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Consistent and efficient processes pave the way for firm growth.


Client Spotlight: Melanie Woodrick, CPA of GranthamPoole

Firm Name: GranthamPoole

Location: Ridgeland, MS

# of Offices: 2

# of Partners: 12

# of Employees: 80

Imagine starting a new job right out of college. In theory, the tasks you were hired to complete are straightforward, but you have 15 bosses, each of them wants the jobs they give you to be done a different way and their unique requirements aren’t written down anywhere. For many people in the accounting profession, it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up that vision. It’s the way many firms work. And while many employees hired under circumstances just like these eventually learn to navigate a maze of personal preferences, it’s not really an efficient way to train.

That’s what lead Melanie Woodrick of Grantham Poole to do a Lean Six Sigma improvement project over the firm’s 1040 process in the summer of 2016. The firm was growing, and they were onboarding new people regularly, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to train new employees on their procedures. “Partners were doing things so many different ways,” Woodrick says, “it was hard for people to get up to speed when everyone was telling them something different and nothing was written down.”

The power of workflow

To grow the firm, Woodrick says they knew they had to invest the time and do a Lean project. They also realized they needed an automated workflow solution as they were still routing work through the office in brown folders.

After evaluating several providers, the firm went with XCM Solutions.

Grantham Poole’s financial investment into an automated workflow solution and time into the Lean project has paid off. They completed the Lean process improvement project in the summer of 2016, so it was in place for busy season 2017.

The results speak for themselves:

  • Increased realization on 1040 clients by eight percent

  • Reducing total staff hours by more than 2,000 hours

  • Freed up office space by getting rid of the brown folders

  • Enhanced quality by setting standards for preparers and reviewer

  • Pleased clients with faster turnaround time

  • Improved onboarding by creating an electronic playbook outlining their processes

“It was a win for the top and the bottom,” Woodrick says.

In fact, the firm is so pleased with the results, they did another Lean project for their business tax returns in 2017, and they’re planning to complete one on their payroll process in 2018.

Get to know Melanie

Woodrick grew up in Jacksonville, Florida but attended college at Ole Miss, where she met her husband, Woody. At Ole Miss, Woodwick wasn’t intending to major in accounting. She tried liberal arts and business, but something just clicked when she took her first accounting course. “Light bulbs were going off,” Woodrick says. “I just thought, ‘This is it!”

She now calls Madison, Mississippi home. She has two grown sons – who have steered clear of accounting – and a one-year-old granddaughter.

When Woodrick isn’t working with individuals, small businesses and professional service firms on tax planning and compliance, you can find her reading her book club’s

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