The most configurable workflow engine ever createdGlide's workflow engine has been built specifically for accounting firms. While many accounting firms provide similar services the reality is that differing client bases and business models mean that every firm operates in a very individual way. Our experience at tailoring Glide for almost 200 accounting firms has allowed our workflow engine's capabilities to constantly expand to cater for typical variations. We expand on some of the key options here.
Templates and custom workflowsGlide comes with a set of templates to allow you to track typical services with no set up required. Add your own custom workflows to track all of the services and processes within your office. There are 3 types of Glide workflow 'trigger' systems which are recurring services where jobs create automatically by reference to a client specific date, 'tax year systems' where jobs create automatically each tax year and 'manual initiation' systems which are designed for one-off processes such as VAT registrations.
TriggersTrigger fields ensure jobs automatically create at the correct time. You decide exactly when a job should automatically create by reference to the trigger date (e.g. the Next Year End, VAT Quarter, pay date etc. You can have multiple triggers on a single systems and you can use any number of days, months or year s as the frequency with special options for payroll workflows such as 'last working day'. Accounts and Confirmation statement trigger dates are set automatically via the Companies House link.
Progress buttonsYour team record progress on a job simply by pressing a progress button. You'll have decided how many buttons you need at each stage and exactly where they go and what they do (workflow actions), it allows Accounting Firms to map out processes properly, catering for all possible outcomes. Taking a proper process management approach to workflow is now possible, affordable and simple. A set of progress buttons taking a job from 'creation' eventually through to a 'completion' stage will create a route, you need at least one route on every workflow system.
DeadlinesYou can add deadlines to your workflow routes from a library provided by Glide. Glide calculates statutory deadlines automatically and can currently calculate 40 deadlines for 5 different countries. The selection is wide ranging from Accounts filing, Tax filing, VAT and personal tax through to more specialist areas such as SRA audits, Charity submissions, RTI, pension and FCA returns. Our Companies House link also allows Glide to cater for the quirky 1st year filing deadline.
Custom fieldsAdd custom job fields to your workflows routes to capture and present data on a job by job basis. You can default fields to equivalent client fields and write back changes to the client database too. Fields can be used for obvious tasks such as allocating staff positions, holding expected fees and billing dates or any more complex need such as capturing turnover data. Our 'traffic light' workflow actions allow you to ensure fields are completed at the appropriate moment.
Staff positionsHave upto 9 customisable staff position on every workflow system. These positions can be set automatically form the client database or set on a job by job basis. Staff allocation can be either manual, automatic or you can use our pool feature to allow staff to self-allocate jobs in an optimal order. If a user occupies a staff position they are 'linked' to the job which allows an extra filter level on dashboard widgets. Workflow actions allow jobs to be passed automatically to different position, users or the job pool.
Workflow actionsWorkflow actions can add a high degree of control and automation to your workflows. On job creation, on taking a job from the pool or when any progress button is pressed you can configure Glide to execute any number of workflow actions. These can be to pass a job to a different team member, to set target dates, to block progress based on certain criteria, to automatically move on a related job, more advanced actions include sending or queuing SMS and e-mail messages based upon templates.
Sub-systemsSplit jobs into multiple components each with their own set of stages, fields, progress buttons and deadlines. This is often used to split Accounts and CT, this is preferential to having two systems because the components remain highly related for reporting and dashboard widgets. You can also use workflow actions to block or progress one job based upon progress in another. Sub systems essentially improve the level of collaboration between different departments. Sub-systems are also used in our 'new client onboarding' workflow to allow joined up tracking of the different components, being 'internal processes', 'AML', 'payment' and 'professional clearance'.
Multiple routesA route is the combination of progress buttons and workflow actions, custom field and deadlines that will appear on the job card. If you have groups of clients that have variations in the process, that can not be dealt with via multiple progress buttons, then you can create multiple routes and allocate each client to the appropriate route. This keeps the jobs in the same system for reporting purposes whilst allowing different job cards, most reports and dashboard widgets can also be viewed on an overall or 'per route' basis.
Unbeatable visibility over job progress and priorities
Glide was built to provide visibility, reassurance and peace of mind for portfolio holders within an Accounting Firm. It is critical that partners, managers and any other portfolio holders can see precisely the information they need to satisfy themselves that the firm is maintaining service levels and completing work in both a client friendly fashion and in advance of any statutory deadlines. Glide combination of dashboards and reports provide this, they have all been built specifically for Accounting Firms.
