Key Ways for Accountants to Be More Productive with Their Time

Carl Coe

You help your clients save time and make the best use of their money, but are you doing the same for your accounting firm? How do you spend your time? Are you making the most of every billable hour? If you’re just performing your daily tasks the same way you’ve always done them, you could be losing money and ultimately crippling your firm’s ability to scale and take on new business opportunities. Now is the time to analyze your processes and become more productive. Let’s explore the top accounting firm productivity tips.

Accounting Firm Productivity Tips

In this post, we’ll discuss the top ways that you can increase your output without increasing your input. In fact, we’ll look at ways you can actually lower your input while achieving higher highs. Let’s get started.

Lean Into Automation

Manual processes can take a huge chunk of your time every single day. You can automate so many of your daily processes with the click of a button, potentially saving you hours each day. For example, you can use an appointment app like Calendly for automated scheduling between you and your clients without the back-and-forth emails that chew away at your time and patience. And speaking of clients, you can implement a live chat tool on your website like LiveChat to answer frequently asked questions and filter client requests automatically.

You can also use tools like Zapier and IFTTT to connect hundreds of different apps and services, and automatically perform the manual tasks that you’re doing now. For example, you can use Zapier to automatically send thank you notes to your clients after working with you. And that’s just the beginning of what you can do with these automated services. Free up your time by automating every task you can.

Offer Your Accounting Clients a Better Portal

Are you still doing everything for your clients? It’s time to stop. Empower your clients to help themselves while working with you. When you build a client portal using Mango Practice, your accounting clients can log in, upload files, view files, and even sign files right from your portal

secure file sharing. You can say goodbye to manually emailing your clients about upcoming (or late) payments. Our portal can notify clients on your behalf. Enjoy bank-level security with 256-bit encryption, unlimited file storage, and mobile support with one tool.

Learn more about Mango Practice accounting client portal software here.

Get a Handle on Document Management

Is everyone on your team saving their files locally to their hard drive? That can and will damage your productivity. Finding the right document, ensuring that you have the latest copy, and tracking changes are creating a ton of extra work for you and your team. It’s even worse if you’re relying on paper copies alone because there’s no easy way to share the document with those who aren’t physically in the same space.

Instead of saving files locally or having physical printouts, use the cloud to manage your documents. As mentioned above, you can use Mango Practice accounting software to save documents of all types and sizes. And you have unlimited space to do so. When you save your files in the cloud, everyone has access to the most recently saved file, so there are no discrepancies or misunderstandings. Plus, all of the files are safe in the cloud, protected behind an advanced firewall with the same level of end-to-end encryption used by U.S. security agencies.

Learn more about our document management features here.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting goals will help you become more productive, but be careful with how you set the goal. Instead of creating a pleasant-sounding, but a hopelessly vague goal like “Become more profitable,” give your goal an action plan. Each goal should have a list of steps on how you’ll achieve it. This is known as the S.M.A.R.T. goal methodology.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific – To be successful, your goal must be clearly defined and not vague. (Example: Acquire new clients.)
  • Measurable – Your goal must be easy to measure so that you know if you’ve accomplished it or not. (Example: Acquire 100 new clients.)
  • Actionable – As mentioned above, each goal should have an action plan. Here’s where you break down how you’ll reach your goal. (Example: Acquire 100 new clients by starting a marketing campaign on LinkedIn.)
  • Realistic – Your goal should be something you can do reasonably given your resources. If you can’t achieve the goal as-is, decide what you can accomplish. (Example: Acquire 25 new clients by starting a marketing campaign on LinkedIn.)
  • Time-bound – Give your goal a deadline. (Example: Acquire 25 new clients by starting a marketing campaign on LinkedIn by November 1st.)

You have priorities, but you need them to be actionable and not just vague ideas. Every goal you have should be actionable or it shouldn’t be a goal.

You have priorities, but you need them to be actionable and not just vague ideas. Every goal you have should be actionable or it shouldn’t be a goal. Click To Tweet

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you be more intentional and productive when you’re working to achieve your goals.

Don’t Multitask

Did you know that the human brain cannot truly multitask? Instead of multi-tasking, we’re actually task switching. In other words, our brains are actually quickly switching from task to task. But each task switch drains your brain’s energy reserves and requires an enormous mental effort. When you do so rapidly, you’ll overtax your brain, and become more prone to making errors. It takes somewhere between five to 10 minutes for your brain to fully re-focus on a task after you’ve made the switch. Yikes.

Instead of attempting to do two or more challenging tasks at the same time, consider the following:

Timeblock your day. Divide your day into blocks of time where you perform similar tasks at the same time. Group all meetings together. Have a block for focus time or deep work. Have a different time for emails and callbacks. Not sure how to block your day? Use our time tracking software to see what you spend the most time on during the day. Track your time over the span of a week to see what you do, then group like tasks together to create a more productive day.

Create a to-do list for your team. Use a project management tool like Trello or Notion to create team-wide to-do lists. You can use these tools to assign tasks, sub-tasks, and deadlines.

Prioritize your team’s to-do list. Decide what needs to be done first, next, and so on. By prioritizing your to-do list, you ensure that you’ll give your biggest and freshest effort to the most important tasks.

Use the Pomodoro Technique. In this popular time management method, you work intensely for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. Repeat the cycle (or Pomodoro) three more times. After four Pomodoros, you’ll take a longer break (typically 30 minutes to an hour). Then start the Pomodoro cycle over again. It’s especially effective when you need to switch between challenging tasks because you give your brain a chance to relax between the switch, even if it’s only for five minutes. And also truly break yourself away from work at the end of each cycle. By using this technique, you’ll achieve higher levels of focus because it motivates your brain to work quickly in an attempt to finish the task in 25 minutes’ time.

Final Thoughts

Becoming more productive starts with assessing how you currently spend your time. If you haven’t already, schedule a demo to see how our accounting practice software can save you time and cause your productivity levels to skyrocket.

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