Today, the accounting industry’s most progressive firms are transforming the way they work. By adopting the Kanban method of workflow management, firms are streamlining their processes and maximizing throughput without burning out their staff. This is making them more profitable and letting them grow without needing to add additional resources.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a style of workflow management. It enables you to optimize your workflows by visualizing all work on a single canvas—the Kanban Board.

The Kanban Board displays a set of cards, each representing a single job or piece of work. Each card contains critical information about the work to be completed—its title, status, assignee and due date.

Kanban is a style of workflow management perfect for accounting practices.

Kanban enables you to view all work across your firm in whichever way makes the most sense to you. When work progresses or changes are required, you can move cards on the Kanban Board to communicate updates in real time. This gives your workflow momentum so that work can progress through its lifecycle as quickly as possible.

Kanban & the ability to identify gaps, bottlenecks & opportunities.

Currently, you might have challenges visualizing:

  • what work is in-progress
  • what work is blocked
  • when upcoming work is planned to start
  • when existing work is due to be completed
  • who’s overworked and who’s got spare capacity

With Kanban, you can see where each project stands across your entire firm. Seeing this information visually in one place and in a way that makes sense means nothing falls through the cracks. You can optimize your firm's workflow management by ensuring everyone in your team is fully utilized. You can identify dependencies and bottlenecks before they become blockers. You can adjust priorities in real-time. You can minimize the time it takes to go from planned to completed, and as a result, you can get through more work with the same sized team.


Nothing does a better job of managing our work and workflow than Kanban boards. We could never go back to life without them.
Heather Darnell, Back Office Support Solutions Ltd.

 

How Kanban can impact your firm's bottom line.

Managing work with Kanban increases staff efficiency and productivity. It reduces multitasking, which eliminates the inefficiency and cost of context switching. This means productivity increases because your staff don't lose time starting and stopping different jobs. More efficient staff will let you take on more work without needing to add additional resources.

With Kanban you can see what work is coming up, and when different team members are under or over utilized. Being able to visualize what is on everyone's plate enables you to better manage the capacity of your team and make adjustments when necessary. As a manager, this allows you to more easily coordinate work and ensure maximum utilization across the team. 

Increasing utilization across your team means you get more work done faster. As each job is completed, your team members can pull the next job from the list of planned work and get started. This continuous flow of work reduces downtime and improves throughput. Your team spends a higher proportion of their time on billable activities which leads to faster throughput and more revenue. 

Kanban helps your team work better. It forces your team to deliver because they can't start new work until they complete their existing work. Your team spends less time multitasking which enables better utilization and quicker delivery. Clients are happier because turn-around times are shorter and the higher throughput make you more profitable.

 

This article was written by Anthony Forlin. Anthony has spent 15 years helping firms of all sizes successfully manage change and transform their businesses. He's currently working with accounting firms around the world leveraging new tools and technologies to streamline workflow management and drive growth.

 

Karbon's Kanban Board gives you the ultimate view of your practice's work—the full picture in one place. Nothing slips through the cracks, and you can visualize and organize your practice's work in whatever way makes the most sense for you. View the status of each job, see whether anyone is over or under-tasked, look at the pipeline of upcoming work and make adjustments to optimize your workflow and maximize throughput.