Every Glide user can create and name as many graphical dashboards as they require. Each dashboard can be populated with a wide range of widgets that display useful information relating to job progress, targets, priorities, deadlines and other info.
The main benefit of the example widgets below is the integrity of the data. With automatic job creation, a highly controlled process with audit trail and the inability to complete a job with outstanding deadlines, users know that the widgets are reliable. You can genuinely ditch the many spreadsheets that often co exist with poorly designed workflow systems.
Many dashboard widgets summarise the number of jobs at a certain stage or with a certain priority, click on this number and the Glide report writer will write a report of the relevant jobs. You can also use this reporting tool to create bespoke workflow reports which can be saved, exported and from where you can easily drill into client and job cards. Glide also offers specific reports for areas such as average turnaround reporting, pass-through reports and a detailed progress overview. Glide's analytics module can provide further detailed reporting where required.
Some example widgets
The progress monitor
The progress monitor shows the number of jobs at each stage. Jobs appear in the first row as soon as they are automatically created (often a month pre year end) facilitating a proactive approach. Accountants also know that for a job to move from the bottom row the job has to have progressed through the defined process, leaving a full audit trail and any statutory deadlines have to have been completed. This simple widget is highly effective because of the automation and control offered by the system.
The upcoming targets widget can tell you exactly what to do next. For all jobs with a target date on the current or any future stage the system uses the most urgent target to calculate the 'days to go'. If you set suitable automated targets this widget will prevent any jobs from slipping beyond your intended service levels.
While the progress monitor and upcoming targets are based around meeting your internal service levels, the deadline monitor gives you a deadline perspective of your upcoming jobs. As before the '60+' column will show new deadlines when jobs are automatically created and deadline can only leave the widget once they are completed, this is linked to either progressing through a stage or completing a job field.
Standardise your procedures
As firms grow the need arises to split into teams, departments and potentially offices; established firms increasingly seek growth through mergers and acquisitions. Inevitably the risk arises that different working practices may emerge and it is important that control and consistency are retained as firms evolve.
A well developed workflow system allows differentiation between teams, departments and offices to reflect their differences but enforces consistency where necessary so as to minimise risk within the firm.
Standardise working practicesStages, progress buttons, controls and targets can all be standardised across the firm. Practices that are accustomed to using multiple spreadsheets, or perhaps one very large control sheet, will see significant benefits by switching to a central database for job control. It allows responsibility for client service to be shared, the more employees you empower to have visibility on job progress the more likely issues are to be spotted and proactively managed, everyone can talk the same language and collaborate around the same system. A central workflow system also facilitates far more useful reporting.
Cater for differencesIn addition to standardising procedures you also have to be able to cater for subtle differences. With multiple progress buttons you can allow different options for clients such as dormant companies with simplified stages. In addition separate workflow routes can be setup for different departments or teams, for example where 'Small / owner managed business' and 'Corporate/Audit' departments have different processes, multiple routes will cater for this whilst offering overall reporting options.
Minimise riskWith the ongoing trend of governments looking to maximise tax take through increased penalties, the advent of RTI and MTD regular reporting and the increasingly risky position for accountants in relation to money laundering procedures, the need for large and growing firms to standardise procedures is greater than ever.
Automatic job creation
Often spreadsheets and workflow systems rely on the Accountant to roll forward jobs and create the next period manually. Glide works on the basis that you have to remember to add the new client and that is it, all recurring jobs are automatically created by the system regardless of the status of previous jobs and all statutory deadlines are automatically calculated.
Automate targets and turnaround reporting
Automate targetsGlide's target date system is a great way to ensure that work is carried out in line with the service level you expect to provide. Every stage of every job has a field for a target date and whilst you can set these manually the best option is to have the dates triggered automatically using workflows actions on your various routes. The sheer number of options available sets Glide apart from other systems, it is not sufficient to set a series of dates only for them to become irrelevant once a delay is incurred.
Target setting workflow actions can be triggered on job creation, on removal of a job from the pool or whenever you press a progress button.
Targets can be set for any number of days +/- the current date, the job date (year end, pay date etc), any custom job field or any deadline. Workflow actions are linked to a route meaning you can differ the number of days for groups of clients and the advanced editor includes the ability to derive the number of days from a client field meaning it can be client specific with a default where the field is empty.