We promote the use of whiteboards for workflow management. Nearly every firm has an electronic workflow system and that’s great – you need that to calculate how many hours to go (NOT dollars to go) on a job. The problem with only having an electronic system is that people can hide behind screens.
You need a visual management system as well.
A little while ago I was leading a group of Accountants in a coachingclub meeting. One of the delegates (Brent Dickins from Palmerston North, NZ) said “We turn work around in 10 days”. Of course, we were all interested in how Brent did that on a consistent basis. He told us he uses whiteboards to track turnaround time. So with Brent’s blessing we created a template of the whiteboard and it was then widely used with great results.
Since many firms have been using the system it has been updated and fine-tuned. It is now part of a daily stand up workflow meeting process. With no more than 3 ‘open jobs’ per accountant the client service coordinator updates the whiteboard every day before the daily meeting.
1) Another day is added for the time the job is in the shop
2) The % completion number is added – from the electronic monitoring system
3) The hours to go (based on maximum time allocated) is updated
The objective of the ‘hours to go’ is to have a credit balance on each job at the end. Make a file note for next time and then reduce the hours every time – only do this of course if you price the job up front.
The photo’s below show the team at Hansens in Melbourne running their daily 10 minute workflow meetings.
The last photo is of Pat Hoey from Bacchus Marsh is taking it a bit far. He has put white boards in his Bedroom! I hear his wife if not so pleased about this strategy. I wonder why!!!!