Why you need accounting workflow software

Modern accounting firms can be frantic places. Each staff member spends time coordinating multiple tasks with multiple colleagues, completing repetitive and manual tasks, all of which can take as much time as the work itself.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to—there's a better way.

Accounting workflow software helps simplify complicated task management processes and internal communications, helping your firm deliver optimal services for your clients.

What is accounting workflow software?

Accounting workflow software helps you create, coordinate, and manage your firm's processes, tasks, and projects. It keeps you updated on every project's current standing, including what's been completed, what still needs to be completed and which projects are nearing a deadline. 

A centralized hub, or dashboard, keeps track of every detail, such as project requirements or where the project is in the pipeline. You can also see who's working on it and delegate extra hands if needed.

Recommended reading: 5 workflows every accounting firm must master

The purpose of accounting workflow software

When you begin searching for workflow software, you might be swayed into general workflow solutions. But don’t forget about the unique needs of an accounting firm.

Instead, you need actual accounting workflow software. An industry-specific solution addresses the unique processes of your firm. 

A law firm, for example, has different processes. So a workflow management solution for a legal office won't work in an accountancy setting. 

Accounting workflow software, on the other hand, offers the type of workflow management you need, built especially for the profession.

Tax and other services are built on the foundation of payroll, bookkeeping and accounting services, and enable the delivery of tax and business advisory services. The high volume of recurring work and client communications creates a high need for a workflow management solution to ensure timely delivery of high-quality services.

So you need a solution that can handle any common workflow carried out in an accounting firm today—whether that’s a compliance process, or client onboarding, team communication, advisory, sales, or something else.

You may be using a project management solution and other technologies like email and messaging apps like Slack to perform your day-to-day work. But all of these tools operate independently, leaving far too much room for error, forgotten responses, and tasks to get lost in translation.

Accounting workflow software can save you time managing projects, clients and employees. Maybe you've considered growing your firm—either with new clients, new staff, or both—but managing what you've already got seems a bit much sometimes. But accounting workflow solutions are designed to make things easier for you.

Some of the most important benefits of accounting workflow software include:

1. Easily create and manage firm projects

Getting organized is the best way to avoid derailing your workflow. But organizing the multitude of moving parts in your firm can be challenging, not to mention all the moving parts of each individual project and task. Accounting workflow management software solves this problem.

You can create tasks and subtasks, breaking down larger projects and assigning each piece to the right staff member. You can also create task templates for repeatable tasks and then simply follow each project from your dashboard.

2. Better project transparency

Accounting workflow programs offer better transparency and insights for your whole firm. 

You won't have to constantly message team members to get project status updates or to see if deadlines are on track. Instead, you can simply log in to the software and check on projects from a high-level view, such as seeing all projects as a list, or project-level view, seeing all completed tasks or tasks nearing completion. 

You can even set the software to alert you when it's your turn to take the reins.

3. Improves accountability

All team members can have access to the accounting software dashboard, so workflow programs also help improve accountability across the firm. Rather than chasing, coworkers can hold each other accountable for tasks, communication and completed projects.

4. Track team time

This type of software also helps you identify project bottlenecks. Are there clients whose projects or tasks tend to slow the team down? If staff spend more time on some clients than others, then not all clients may be getting the attention they need. 

By using time tracking features available in most accounting workflow software, you can stay on top of project demands, staff capacity, and more.

5. A ‘paper’ trail

Whilst not actually paper, workflow management solutions keep track of every project whether complete or incomplete, as well as each task assigned to a project. 

You might not have to spend that much time referencing these records, but you may at some point need to verify certain tasks for clients. This is a useful tool when instilling trust in your client relationships, but it's also useful  when reviewing your team's performance every once in a while.

So, using workflow management tools can revolutionize your firm—saving time, increasing accuracy, decreasing redundancy and encouraging collaboration. It also means that, with that time saved, you may even afford to add a few clients to your roster without needing extra staff.

Your firm can greatly benefit from automation and the modernization of workflow processes.

What to look for when evaluating accounting workflow software

Not all workflow solution tools are the same—they're not one-size-fits-all, and different industries require different approaches. Even accounting workflow software isn't all created equally. 

Before deciding on a workflow tool, you need to consider a few things:

  • Your firm's needs

  • Where your projects currently bottleneck

  • User reviews for potential tools, including their support availability

Consider your firm's needs

Some firms want to grow—some firms are happy right where they are. Which camp are you in? Do you have a few accountants on payroll and a manageable number of clients? Do you want to grow as big as your office space will allow? 

The accounting workflow management software you choose has a lot to do with your desired growth. Mapping your workflow and communication processes (and current tools you use) can help predict the type of solution you need.

Recommended reading: 6 essential recipes to automate your workflows in Karbon

Where does your firm currently experience bottlenecks?

As you consider potential workflow management tools, you need to know where your firm currently stands. This is accomplished partly with the step above. But you also must know that no software is a magic bullet. 

Ask yourself:

  • Which parts of your firm don't function optimally?

  • Are you or other staff members falling behind?

  • Is it hard to retain clients?

  • Is your client onboarding process less than seamless?

Regardless of where your firm experiences bottlenecks, these are the types of things you're looking to fix—the things that workflow management and automation can improve.

Check reviews for potential accounting workflow solutions and their support availability

Take a look at what other users say about a potential solution. Again, not all firms are created equal, but there are some aspects of firm management that are the same. 

For instance, you want a tool that's easy to use and works as advertised. The greatest product is worthless if you don't know how to use it. Review sites like G2 and GetApp are great places to review the experiences of current and past solution customers. 

Great providers often showcase case studies or client testimonials are their sites. Looking at the types of firms using specific solutions and the case studies of firms who've had exceptional experiences is important.

Recommended reading: How to choose the best accounting workflow software

Final thoughts

Your firm needs an accounting workflow tool that works. You'll enjoy increased productivity as a firm, bringing more value to your clients.

If you’re aiming to grow your accounting firm, now is the time to automate every task and process that you can. The larger your firm grows without a solution, the tougher it is to manually maintain team productivity and project statuses. As a result, client satisfaction could suffer. 

The best place to start is with accounting workflow software, and the best time is now.

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