2 min read

Use a Holistic Approach to Actually Solve Your Workflow Problems

11/9/20 9:00 AM

A common misconception about workflow is that organizations will experience significant productivity gains using a point-solution to target specific pain points. And yes, highly specialized tools such as data collection or tax return tracking can provide some limited benefits. However, the simple truth is that these narrowly focused tools will never provide the same scale of productivity and efficiency gains that a customized, automated, end-to-end workflow and productivity solution can provide.

Often, these single-task and narrowly-focused solutions are implemented because it seems the easiest one when a specific need arises unexpectedly. But when these narrowly focused tools are implemented, the entirety of the business process is neglected. Rather than following the process end-to-end, tracking stops when a task moves from one department to another.

To address these common workflow problems – be they bottlenecks, capacity issues, or a lack of visibility – consider implementing a workflow solution that views your organization holistically. For example, suppose a workflow solution is being adopted in your tax department. During the process, a holistic solution would consider the workflow from an organization-wide perspective, including other areas such as Audit, Client Accounting Services, and administrative operations. When the file passes from CAS to tax, what happens next? How can the file continue to be tracked to provide firm-wide visibility, accountability, control, and flexibility? What processes can be optimized in each area? Optimized processes are most productive when everyone in the firm is involved, and processes are tailored to provide the greatest firm-wide impact.

With this organization-wide consideration of workflow, productivity increases are maximized, allowing the organization to:

  • Attract new clients
  • Manage staff workload and idle time
  • Identify opportunities for improvement and cost savings
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Support employee recruiting and retention

Aligning business processes to the work that needs to be done, combined with individuals using processes effectively, result in the most significant impacts on productivity. Work doesn’t get done without people doing it. Work doesn’t get done without people understanding and driving the processes. Work doesn’t get done without management and measures of success. But you can work harder and not smarter.

To work smarter and see those productivity and efficiency gains materialize, think beyond task management and tracking basics. Rise above the Band-Aid approach that is a point solution, and utilize a workflow solution that takes a holistic view of the entire process.

Hillarie Diaz, CPA

Written by Hillarie Diaz, CPA

Hillarie is XCM’s Marketing Content Manager and blog Editor-in-Chief. She has a passion for process documentation and improvement, as well as data-driven decision-making. As an accountant who enjoys writing, she brings over a decade of experience in accounting to her analysis of the industry.