On my way into the office yesterday, I was held up by a “rubbernecker.” If you aren’t familiar with that term, it’s a driver who is more concerned with gawking at an accident than driving their car. I’m sure you’ve encountered your share of rubbernecking delays.
So not only was I a few minutes late, but I’m sure many other commuters were, too. This one person held things up for an entire group of people. He caused a bottleneck that resulted in a long line of traffic. And he made my commute inefficient.
Unfortunately, bottlenecks don’t just happen on the highway. They occur in our jobs, too. I guarantee there is something that will happen to you today that will slow you down. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bust bottlenecks and you can be more efficient and effective
You have a finite amount of resources in your firm. How many audits do you need to wrap up today? Or tax returns? Despite the number that needs to be done, you’re limited by your current capacity. So to get things done quicker, you need more people, right? Wrong!
One CPA firm thought it needed additional resources to prepare business tax returns quicker. So it assigned more people to work on tax preparation and experienced a new problem – the increase in capacity only worsened the bottleneck in the review step. Now, there were more returns in the review stage than could be completed in a timely fashion. This firm ended up creating a new bottleneck in their process.
So if people aren’t the answer, what should this firm have done? The better response would have been to redesign their overall business tax return process. By looking at a process from the minute the work comes in the door through delivery to clients, you can maximize your workflow. Work can move throughout the process without getting stuck in a specific step and time goals can ensure timely completion.
Firms that have taken a hard look at their process have actually saved money by changing the way they re-deploy and acquire resources. Instead of having a staff accountant compete a specific task before forwarding it on to the next person who then forwards it to the next person, would a work pool be more efficient? One firm now places its tax returns into a work pool where three staff members share the entire task and complete this step without a wait time.
No two firms are alike so no two firms will have the same processes either. The key is developing a process that works in your firm. By doing so, you will be able to get work out the door faster resulting in quicker billing and increased cash receipts. You will reduce the amount of time in a job and ultimately realization. When properly implemented, the benefits of LeanCPA will trickle right down to your bottom line.
There is nothing you or I can do to avoid the bottlenecks created by rubbernecking on the highway, but you don’t need to let the flow of your work product slow to a crawl due to inefficient processes. With LeanCPA, you can identify many ways to improve your firm’s internal processes. You will be able to gain efficiency and, as a result, capacity. Who doesn’t want to be able to do more with less?
Becoming a more lean-focused accounting firm takes time and commitment from everyone in your firm, but it’s easier to accomplish when you make efficiency a goal for everyone to share.