As an accountant, you are responsible for preparing accounts and tax returns, keeping account books and systems up to date, auditing, and analyzing financial performance. You also have to serve in an advisory role for your company on cost reductions and profit.
Your role covers the monitoring of the company’s spending and budgets, financial forecasting, and risk analysis, and compiling and presenting financial and budget reports. In many companies, accountants also handle payroll and inventory management.
The services of an accountant are needed by any organization serious about its financial health. As an accountant, you can easily burn out and function below your potential if you do not take steps to improve your productivity in the workplace. You are only an asset to your company when you are productive.
In this article, we will discuss the various ways accountants can supercharge their productivity.
Let’s get started.
9 Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity as an Accountant
Many accountants feel they have a lot of tasks to do but have very little time to complete them. It is difficult staying productive in today’s world full of distractions.
Increasing your productivity as an accountant is a continuous task. It helps you become a better accountant, a more effective and valuable contributor to your company.
The best way to boost your productivity is to regularly take inventory of the tasks you do, and find ways you can complete them in a quicker and better fashion.
Here are some of the best ways to supercharge your productivity as an accountant.
Despite the sheer abundance of accounting software in the market, the accounting profession is yet to embrace the concept of paperless working. Although a large number of accountants use accounting and project management software, they still cling to using paper.
Paper understandably is a valuable tool in the office space. Many people find it easy to use paper to make jottings, pass across information to colleagues and for other reasons. Many organizations still use the paper for passing across internal memos and other communication needs.
While the paper has its benefits such as convenience for accountants, it also has its disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is the clutter it brings to your workspace. Granted, you cannot eliminate the use of paper but you can reduce its use and organize it in such a way it does not affect your productivity.
Piles of paper in an untidy state produce a disorganized working environment which can be a huge distraction to accountants. It is hard to concentrate in an environment where papers and clutters are in a disorganized state. It can even negatively impact stress levels.
Without proper concentration, the accountant’s productivity level drops instantly. You can reduce the stress levels, increase concentration and your productivity by simply organizing your working area.
Properly arrange papers in files and ensure the files are also properly stored in cabinets or arranged on the desk. Assign name tags to the files and arrange them in a way that you do not have to scatter everything to find a file.
Put the frequently used papers and files on top, while the ones you rarely used should be placed at the lower positions. This task may eat into your time, but it is well worth it and saves you lots of time in return. It kills off distractions that can hamper your productivity.
Benefits of Organizing Your Area
A cluttered working space equals a cluttered mind. When you organize your area, you instantly receive some benefits. They include:
- Increased productivity
- More room for complex thinking and creativity with minimal distractions
- Quicker working time and fewer errors
2. Don’t Waste Productive Time on Emails
There are lots of resources that recommend checking your email first thing in the morning and last thing in the morning. That productive tip is now obsolete and has no place in the modern workplace. A better solution is to check your email while you have free time or you are on the move instead.
While you are in the office, you want to focus on the task ahead of you. Opening emails except they are urgent work emails can distract you and cause you to lose valuable work time.
The average worker spends 2.5 hours per day on irrelevant emails. It gets worse, workers take about twenty minutes to return to their optimal productivity state after opening an email. On average, workers spend 12.5 hours in a workweek on emails! That’s simply unacceptable.
It is time you can use to perform other important tasks such as reviewing and auditing financial reports, managing the company’s budget and spending, and others.
Emails are an important way to communicate in the workplace. Accountants can’t do away with emails. Create time to respond to only work emails at work. You can unsubscribe from irrelevant subscriber lists that distract you and do not provide you any benefit.
Part of your accounting duties may entail sending emails to other employees in your department. Instead of sending bulk emails individually, you can use email marketing services such as Moosend, Mailchimp, and other Mailchimp alternatives to run email marketing campaigns and schedule your emails. In this way, you get more time to focus on other tasks.
3. Take Breaks
This simple hack can help you supercharge your productivity as an accountant in profound ways. Many people believe that they should work without any pause throughout the workday. They believe once they stop working, it affects their productivity. This belief is false and misleading.
Humans can’t concentrate on doing an activity continuously for long blocks of time. As you know, tiredness and weariness start to set in, and the more you force yourself to continue, the less focused you become at doing the task.
Taking breaks at intervals while working helps boost your productivity, keeps you motivated and energized to accomplish multiple tasks.
The best practice for taking breaks is the Pomodoro Technique. The technique requires working for 25 minutes, taking a short break, and continuing in the same line till you have done four 25 minutes work periods. Here, you take a longer break, then return to the normal routine.
You can make modifications to the Pomodoro technique and set your break and work time. The goal is for you to take consistent breaks so you can revitalize yourself at the end of the day.
