The Checklist Revolution (part 4)
Maintaining a modern way of working
Checklists will only continue to be effective and efficient if they are constantly analysed, reviewed and updated accordingly. Even the best of checklists can suffer the effect of time and changes in technology and mentalities.
The need for constant maintenance can seem off-putting to potential checklisters, however, it can bring a number of benefits you probably didn’t consider. Having regular meetings and discussions regarding checklists and processes not only improves the work your firm does, but it can also make dramatic improvements to your firm’s internal communications, strengthening relationships in the process.
Taking feedback from the employees using the checklists empowers them with a sense of importance within the firm, reminding them that their input is valuable and that your firm is constantly working towards growth and improvement.
Don’t be afraid to trial new ways of working to maximise quality and efficiency. What works for some firms won’t work for others. Be sure to customise your processes (and checklists, if required) to best suit your firm and its staff.
Though regular communication regarding checklists and processes is necessary in any case, you have two options for maintaining the currency of your checklists:
1. The first is to assign a key team member to develop and then ensure checklists are kept up to date with industry changes and best practice standards.
2. The second is to employ a third party organisation to take care of this obligation for you.
Business Fitness is one example of a third party provider of checklists, templates and workpapers for accounting firms. With over 189 content updates in the last 12 years, Business Fitness’ customisable* checklists, workpapers and templates are the best in the industry. Doing the maths, that’s one update a month, for 12 years running now. Evidently, sourcing your checklists from an external provider comes at a price – but in the long run, so does assigning the responsibility to an internal team member.
Regardless of the option you choose, workflow management checklists are usually most effective when combined with another set of checklists (one your firm needs to design for itself) called ‘communication’ checklists. These checklists set out the communication process for specific jobs, procedures to follow in unexpected circumstances, and who is to be contacted for certain topics.
The choice is yours: do what’s best for your firm and your staff. Successfully integrating checklists into the workplace, however, can bring its own challenges.
To find out more about the full range of workpapers, templates and checklists offered by Business Fitness, click here.
*Though the checklists offered by Business Fitness are designed for firms to make any adjustments they deem necessary for their internal processes, updates will write over these changes. However, once you have determined the changes your firm wishes to make to the checklists it purchases, copying these to updated checklists is not a time-consuming exercise. If you encounter any difficulties, our friendly support staff are just a phone call away.