Accountants: Was this busy season a success?

The busiest part of the year for many of us is coming to an end. With recent client interactions fresh in mind, take the time to identify what worked and what could use some improvement in how you run your business.

Think about processes, time efficiency, customer service, and utilization of employee skill sets. Was the end result of client satisfaction achieved? Were the successes systemic and planned for, or patchwork and sort of a surprise?

Here’s an easy project that will help you distill recent experiences into actionable steps toward improvement.

  • On a sheet of paper, make two columns.
  • Write down the successes in one column and the not-so-successful in the other column (leaving some space below each entry).
  • Underneath each entry, briefly describe why each item was successful or not.

Study both columns of your list. With the following questions in mind, look for possible relationships between each item:

  • Are there patterns that appear?
  • Was there cause and effect that filtered through a process, ending in a less than desirable outcome?
  • Do some processes conflict? Were there duplicated efforts?
  • Are employee skills underutilized?
  • Were there any unhappy clients? Be honest in writing down why they were unhappy.

Now that you’ve identified potential issues, on a new piece of paper, write down the simplest, clearest, most cost-effective way you can think of to fix each issue that needs improvement.

Often the simplest solution has the best chance of being implemented and resulting in an improved situation.

Arvid Mostad

Arvid Mostad is the President and co-founder of Mostad & Christensen, Inc. Since 1978, M&C's marketing products have helped accounting firms build client loyalty, get more referrals, add value to services, be visible in their community, and keep clients informed.