At MinuteDock, we know time management, and we know accountants. They are our partners, our friends, our customers. They are the ones for whom our software was first designed, and continue to be the larger part of our user community. Every week we get questions about the best ways to improve workplace efficiency, about general time management, and about how time tracking software for accountants can be used in the best way for their businesses. Our experience in working with accounting firms of different sizes from nations all over the world has given us some great insight into the methods that different people use to maximise what they get out of the time they have. We’ve picked out five of our favourite tips to share with you!
Tips for Time Management for Accountants
Different industries have different workflow needs, which means that the best ways of managing time and creating an efficient workflow will naturally be different depending on the industry your business is in. When it comes to time management for accountants, it’s important to consider what exactly you are wanting to accomplish by tracking your time, and tailor these tips to those needs.
1 – Use Time Tracking Software to Track Activity
Regardless of your reasons for why you are tracking your time, the easiest and most organised way of doing so will be to use a time tracking software service suited for accountants. You’ll be looking to target a software option which is intuitive and easy to use, and doesn’t take up valuable time and energy to get set up and used to during your workday. The best time tracking software for accountants will likely be able to track smalltime increments rather than being a simple clock in, clock out system, and will make your billing life easier if it is able to record time against specific jobs/tasks/clients with a relevant billing rate attached.
2 – Build a Process for Repeating Activities
The workday can be broken down into the various different activities or tasks which you move between during your day. Some of those tasks will be more unique, like something you do annually or monthly rather than being a regular part of your day-to-day work. But for those tasks which you engage in every day, you’ll find that creating and adhering to a explicit process for those tasks will help you to become more efficient in completing that work, and allow you to manage your work time more effectively.
3 – Create a Comfortable Work Environment
Having the right work environment is massive when it comes to being at your most productive and effective during your working hours. If you are in an environment full of distractions or potential interruptions, you’ll find your workflow in a state of constant starting and stopping, resulting in time wastage and reduced efficiency. What you need is an environment without distractions or opportunities for procrastination, but also one which is comfortable and allows you to work for extended periods without causing undue physical or mental strain. Reduce clutter and make sure your office chair is comfortable and supportive.
4 – Learning Technology Hacks Can Save a Lot of Time
You’d be surprised at just how much of your time you end up wasting during the day. Having to constantly search for things, manoeuvre through various menus to find the functions you are looking for in the software you use, or even doing things manual which could be automated by a modern tech solution, are all things which could be costing you valuable time. Making an effort to know menu/keyboard shortcuts for the programs you spend most of your time using, of to source an efficient software solution to streamline your billing or time tracking processes may well free up that time you’ve always felt like you don’t have.
5 – Delegate Tasks Whenever Possible
Understanding what needs to be done by you, and what can be done by your team without you, is one of the key indicators of effective management. You need to prioritise those tasks which absolutely require your specific expertise, and be willing to trust your team to handle those other tasks which they might be either more suited to than you, or which might allow them to ease the stress and burden of your workload. Being part of a team means being willing to help each other and work together, but it also means trusting your teammates to get the job done when they need to. If you work in a team environment, make use of that boon! Cross train your team members so that you all understand each other’s strengths and are able to cover each other when necessary to make sure the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Managing time effectively is about much more than just using new-fangled technology and software to make life easier, it’s also about understanding your own capabilities, and giving yourself the right environment and tools for working at your most productive are just as important. The best way to know when you are making better use of your time and when you aren’t is to track how you spend that time. Ultimately, time tracking software for accountants is as much about gathering useful data for time management as it is for billing or recording work in progress.