If you’ve started, or are considering starting, your journey towards a paperless work environment, you need to consider the effectiveness of the templates that your team are using to complete client assignments.
Here are some tips on how to improve your templates and your team’s results.
Electronic workpapers are simply templates in a spreadsheet format such as Microsoft Excel. A well-designed electronic workpaper template should:
– Include multiple optional worksheets to cater for a wide array of possible client matters.
– Allow the user to add notes, for example to identify matters that require the attention of their manager, partner or principal.
– Include areas for reviewer comments and sign-off in each worksheet which link through to the “index” page, showing which sheets have been reviewed and what is outstanding.
– Incorporate functions that allow the worksheet index at the beginning of the file to include a checklist so that, when a particular matter is ticked as being applicable to the relevant client, the relevant worksheet will be displayed.
– Save your team from having to repeatedly re-enter client and date details into each worksheet by automatically linking this information through to a “client details” worksheet at the beginning of the file.
– Be protected to ensure that certain cells or even entire worksheets cannot be edited and your template formulas lost. However, you should ensure that the worksheet retains the necessary degree of flexibility. For example, if a team member wishes to add some columns to a worksheet, to provide a degree of protection whilst maintaining flexibility, try using colour coding to indicate those cells that contain formulas and should not be edited, and those cells where raw data is to be entered.
Take a look at some screenshots of HowNow Smart Workpapers:
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