The Importance of Standardization
By Sam Flores
Have you ever wondered how many times you get asked the same question regarding a routine procedure such as how to code an invoice, or how to process a manual check? These questions, however easy they may be to answer, take time away from the more important tasks going on in the office. It is important to standardize these routine processes to minimize the constant “training” of employees.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) can be a helpful tool because routine tasks are not left subject to interpretation by the person assigned the task. In many cases, employees will do their job based on the way they were taught to do it, usually the last employee assigned the task, but this may not be the most efficient, or technically proficient method. By creating SOP’s, you develop a standard method of follow procedures that are in line with company policies. You will now have a way to measure an employee’s performance by ensuring that processes are being handled in a consistent manner. You can track mistakes quicker, as any deviations from the standard process will become easier to spot. The efficiency in the office will also improve as your employees become more knowledgeable in how to handle their assigned tasks. There will also be less conflict in the performance of a task, as everyone will be expected to follow the standard.
Once an SOP has been completed and approved by management, the document should be stored electronically in a shared folder and reviewed with personnel assigned these specified tasks. You should conduct periodic review of current SOP’s to ensure that procedures are still applicable to your business.
The creation of Standard Operating Procedures can seem like a difficult task at first, but the payoff will be greater in the long-run as you begin to see a more efficient accounting office, working under a set of standards that minimizes room for error.