Accountants are always in high demand and often have terrifically high workloads. Additionally, accountants are almost always under pressure to save more money for their clients and have a very high penalty for failure. Mistakes are unacceptable and can lead to harsh consequences for clients and the accountants.
It makes a lot of sense for accountants to spend time working on productivity improvements, as the increased time can be used to focus on improving other aspects of the business. Here are a few productivity tips for busy accountants to take advantage of:
Manage Email Effectively
Email is a huge time-sink and has several aspects that can cause huge productivity losses per person and across the entire firm. Having a proper, enterprise level email system is a minimum requirement. This should include a robust search system. While many users attempt to use complex folder and directory structures in order to file emails, generally search is quicker and more successful. Users should understand search terms and functions. The use of search modifiers, specific search commands, and other functions need to be fully understood. The small amount of time this takes will return great dividends over the rest of the time that email client is used.
Tasks such as research, client communication, filing information, and internal communications can easily become overwhelming. Spending time to organize tasks, prioritized in order of importance and urgency, and scheduling these tasks on calendars shared amongst the members of the business or firm is a great way to gain control of what must be done throughout the day. A solid process of taking a small amount of time each morning to arrange, prioritize, and distribute tasks can smooth the day and save quite a bit of time in aggregate.
Save Documents Securely
This may seem like a simple tip, but can be pretty impactful. Files and documents, particularly ones that are sent to clients and customers should always be saved and transmitted as PDFs. This reduces the chances for misunderstanding, mistakes or even malicious edits. Most programs can save documents as PDFs, albeit sometimes through the print function. PDFs are easily transmitted by email, print well and retain their properties no matter how they’re opened.
Take Advantage of Cloud Productivity Tools
Cloud productivity tools—whether notebook applications, share calendars, or task lists—allow users to access the programs and information that matter from any location and on any device without pricey on-site installations or licenses. In addition to the ability to access these tools widely, they often have significant uptime and backup capabilities that are not accessible for a small business due to costs. Sharing between co-workers can also be made much easier with these types of tools; they’re generally made with collaboration and sharing as explicit goals. This can greatly increase productivity in even the smallest of firms.
Productivity in accounting is very important, as it impacts everything from profitability to morale. While there is no magic bullet to fix every drain on productivity, the above tips can be very helpful in improving a firm’s productivity.
Until the next time,