It’s a jungle out there in the modern business environment. There are more businesses crowding every sector than ever before. The accounting world has not been immune to the technological changes that have brought about new competition from sometimes the most unexpected directions, and we are all looking to find new and innovative ways to get one step ahead of the competition.
Better, Faster, or Cheaper
Clearly, that means delivering our services either better, faster or cheaper. When it comes down to it, those are the three parameters by which customers will measure us. But sometimes the way to achieve that is by looking inwardly at our own business model and processes. Here are five ideas that can help us reach at least one, and sometimes all three of those goals.
1) Communicate better.
With goals clearly communicated and understood and everyone kept up to date on how things are progressing, two things will happen. The first is that employees and contractors will have a clear picture of what they need to prioritize and why. The second is that they will feel more like a trusted member of a team, and will have greater incentive to get on with it.
We have all heard of the phrase mushroom management – it doesn’t benefit anybody so be careful to avoid it. The cloud can make it much easier to manage contractors as communication can be clear and instant on shared documents.
2) Outsource where possible.
The days of companies having in-house everything are history, and with good reason. When you outsource, you reduce overheads, simplify internal processes and have everyone focussed on your core activities.
On top of that, the outsourcing company will be better at performing that function than in-house staff. Here is an example of a company that provides outsourced IT support. By delivering a 24/7 helpdesk and engineers with expertise in all disciplines, it means that you’re not just reducing costs, you are also getting a better level of support.
3) Know your employees’ skills and use them.
We can’t all be good at everything, but it is strange how many people fall into roles that do not match their basic skills and personalities. An outgoing, charismatic extrovert is likely to be great at delivering pitches to clients, but will waste away and feel completely demotivated carrying out detail-oriented work.
Also, remember point one – talk to your employees, and find out what they would really like to be doing. Help them get there, and they will deliver top-notch work and go the extra mile.
4) Consider telecommuting.
In this day and age, most employees only need to be in the office if it’s for a meeting. Even that can often be done using a tool such as Slack or Skype. If they are sitting in front of a screen all day, they can as easily do so from home.
All the daily commute achieves is wasted hours traveling, increased stress and higher administrative costs. On top of that, studies suggest those who work from home are, on average, 13 percent more productive. It’s a win/win for all concerned.