Some may be documented already in firm procedure manuals and it’s simply a matter of mapping them out.
Others processes you may find vary from one individual to the next, and have not been previously documented.
You may choose to look within your firm to uncover best practices, and/or look to outside sources: you may tap other firms like yours in networks you belong to, seek out information in published reports, engage with outside consultants, etc. KAF employs a mix of all those things. In fact, this is the second year that KAF has conducted a national survey of CPA firms to assess 1040 workflows. Here’s a snapshot of last year’s findings.
Firms were asked to define the tasks performed by the person responsible for reviewing individual tax returns. As you can see, there appear to be steps common among firms responding to the survey – compare information on prior year return, review the tax return on-screen, correct tax return, etc.
Another interesting best practice identified during the 2007 survey is that a majority of firms use dual monitors but only about 15% use triple monitors.
Another interesting finding of their survey is that though firms continue to adopt paperless business processes (only 5% reporting no processes are paperless), only 9% of firms report that all of their business processes are paperless. A follow up question to that – whether the client’s tax return and source documents are saved digitally – uncovers a trend toward digital document storage as well. Using benchmarks like these also serve to help you evaluate your own processes and identify goals for improvement.
Process improvement fuoco group
Process ImprovementThe What, Why and How (to Achieve It) Joseph P. Manzelli Jr. CPA.CITP Director, Fuoco Group LLP www.fuoco.com email@example.com
Agenda Elements of Process Improvement Digital Work Environment Workflow Process Improvement Standardization
Digital Work Environment Dual or Triple monitors Scanners (High speed & desktop models) Document management Engagement software Practice management Remote access Tax/Accounting software Workflow management
What is “Workflow”? “The flow or progress of work done by a company, industry, department or person”Source: www.dictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
What is “Workflow”? “The movement of documents around an organization for purposes including sign-off, evaluation, performing activities in a process and co-writing”Source: www.dictionary.com (Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing)
What is “Workflow”? “A workflow is a reliably repeatable pattern of activity enabled by a systematic organization of resources, defined roles and mass, energy and information flows, into a work process that can be documented and learned.Workflows are always designed to achieve processing intents of some sort, such as physical transformation, service provision, or information processing.”Source: Wikipedia
Process Improvement Document your current workflow Define Best Practices Flowcharts and procedural manuals Test the new process Train your staff Gather feedback Repeat
Case Study & Initiatives Fuoco Group Less paper environment since 2006 Remote capabilities (Citrix, VPN, Video Conferencing) XCM, CCH Engagement, CCH Document (software integration) Multiple monitors (2 a must, 3, 4) Training Part of the culture Initiatives Continued technology investments Client Portals Project Balance Building a Better Place to Work Process Improvement
Determine Best Practices Talk with others in ENW on how they do things Read Accounting Today and Accounting Technology among other publications on what others are doing CPA Firm 1040 Workflow study done by Barry MacQuarrie of KAF Group in Massachusetts
Process Improvement Define Specific Goals Make the Commitment Test the new process Train your staff Gather feedback Assess Success Repeat
Standardized Procedures Are you wasting time? McDonald’s Theory The audit process Preparing tax returns Other applications Are we standardized? Tools to enforce standardization
Standardized ProceduresThe audit process Do all binders look the same? Are grouping codes standardized? Are tax groupings and linkings done? Is everyone using RJE’s and THE’s? What about the 45 day rule?
Standardized ProceduresPreparing tax returns Do you link all corporate tax returns? Do you scan source documents before or after the process? Is everyone reviewing on-screen? Are you using dual/triple monitors? Are all returns stored in PDF format? How do clients receive their tax returns? Are you E*filing? Are you using standard names?
Standardized ProceduresOther Applications Time & Billing Reviewing WIP on-screen Billing on-screen Using standard formats Sending invoices electronically Email Standard signatures in emails Mailbox size limitations Archiving
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