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Efficiency is the key to success for any growing accounting firm. Becoming and staying efficient helps improve work processes so that a firm can provide added value to its clients while retaining the best employees. How do firms become efficient? There’s no one magic formula, but these five secrets can help any growing firm drive efficiency.

Communicate Work Processes Clearly

If everyone in a firm is on the same page, work naturally becomes more efficient. Senior managers should clearly document work processes and expectations. Share these expectations in a central file accessible to all employees, and be sure to update them as necessary. A clear, concise work processes document makes onboarding new employees easier too.

Encourage Total Documentation

Redundancy is one of the biggest drags on efficiency in an accounting firm. That’s why it’s so important for every employee to document everything. All essential client details, requests and protocols should be thoroughly documented. Good documentation allows for true collaboration on all projects. Doing so eliminates the need for firm staff to ask clients for the same information over and over too.

Adopt Team Collaboration Tools

Strong collaboration is key to efficiency. However, firms can’t expect collaboration to happen magically. Employees need good team collaboration tools to facilitate cooperative work. A firm might adopt an internal social network or use collaboration-driven apps on smartphones to encourage stronger teamwork. Whatever tools are adopted, all employees need to receive the training and resources necessary to use them wisely.

Always Be Training

Many accounting firms think of employee training as a one-time event that takes place during onboarding. That’s a big mistake. Continuous efficiency and success are the products of continuous training. Provide regular training opportunities to employees that increase their skill sets and their investments in the firm. Strong training practices promote a positive workplace culture that lends itself to better collaboration, more successful interactions with clients and greater overall success.

Stay Focused on Continuous Improvement

It’s easy for an accounting firm to hit a plateau and stay there. Perhaps firm leadership sets goals and then sits down to rest once they’re reached. This is the wrong approach for true firm growth. Once one goal or improvement metric has been reached, it’s important to set new goals and work steadfastly to achieve them. Staying focused on improvement ensures that firm leaders can always find new opportunities for success and growth.

Reaching efficiency goals as an accounting firm is all about staying proactive. Make no mistake that growing a firm is hard work. Staying on target and working with outside partners that can support firm objectives is essential to creating sustainable growth no matter the current size of the firm.