(1) Based on the Official Standardised Workpapers and
(2) Has Not Been First Self-Reviewed
A culture of systemisation and standardisation stems from the firm’s leadership—from you. Leadership isn’t something you have by virtue of your position in the firm—it’s something you do.
Leadership takes the courage to face constructive conflicts when necessary. If you implement the first 5 strategies outlined in this white paper and then do not implement and maintain the following strategy, you will not achieve the efficiency gains that are otherwise possible:
Whenever work is presented for review that is not (1) based on the official standardised workpapers and (2) has not been first self-reviewed using the standard final review checklist, reject it. Tell the preparer to do the work again using the standard workpapers and checklists, and then present it for review.
Doing this risks an unpleasant conflict. That’s why your leadership ability is paramount. If you stand your ground and reiterate to the team member why use of the standardised checklists and workpapers is mandatory—and not an option at their discretion—and if you remind the team member of the fact that this policy and culture was explained during their interview and induction and was again reinforced at numerous team meetings, they have no grounds for argument.
They will either comply, or leave the firm. Those who comply will see the benefits themselves through their increased efficiency and reduced re-work. As outlined in Strategy 3 earlier, they will also benefit from the self-paced learning effect that comes from using the self-review checklists.
Business Fitness clients who implement this approach find that staff are quick to comply. Typically these firms go on to report a 75% reduction in average review times. For example, reviews that were taking two hours to complete now take half an hour.
At first glance that might appear exaggerated, but previously these reviews contained large ‘re-do’ components for the reviewer. When jobs are presented on standardised workpapers and have been self-reviewed by the preparer using the standard checklists, reviews truly become reviews, simply checking for anomalies that the experienced practitioner might pick up that the standard checklists and less experienced practitioner do not.
You might recall the John West advertising campaign, “It’s the fish John West reject that makes John West the best”. The advertisements depicted the great lengths John West goes to, to ensure only the best quality fish are accepted, and all others are rejected. In the same way, the quality of work presented for review in your firm will be dictated to a large extent by what you reject. You can tell your team that you have a ‘It’s the fish that John West rejects’ review policy, to reiterate the principle using a little humour, if that suits your style.
This is a strategy that is easy to understand but often difficult for many firms to implement.
This is where the support and training from Business Fitness guides you through the necessary change management process and adds significant value over and above the HowNow software and content. The software and content in HowNow Accountants is world class, but in the end they are just tools that need to be effectively implemented.
To read more articles and whitepapers like this, head to the Free Resources tab on our Services page. Or head to www.businessfitness.net to find out more about how Business Fitness can help you in your efficiency journey.