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Do You Want to Save Time in Your Practice

written by Editor, 18 May 2015

Ashley Leeds, Digita Business Development Manager
Saving Time

I wanted to share with you some of the tips I’ve gained about what different accountants are doing to save time in their practice. Most of the time, they are just simple changes that we can all put into action.

Keeping Notes
Keeping better notes on clients seems to be a key theme. Using a word document for each client in a shared file gives you everything that you have ever discussed in one place. In the good old days we had file notes that would be printed out or even written by hand!  Some software packages have the facility to keep notes, so choose something that works for you and adopt it practice-wide.

The availability of documents is also important as better access means that retrieval is much easier and quicker. It also means that you can push the documents around quicker. Some practices are now scanning ALL documents as they come into the office and saving them to a dedicated drive using Windows Explorer. You can also easily drag and drop emails to this drive so that all emails are visible on the client file, not just in the partner’s inbox.

Saving Time

Document Management
Another way to improve on this is to look at Document Management software. If done correctly and adopted by everyone, a paperless office will work very efficiently. Another suggestion if you are adopting Document Management is to have at least two monitors. Apparently this can make you 23% more productive!

Email isn’t just for spammers
More and more practices that I visit are using email as the norm and are sending much less paper out of the office. Not only does this mean better and more responsive communication, but it also has an environmental impact. How many of your clients would be happier to receive correspondence by email? Have you asked them recently? With a good set up you can email all your clients at the drop of a hat for next to nothing in cost. To do the same thing using traditional post would take time and expense.

Your clients demand change too. One practice told me of an elderly client dismissing email as she was too old and preferred traditional post. This same client came back a few years later demanding to be on email. When asked why the change she explained she had bought an iPad and was using Facebook so that she could keep up with her grandchildren! How many of your clients now have smart phones and have email accounts at their fingertips?

File Online
Online filing has also helped practices to save time and keep tabs on events. Some of the online filing has been mandatory but even RTI has helped now that it is established. Are you still filing your accounts and annual returns by post? To set up online filing of accounts is very easy. There are many software packages out there that file to Companies House and what’s more, it is cheaper to file online!

It may be worth speaking with your software supplier to see what tools they have within their software that you may already have but may not be using effectively. Or maybe there’s an inexpensive additional module that will add on these features quickly. While you are speaking with them why not ask about training and getting your staff up to speed on the latest features. Our software comes with an online catalogue of free training videos so your staff can brush up on features very easily.

Review Your Processes
It is also important to review your processes each year when you are creating your bills. Some jobs take different amounts of time to do each year, but the bulk of them take the same amount of time, so it’s worth a full comparison each year to see where things can be streamlined. Just by having letter templates in a central place can save minutes when sending letters. If you can save 2 minutes per client just think how that will affect your bottom line.

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