How to know if Zapier will be useful for your accounting firm in 5 steps

Chances are your accounting firm has already seen the benefits of automation. Even if only minimally.

The rewards for implementing accounting automation into your processes and workflows are obvious. But what to automate, how to actually go about it, and where to find the time to set everything up is where it quickly becomes something that you put off for another day.

If this is you, you might need to rethink your automation strategy.

A forward-thinking solution to integrating over 2,000 individual apps lies in Zapier. Accounting firms around the world are already benefiting from streamlined integrations and workflows, and increased productivity by integrating with Zapier.

But it might not be the magic solution for your firm. It’s important that you take the time to consider how it can be useful for your accounting practice.

Zapier Certified Expert, Rowan Van Tromp from App Advisory Plus, calls this the Zapier Mindset.

Firstly, what is Zapier?

Zapier is the coding-free solution to integrating several apps, helping you to automate repetitive and manual tasks.

When the apps you use have Zapier integrations, you’re able to integrate systems that don’t already do so with each other natively.

It works by using ‘Zaps’, which are the workflows between various apps that include:

  • Triggers—events that happen in an app, such as someone filling out a contact form on your website.

  • Actions—tasks that occur after triggers, such as creating a new contact in your CRM after someone fills out the contact form on your website.

Ultimately, Zapier acts as the conduit between multiple apps, and can be used to minimize time spent on administrative tasks.

The Zapier Mindset: will it be useful for your firm?

While Zapier can provide many time-saving benefits, it’s important to understand its suitability to your own firm’s nuances, including your systems, tools, workflows and processes.

Here are the steps to take to understand if Zapier is right for you.

1. Understand your current process

Taking the time to understand each step of your current processes is critical in finding areas of improvement.

Without having workflows like your client onboarding process mapped out, including all the data being gathered and when, you won't have a complete view of the process to truly determine where you can save time with automation.

Gather feedback

Work with the team members, clients and other stakeholders who are directly involved in these processes to help find gaps, issues and opportunities that Zapier may be able to help with.

This will help narrow your focus onto the key areas you need to work on.

2. Identify the areas of improvement

Once you've mapped out your workflows, and gathered and analyzed feedback, you’ll have a clearer idea around the areas you can improve and those that may benefit from using Zapier.

These benefits might include:

  • Eliminating duplicated or double-handled data

  • Addressing continuously elapsed due dates

  • Inconsistencies/ human errors in data

  • Improving the customer experience

Once you’ve identified the areas of improvement, you should take the time to prioritize them.

3. Understand if there is already a native integration

The next step is to understand if technology can actually be a solution. Not all process problems can be solved by technology. But if they can, it’s important to understand if your systems have native integrations to start with.

For example, both Karbon and Ignition can connect through Zapier. But a direct integration also exists between the two, which will give you greater flexibility and control over the data that is sent between the two apps.  

If there is this native integration, you shouldn’t need to consider using Zapier. Zapier is what you use when the integration doesn’t exist, isn’t suitable or doesn’t quite do what you want it to do.

4. If there isn’t a native integration, are Zapier integrations supported?

It’s important to understand if the apps you want to use with Zapier are actually supported by the tool.

You can view a list of supported apps to determine this.

For example, maybe you want to collect prospect information through a form app such as Typeform and have that information sent directly to Karbon and saved against a new contact. While Karbon has no direct integration with Typeform, this is possible through a simple Zapier automation

Note: Each app that is supported by Zapier provides Zaps (a set of Triggers and Actions) that you can use. If you see that the task you want performed isn’t available with the current integration, you can contact the app to provide feedback on available Zaps.

5. Cost and benefit analysis

At this point, you’ve understood your workflows, gathered feedback, identified areas of improvement, worked out if there are existing native integrations with the apps you’re using, and if these apps support a Zapier integration.

Now it’s time to assess the costs vs. the benefits of any integration that can help you.

This should be a collaborative effort between key stakeholders, specifically the team members whose workloads you’re looking to streamline.

Ask the following questions of the integration solutions in front of you:

  1. Is it necessary?

  2. Exactly how will it benefit us?

  3. What are we looking to accomplish?

  4. Will it suit us for the long-term?

From here, you should consider trialing some options to see how they fit with your processes.

Take your time

If this process is rushed, you risk a messy solution that will set you back rather than propel you forward.

Take your time, understand your workflows and discuss options with your team. And the sooner you do so, the sooner you can use Zapier to connect your apps and streamline your workflows.

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