4 time management tips for accountants
September 16, 2015

Accountants can easily become inundated with work, especially during tax time. Because of this, it's important to have a plan to focus on time management and completing goals. By creating a time management plan for this year's busy season, you'll be able to increase productivity and get more done in the time you're at the office. Here are four time management tips for accountants:

1. Utilize a task list and calendar
A task list can help keep you organized and doing the right things. While some accountants need to have an electronic task list application that sends reminders to their computer or mobile phone, some people prefer to go old school and carry around a small notebook and pen. Both approaches work fine, although the notebook can't remind you of an upcoming task that you need to do. If you're not sure what would work best for you, try both at the same time. If you notice you're using one more than the other, consider eliminating one of them. Your task list should correspond with your calendar so you never finish work late. 

2. Plan for tomorrow at the end of every day
In an article on the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, James Nathan, a business development and growth specialist, said that the best time management tip that he's ever learned is to create a prioritized task list for the next day. This is different than the task list mentioned above. Your general task list has everything you need to do on it. That can include things you're going to get to in a couple of days or even in a week. What Nathan suggests is having a highly detailed list of things that need to be done that has been prioritized by importance.

3. Use the phone more
Emails can take a long time when compared to the swift communication that a simple phone call offers, according to AccountingWeb. Email is great for certain kinds of conversations and sharing documents; however, if you need an answer quickly, call whomever you need to speak to. Phone calls are quick and immediate. This seems obvious, but if you comb through your last hundred emails you will probably be able to identify several conversations that could have been completed quicker through a phone call. 

4. Set deadlines and stick to them
Having deadlines for anything and everything will ensure that you complete tasks as they need to be completed. David Guest, a business coaching firm, said without deadlines it will be difficult to get things completed on time. This was explained through Parkinson's Law, which states that work will expand to fit the amount of time allotted to it. Basically, the rule says if you have a month to complete a client's taxes and you don't set yourself a deadline earlier than that, you're going to be done in a month. Be ambitious with your deadlines. Set them early. That way if you can't get something done by the deadline you set, you'll still be able to get it in by the time it's really due. Mark deadlines on your calendar and task lists so you don't forget them. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD5