Time Management Strategies: As an accountant, you are probably familiar with the fast-paced workday. In fact, you may enjoy your work. But sometimes, keeping it above all else – big and small tasks – can feel like a juggling act like never before. You may not sleep well at night, worrying that something important will fall into the cracks.
Here are eight effective time management strategies, no matter how busy you are.
Reduce Time to Meet
While some meetings will be important for your career as a CPA, others may not be necessary at all. Yes, you will need to meet with customers to test their business – but can you limit how often you meet or for how long?
When it comes to internal meetings within your firm, can you change other meetings into an instant email or Slack entry instead? It is easy to fall into the pattern of meetings because it is the way “things used to be” “but even reducing a few meetings to 60 minutes to 30 minutes can save a lot of time each week.
Schedule Management Tasks
Time Management Strategies: Most of your time can be spent reviewing documents and viewing account details. These activities take time – and you should plan them on your calendar, just as you would with meetings.
What if you are striving to estimate how much time you will need? You may find it helpful to know how long it takes you to get a certain number of report pages or to navigate a particular account type.
Set aside sometime during the day and week
It’s hard to get a headache if you are interrupted every 5 minutes. While you may want to be accountable to your customers and other team members, that does not mean you are always on the move.
Find other times of the day or week when you can turn off your phone and concentrate. Maybe 8 am – 9 am is a good time to spend each day on a focused job, before more customers call, and before other demands start to take your time. You can also try to block the entire afternoon or afternoon with focused activity when you are not holding calls.
Use Technology Effectively
Do you spend time doing things by hand that can easily happen? Or are you using outdated and slow-moving systems that require a lot of work to just enter data and use reports? So many software options out there will make your life easier.
That could mean using software like QuickBooks (a full-fledged business full of financial management tools) or some other unique client tools.
It can also mean using software like Zoom to simplify your day by reducing travel time. If a client can meet over Zoom for a 30-minute meeting, that works much better than having to walk 30 minutes to and from their office – three times the time you should give in a meeting.
Release of external services, e.g. of Payroll
As a CPA, you cannot (and should not!) Do everything yourself. It always makes sense to work with external services, such as virtual managers, independent accountants, or others who can take the work out of your hands. For example, you could use a specialized company to take on the role of a paid service provider.
While it may seem like a lot of work to choose a company or individual and empower them, it is best to invest a few hours in advance to save hundreds of hours in a year. Also, by offering a less-than-ideal job, you can focus on making it even better – and paying for more hours as well.
Avoid using social media during the working day
Time Management Strategies : Many people find that social media is a major distraction… and CPAs are different from this. While it is often tempting to log in quickly to Facebook or Twitter, social media can be very disruptive – it breaks your focus and draws you into reading the stream of updates.
You may find it helpful to remove social networking apps from your phone completely. If that’s too hard, you can at least turn off the alerts from these apps, so you don’t get a “ding” that instantly sends you access to your phone.
Combine Physical Work With Your Working Day
Taking a break during the workday helps to keep your mind focused and focused. One of the best things you can do is move your body. This helps keep you alert and helps build your long-term health.
Something as simple as a 5-minute break and stretching and getting a glass of water can help. If possible, take a long break during the day to exercise – you can go for a swim, a gym class, a run, or anything else you enjoy. This can make a big difference in your strengths and your concentration in the afternoon.
Set Goals for each week and each day
Every week, look at the projects you are doing and choose the three main goals you want to achieve by the end of Friday. Write this down somewhere you will see it every day, such as in a post-it text that you can walk between the pages of your diary or planner – or as a weekly event on Google Calendar.
Then, at the beginning of each workday, select three small goals that you will complete that day. At least one of these should be related to your three main church goals. Of course, you will have to deal with other tasks during the day – but the three daily goals you have chosen should be your first priority. Getting time management will not happen overnight. You may have good days – and some when you end up in endless meetings, or when you feel frustrated and unsettled all day long. Don’t be tempted to give up: keep using the tips above, and you will soon begin to see steady progress.