Missing documents, panicky clients, a shopping bag full of random receipts – that’s tax season for you. According to a 2017 health report, most accountants either end up working 87 hours a week or gaining 20 pounds because of all the stress associated with this time of year. There is not better time than this to apply a few time management strategies to increase productivity in the workplace. Let’s have a look:
1) Do difficult jobs first.
Whether it is chasing down individuals for payments or completing important paperwork, do the difficult jobs first. When this work is complete you should feel more optimistic for the rest of the day and won’t find yourself pushing the jobs further back.
2) Delegate duties to other employees.
This is a task many people find difficult. It is hard not to have involvement with everything but it is very important to know when to let go if you want to get more done. List out the tasks you and only you can do and then list out what an assistant, associate, or intern could do.
They are likely to be able to put more time and their full attention into this task in comparison to you rushing the task. Outsourcing is also an ideal option for reducing workload and for making time for those activities that are otherwise low-grade jobs.
3) Shorten your phone call times.
Is your time spent on a call really worth it? Many times you will find yourself on a call which lasts much longer than it needs to. It’s the tax season – you can’t afford to waste your time calling people!
Make sure the time you are spending talking on the phone is worth it. Track your call time with a timer or stopwatch to help reduce wasted phone time.
4) Change your office scenery.
Take your break out of the office; it will help you clear your mind and re-energize you. If you are managing a team, it is necessary to motivate your employees, reduce the risk of burn-out, and importantly, reduce the risk of losing them.
Here are a few ideas of how to keep your team motivated during the tax season:
- Dress down days
- Massage therapists to provide chair massages
- Catered dinners for employees working later into the evening
- Personalized coffee deliveries
- Ice-cream party
You can check out more tips in our free “Tax Survival Guide for CPAs.“
5) Plan each day the night before.
I already know you are organized and will likely start your day creating a plan for the day to stay on track and be productive. But how many things do you forget you needed to do that came up the day before?
Try planning at the end of the business day for the next day and instead of having to brainstorm every morning before you have woken up fully, you will have a far better chance of pulling together all those outstanding tasks.
As accountants, your day can never be planned perfectly. You are always going to have clients calling and complications arising with deadlines just around the corner. Implementing a few of these techniques will hopefully give you a better sense of time, and less stress.