Episode #073 Bookkeeping Business Workflow With Maia Coghlan
Making Bookkeeping Business Workflow an empowering reality to reach your dreams
In this week's episode of The Bookkeepers' Voice, Maia explains the benefits of having automations and workflows, and what they can do for your business.
Many bookkeepers are great at “streamlining” their clients' processes, but don't take the time to do the same for their own business. This can hurt productivity and efficiency, and cost you more time than necessary. Getting your Bookkeeping business workflow as streamlined as possible is a powerful tool!
Tune in to learn what workflows and automations are, and how you can use them to streamline your own business processes. Even if you think you don't need them!
Key takeaway: “Spend time to save time, and improve efficiency in the process”
Host: Maia Coghlan
Guest speaker: None
Topic: Getting bookkeeping business workflow to bring success
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Bookkeeping Business Workflow With Maia Coghlan
workflows, zapier, automations, process, task list, bookkeeping, client, steps, work, form, amy, bookkeepers, creating, streamline, initial contact, onboarding, initial consult, automate, fill, talking
Hello, thanks for tuning in today. This is not Amy, and this is Maia. And today, we're going to be testing how good I am at talking to myself. No, not really. That's, that's just a bonus challenge for me. Today I'm going to be talking about automations and workflows and how you can use them to make your business function more efficiently. So, if you listened to last week's episode, where Amy interviewed me, you would have heard us talking about my so-called superpowers with automations. So basically, my brain is perfectly wired somehow to look at the start point and the end point of a process and figure out all the steps in between, if I understand the presence of course, which after 18 months of working with Amy I now have a pretty good understanding of what goes on in a bookkeeping business. I'm not having a bookkeeping background myself. So
What is an automation and a workflow
automations and workflows. Let's start off with what are they? So workflow, the definition that I got online is the sequence of a process through which a piece of work passes from start to finish, basically, encompasses all the steps to get from A to B. And some of these steps might involve automations. Although they don't have to work flow can simply be an ordered task list for a particular process, stepping you or your staff through the requirements to make sure everything is done correctly. An automation is is
a great definition off the internet. “A method of controlling a process through automatic means introduces humans intervention to a minimum.” In real people language; This means having steps in your workflow that are completed without you needing to do anything, which means less work for you or your staff. So why are they important for bookkeepers? Why should bookkeepers have workflows and automations? Well, in essence, I'm creating set workflows and automations is a method of
kind of spending time to save time. We've all experienced times i know i certainly have and plenty of people that I've talked to have experienced times when we feel overloaded and overwhelmed. And while a lot of bookkeeping work, maybe can't be highly automated, that would defeat that Purpose of hiring a bookkeeper. There are definitely steps that you can take to minimize at least your admin tasks. Um, the benefit of creating workflows is actually twofold.
Why bother automating your Bookkeeping Business Workflow
It saves you time by automating certain tasks and creating less work for you. And it also can improve the efficiency of your business because less things will be forgotten or missed, and you'll have a set process to follow, which minimizes the amount of time spent unproductively. Having worked on a number of websites for bookkeepers myself. A really common word I've seen is streamline.
We streamline your business processes for example. So like every, almost every single bookkeeping website that I've done through Savvy has included the word streamline in it. Um, so what that tells me is that bookkeepers are already good at or even experts at streamlining other businesses, their processes. So if you already do that for other businesses, imagine how much more efficient your business can be if you develop workflows and automations to streamline your own business as well. Um, before I go any further, I just want to acknowledge a common reason people give for not developing set workflows, which is I already know how to do it. I've been doing it for years. I don't need to write a task list for something I know like the back of my hand. Okay, so that's fair enough. But what if you need to hire a new staff member to take over these tasks?
New employees benefit from an automation and workflow already set up
How much easier would it be to train them If you can just give them a list to follow with minimal instruction from you, or what if you're sick or on holiday, and something that you normally do needs to be done and someone else has to do it for you. I think you would wish you'd made a workflow for it.
And the other thing that I would say to people who think they already know how to do it, so they don't need a written presence is we're all human. And as such, we make mistakes. Sometimes. We're all prone to the occasional mental blank.
Personally, I have a great capacity to remember my task list or grocery list in my head. I can store a lot of information in my head, but even so, I know I'm so much more productive when I don't need to remember these things, especially, like, once the list gets past a certain point, you really can only hold a certain amount of things in your head. And you're bound to forget something sooner or later. There's always something that I think I know, I'll remember, I'll remember I don't need to write it down. And then Oh, look at that. I forgot what it was. I happens all the time. So having a list
or writing it down, creating a workflow for the tasks that need to be done for some process. Instead of just remembering it all yourself, it creates more mental space for you to fill with something else.
And it creates a buffer so that even if you don't regularly check the task list if you're having an off day Or a mental blank. You can check it if you need to. or use it as verification when you think you've finished everything you needed to do for a certain process, and then you can just check the workflow or the task list to make sure that you did in fact, get everything on the list. Maybe there'll be one thing that you'll be like, Ah, I forgot that one thing, How can I forget that one thing, or the alternative is that you will have remembered everything. And then you'll feel really awesome because you remembered everything.
