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Tips And Techniques How Review Your Processes

If you have a business you have business processes, the only question is whether they are defined or whether you recreate them for every customer, maybe even every transaction or job.

Do you have defined business processes? A business process can be simply a checklist of steps like this process for receiving customer payments:

  1. Receive payment in the mail.
  2. Make photocopy of the cheque or check.
  3. Record payment in Quickbooks/Simply Accounting/other accounts payable system against the customer account.
  4. Take cheque or check to the bank and deposit it.

Best scenario is that there is a manual for each department in your business that described exactly how each repeatable activity is achieved.

This applies to you especially if you are a single person business.

Business Process Checklist

Here is a checklist for business processes by department followed by a checklist of what to do to review these processes. Every business has these processes that should already be defined. Exactly what these processes look like will depend on your exact business.

Customer Acquisition – these are marketing and sales steps to finding a prospect and getting them to say “yes” to your product or service.

Deliver Products and/or Services – these are steps the business takes to actually deliver what the customer purchased.

Customer Payments – these are the steps that the business takes to process customer payments according to your policies.

Customer Service – these are the steps that the business takes to ensure customers are happy with what they received.

Bookkeeping – these are the steps that the business takes every month to ensure expenses are tracked, cash flow is managed, taxes are paid, and employees are paid.

Vendor Management – these are the steps that the business takes every month to ensure the bills are paid and that new or additional services that are required arrive on time as expected.

Review Your Business Processes

Here are the basic steps to review your business processes in the form of checklists:

  1. Schedule a time when business pressures will be put aside so you can give all your attention to this task at hand. It can be challenging to review your own processes, so it is important not to be interrupted or it will take much, much longer to complete.
  2. Pick one processes to start with, preferrably an easy one. Get the manual or e-document that you have to document the process. If you are using a technology tool, that is great. You will need to define a test case so that it does not impact your actual busness results later.
  3. Follow the steps one by one and verify the list of steps is complete. Add steps as required, make note of the revision date and that you will need to share the changes with your team (as appropriate).
  4. If you are reviewing the business process for a bookkeeping tool such as Quickbooks or Simply Accounting, it is generally best to use an actual piece of work as the example. Walk through the steps of what needs to be done and verify that it is all documented.

When you have your step-by-step processes defined to the point that you could hire someone to do the job and they would be able to do most of the work based on the process documentation, then you are complete!

If you have more elaborate processes including work flow between departements or people, often specialized techniquesto analyse the workflow and validate whether there are bottlenecks that are impeding the ability of the business to produce more with the same number of people.

Specialized techniques include:

  • swim lanes
  • flow charts
  • top down diagramming techniques such as IDEF0
  • automated workflow analysis tools


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