Transform Your Processes: Top 3 Questions You Should Ask Before Spending Your Hard Earned Dollars
We are good. Why transform?
Most likely, you use one of the new generation smart phones. Why?
You know it. Like “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, there are many bestselling books out there. Change is the only constant, isn’t it?
You want to do it better, always. You want to outperform your competitors, always. The largest surveys in the accounting industry identify top two issues facing CPA firms as a) Getting New Clients and b) Retaining Existing Clients. How can you focus the best brains at your firm on these two issues if your overall “in-focus” is too overwhelming?
Take a serious look at your processes. Input has to be converted into the “deliverables” clients pay for and it requires processing. You have been doing it day in day out. Your processes are a result of months and years of development, improvement and refinement. They are good.
And it would be interesting to see how much do they cost you – in terms of time, efforts and money. If processes were a “cost center”, will it be the largest one at your firm? You are spending your hard earned dollars and taking a look at the opportunities to transform them would be worth investing a little time of yours, isn’t it?
Here are Top 3 Questions to know why you should transform your processes.
How much does it cost you to produce each deliverable? You will need some raw data from your firm. Per invoice (bill) you sent to clients, you delivered what and how much? Financial Statements, Analysis Reports, Audit Report, AP Aging Report….how many total? If you were a manufacturing company, you would call it number of units produced. And then you know it better how to compute the “cost per unit”. Goals always help. As a strategic plan, decide to reduce your process costs by just 10%.
What can you do to reduce the per unit cost? This is tricky. Right now, you may be thinking there is nothing that can be done to reduce costs. Relax. There are many initiatives that you can take. For example, if your firm enters same data into multiple softwares, think of integrating multiple systems – data once entered can be exported, reformatted and imported into another system. You may want to get customized softwares written to get this done and its well worth the one time investment that can save you countless future hours and efforts, and obviously money. Hint : look for repetitive process steps – most likely they can be minimized, of not eliminated. Repetitive process steps are easier to transform.
What can you do to speed up your service delivery? Service also goes through a cycle similar to manufacturing, input, processing, packaging, delivery; the only difference is that the machines in your case are the “knowledge” that you and your team have. It takes time to produce. It should not take time to deliver. Yes, you use emails – it’s fast. You (may) also have portals. What more can you do? Service delivery does mean “moving” information to the end consumer. Drafting emails, finding and attaching files, sending emails, uploading and downloading files and so on – there are many activities that need to be done, manually, to move information. With just a little bit of technology, computers can automatically do these necessary but non-value adding everyday jobs. Transform your service deliver speed and delight your clients. It also leads to increased motivation levels for staff as they don’t have to do robotic tasks anymore.
You want to reduce the process waste so that it does not waste your hard earned money. A faster, reliable, transformed process can produce deliverables faster, increasing your firm’s capacity to handle more business volume within the existing resources. At the same time, it delights your clients as they get their business critical inputs from you much faster.
What does your firm gain from process transformation? Earnings per Employee, Average Profit Margin per Client, Net Remaining per Partner – all such important financial indicators can improve just by transforming your processes.
And one more thing. When will you start transforming your processes?