One thing that unites all accounting and finance professionals is striking a balance between doing work we enjoy and taking care of tedious tasks.
Dave Mundy, President & Founder of AuditDashboard, recently led a one-hour webinar, "Cut Waste, Improve Your Team and Client's Experience." Dave acknowledges, "All processes include a mix of waste and productivity." Once we recognize this, we can reduce sources of waste and focus on what matters to boost team and client experiences.
From a client's perspective, compliance engagements include three core components: 1) requests for information, 2) deliverables, and 3) advice. AuditDashboard's philosophy is that when professionals streamline requests for information, they have more time to focus on producing higher quality deliverables and advising more clients.
I cringe to think of all the late nights I spent in past roles digging through my inbox to see what requests had been sent or when something was received and cross-referencing the items in Excel. How many times have you thought you sent a document, only to find it was stuck in your outbox because the file size was too large?
To reduce waste and spark joy, Dave suggests utilizing the DOWNTIME model from Lean Six Sigma. DOWNTIME is an acronym that represents eight categories of waste. Dave reviewed common examples of waste during compliance engagements and offered solutions during the program.
Here's a snapshot of the DOWNTIME model and suggestions to start thinking about ways you can reduce waste at your firm:
Taking a closer look at "Non-Utilized Talent" reminds me of a friend who recently left a Big 4 firm because she felt she spent too much time managing audit requests and not enough time learning the technical elements of accounting. Let this be a call to action that we have a lot more progress to make in streamlining our work as a profession.
Automation can reduce unnecessary "Motion" to free up time for more meaningful responsibilities, like advising clients. A dynamic document request workflow tool like AuditDashboard eliminates unnecessary email interruptions while waiting for documents.
Dave encourages us to shift our time to provide a better client experience in the form of higher quality deliverables and more in-depth advice. The cool thing is that the same shifts that make the experience better for our clients also make the experience better for auditors and tax professionals. The premise is simple, "If you can reduce waste in a process, you can improve your team and client experience." When we improve the overall experience, finding joy in our professional lives becomes far easier.
This article was written by Liz Briggson and first appeared on The Encoursa Blog.
Liz is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a member of the Encoursa team. Liz also provides business valuation consulting services and is actively involved in the Grand Rapids, MI business community through the Association for Corporate Growth.
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