How to Create the Best Workflow for a CPA Firm

A Workflow for a CPA Firm… Is it really necessary? CPA Firms operate in a fast-paced environment, where they must juggle clients, do the work, meet deadlines, and work collaboratively.

With so many moving parts, it’s easy for the process to get skewed from person to person. Things start slipping through the cracks or take way longer than they should as staff needlessly recreate the wheel for recurring processes.

Establishing an efficient workflow will help your firm:

  • Be more productive
  • Make less mistakes
  • Increase billable hours
  • Serve clients better
  • Not miss deadlines

Having a good workflow is important now more than ever as teams become increasingly dispersed– whether due to the pandemic, shifting work culture, or globalization.

When your team is operating in different locations– even different time zones– an efficient workflow will help keep everyone moving forward together succinctly.

What a Workflow Look Like?

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Boiled down, workflow is the sequence of tasks and processes in which work gets done. When your CPA Firm workflow is running optimally, projects come in, tasks are managed and assigned, employees understand exactly what role they have to complete and by when, and projects get churned out quickly and efficiently.

So much of your day-to-day operations can be improved by implementing trackable workflow:

  • Completing new client paperwork and intake forms
  • Assigning project responsibility and ensure deadlines
  • Time tracking and billing
  • Scheduling and managing meetings
  • Onboarding and training
  • Business development

A Workflow for a CPA Firm is a critical element to success. A proper workflow should guarantee nothing gets lost in the pipeline, there is more accountability amongst staff, and your firm should always know where projects are in the lineup.

Particularly now, as employees aren’t always sitting next to each other in an office, a workflow provides a simple way for them to communicate project status and work together, even while working remotely.

How to implement the best workflow for your CPA firm?

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In today’s unique landscape, cloud-based solutions that organize workflow for accounting firms are the lifeline keeping remote teams together, allowing them to work on, review, pass along, and update projects. From intake to billing, an automated process can improve team productivity and increase organization.

Accounting firms big and small can benefit from automating processes through a workflow. If your firm is working remotely, choosing the right cloud-based accounting workflow management software to help teams input, organize, delegate, and process projects within an accounting firm is a great first step.

Programs like TPS Cloud Axis provide accounting-specific workflow features that are customizable according to your firm’s needs, can track work and are easy to update.

Once you’ve selected the right platform, here are a few tips for creating the best workflow for accounting firms:

Make workflow work for you, not the other way around.

The best workflow for accounting firms should be easy to manage, not extra work for you (or your team) to administer on a day-to-day basis.

Cloud-based software such as TPS Cloud Axis provide oversight of client workflow, due dates, team tasks and calendars, all in one place.

It’s as simple as logging the project into the system – once an item is logged into TPS Software, the team can begin working on it. For management, this process should be as simple as set it and forget it.

Accounting is all about accountability.

Do items ever slip through the cracks at your firm? Do you know where a file is, who’s working on it, when it’s due, or how much longer until it’s ready? Workflow keeps items from falling off the radar by promoting accountability.

TPS Software, for example, makes it easy to task an employee with a project, letting everyone know who is currently working on it, what stage it’s in, and/or if it gets passed along to someone else. This digital workflow provides oversight on details like time entries, ownership, and status to ensure a project keeps moving along at the proper pace.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Working from home has changed the way we work with each other. You can’t always swing by your coworker’s desk to ask for the latest spreadsheet. Accountants must now rely on quick and secure ways to share important information.

A proper workflow will help you pass projects easily along the workflow chain, so your team can collaborate effectively. Make sure your staff have a solid understanding of the workflow your accounting firm is running and understand their specific role within it. Review your workflow quarterly for improvements– and encourage staff to reach out or speak up if they think something could be done more efficiently.

Workflow Automated updates.

TPS Software’s workflow for accounting firms features employee scheduling to help them coordinate their portion of a project (when they received it, exactly what they have been assigned, when it’s due, etc.).

Once an employee finishes their task, they are able to assign it to the next person who will complete the following stage, and so on, until the project is ready for review. Management is privy (via an audit trail) to this movement and will be able to track where the project is at any given time.

Additionally, TPS allows firms to set warning thresholds to manage labor hours or costs by client. Threshold alerts help firms evaluate their own progress and investment in each client, making sure their time and resources are being utilized efficiently.

Time Tracking.

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Keeping records of how long you work on each client or project is essential. Cloud-based software allows your team to track times by task, project or client.

Previously established workflow for accounting firms should give you an idea of how long each project should take. This workflow estimate then allows you to recognize if a client is sucking up too much time on calls or if an employee is taking 3xs as long as they should on a simple project.


Workflow entries include everything from dates to notes to employees assigned, and give management a bird’s eye view of everything going on within the company at any given time.

Accountants should keep their teams cognizant of the status of a project, if it’s taking longer than expected or if someone else needs to be assigned a certain part of the task in order to help get it done. Transparency provided by workflow gives your team this much-needed insight on project updates and helps them, in turn, communicate realistic expectations to clients and higher-ups.

How do I know which Workflow is the best for my CPA Firm?

Practice management and workflow for accounting firms depend greatly on the type of practice you run, its size, how much administrative support you require, and the ease at which the software you land on allows you to make the changes you need.

Choosing the type of workflow that is right for your firm may be as simple as how much time you have to administer it.

  • Firms doing large audits will likely require a complex workflow that includes trigger warnings on budget, staff assignments and extensive admin time to keep it functioning.
  • Small firms may prefer a simple workflow that shows what stage each project is in and what employees are working on them.

The key is establishing a workflow for your CPA firm is that integrates with your team’s needs and the cloud-based accounting management software you use. Workflow provides structure in every aspect of your firm and should help you automate, create and collaborate on tasks so that you, and your team, can focus on the real work.

Want to learn more about creating a workflow with TPS Cloud Axis? Schedule a 15-minute consultation

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