Workflow software for accountants without the complexity
In a fast-changing world, how does an established financial services firm evolve their workflow processes to improve communication, keep clients happy, and create more business opportunities?
That was the challenge facing Accru Rawsons when they began their journey of finding a new workflow tool to implement for their team.
For 20 years Accru Rawsons had been using spreadsheets for their workflow process. It’s not an uncommon workflow method in the accounting sector, but the lack of a ready-made tool, purpose built for accountants, meant the practice had limitations to visibility over internal workflow.
As a result, internal and client communication was at times insufficient, capacity planning and delivery were affected, and most importantly Accru Rawsons weren’t maximising their quality, service, and productivity to attract new business.
“We decided we wanted to adopt a real solution, we didn’t feel spreadsheets were appropriate anymore,” says Accru Rawsons Director, Melissa McCrystal.
“We don’t have a complex team structure. We like to keep things simple, clear, and easy to use. Job security and visibility for the team were the highest priority prerequisites.
“We focus on what’s important to our clients, being responsive, and delivering on our promises. Clear communication and easy access to partners and staff is one of our key strengths. We needed a workflow tool that enabled and matched that promise.”
Time to adopt a new tool
When Accru Rawsons took the step of finding a new tool to manage their accounting firm’s workflow, they found a lot of the systems were over the top and too complex.
“We didn’t want extra steps involved in a new workflow process, if it lacked the key elements like budgets and security,” says McCrystal.
Accru Rawsons settled on Workflow+ as it ticked all the key boxes now and adds immediate value.
Developed with input from accounting firms across Australia and New Zealand, Workflow+ breaks down the silos, and importantly, is integrated to APS Practice Management via the Contacts+ module (which manages the client contact details, entity relationships, roles and responsibilities and integrates back to the APS database in the + solution).
“Workflow+ is simple. It’s integrated with the client and relevant team, and the data from our APS database connected effortlessly,” says Accru Rawsons Practice Manager Morgan Garrett-Sampson.
“The cost of entry for Workflow+ is low, plus, it’s intuitive, the training required is minimal, and it’s more about getting your processes right.
Preparing the team for a pivotal change to their processes
To get the team onboard with Workflow+ and resolve their processes, Accru Rawsons’s senior management held a workshop prior to trialling the tool. This ensured everyone was on the same page and everything was streamlined before management rolled it out to the wider team.
A half-an-hour Workflow+ introductory presentation was held for the team, preparing them for a pivotal change to their processes. Each team member was then given one-on-one training primarily to explain the concept of a job and task in Workflow+ before going live.
In just four short weeks from the start of the project, Workflow+ was rolled out to the practice and ‘the spreadsheet’ was terminated immediately.
“The team took to Workflow+ really quickly, they love it,” says Garrett-Sampson. “Has there been much tweaking since go-live? Not at all! It just works for Accru Rawsons.
“We like that Workflow+ doesn’t bombard us with email notifications. We supplement the system with an email notification that has a hyperlink to the job.
This means that the reviewer knows that the job is changing status and once the fee is raised, we then sign-off on the job.”
The ease of use is what’s important
One of the main benefits of Workflow+ for Accru Rawsons was the security around jobs and knowing that all the work is there, and nothing has been missed or accidentally removed. At a glance, the team can see where every job sits in the practice, what stage it’s at, who’s working on it, and if there are any delays.
Being a smaller firm with comparatively less team members, Accru Rawsons were very selective about what changes they wanted to make to internal processes. However, transferring to web timesheets and Workflow+ was easy and showed that taking small steps in the right direction while having a low impact on the team, has some terrific benefits which are realised quickly.
“Small wins, great results, no negative feedback. In fact, the feedback from the team has been great,” says Garrett-Sampson.
“It’s so simple to use and we were genuinely surprised at how little training was needed. It’s fresh for our team, they enjoy using new technology, the accountants just love it.
“Taking everything into account Workflow+ is great now, but we know it’s going to get even better in the future. I can see the vision down the track with the WIP integration, which will be a huge benefit.”
Importantly, throughout the whole process of researching Workflow+ and onboarding all team members, APS was heavily involved with a strong collaborative, relationship-oriented approach.
“Through the course of this experience APS demonstrated that they are great at partnering,” says McCrystal.
“APS prioritised their relationship with us, were excellent at process guidance, incredibly responsive, and innovative with the end result of their Workflow+ software. It was really great having this support.”
Accru Rawsons is just one of many happy APS customers. If you want to embrace these changing times and use it as an opportunity for digital growth, speak to the experts at APS or visit www.aps-software.com
APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best accounting firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.