April 10, 2009


The first step in your process improvement efforts is to survey your employees to better understand their perceptions about their job responsibilities and daily tasks. Where is time being spent and what tasks add value to your clients and which tasks don’t add value? It is my firm belief that you will be surprised by the amount of non-value added time that is being spent by high cost professionals in the months May through December.

Some of the tasks that come to mind are making copies, watching the printer, e-mail management, the internet and data entry just to name a few. As you can see these tasks do not add value to the client and a CPA license is not required to get them accomplished. Clerical tasks need to be performed by clerical staff. Professionals need to be leveraged. Triage the tasks in your firm and I assure you that profitability will improve significantly. By the way be sure to charge for clerical tasks.

Be prepared for the arguments and barriers put up by your staff by preparing your responses in advance of your process improvement efforts. Here’s a few that come to mind:
  • It’s easier to do it myself.
  • I can’t find anyone to do it.
  • They don’t understand what I want.
  • I like doing the work.
  • The client wants me to do the work.
  • I need the billable hours.
Notice that most of these excuses are put forward to avoid management and leadership responsibilities which are a huge issue in the profession at this time. As you go down the path of process improvement your will find that not only profitability improvement but also improvement in the management and leadership skills of your experienced accountants.

Please share your thoughts and questions concerning profit improvement and process improvement in your firm.

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