Building the Ideal Tech Stack for Better Bookkeeping Workflow
In our last blog post “Whose Tail is Wagging Your Dog? Five Strategies You Can Adopt Now to Make Your Business More Efficient,” we talked about five key strategies that your firm can implement to create the efficient workflow necessary for scalability and growth. In this post, we’re going to drill down on the “super stack” of technologies needed to create an über-streamlined bookkeeping workflow. Stephen King, CEO and Marsha Gibb, Onboarding Manager at GrowthForce, share the tech stack used in their client-facing operations. GrowthForce has grown to over 45 full-time employees now, and attributes a lot of their growth to getting their systems and processes set up and maximized for workflow efficiency. GrowthForce has centralized on QuickBooks for it’s accounting system; but in addition to QuickBooks, lets take a look at the tech they depend on for their client-facing operations:
As King says, “Documents are the beginning, middle and end of the bookkeeping process. At the end of the day, we’re all somehow working off a document, whether it’s electronic or made electronic through scans.” According to both Stephen and Marsha, SmartVault offers the “best in class” solution for online document management, the backbone of bookkeeping workflow efficiency.
GrowthForce is a big proponent of designing client-facing workflows to be as inherently efficient as internal ones. For example, the company distributes the job of scanning from their office down to the client. Using the SmartVault Inbox (a powerful widget that can be installed on a client’s computer) allows GrowthForce’s clients to scan to the cloud in one click. Another advantage of using SmartVault’s Inbox is the integration with the accounting system. For example, documents attached to QuickBooks are automatically named and routed to the right folder. This eliminates a huge amount of paperwork and filing, streamlining workflow significantly. GrowthForce also relies heavily on the out-of-the-box templates SmartVault provides, which makes it very easy to standardize client folders, security permissions and workflow rules across the whole of their client base.
One of the keys to GrowthForce’s own extreme workflow efficiency is their focus on integrated technologies and paperless processes. To help streamline workflow, reduce paper and create as much workflow efficiency as possible, the company utilizes specific technologies for its client-facing workflow, including Hubdoc—a tool that retrieves documents from a wide range of sources and drops them into SmartVault.
As Marsha Gibb noted in a recent webinar, Taking the Work out of Workflow: Pro Tips for Speeding UP and Simplifying Your Tax & Accounting Workflow,“We have rolled out Hubdoc to our clients, allowing us to pull bank statements and vendor bills directly from clients’ banking institutions. We can link those documents inside of SmartVault and use them to produce financial statements which we deliver through SmartVault using their plug-in with Microsoft® Outlook®.”
GrowthForce has streamlined the payables process as well using Bill.com integrated with Hubdoc, and attaching Bill.com documents in SmartVault. An even bigger workflow advantage is possible, according to Gibb, because staff members don’t have to manually enter bills. And if a bill is keyed in, the entire process of paying the bill is automated—another win for efficiency.
For timesheets and time tracking, GrowthForce adds T-sheets to its bookkeeping workflow tech stack. Automating time-tracking is a huge efficiency booster, freeing up hours spent manually keying time sheet data and making the process completely paperless.
Another traditionally inefficient bookkeeping task is expense report processing. Similar to what T-sheets offers for time tracking, Expensify allows the expense management process to be completely automated and the subsequent data imported into SmartVault, where all firm and client documents are stored.
While it’s ideal to have clients who fit easily into your chosen workflow and who have directly accessible data, this may not always be the case. This is something that GrowthForce has had to contend with over the years. Their solution? Using two tools that make importing hard-to-access client banking data easier: 1) Transaction Pro, which pulls banking data into QuickBooks and 2) Ledger Sync, which enables transactions that cannot be accessed with other tools to be imported like a regular QBO or an IAF file.
With these six tools, GrowthForce has built the ideal bookkeeping workflow tech stack and an infrastructure that benefits both the company and its clients. Technology can play an important role in achieving efficiency in your workflow processes. Begin by evaluating your current processes, then look for ways to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks with some of the best-of-breed solutions on the market today. Look for solutions that have a trial period so you can do a thorough evaluation in your own environment, and learn how these apps can help your own firm improve its bookkeeping workflow inside and out.