The Top 4 Things Accountants Need to Stop Doing | CPA Time & Billing Blog
When we think of business time-wasters, we tend to focus on employee-led distractions: coffeepot chatter, social media scrolling, or extra-long lunch breaks. But studies have revealed that the biggest workplace time-sucks occur during the hours we actually spend working—tasks like checking emails, following up with extra-needy clients, and giving out free advice. In today’s accounting time management blog, we discuss 4 things CPAs need to stop doing in order to reach their maximum profitability.
Stop: Checking Your Email
Research has shown that most office employees, including accountants, spend an enormous amount of time checking and re-checking their inboxes throughout the workday. That’s probably due to the fact that in the accounting world, missing a key document can be the difference between a met and a missed deadline. However, working this way is extremely disruptive to your productivity. Exchanging sensitive information via email is also very unsafe, as most public email servers like Gmail and Outlook are unsecured, and can be hacked relatively easily.
The remedy for these issues is two-fold. First, try installing a time and billing software that sends you automatic pop-up notifications when a new email arrives—no need to keep checking. And secondly, invest in a secure, 256-bit encrypted client portal which saves all data in a hack-proof environment. A secure client portal will also allow your clients to upload their own documents, minimizing the chance that something will be lost in the shuffle of other emails.
Stop: Wasting Time on Extra-Needy Clients
If a client is particularly demanding or unreasonable, it is important to either break up with them or minimize your interactions as much as possible. One bad client can bring down your entire team’s morale, which might invariably leak over into the rest of your client interactions. More importantly, all that time you are taking to resolve their requests and issues is time taken away from other accounts, which could impact your profitability.
The solution? Look for tasks you can automate, like sending invoice reminders, confirming payments, and storing important documents. A secure client portal is also a good way to minimize interactions with a bad client, because it allows them to access download important documents themselves, without needing to contact you for assistance.
Stop: Giving Free Accounting Advice
Accountants, like other professionals who manage money, tend to field a lot of requests for free advice. For the sake of your own sanity (and your firm’s bottom line), it’s important to learn to learn when to say “no” when it comes to handing out free advice.
There’s no need to slam the door in anyone’s face—just politely let any interested parties know that you’re trying to devote your time on projects that can be billed. If their response is less than understanding, they are probably not someone you want to do business with, anyway.
Stop: Taking on Too Much
Not only do CPAs tend to say yes too often to people outside the office, we also tend to say it too often inside the office. If you’re constantly overwhelmed with a seemingly never-ending list of tasks, track all the things you do in a day or a week, and try to identify small, nitty-gritty tasks that could be automated with time and billing software. If you’ve automated everything you can, and the mountain of work still never seems to shrink, ask a supervisor (or yourself) if it’s possible to adjust your timeline, bring in temporary help, or delegate certain tasks to another team member.
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