Accounting workflow software is an investment, and before going all in, you’d probably like to know what the return will be. The vague, non-technical, CliffsNotes answer to that question might look something like this: a lot—your ROI will be a lot.
Of course, you can’t really cut and paste the words a lot into a PowerPoint and impress the team at work. So let’s take a closer look: here are three reasons to implement accounting workflow management software, or to upgrade what you’re already using to one that offers accounting workflow automation.
You only need one of the three to make the move worth it, though the extra two would no doubt sweeten the deal.
Reduce human error
Let’s face it: most jobs have repetitive tasks, which is only slightly better than saying it can be monotonous at times. Unfortunately, accounting can be that, too.
The problem with repetitive, monotonous tasks is that little by little they increase the likelihood that someone, somewhere, will eventually fall asleep—er, make a mistake.
A wise man once said, “Time is money.” What he should have said was “Mistakes are money.”
With an automated workflow management system built for accountants, you can prevent these mistakes from ever happening. You can reduce human error. You can save money.
Automated workflows, like the ones you see at accounting firms, actually like all those repetitive tasks. It’s where workflow automation does its best work. Let the software do what it does best, so you can spend your time on higher-value projects.
Help people stay on task
Full disclosure: if you want to work entirely for yourself, by yourself, and never grow your business, then the rewards of an accounting workflow software might not be that appealing to you.
A couple of yellow sticky pads might be all you need to keep yourself and “your company” running.
The truth of the matter is, yellow sticky notes don’t really work for a thriving business with more than say, two employees. In a thriving business, communication with clients, team members, and other stakeholders is key.
Workflow communication is like the gas that keeps the engine of day-to-day business running. No communication, and that engine stalls. Suddenly this person is waiting on that person who’s waiting on that person who’s waiting on that person . . . You get the idea.
Something important needs to be taken care of. It’s a three-step process—or five—yet it takes six emails and a phone call to figure out what the hold-up is.
Accounting workflow management software puts everyone on the same screen, so to speak. And workflow automation notifications give people the green light or gentle nudge they need to move something forward.
If there’s a hang-up, a log jam in the workflow, then workflow automation will immediately indicate when and where it’s happening—and why.
Perhaps the benefit here has been mislabeled. Accounting workflow management software isn’t so much about staying on task as it is facilitating true collaboration.
As your junior high water polo coach used to say, “There’s no “I” in “Team.” There’s no “I” in “workflow management” either. Now, what do you make of that?
Increase client retention
Accounting workflow management software makes it easier to communicate with clients, which, as the thesis goes, makes it possible to retain them as customers.
With accounting workflow software, you can set up much of your routine communication beforehand to give your clients the sense that you’re right there, on the edge of your seat, ready to help them!
You can likewise make sure they receive immediate warnings if something’s gone wrong or if a particular action is needed.
Finally, you can also send out surveys, templates, and other information-gathering campaigns to ensure that you’re understanding your clients’ needs and offering the most appropriate services.
Hopefully this next statement won’t surprise you, but clients really appreciate regular, timely communication. They also like to feel like you’re catering to their specific situation—that you’re taking their specific goals and challenges into consideration and then crafting a customized solution.
What all this communication really does is give your client the sense of a personalized experience. Check out the research, and you’ll see that this is exactly what today’s customer wants—perhaps demands is a better word.
Whether the transaction is for a $50 dollar bag of groceries or a $150,000 electric car, each customer wants an experience that feels, beginning to end, customized to their life—perhaps that’s where the word customer comes from after all.
The quality of communication and personalization between you and your clients is probably the biggest predictor of whether or not that person will continue doing business with you. And automating your workflow with the right software is probably the easiest way to deliver it.
But how much does retention need to go up or down to make a difference? Maybe not as much as you think. Studies show that a small increase in client retention of only 5% could be worth anywhere from 25 to 95% more in profits.
Sure, you’d rather be on the high end of that spectrum, nearly doubling your bottom line. But 25% isn’t bad, especially when it took so little to get there.
Automate the experience now—with accounting workflow management software
As your most recent visit to the grocery store probably showed you, the world is a competitive place. You can’t just coast into the parking lot singing along to your favorite Rick Astley song and think you’re going to get a good parking space. The toothpaste-colored minivan coming in hot is going to beat you to it.
Long story short: your business needs every advantage it can get. An accounting workflow management software could put several key advantages well within reach.
Dave Nielsen lives in Salt Lake City. He holds a PhD from the University of Cincinnati and writes regularly about business and healthcare.READ MORE BY Dave