Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

An Efficient Profit Motive

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

An Efficient Profit Motive

Article excerpt

The sagging economy and the pressure to go "green" are prompting firms to become more efficient. Whenever you make staffing changes, set new goals or tighten your budget, you have an opportunity to reassess workflow, enhance technology or improve productivity: Consider the following ways to lower expenses and increase profitability:

[check] Determine the scope of your process-improvement project. Do you want to review all functions and processes within the firm or concentrate primarily on one? For example, an area in your firm that has lost a key player provides an excellent opportunity to refine procedures or use technology for process improvement. New software may help achieve productivity gains.

[check] Pick a project champion. Depending upon the size of your firm, the champion may be you or someone else with decision-making and budget-approval authority Then select team members from all levels involved in the workflow process to be overhauled. Include owners, managers and staff, along with administrative and information technology (IT) specialists fluent in hardware requirements and software availability. The IT specialist can help identify opportunities to reduce costs through better use of technology

[check] Gain support. Good communication is necessary to gain buy-in from everyone affected by the changes. How do you plan to communicate why process improvement is needed (for example, to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability) and how the project will affect your staff (for example, by providing remote-access options or improved technology skills)? How will you reassure workers of job security?

[check] Develop a process-improvement goal. Is your goal to cut payroll? Reduce errors and rework? Improve client services? Be specific about your goals.

[check] Identify what you already do. Review the current workflow for the process being overhauled. Use input from all staff who contribute to the process (so you won't inadvertently miss a step). …

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