Email as a central business communication tool isn’t going anywhere. However, as a 50-year old communication tool, email is not meant to solve your accounting workflow management challenges. Accounting teams depend on email to communicate internally with their teams, and externally with customers, sometimes managing four or more inboxes at a time.
The problem many organizations face with such a heavy dependence on email for business-critical workflows is that email doesn’t support structured methods for tracking and managing activities. This is especially true for those that take place outside the scope of what email can accomplish. This results in today’s accounting teams needing tools like Slack, Teams, additional productivity tools, and more, in order to close out many of the activities they manage day-to-day.
On top of this, inboxes fill up quickly, and at a time when companies leverage automation in everything from the IT helpdesk to sales tracking to HR, the average accounting team is still using the same software stack from 2002. While email as the central communication tool for businesses is here to stay, it shouldn’t be the center of your accounting activity workflow.
Here’s a look at some of the undue burden email places on accounting teams and how a modern, shared, accounting inbox solution can enhance workflow management.
- Activity assignment. When an email goes to a generic inbox, how do you determine who is responsible for what? What is the follow-up procedure? What happens to an incomplete activity if someone is out sick or on vacation? These fundamental problems with email can be resolved with activity assignment. Activities don’t get lost or misplaced, like they can with email.
- Visibility and Accountability. Outlook does not have accountability or status visibility built in. In turn, this can lead to mismanaged or longer than expected outcomes. With a structured tool, activity status is visible, and all changes are tracked.
- Attachments and Document Management. Email is absolutely not a document management tool. Try to find the last invoice you were sent? Good luck. Today, you can connect your ERP directly to your email system with a shared accounting inbox tool, making document management and impossible searches, a thing of the past.
- ERP integration. Email applications, today, only integrate with a few, select applications (Zoom and Outlook integration, for example), but it’s not common. Connecting your email to your ERP was once thought of as impossible, but new solutions like, Lockstep Inbox, connect your email to your accounting system / ERP, creating accounting solutions for accounting problems.
- Inefficiencies. The average professional received 120 new emails a day, pre-pandemic. With you, your customers, and vendors working a mix of in-office, hybrid, and fully remote, email levels will continue to rise. Email is the never-ending time suck for accounting teams.
- Collaboration. With business information located in a central, structured application team members can better collaborate and improve how the business operates. Better understanding of processes unlocks hidden knowledge also leads to less frustration among staff.
Manual accounting processes today are inefficient, relying heavily on email and spreadsheets to manage and organize your accounting workflows, will keep your head spinning and your cash flow light. Many teams, today, have an accounting workflow that consists of emailing PDFs and spreadsheets back and forth to each other to be opened, read, and manually updated. This creates disparate, static information that is impossible to keep track of. There’s a better way to manage conversations with customers and vendors.
The world’s first ever shared inbox is designed exclusively for accounting and finance, Lockstep Inbox creates an online workspace so there’s one place for the accounting team to work together, manage shared activities, and directly connect with customers and vendors. Lockstep Inbox can automatically organize emails and documents by subject and issue for specific vendors, customers, and transactions. And best of all, it’s free.