What Are the Benefits of a Flow Chart?

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A hand designing a flowchart.
A hand designing a flowchart. (Image: Photokanok/iStock/Getty Images)

Flowcharts are visual diagrams or maps of a process. A good flowchart provides a step-by-step description of the process using standardized symbols connected by lines and arrows that illustrate the relationships between steps. Flowcharts aren’t just for computer programmers. They are useful tools for managing business operations, ranging from accounting procedures and manufacturing systems to supply and delivery processes. Creating accurate flowcharts can be a lot of work, but the benefits make it worth the time and energy.

Communication and Training

Flowcharts improve communication. For example, when a change is made in a manufacturing process, an updated flowchart allows everyone affected to easily see the change and how it fits into the overall production system. For training purposes, flowcharts enable new employees to more easily understand how each step moves an entire process forward to completion.

Documentation and Compliance

An important benefit of flowcharts is that they provide documentation of a process. This is useful when problems arise because flow charts let you trace the process from one step to the next. This lets you easily identify when the problem took place. The flowchart also provides guidance for managers overseeing operations and helps ensure compliance with policy and regulations. For example, managers can reference a flowchart of accounting procedures to verify that bookkeeping activities are being conducted according to generally accepted accounting principles.

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