Accountants, outsourced or not, form a core part of any business. But while they are looking after a wide range of tasks, they are still continually looking for ways to accomplish more.
The time after the tax season is perfect for your accounting firm as it enables you to start looking at avenues of work that require creative thinking to achieve more efficient results. Whatever you identify though, high productivity on a day-to-day basis is a must, especially during the lockdown.
A big part of this is committing to be productive, and consciously taking the necessary steps to get more done in less time. But how when you feel you are already working to the max? If you want your practice staff to be energised and work to the best of their abilities post-tax season, here are eight actionable productivity tips:
1. Make your priorities actionable
Make a start by reviewing how you operate. Rather than responding to emails and requests as they come in, your practice staff can draw up a to-do list at the start of each day with action items for each task that needs to be done urgently.
Listing out what you need to do is a must for productivity, but physical lists often get misplaced or may need to be adjusted as priorities change.
Productivity tools such as Todoist or Google Tasks can go a long way in helping your practice staff keep track of their to-dos without the risk of losing them OR simply use a daily planner if you want to keep it old school.
These tools allow you to edit and create to-do lists on the go, make changes to them across devices and share them within the team whenever required.
The more granular the action items are, the better, and anything time-bound should be assigned to the calendar. Things lower in priority should be kept on a running list for them to work on as and when their most critical tasks are completed.
2. Embrace automation
Accounting tools have evolved tremendously over the last few years, and embracing automation will go a long way in freeing your practice staff up from mundane tasks and keeping their attention on what is critical.
There are different software options like Xero or Quickbooks to handle real time accounting, automate tax compliance, manage transaction categorisation and so on. Practice management software such as AccountancyManager, Senta, and Pixie are also an excellent platform for automating workflows, approvals, and getting updated key insights of the practice, on-the-go.
While many accountants hesitate to adopt software as they take it as additional cost or fear that their jobs will become redundant, automation is, in fact, a significant step forward in making high productivity the norm in your industry. Get organised, Get moving!
3. Get strategic with daily schedules
Time management techniques can help your practice staff accomplish more on a day-to-day basis. For instance, the Pomodoro technique encourages working in short bursts of concentration with typically five minutes of break for every twenty-five minutes of work.
Therefore, try and schedule their most important tasks for when they are at their most productive. For example, many people prefer to keep critical tasks for the morning when they are at their most alert. Tactical tasks, which require less focus, can be saved for other times of the day.
4. Be protective of time
Time is the most valuable asset you have, and your practice staff should be protective of it. They should schedule well-defined work blocks during the day or week for the most critical tasks and then work their other priorities around those.
To avoid being flooded with meetings, set up a Calendly account and ask clients and colleagues to book their meeting slots in advance. An important point to remember, accept invites to other meetings only if it is of direct significance to your weekly goals.
5. Find a mind dump
A New Year, new ideas—right? Inspiration may strike at any moment, and it is essential to keep track of all the ideas your bookkeepers get throughout the day. Evernote is a useful diary app that lets you store all your notes and reminders in one place.
If you prefer to go old-school, ask them to keep a notepad and pen handy so that they can start scribbling, whenever they need to.
6. Delegate accounting jobs
As an accountant, prioritising the most critical client relationships will allow you to devote your energy to where they are most needed, and not on completing tedious tasks such as updating the books of accounts or payroll.
One step that can help in this regard is taking help from an outsourced accountant. Just because your practice staff is trained, it does not mean you should spend double (or triple) the hours on menial tasks.
7. Upgrade your team communication tool
Efficient and speedy internal communication is a must for productivity. Choose a tool such Microsoft Teams or Slack that allows your practice staff to communicate easily without their inboxes filling up with follow-ups and question trails. Virtual meetings are now the norm, and tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts make this easy.
8. Standardise your internal technology
While every client business has some unique needs, standardising your internal technology actually helps you provide more efficient processes that you keep getting better at.
Instead of adapting your technology to fit each new client, therefore, have a streamlined set of processes and target clients that are the most likely to benefit from those processes.
In other words, define your service delivery model and choose the best software and apps to help you fulfil it. This is the best time to do so post-tax season.
The bottom line: be transparent
A big part of running an accounting firm productively is ensuring that everyone on the team knows their responsibilities and how they need to accomplish their goals. Have regular meetings with your practice staff to take them through the most important priorities so that the firm as a whole can work on those first.
Hopefully, by following the tips, as mentioned above, you can reduce your stress rather than add to it post-tax season. If you are looking to outsource your accounting, look no further. Contact us concerning any outsourced accounting requirements today!