What is the overarching goal in a for-profit business? You can find the answer within the question – profit. While organizations focus on client and customer satisfaction, product development and operational activities on a daily basis, business owners are primarily concerned with the bottom line.
With a new year in full swing, businesses across the state are setting measures that they would like to achieve in 2017, and these goals, in some way or another, are designed to increase profitability. As CPAs, we are often tasked with the establishment and management of these profitability goals, both for our clients and in our own organizations. We have all heard the question, “How can we increase profitability?” The answers to this question will vary on a case-by-case basis, however, there is one constant – technology.
Published in the January issue of the Journal of Accountancy, an article by author J. Carlton Collins, CPA, discusses how to better leverage Excel in analyzing a general ledger. While I won’t go into much detail in this article, I would recommend his piece to anyone who is concerned with profitability for two main reasons. First, analyzing your general ledger in new ways could lead to new discoveries that may not have been possible using more traditional methods. Using filters, pivot tables, and charts in Excel can allow a CPA to see the bigger picture and find cost savings that will add to the bottom line. Second, Excel provides efficiencies an average user may not realize exist within the program. Using the tools outlined in his article will not only provide a more effective analysis, but also one that is more efficient, saving you time and money in the process.
Another way that technology can add to the bottom line is its ability to increase employee efficiency through remote work opportunities. This can be applied in our organizations as well as within our clients’ organizations. This particular time of year lends itself to long hours for CPAs, and allowing members of our own organizations to work remotely rather than in the office when needed can boost productivity and morale, which will likely lead to greater efficiency now and in the future.
Profitability can be negatively impacted by promoting attitudes in our organizations similar to that of George Costanza, the popular Seinfeld character, who after locking his keys in his car at the office said “It is all because of that car. See, Steinbrenner is like the first guy in at the crack of dawn. He sees my car, he figures I’m the first guy in. Then, the last person to leave is Wilhelm. He sees my car, he figures I’m burning the midnight oil. Between the two of them, they think I’m working an 18-hour day.” For any organization, ending the “if you aren’t in the office, you aren’t working” culture for trusted employees can have a profound impact on retention and efficiency, resulting in potentially greater profitability. However, efficient remote work can only be achieved through the use of effective technology.
Business owners rely on CPAs to provide guidance in becoming more successful. Using technology in many aspects can increase profitability, and in turn, can lead to more successful business enterprises. Exploring innovative ways to implement technology and increase efficiency can ensure that a CPA remains as a business owner’s most trusted advisor.
What are you doing within your organization to implement new technology? Have you found it to be successful? Are remote work opportunities available in your organization?