Stop Putting Things Off!
Listen to this episode here: Stop Putting Things Off!
Welcome to our blog for TALKING NUMBERS with Paul Jansz! In this article, we share our conversation with Melissa Voss, Head of Client & Partner Relations at FuseWorks. Melissa and her FuseWorks team created FuseDocs and, more recently, their digital signing platform FuseSign, to automate practice administration processes to improve efficiency and cut the headache of dealing with those dull tasks.
Optimising Workflow Process
Melissa’s background has always been in professional service businesses, particularly chartered accounting firms. She said thanks to the benefit of having the first-hand experience; she saw the potential of process improvement and the impact on team members.
Melissa’s focus is reducing the menial and repetitive tasks to improve workflow processes, capacity, and turnaround. Melissa and her team wanted to provide team members with tools to free up their time so that they can focus on the more enjoyable parts of their job. Melissa said there’s a lot of untapped potentials and unleashing the opportunities for team members is huge in their accounting practices. They have the ability to transform businesses.
Melissa is very passionate about making team member’s lives more enjoyable and interesting. She cites that, recently, a client has changed how they work by using the ‘FuseDocs‘ product. Their daily tasks have turned from manual, repetitive document collation, to marketing, training, and working more closely with senior managers.
Recently, Melissa met a client who had a dilemma. The client said they have been putting things off, but they need some solutions because the admin team are leaving due to the boring tasks. Melissa says, people don’t want to be doing repetitive, boring tasks, which are best left for the robots, and leave people to do human tasks where they can use much more time. She says we need to look at these rooms for improvement and let teams have more enjoyable days; otherwise, they’ll go elsewhere.
FuseWorks is all about providing accounting-focused technology. FuseDocs and FuseSign are their core products. Focussing on solutions tailored for different clients, Fuseworks provides the training, discovery, and optimisation for a particular practice, and empowers them to embrace technology. In this way, they can empower accounting teams to go on different pathways of service offerings. It is all about challenging the status quo by asking the hard questions, such as: “Is there a better way of working?”; “How do we do this?” and “Do we just rest on the way we’ve always done things?”
Melissa also emphasises, just because you’re doing it one way, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong way. So, don’t just jump to the next shiny toy quickly. Do not change unless you need to.
Melissa points out that every practice has its own way of going about looking for process improvements in their practice. FuseWorks has a unique position in that they work with hundreds of accounting firms around Australia and New Zealand. They know what best practice looks like. At FuseWorks, they use the ‘infuse review’ process to identify issues for a company. This process consists of a series of questions that break down into four quadrants of an accounting firm. These quadrants, in simple words, how data comes in, how work is done, how work is sent out, and how data is used in the business.
By asking these questions, they can get information, understand where the businesses are, and help them work through the problems. It’s about identifying where you should focus time and energy.
Melissa said FuseWorks creates tools to solve unique problems in the accounting industry, but doesn’t solve them all. It is about connecting clients with other solutions and finds process improvements that can help build the optimum technology stack and process automation to a particular practice.
Engaging, Interesting, and Meaningful work
Melissa believes her work is about freeing the team to do the more meaningful jobs, and they can only do that if they have the right tools in everyday processes.
Melissa has a client who was an admin team member in a large accounting firm in Brisbane. He would spend lots of time document collating and getting documents ready to go out to clients from the accountants. After implementing FuseDocs, he completely changed the way of working and his day just completely transformed. He started doing marketing activities and liaising with the accountants more.
Change of Mindset
Melissa also mentions the change of mindset. For an accounting firm, the revenue comes from the chargeable time. But now, people are looking at value billing instead of time-based billing. Tools allow you to finish a task and get the end result quicker. You have done the same amount of work, just in a different way, where you can free up your time.
Identifying the Issues
Melissa suggested that businesses need to plan for some team sessions. She says business should get the team to think about what the repetitive tasks are, what might contribute to the frustration, and what is giving inconsistent outcomes. Then they can work on how to automate their working process and have fewer errors. This matrix helps identify the sweet spot of improvement – Melissa always focuses on the things that are going to give the biggest workflow improvements.
Melissa says, oftentimes, all you need to do is get the team into one room and talk, starting with little things. It’s very easy to see some quick wins. After that, the team will see the value, when they witness their suggestions turning into outcome.
In FuseWorks’ office, they have a whiteboard on the wall. During the day, if there’s something frustrating and there’s a better way of doing it, anybody at any time can go and scribble it up on the whiteboard. Then they will work on it.
The Numbers Behind Process Improvement
Melissa introduced that there are also other benefits from process improvement, such as saving in printing and posting turnaround times. Take sending out an annual collation as an example, a FuseDocs implementation turns this 45-minute task into 5 minutes. That means, whenever you’re sending it out to a family group, it’s going to save you 40 minutes whilst making sure the clients receive a beautiful, professional, and polished looking file with consistency.
Melissa says, one of their big clients estimated their superannuation advisory team saved about $50,000 a year by implementing FuseDocs.
A Piece of Advice
Melissa said too often she hears people saying, “I don’t have time for that now”. She suggested to not put things off because you have no time. Automation is a conversation. It is an easy process in which you can get some quick wins. You can spend five minutes now to save hours and hours later. So, don’t put things off; get things done because you’re always going to be busy.