We tend to harp on and on about how important your time is as a resource, but we only do it because it’s true! Perhaps even truer for office based professional work than for other industries. When it comes to accountancy, your work hours are the main resource you have – you aren’t necessarily reliant on supply deliveries or the effectiveness of different areas of a larger project – your main limit is the time you have to perform the work you do.
Having the best time tracking software tools for accountants is a good start, but how you get the most out of that software is just as crucial. Let’s take a look at 6 top tips to make the most out of your time management tools and make your work processes as efficient as possible.
6 Tips for Accountants to Manage Time Effectively
1. Use the Right Time Tracking Software
The time tracking software you use shouldn’t be chosen at random. You know best what kind of timekeeping will work for you and fit well into your workflow. The right time management tool will work with your general processes and feel like a natural part of your work, rather than being a cumbersome chore you are adding to an already full workday.
Look for a tool which caters specifically to the type of office based professional work you do, letting you track your time against relevant categorizations, such as the client the work is being done for and job/task categories for the different types accounting work you perform.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
Good time management is often an exercise in how to prioritize your time. Work hours are a limited resource, so you need to be effective in how you allocate them. It’s important to be aware of when a given task needs to be completed by and how much time you’ll need to be able to allocate to that work. This will let you then prioritize finishing the jobs that need to be done earlier rather than later, while allowing you to organise your time to give yourself ample hours to get the work completed. The worst thing you could do would be to dedicate precious hours to work which doesn’t need to be finished until the end of a given month when you have two or three jobs that need to be done this week!
3. Sort Out and Delegate Your Recurring Tasks
You are a specialist and a professional in your chosen field, so it’s important to make sure you are spending your time on the things that can only be done with your specialist qualifications. Recurring tasks such as sending email updates to clients, administrative processes, or arranging client appointments, can all be delegated to members of your team who aren’t able to do the specialist work, but are able to lessen your load in other areas. You’ll be amazed when you realise just how much of your time is wasted on work that can be performed to a high standard by another member of the team. Get delegating!
4. Build a To-do List at the Start of Your Day
Giving yourself targets and being organised around what you want to get accomplished during your day is a great way to increase your work efficiency. Knowing exactly what you want to get done next when you finish a given task will let you keep your workflow streamlined, and having goals to achieve will encourage you to work hard and feel rewarded when you are able to achieve the targets you set for yourself. The only important caveat is that you need to be realistic with your targets, lest you find yourself burning out chasing impossible goals or not getting as much done as you could because you haven’t challenged yourself.
5. Set the Right Client Expectations
The more you use your time and billing software for accountants, the more you will come to understand the exact time requirements and monetary value of the work you are performing. It’s important to maintain a strong, clear, and communicative relationship with your clients from a service viewpoint, but it is also important for your own work efficiency. Giving your client the wrong expectations can create speedbumps in your workflow and stress you out. You don’t want to find yourself with clients expecting certain work complete but not enough hours in your day to get it done. You also don’t want to get to the billing stage and have disputes occurring because of poor communication around billing expectations!
6. Manage Your Calendar Effectively
Organisation is the key to great time management and work efficiency, and good organisation means being on top of your appointments and deadlines well ahead of time. For that purpose, one of the best tools in technology for accountants might be the simple desktop/cloud calendar. Keep track of your deadlines, and always refer back to the notes you leave in your calendar to make sure you are working on the tasks you need to be at a given moment. If you find yourself unable to finish your to-do list on a given day, use your calendar to note what you need to finish off for tomorrow. Your calendar can help ease your stress – you won’t need to spend mental energy worrying about remembering everything at all times when you know you can trusty our calendar to hold that information for you.