As an accounting professional, you know better than anyone that time is money. That well-known adage has possibly led you – somewhat amusingly – to exhausting great efforts (and wasting precious minutes) trying to save time. Your search has probably also led you to seek time management ideas. That’s a topic where troves of self-help books are devoted, but let’s face it, it takes time to read and implement all those overwrought time management strategies. And, that defeats their purpose.
But time, being the commodity that it is, is worth recouping. And, the best way to do that is by focusing your efforts and automating processes. This article is meant to be worthy of your time, with the goal to help you recover more time, so that you can spend some of it relaxing in the sunshine.
Famously, author Tim Ferris tells entrepreneurs, in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, how to cut corners, outsource and just shrug things off until you work just ‘four hours’ per week. That kind of dream schedule isn’t happening for accountants (and probably not for anyone else, in all honesty).
But, sensational book titles aside, we are pretty sure you can reclaim at least 4 hours per week, just by following a few expert pointers that we have put together. If you’re running an accounting firm and feel swamped, fear not! Here are three tips that can help you free up at least 4 hours of your precious time each week:
1. Focus On What’s Important (Delegate the Rest)
Your work can be loosely divided into two branches: core processes and non-essential processes.
The work of managing your firm and the work your partners do in your practice represents the core processes that you should primarily focus on. Everything else is non-essential, which is not to say that those other tasks are unimportant. It’s just that some extemporaneous tasks – such as copywriting for your website, for example, are not the tasks that you, personally, should be concerned with. Delegate them, and those that can’t be delegated can usually be outsourced. If it does not need your personal attention, do not give it.
2. You Are Not a Web Designer
In the present age, in which the Internet is so important, it is ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself. Thus, it is understandable that you would sweat your website.
You are not a Web designer, and you do not need to be one. Just let it go! Turn over the keys, so to speak.
Your website should be cool, but, even at its best, it is simply a description of what you do. If you do not get it done, smartly, it can take over your life. Focus on the accounting expertise that has brought you to where you are in your own practice. Look elsewhere for website development, and don’t think twice about it.
You don’t need to put your hands on your blog (unless you just want to), your page copy, your ‘contact us’ forms and your Wufoo surveys – none of it! So, put down that copy of Building Websites for Dummies (which, by the way, is a real book, and its title makes one wonder, ‘is that who’s making the site, or who’s visiting it?’) and get back to the actual business of accounting! It’s as simple as that.
3. Engagement Letters (and Re-Engagement) Automation
Considerably more deserving of your attention are your engagement letters. Of course, as you know, engagement letters are both sales tools and binding documents that spell out, in plain language, the scope of your practice’s services. That puts them high on the list. But, just because they demand your input does not mean you can put them on autopilot (so to speak!).
An app, such as Practice Ignition, makes it easy to develop and deploy engagement letters, based on templates that have been proven to work for your business. Using automation, you can take the legwork out of issuing proposals and yearly re-ups. It’s as simple as finding a formula that works and using it repeatedly. It works just as well, even if you’re on the beach while the software does the work for you! What’s not to love?