Best Practices

8 Features a Workflow Management System Must Have

What really makes a workflow management system good? We delve into the must-have criteria.

Good workflow management can make or break an accounting firm. That’s why I’m passionate about helping our customers create the best workflow systems possible. One way to optimise your workflows is with workflow management systems. But these tools aren’t created equal.

Workflow management systems serve as helpful guides to all the tasks that need to be done in a given period, resulting in better work outcomes.

These systems are a must-have for firms of all kinds, no matter their size. Poor workflows lead to delays, mistaken approvals, inefficiencies and misplaced documents. If these issues persist long-term, clients can be left unhappy, with overworked and unmotivated team members picking up the pieces.

That’s why it’s important not only to use a workflow management system but to select a good one. So, let me tell you how to identify a successful workflow management system.

What is a workflow management system?

A workflow management system is a platform that allows users to create, document, monitor and improve upon a series of set tasks or workflows. Workflow management systems have various benefits for businesses of all kinds:

  • Streamline vital processes
  • Improve collaboration between team members
  • Measure team performance
  • Boost team productivity
  • Optimise goal-setting
  • Eliminate time-wasting bottlenecks
  • Reduce human error
  • Produce consistently high-quality work for clients

What are the key components of a successful workflow management system?

Not all workflow management systems are built equal. When choosing a workflow management system, there are several key features to look for:

  • Automation capabilities
  • Integration with third-party apps
  • Customisable solutions
  • Reminders and notifications
  • Insightful task dashboards
  • Cloud-based

Let’s explore these key components in more detail.

Automation capabilities

Did you know that almost one-third of surveyed companies have fully automated at least one of their business functions? And why wouldn’t they? Automation saves precious time and money by reducing the time team members spend performing straightforward manual tasks. The best workflow management systems allow you to automate processes to run tasks without human intervention. And with drag-and-drop builders, you definitely don’t need to know how to code!

Some platforms allow you to create your own automated workflows with no coding experience. You can create the workflows yourself, or, alternatively, you can choose from pre-prepared templates that are custom-built for common accounting practices. Automating processes has never been easier; once you get started, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Integrations with third-party apps & tools

Integration used to be a nice to have feature for workflow management tools, but now they are essential. Today, dozens of third-party apps and tools are available to make your business more collaborative and efficient. Popular integrations include email providers such as Outlook and Gmail, and communication tools such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

A good workflow management tool will allow you to integrate with many (if not all) of these tools. Plus, the integration process only takes a few minutes, and you’re guided every step of the way.

Customisable solutions

All businesses are different. As a result, your workflow management tool should allow you to tailor the platform to your business’s needs. The last thing you want is to be limited in the type of workflows you can create.

Workflow management for accountants may involve customising aspects of the platforms to increase efficiency. For example, Pixie allows you to add custom fields to your client records to help you collect essential details, accessible alongside a timeline of all email and document correspondence. Pixie also allows you to customise the platform by activating a real-time chat box option, where you can communicate with clients within the platform. You'll love this feature if your inbox is currently buckling under the weight of hundreds of thousands of emails.

Reminders and notifications

When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it can be easy to forget upcoming tasks. But what if you could get notified about fast-approaching deadlines? There’s where a workflow management tool comes in super handy. A good workflow management system sends users reminders and notifications about upcoming deadlines and any changes to tasks made by other team members.

Most workflow management tools for accountants allow you to set reminders that warn you when a deadline is approaching, with the option to choose when the reminder is triggered. You’ll never miss a deadline again.

Task dashboards

Workflow management tools should give you the option to create reports and access task dashboards to gauge progress. Dashboards should provide all the information you need about multiple workflows with an intuitive user interface so your team can make the most of them.

Customisable reports are another essential feature. Make sure you can filter data by project or task or, alternatively, by day, week or month to gain insights into team performance. It’s a bonus if you can visualise a wide selection of data in multiple views, such as in columns and rows, charts or pivot tables — everyone’s got a preference.

Cloud-based access

Cloud-based workflow management tools are the only logical option for businesses. Moving to cloud-based systems may feel daunting, but they offer many benefits. Team members need access to workflow systems wherever they are, whether in the office, on the move, or working from home — the cloud facilitates that.

Cloud-based tools are scalable, helping you meet shifting business demands quickly. They are also centralised, allowing all team members to access task lists and documents from their devices, wherever they are in the world.

How Pixie can help you optimise your workflows

Are you searching for a workflow management system for your accounting firm? You’re certainly in the right place! Pixie is a practice management software built for accounting firms. Pixie offers a vast array of features, including workflow management capabilities. 

With Pixie, you can improve productivity by breaking workflows into smaller steps and making sure they’re adhered to consistently. For example, you can assign responsibilities, create recurring tasks, create workflows based on client deadlines or frequent requirements, automate emails and add instructions, checklists, images, links, and training videos to increase consistency and productivity in your practice.

Contact our friendly team today to learn more about how Pixie can help you optimise your workflows.

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