September 28, 2022

4 Tips That Make Business Process Automation Easier for CPA Firms

Preparing for Automation

Preparing for automation is a vital topic currently discussed in small and large CPA firms. Discussions are ensuing in accounting practices regarding how to leverage tasks and initiate the shift towards business process automation tools. Questions abound regarding how firms get started with automation. This blog will discuss initial steps firms can take towards automation. It will offer tips to make automating business processes easier. It all begins with understanding what business process automation entails and the significance of optimizing processes to take advantage of technological opportunities.  

Understanding Business Process Automation

Business process automation is defined by Gartner Glossary as the automation of complex business processes and functions. This is completed through the use of advanced technologies. While business process automation software might be thought of as a future trend, the reality is automation is relevant presently! In fact, over 50% of all accounting firms are initiating some type of automation. For accounting firms, business process automation tools involve machine learning and software which can complete accounting tasks (often mundane) traditionally completed by CPA firm employees. Workflow automation systems begin with knowledge of a firms’ goals and processes. 

Future CPA Trends 2022: Understand the Importance of Process & Technology

Efficiency and productivity are common goals of CPA firms. While worthwhile accomplishments, maintaining workflow goals is challenging, especially while navigating remote work transitions, staffing limitations and ongoing technological changes. Recognizing the potential technology has on streamlining processes is a forward-thinking strategy in achieving operational efficiency.

  • Remain relevant. It is important for CPA firms to keep up with evolving technology to increase output and capacity. Workflow automation systems keep CPA firm employees engaged and motivated by eliminating mundane job duties better suited for automation solutions. 
  • Improves relationships. Business process automation tools allow CPA firm employees to streamline the processes involved with collecting and storing client data, creating more time to focus on the clients needs. 
  • Enhances services. Automation solutions help augment and support the roles of humans in CPA firms by reducing time on repetitive tasks. It allows more time to be devoted to accounting passions. 

The amazing potential for business process automation software to streamline processes is irrefutable. 

Tip # 1: Define and Optimize Your Processes

A critical stage of automating business processes is examining the processes currently in place.

  • Define the process. It is essential to outline the process before developing automation solutions. It is important to know what the process is and the goals of the process.
  • Optimize the process.  Before automating business processes, it is important to clean them up and make them as efficient as possible. Look for tasks within the process which are repeatable. Tasks which are consistently the same and do not require a lot of thought.
  • Prioritize process. Determine the processes which will have the greatest business impact when reviewing workflow automation opportunities.

Once business processes are clarified and organized, it’s imperative to know which activities can be effectively automated. 

Tip # 2: Identify Repeatable Tasks for Workflow Automation

The goal of automation is to automate tasks, not eliminate job positions.  Automation solutions are designed to complete monotonous or repetitive tasks, freeing up human resources to focus on more meaningful work goals. Workflow automation offers myriad benefits for CPA firms.

  • Useful for accuracy. The reputations of CPA firms depend immensely on their ability to be precise. Business management software keeps track of tax policies and regulations. Automation solutions ensure tasks are completed on schedule and accurately, devoid of the potential for human error. 
  • Eases mundane tasks. Workflow automation can streamline tax processes by assisting with itemizing, monitoring and reporting tax information.  Repetitive tasks are appropriate for automation solutions. 
  • Helps with cost efficiency. Business process automation software helps CPA firms make business processes more cost-efficient and transparent.  Workflow automation systems can help CPA firm employees achieve accuracy with the tax process by improving categorization and keeping current on filing and regulatory details.
  • Increases productivity.  Automating your business practices strengthens firms by taking humans out of repetitive tasks better handled by automated solutions. Day to day tasks get improved, freeing up employees to focus on the growth of the accounting practice. 
  • Enhances employee skills.  Automating business processes augments CPA employees’ abilities to focus on more stimulating work endeavors. When you automate your business practices, CPA employees can focus on rewarding accounting processes, instead of spending valuable time on routine, repetitive tasks. 

Automating business processes will have a significant impact on your firm’s ability to service clients most effectively, by reducing tasks and increasing employee availability.

Tip # 3: Document Processes for Automation

An integral step in automating business processes is to document processes with business process mapping.

  • Understand tasks involved.  Prior to automating business processes, C-suite executives should have a clear understanding of the defined tasks. This includes knowing what the specific tasks are, who is responsible for accomplishing the tasks and the deadlines for the tasks.  Processes should be documented with graphic representations.
  • Document with visual representations. Documenting complex business processes with illustrative diagrams are excellent templates to use in implementing business management software and other automation solutions.

Documenting processes with business process mapping is an excellent source to use for onboarding new hires as well as for company training programs.

Tip # 4: Give Tools to Teams

Automating business processes can be accomplished in-house.

  • Enlist motivated employees. Enlisting the help of eager, innovative employees is a great way to initiate automation solutions in an accounting firm. It is important to find employees who are excited about automation; rather than fearful it will take over the firm and they will lose their jobs. 
  • Identify pioneering employees. Mindset matters even more than skill set when identifying employees to work on automation solutions. It is vital for individuals working with automation solutions to have a growth mindset towards automating business processes. Open-minded employees should have some technical aptitudes and the patience to keep forging ahead with bot building even if their automation solutions run into bumps in the road. 
  • Seek support. Cloud-hosting solution providers can provide knowledge and insight regarding business process automation software.

Allowing staff to help with automation solutions is a positive business strategy as is seeking support from a cloud hosting platform.

How Can Cetrom Help Your CPA Firm with Automation?

Cetrom is a successful, well-established cloud-based solutions provider. The company’s niche is entirely centered on supporting CPA firms. Specifically, the company is exclusively devoted to hosting accounting specific applications.  Cetrom is committed to providing best in breed security technologies. Their advanced safety methodologies and expertise will keep CPA firms safe and secure when automating business processes.

Concluding Thoughts

Cetrom recognizes the value business process automation tools can play in helping CPA firms reach their full potential. The future of automation is happening now. Let the experts at Cetrom launch your CPA firm into the exciting world of automation!  Contact Cetrom today to learn more about how we can help answer your questions about business process automation software and other automation solutions.

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