do and dealing with messages from team members and clients, it can be easy to lose track and think carefully about what’s next.

That’s where documented processes and workflows come in. By having a simple process to follow, it’s much easier to keep track of where you’re at and what’s next, without expending much mental energy doing so. It’s also going to increase your productivity as a result, which feeds straight down to your bottom line.

Watch on Advisable: How workflow can be part of an advisory offering

It makes delegation easier and improves consistency

As your firm grows, you’ll need to start delegating more and more jobs to different members of staff. If all of your processes currently live in your head, then delegation isn’t so straightforward. You might be able to give them something to do, but without a process to follow it’s reliant on you being there to explain how to do it.

With clearly documented processes and workflows, delegation becomes much easier. Not only can you give them a task, but also a clear step-by-step process to follow. Which in turn, will help to improve the consistency of work completed by your team members (because everybody is on the same page).

It enables you to scale much faster

Growing and scaling a business isn’t easy. But one way you can ease those growing pains is by having clearly documented processes. What this means is that if you bring more clients in, you just run them through the already streamlined process.

If you bring more team members on, you just train them up on the processes so that they can run them for you. Take the processes out of both of those examples and what you’re left with is more clients, more team members, and a much bigger, less organised business than what you had before.

Without clear processes in place, more clients and staff will just amplify any existing inefficiencies you had.

Fathom KPI workflow

Workflow templates you can start using straight away

To help get you started with your own workflows and processes, we’ve created a number of free workflow templates with Pixie that you can use for completing different jobs using Fathom.

The templates include:

With all of the steps laid out including pre-written email templates to send to your clients, you can plug-and-play these templates straight away to start saving time and working more productively.

About Pixie

Pixie​ was built to help small accounting and bookkeeping firms get organised. Their simple-to-use, practice management software allows firms to easily take control and manage their clients, tasks, emails, files and workflows in one place. The team at Pixie are on a mission to help small firm owners across the globe to save time, reduce overwhelm and enjoy the day-to-day running of their business.

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