How to Handle Projects in Your Accounting Practice » Small Business Bonfire

Project management is using the resources you have to correctly track and complete multiple client projects by their deadline. When you have a sound system in place, you will be able to see what works best, plan, and make the most out of what you have. 

However, creating that system can be tricky without the right software and team behind you. So in this article, you’ll learn why project management is essential, how to measure project timelines, and how to best create a plan that completes multiple projects according to client standards.

Why is Project Management Essential?

Project management is essential to keep workflow up for multiple clients and in order to meet every deadline. By measuring each task, creating templates, and setting expectations, you can make your job easier. However, without proper management, you risk client dissatisfaction and service quality. Plus, you’re more likely to miss important details when you fail to implement an effective timeline with strict milestones. 

In accounting, project management is vital to ensure everything is being completed according to federal regulations and client expectations. You also need an effective system to track files and ensure all data is securely stored.

Choose Management Software

Accounting project management software is arguably the most critical component to managing your firm. You can accurately track progress, communicate, and meet deadlines for multiple projects when you have the right system in place. Additionally, you’ll see what works best and what needs to be adjusted to improve workflow. 

You’ll need software specifically designed for accounting firms so that you can access templates and tools that will work for you. In addition, the right program will be able to continuously update as the data regulations and tax laws change. So you will never worry about being non-compliant. 

Measure Time and Difficulty

To effectively create project timelines for your clients, you have to measure how long it takes to complete each task and their respective difficulty. These measurements will also help you accurately charge for your services. Your project management software should automate this to easily track each employee’s progress and quality. 

Once you have an accurate timeline for each, you can create a workflow that will streamline future projects and allow you to take on more clients. Then, as your business grows, continue taking measurements to adjust your timelines and fees.

Plan Ahead

Life can be unpredictable –  as COVID-19 has taught us. So make sure you leave a little bit of breathing room in your timeline for when an emergency comes up that forces you to step away from your work. This reduces stress and allows you to get things done on time realistically. 

Additionally, ensure you communicate with your clients if you aren’t able to meet a deadline. They’re human beings, and the right people will understand when life gets in the way occasionally. Plus, they’ll appreciate the honesty and will be more likely to stick with you. Conversely, if you decide to turn in projects late with no explanation, you risk ruining your firm’s reputation and losing money.

Create Milestones

When delegating tasks to employees, breaking the project down into bite-sized pieces is essential. This way, nobody gets overwhelmed, and everyone can provide quality work. Plus, a benefit of using milestones is setting up client payments for each one. This keeps steady cash coming in so you can pay your employees on time.

You can also use these milestones to check in with the client to see if they’re happy with your progress. If you turn in entire projects at the very end, you risk dissatisfaction. Then you have to backtrack and redo things to meet their standards. 

Set Performance Standards

Once you have the proper software, timeline, and milestones, you must set standards for your employees. This is largely up to you to take on. You can create standard operating procedures, or provide detailed, fool-proof directions. You may have the perfect project management software and have a great system in place to complete tasks on time. However, your employees need to provide quality work. This means setting clear expectations and showing them that you take your practice seriously. 

Sometimes, it means firing people who can’t meet the level of quality you promise your customers. But, it’s all part of the job, and you’ll make room for people who work harder and meet deadlines. 

Handling multiple projects in your accounting practice can be overwhelming if you don’t have the proper project management in place. You can charge an accurate fee by measuring the time and effort it takes to complete things and setting accurate timelines. Otherwise, you risk losing profits and becoming disorganized while handling many clients at once.

The most effective way to streamline project management is to invest in software that will allow you to get an accurate visual of each aspect of your firm. This way, you can weed out any liabilities and balance your workflow.

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