Examples of workflows for your Bookkeeping Business
So; examples of workflows, I'm just going to give a few like this and less I could just written so many things. I have just a little list for you. And these can be done with or without automations they're just workflows. So you can have workflows for your hiring process for how leave or pay is processed, how to deal with data when it's sent by the client
Automating your initial client contact and onboarding process
sales and marketing processes, which I won't really go into because that one's more Angie's domain. But the one I will talk about that seems to be a very in topic right now is the initial contact and onboarding process. This initial contact and onboarding process is something that so many people lately have been saying, I need to work on this I need to streamline this. So how do we do it at Savvy? At Savvy and for Off The Hook bookkeeping, which is Actually the example that I will give so
as it will be a lot more relevant to you than what we do at Savvy, um, we mostly use a combination of HubSpot, Teamwork, which is our project management app, and Zapier. Zapier is like the big one. It's amazing for connecting so many different apps together so that they can send info to each other without you needing to do it manually by E-automating your workflows. So I'll break it down using initial contact and onboarding as an example. So the first step in the initial contact is, you guessed it, the initial contact for us. This is usually via people contacting us through the contact form on our website. My contact form is linked to and is actually set up in HubSpot. But a common alternative for bookkeepers is Active Campaign which allows you also allows you to set up forms put them on your website collected. So, when someone fills out the form, they get added to an automation in HubSpot.
Get a notification from Hubspot when a Contact Form is filled out
This notifies Amy immediately, so she can contact them ASAP. And it also sends an automatic email to the person who fill out the form, letting them know that they will be contacted shortly for an initial console. This automation can also add it tag to the contact, or added to the list, so that you can easily see which of your contacts are in the new leads category. So, Amy gets the notification,
she calls them as soon as possible. Important to have phone number in the phone.
Onboarding questions in an Airtable Form
She works in magic in the initial consult. I'm not really involved in this part, but I can tell you that she has made a workflow for it, or at least a guide to help her. And so she has a list of questions in an Airtable form that she fills out while on the phone with them. And she fills it out in like, a conversational way to both gather the information that she needs and to get to know them. She doesn't I don't even necessarily know that she's filling out a form. While she's talking to them. She just sort of asked them the questions as the conversation flows. And then at the end, she can go back to make sure she filled out all of the points in the form. And if she missed anything, she can just ask those questions at the end. Um, so this is a great way to make sure that she never forgets to ask for any of the information that she needs as it's all there.
And then once the form is filled out, it's stored in Air Table so we can easily access it there later if they become a client. Um, so then,
PandaDoc or Practice Ignition eSignature proposal form
if it all goes well, then she'll send them a proposal. And if they sign the proposal, that's when the process gets handed over to me. I'm sorry. So I receive a notification from PandaDoc whenever someone signs proposal, I send them an invoice manually. Both PandaDoc and Practice Ignition have the option to let people pay directly when they sign a proposal, which would automate the step of where I manually send the invoice that would just make that automatic. So you do have that option in both of those softwares we don't use it. But we could see, even the really organized people can always be even more organized. So then I send them the invoice
and I create a new bookkeeping project for the new client in teamwork. I'll project and task management software.
This project is made from a template which has all the bookkeeping steps in it for months. quarterly annual onboarding processes and so on. So it's in the form of task lists. So yes, everything you need for doing the bookkeeping is right there already. And just one click, create a new title for this new project and they go in the task list that you have any and then I just go through the steps in the onboarding checklist,
aka, workflow and take them off as I go. Actually, I normally do a number of them first, and then go to the list and check off what I've done and see what I forgot. And there's always something that I forgot, always. So on this checklist, there are a number of tasks, the first one, but the thing that needs to be done first, is to add the client to the new client onboarding automation in HubSpot.
So this automation removes references to new lead and turns them into a client. So that's the tag all list that I talked about before, so it can you can remove a tag or remove someone from the list and give them a new tag or put them in a new list and it also sends them a welcome email like a you know, extra signing up here's some information about you. These are the kinds of communications you can expect from us over the next few days as we set up your account with us
and it also has a link to our for number Airtable form that they do fill out themselves, which is the new client form. So once they fill out the new Client form. And it has different information to the initial consult form, like, for example, we need their date of birth and their tax file numbers. We get that on the new client form, not on the initial consult form. So once they fill out the new client form, I get an automatic notification. Then I use that info to set up their receipt bank login, which is the next step in the the workflow, the project task list the checklist.
Use a template for repetitious emails
So I set up their receipt bank login, and I send their login details to them manually. But I have the email saved as a template.
So all I have to do is copy and paste the login details and hit Send and it's this nicely worded email. I've just sent to all our clients. And I don't need to worry about actually writing an email. So that makes it so much quicker when you have not just the step by step process laid out for you, but also your emails or in templates. Um, and then that's pretty much it.
I just realized, of course, well, then you need to send, you know, your BAS authority as provider and STP, and all of that stuff, which is also on our onboarding checklist. And pretty much that's it in terms of workflows and automations and how they work together. And I realized that
Zapier helps workflow by connecting different apps
we did all of that without even using Zapier, which I said in the beginning was the most important one. But you can of course, use Zapier if you want, like you could set up Because that so that when a client when your client signs a proposal, their contact details automatically get updated from lead to client like you could, um, I manually add them to the new client onboarding automation, but you could set it up so that when they sign a proposal it first through Zapier and automatically adds them to that automation. So there's one step you can automate
through Zapier and one less thing that you have to do manually, you can also set it up. Another cool feature of Zapier is that when any of your panda documents get signed, it can save it as a PDF to your Google Drive, which is pretty cool. So you always have all of your all of your forms there. Easy to find.
yeah. And there's heaps of other things you can do with Zapier and integrates with a lot of different software. So have have a play with it, see what you can do, you might find something in there that I've never even thought of. Um, but yeah, there you go, there's a glimpse for you into the world of workflows and automations. And just letting you know that I've been doing private mentoring sessions with, with people through Savvy
people who want just an extra bit of help planning out their processes in the most efficient way possible, helping them create their workflows and helping them get an idea of what steps can be automated as well. So if you think that this is something that could benefit you, or if you have any questions, just send us an email. At savvy at the savvy bookkeeper.com.au and we'll get the ball rolling.
Bye, thanks for listening today and we'll talk to you soon