Every occupation has it’s own particular challenges when it comes to time management and getting more time to do the things you’d rather be doing.
For Accountants the challenge is mind their own business as well as everyone else’s.
If you are an Accountant, or if you have an Accountant in your midst, you will need to be sure that you’re keeping yourself in check and practicing time management so you’re not spending too much unnecessary time on work that could be done quicker.
In our fast paced world ‘agile’ is the preferred approach – completing a project in incremental (small steps) and iterative (repeated) stages. With this approach excellent results are achieve over time rather than all at once in the beginning, as many Accountants often prefer to work.
If the nature of your job entails or demands perfection, then that expectation must be built in to the job description, but sometimes “excellent” or even “good” work can be better than perfect because it takes less time and leaves you with more energy and focus to deal with other important matters.
Accountants can practice time management in the following ways.
Start by assessing how much time tasks should be taking. Knowing a realistic estimate for how much time you should be spending on your tasks will make it easier for you to determine the level of attention and quality required for each job. If there are problems that arise due to a drop in quality, simply reassess the times frames you’ve allowed.
When you know how much time a task takes it also gives you greater confidence when delegating it to someone else, as you’ll know exactly how long it should take them to do and if it’s taking a lot longer then there’s a problem that you can fix… And that doesn’t have to mean you take the task back and do it yourself; it means you can give the person more information and training on how to do it, so that they get more efficient and better at managing their own time too.
Most Accountants don’t need to be encouraged to write down every moment of their day so they know how they are spending their time. It’s a habit they form when they’re a graduate just starting out. What they can lose track of is whether the work they are doing is actually beneficial to the business. They tend to get caught up and “in flow” just getting things done, or are so entrenched in their habits that they don’t consider evaluating whether there’s any better, faster, time smart way of doing things.
A quick review of your billable hours at the end of each quarter will give you a clear picture of your productivity, what it doesn’t show you is which of your tasks is overly demanding and stressful; meaning it needs to be re-engineered to take less time and be less stressful.
Take the time to investigate your own time usage, what are you doing in those noted down slots from a time utilisation perspective and reinvent the way you do your work to make more time for yourself.
Sometimes the quickest way to achieving a massive result is to get the insight of someone else who can see what you’re too close to, to see for yourself. If you find yourself challenged and unable to get more time off, then consider working with a business coach who can assist you in finding where you may be leaking time. From their neutral vantage point an experienced business coach can look at how you operate, identify things you’re doing that are costing you time and guide you in finding the right solution for you.