Automation in 5 Easy Steps
Tax automation systems are getting a lot of attention because they can improve efficiency and profitability. The formula is simple enough: Firms that can prepare more returns can take on more clients—expanding their business and improving their bottom line.
Since successful implementation takes dedicated effort, your firm needs to develop a plan and stick to it when onboarding with an automation service provider. Unfortunately, adopting new systems can be intimidating for even the biggest firms. That’s why GruntWorx put together five simple steps to make your tax automation rollout a winner:
- Know What You’re Automating
Before you can successfully automate a process, you need to understand the manual process. Start by mapping out every step in your office workflow, making sure to identify what you will replace or eliminate with automation. Once that’s done, write the list again, including the automated procedures. Keep refining until you’ve reached an optimal automation process.
- Appoint a “Chief Paperless Officer” (CPO)
After deciding to adopt an automation software or service, your first step should be assigning a person to be in charge of implementation: a chief paperless officer (CPO). Preferably a member of leadership who has a firm understanding of the program, the CPO will be trusted with all aspects of the rollout, including training.
- Follow an Incremental Approach
The next step is to make sure that automation programs are gradually adopted in the company. One of the most common errors is forcing everyone in the company to use the new program. Having a smaller number of people learn the program gives you time to sort out any issues—and it gives you a steadily growing group of employees who can tackle training responsibilities.
- Make it Mandatory
As creatures of habit, people will always choose what’s familiar. In a work environment, that means favoring programs and systems that they already know. If you make adopting a new automation system optional, most employees will simply choose the old way of doing things. Translation: Very few people learn how to use it, and your company fails to implement it.
- Manage Expectations
Automation can be a valuable asset for your company, but it’s important to set realistic expectations for implementation. You might encounter some stumbling blocks when integrating a new system in your workflow, and being flexible when they pop up is a key to successful implementation. Saving time on every prepared return is an obvious value, but getting to that point requires managed expectations.