As every accounting firm is different, so is the practice followed by them. When it comes to accounting, there isn’t any wrong or right direction. CPAs and accounting firms can be highly specialized or general.
They may have their focus on advisory work or transactional services. What is important for any firm’s success is to know their strategy and stick to it to ensure that success is achieved.
Having a well-developed strategy would allow accounting firms to achieve their goals even in the future. Practice management is best for businesses who want to be more effective. Below are some practice management tips for CPAs and accounting firms.
1. Respect Your Time
When it comes to managing time, the first thing accountants and CPAs need to do is find out where their time actually goes. While you may believe that you spend only one hour on emails, but it might not be the case in reality.
Accountants and CPAs can easily track their time with apps like Calendar or Toggl, which can help them track all their tasks for a week or month. When they know where most of their time is utilized, they can make appropriate adjustments.
The success of a CPA and accounting firm depends on purposeful time management. Along with being always accessible to their clients, they also need to complete their projects on time. Assigning specific days of the week for a client meeting is a good practice. It’s essential to stay focused on the existing tasks to provide timely deliverables.
2. Having Clear Communication with The Clients
It’s important for accountants and CPAs to have open communication with their clients. Being transparent with them would help you build a stronger relationship. Costing is one of the areas where this plays a huge part. It is good practice to be upfront about your costs and help overcome client uncertainty.
By listening to your clients and being proactive, you can surely maintain a healthy relationship with the clients.
3. Hire Wisely
Much of client satisfaction and efficiency of your service depends on people who are working for you. Along with hiring the right people, it is also important to hire the right number of people. While one person can handle multiple tasks, some tasks can be automated or outsourced.
Most accounting firms start looking for candidates only when they have lost an employee. The situation is similar to creating a marketing plan when you lost your biggest client. It is too late!
Having just the right number of employees would help you increase the efficiency of your accounting tasks, save cost on unnecessary hiring, and streamline your accounting process, which would also benefit your clients. Successful accounting firms make hiring a priority throughout the year and are constantly maintaining conversations with candidates even if they’re not hiring.
4. Make Use of Technology
Technology can be a big time-saver for CPAs and accounting firms. It can help your firm stay ahead of the competition. Review the budget of the company and make sure that you allocate an appropriate portion to the latest technological innovations being used in the accounting sector. For example, if your firm is using OfficeTools, hosting it on the cloud can be highly beneficial for your firm and help increase productivity.
Below are some more benefits of adopting technology:
- Track your time: Keeping track of time taken to complete project is one of the good ways to increase productivity. Find a good tracking software which can run in the background and record the time spent on a particular project.
- Move your accounting firm to the cloud: Cloud accounting would not only help you save time but would also offer numerous benefits such as real-time collaboration, reduced IT costs, anytime, anywhere accessibility of the software.
- Minimize keystrokes: Shortcuts by your operating system, accounting software, and Google can help you save a lot of time from oft-repeated tasks. For example, [Ctrl] + [f] lets you search for text within a document or a web page.
- Automate your accounting tasks: If your employees are still using Excel for key tasks, it’s not a good use of resources or effective time management. According to a report by FERF (Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation), only a few companies surveyed still reconcile their accounts manually. Automation of accounting tasks can offer several benefits and can outweigh the costs of obtaining them.
5. Prioritize Your Tasks
One of the best practice management steps to implement is prioritizing your accounting tasks. Spend some time in sketching out things to be accomplished before each workday. Large tasks can be broken in smaller and more actionable steps.
One of the ways to allocate your workload is to create a four-folder system on your desktop. Label them as:
- Urgent tasks – which needs immediate action
- Semi-urgent tasks – which are to be completed within the week
- Non-urgent tasks – which are to be completed within the month/quarter
- Non-action tasks – which are kept for reference
As the deadline approaches, move your projects from one to the other. Take out time weekly to ensure that tasks which are non-urgent but important are completed on time.
Anticipating What’s Next
Clients today expect more from their accountants or CPAs than simply help them with numbers. They want assistance to help them prepare for a better future. However, the challenge being faced by accountants and CPAs is that they are mostly bogged down with usual accounting or compliance tasks. Limited time and capacity make it difficult for them to focus on the business’ future.
But anticipating your client’s future and being proactive in providing strategic advice for their business is an essential competency which the CPA trusted advisor offer along with their services. Along with generating new ideas for their business, assessment strategizing, and regular delivery of value, clients expect foresight from their accountants or CPAs.
Forward-thinking accounting firms understand the importance of using their skills to help make their clients effective decisions for their business, while also project what’s next.
If we’ve missed anything, please share with us in the comments below!
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