Your accounting team will soon be facing the annual whirlwind that is tax season; will they have what it takes to come out on the other side intact? Or will the torrent of competing demands pull their sanity (and your client base) apart at the seams? Here are a few time management tips that can help your accountants stay on top of the madness.
Find a Great Time Management Software Platform
New programs appear very year that can seamless link calendars across multiple devices and help connected employees share and manipulate appointments, edit documents in real time, and stay on top of both their own work and their team projects. Research the market every year—ideally right after the previous year’s tax season—in order to stay on the cutting edge.
Keep Items and Calendars in One Location
Encourage employees to keep their disparate to-do lists, unanswered messages, and appointments in one place. And make sure this place is NOT an email inbox. There’s nothing more chaotic than an accountant at tax time with a messy email inbox that contains his or her entire life. Personal appointments, client meetings, and everything else should be organized, filed, backed up, and accessible through a single screen.
Use Outlook Rules
If your employees are using Microsoft Outlook, encourage them to take advantage of the “rules” feature, which sorts messages by content and topic. All incoming items that deal with a specific subject can be automatically sorted by topic before they’re opened and read.
Don’t Criticize. Help.
If you have new or junior level accounting pros who haven’t survived very many tax seasons (just yet), don’t stand on the sidelines and watch them sink. And don’t lecture them as if they’re third graders with messy backpacks. The demand placed upon accounts at tax time holds a legendary place in our culture, and a few mistakes might be made before employees develop the executive functioning skills and experience to sail through this challenge. Help. Don’t stand in the way.
Set a Good Example
Call upon all your tested and proven time management techniques and encourage your teams to follow your lead. For example, start each morning with a list of action items. Begin the day by tackling the most dreaded and challenging tasks. Never pause between tasks; always know exactly what you’ll be doing or focusing on next. Take care of yourself physically; adequate nutrition, sleep, and exercise will pay off as you stay on track and in motion from morning to night.
Encourage your teams to support and look out for each other. Long distance running can be considered a team sport; even though nobody else can run your race for you, it helps to know that they’re backing you up and ready to step in if you get into trouble.
While you move through the rough waters ahead, keep your meetings short and efficient, keep your emails concise, and respect your own time and that of others. For more tips and guidance, reach out to the financial management experts at Cordia.