In our last article, "The Path to Refining Your Practice Begins with Streamlining Your Services," we discussed the importance of specialization in a niche and determining the "Right Services" for your practice.
Our conversation now logically transitions to standardization or establishing the Right Processes. According to Michael Gerber’s "E-Myth," processes are the key to working on your business instead of in your business. They are also key to providing great customer service.
Great customer service starts “from the inside out.” Creating efficiencies within your firm positions you to create efficiencies for your clients.
Put simply, a process consists of the steps ProAdvisors take to achieve something or to accomplish a task. A solid process ensures that you don’t miss anything and that you and your team don’t waste your efforts doing something the hard way or “reinventing the wheel” every time you do a set of tasks. When you take the time to develop an efficient process, it gives you a template to repeat your successes for client after client.
The basic steps for creating a process follow. It helps if you have someone with whom you can brainstorm these basic steps.
- Begin with the end in mind: Clearly define what the process is designed to accomplish.
- List the steps that need to be taken in the order they should be taken. Be specific. Make sure each step is 100 percent clear and unambiguous.
- Flowcharts are a great way to document a process. Once you have the basic steps documented, consider each individual step and determine whether there are variables or decisions to be made that would change the way the step should be taken or the timing. Document the potential outcomes of each decision. For example, “if this is true, you need to go to Step No. 4. If it is not true, you should go to Step No. 5.”
- Evaluate each step to see if there is an opportunity to automate it.
- Put your new process to the test on an actual project. Evaluate it for efficiency. Modify the process if necessary.
- Tighten it up. Document your finished process clearly and concisely.
- Distribute your process to your team with the understanding that the process will be further refined and improved over time. And that’s a good thing.
At the "2017 Scaling New Heights® Conference," in The Right Processes Fork, we offer knowledge and guidance from those who have experience establishing high-efficiency and high-impact processes in their own practices.
Operational Consulting Part 1: From the Beginning: Discover, Design, Pilot and Implement (two-part course) will walk you through how to take a new client through an operational process to build efficiencies within the client’s organization. Deborah Defer and Denise Bailey will present this session on Sunday, June, 4, 2017, at noon.
"Operational Consulting Part II: Make It Work: Implementation Case Study" will take the essential ingredients of a successful implementation of improved processes and new systems and apply those to a case study. Denise Bailey and Deborah Defer will present this follow-up session on Sunday, June 4, 2017, at 2 p.m.
"Legal Entities and Accounting Implications" will help you understand the various forms of business entities and the benefits and issues with each, including tax and accounting issues. Eric L. Green, Esq., will present this session on Monday, June 5, 2017, at 8:00 am.
"Strategies for the Intuit-Centric Accounting Professional" will give you concrete ways to embrace proactive QuickBooks consulting as a year-round revenue stream. Robin Hall will present this session on Monday, June 5, 2017, at 8 a.m.
"The Process-Driven Firm: From the Inside Out" (two-part course) will provide you with invaluable guidance and sample checklists to assist you in the process of developing your own customized processes. Laura Redmond will present Part 1 on Monday, June 5, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., followed by Part II at 4:10 p.m.
"Legal Concerns and Strategies for Accounting Professionals" will enlighten you with practical information on how to manage your risk as an accounting professional. John Torvi will present this session on Monday, June, 5, 2017, at 4:10 p.m.
"Fraud Defense" (two-part course) will provide information you need to help you and your clients defend against fraud. Dawn Brolin will present Part 1 on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., followed by Part II at 4:10 p.m.
You can find more details about each of the sessions in a downloadable document located here: Download Course Descriptions.
Reminder: As your ever-faithful Sherpas, we stand ready to guide and encourage you along your chosen path.
If you'd like to consult with us about your path, email me at email@example.com or Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to tell us your goals and what you hope to learn so we can recommend appropriate paths (i.e., tracks) during your conference experience.
Carol Oliver is a CPA with an accounting degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. She is a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor (QB Online, QB Desktop and QB Enterprise Solutions). Carol has worked in the accounting software consulting and training field for more than 18 years and is a certified trainer for multiple accounting software products including Microsoft, Crystal Reports and F9 (a financial report writer).
For 10 of those 18 years, Carol spent about 75 percent of her time training on accounting and accounting technology, and she developed numerous software user guides, as well as curricula for many different courses. In 2011 she joined Woodard Consulting, providing services that included software integration, financial statement analysis, and customization and development of applications in Method.
In early 2014, Carol accepted a position with Woodard Events as Manager of Accountant Education and Training, allowing her to return to her first love - training accounting professionals.