Four Pillars of Document Management: Part 4 - Optimizing Workflow

By Brock Philp, President and CEO, Doc.It
 
Workflow, a sequence of connected steps or tasks, impacts the efficiency of a firm. In this article we will explore workflow, the fourth and final pillar of this document management article series. 
 
Workflow starts at the point at which documents are gathered from any source as they stream into your firm. At any time, there are multiple unique workflows occurring within the firm, all of which are subject to change as the ecosystem of a firm changes. From the gathering phase of document management through process, storage, and delivery, every task for each engagement is subject to a distinctive workflow. Taking all of this into consideration, optimizing workflow in your firm may seem like a tall order.
 
According to Randy Johnston, president of Network Management Group Inc., workflow may be the area of greatest opportunity for improving firm profitability, processes, and client experience in this decade. Similarly, technology blogger Dave McClure has written an article about the accounting industry undergoing a revolution in what the industry has termed "workflow," but is more specifically the application of workflow in the accounting office. Optimizing workflow is about having the right technology in place and standardizing processes to ensure every task and engagement is handled in the most efficient and consistent way.
 
Workflow impacts a firm from the time staff and partners begin and end each workday through every task to the point at which any engagement is complete, stored, referenced, and delivered. Staying on top of workflow can be aided by technology that keeps assigned work on staff and partners' desktops, alerting everyone when the status of a project is changed or when a task is ready for completion by the next in line. Additionally, partners should be able to quickly check the status of engagement projects, route or reroute work, and efficiently monitor staff workload to identify issues before problems arise. 
 
Workflow for every engagement type will be optimized when processes are mapped out and inefficiencies are eliminated. Whether you are mapping out your workflow alone or with the help of a company like Doc.It, through this process, partners can examine whether the right people ‒ skill level and pay grade ‒ are on each task. In a white paper about the four pillars of document management, Darren Root, CPA, CITP, CGMA, president of RootWorks, has stated that a firm that takes advantage of software, standardizes process, and creates policy around defined workflow will thrive. 
 
Now is the right time to take a serious look into optimizing the workflow in your firm.
 
Related articles:
 
About the author:
Brock Philp serves as president and CEO of Doc.It. Doc.It delivers a powerful scalable full suite of document management products to Accounting firms across North America. Brock believes that in order to deliver true value-added products and services, a software firm must have deep industry knowledge in the markets they serve and employ a "customer first culture." He has held the title of president/CEO of a number of software companies, including Jonas Software, Versa Systems, and Irondata Solutions.

 

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