4. Do the Important and Difficult Jobs First
Accountants tend to do the easy jobs first, then move to the difficult jobs. If you can reverse the way you do your jobs, you can increase your productivity.
Your energy and optimistic levels are highest at the start of the day. It is the best time to do important and difficult jobs. When you accomplish these jobs, you will get more motivation to do the other jobs that are less difficult and demanding.
Arrange your work schedule in descending order of importance, that is, from the most important tasks to the least important tasks. If you have tasks of equal importance, do them according to their difficulty levels, doing the most difficult ones first before the others.
5. Delegate Duties to Other Employees
People by nature want to have control or involvement over everything. While this assures quality, it is not the best approach. You have got to know your limits and assign the lesser tasks to other employees under you. In this way you get more things done and more time to focus on other activities.
Take inventory of all the tasks you do in the office, separate them in order of importance, difficulty, and technicality. List out the tasks you can delegate to your assistant, intern, and other employees. Assign them those tasks and focus on the more productive ones.
The advantage of assigning simple but time-consuming or labor-intensive tasks to other employees is that they have more time and can pay full attention when doing the task. You are too busy with other tasks to give these tasks full attention.
Another way to supercharge your productivity as an accountant is to outsource low-grade jobs by hiring a freelancer. Outsourcing helps to reduce your workload and free up more time for productive activities.
Task management software and project management software can help you effectively delegate tasks to your employees. They help track your outsourced jobs without you having to do many micromanaging activities. Giving others tasks to do on your behalf can be hard, start with smaller tasks they can easily accomplish.
6. Focus on One Task at a Time
Multi-tasking helps you do many tasks at the same time, but if you are doing too much multitasking, you can easily end up starting them all and finishing none.
Focusing on one task at a time is more productive than doing many tasks at the same time, Do not mistake multi-tasking for productivity.
When you multitask, you can easily deliver poorer jobs that lack the thoroughness that you would apply if you focused on just one task.
Cut off every distraction such as phone calls and emails while you work, and focus only on completing a single task. Once you complete that task, pick another one. Do this till you finish your task list. In this way, you are supercharging your productivity as an accountant.
7. Cut Short the Duration of Your Phone Calls
Another simple way you can supercharge your productivity as an accountant is to cut short your phone calls at the workplace. Expect it is absolutely important, avoid receiving calls from friends and families. Non-work-related calls can easily eat up your time and affect your productivity.
Keep work calls simple and short. You do not need to spend more time than is necessary to convey your message. By cutting down on your call time, you help the company save money by reducing the phone bill.
Ensure that each second you spend picking a call at work is worth it. You can use time trackers for accountants to track your calls and avoid time wastage.
8. Plan the Next Day the Day Before
A simple hack to supercharge your productivity as an accountant is to plan your day the day before. You can follow the same advice a consultant Ivy Lee gave Charles Schwab, a steel mogul to help improve his productivity and that of his workers.
The first piece of advice is to make a list of everything you want to accomplish the next day just before you leave work. The next is to select 5 to 6 most important items you want to complete the following day. Then select the most important one, and do it first thing in the morning. Do not move to another task until it is done.
After completing the number one most important item on your list, move on to the next item, and the next, until you accomplish it. Items you could not complete can be moved to the next day.
9. Use Accounting Software
Accounting software like Quickbooks, FreshBooks, and other QuickBooks alternatives are handy tools for accountants and help them improve their productivity. A lot of the labor-intensive and menial tasks that take a long time to accomplish can be done by accounting software.
If you are an accountant and do not use accounting software, you belong to the 20th century. Accounting software helps accountants accomplish tasks faster, cuts down on errors, and achieve more in a typical workday.
Are You Ready to Supercharge Your Productivity as an Accountant?
Accountants complain frequently about having so much to do and having so little time to accomplish it. The key to succeeding as an accountant is learning how to effectively manage your time and tasks.
There are several ways accountants can supercharge their productivity to benefit themselves and the company they work for. Simply by organizing their workspace, reducing time spent on checking emails, making and receiving calls, and taking breaks at intervals, they can boost their productivity.
Learning how and knowing when to delegate tasks to other employees, and even employing the service of freelancers, can free up time for you to handle more high-value tasks. Avoid multitasking, focus on one task at a time.
Planning for the next day ahead of time will help you better manage your activities for the day. Disruptions are an inevitable part of an accountant’s life, but having a work plan can help you have a productive day.
Utilizing accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, and other QuickBooks alternatives helps you automate the bulk of your accounting tasks. You gain more time to work on more productive tasks that only you can perform.