Work from Home: Best Practices for Accountants to Be More Productive
They say focus on being productive, rather than being busy.
During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of accounting firms are adopting work from home practices to ensure the safety of their employees and clients. While many firms have employees already working remotely, the absence of an organized work desk can disrupt the productivity of others.
Following these practices can help:
1. Be Available on Multiple Channels
Accountants must keep checking in on colleagues very frequently for easy collaboration, even while working remotely. So, your managers and teammates must know your shift timings. In order to do so, you can conduct more meetings to stay connected with each other.
You should also discuss offline time with your colleagues and help in managed collaborations and timely submissions. You can even let them know when you’ll be running an errand and complete your tasks beforehand so that they don’t keep waiting for files or documents from your end.
2. Schedule Tasks for The Next Day
Accountants always make the sacrifice to work longer shifts from behind their desks, especially during the busy tax season. But, working remotely saves the time spent on the commute and helps them be more productive.
So, accountants should take maximum benefit and organize workflows and set targets to accomplish the next day.
3. Don’t Waste Your Valuable Time
You’ll be a part of a lot of group emails that won’t require your utmost attention, so try to avoid wasting your valuable time on those. Instead, complete your assigned tasks and increase productivity.
Also, unnecessary meetings tend to divert you from your actual tasks, so try to step away from meetings politely that you do not find relevant.
4. Work on Yourself
Productivity is all about absorbing what’s useful and rejecting what’s useless. Since working from home saves some extra time, use this time as an opportunity to work on your skill sets and make time for some additional learning that you weren’t able to do before.
Encourage your team to attend online webinars and courses to gain knowledge about the latest trends and updates about the tax season, which would benefit your clients.
5. Leverage the Technology
You can always use tools like TeamViewer, Zoom, Workspace, and others to keep you and your team more connected.
Moreover, save hours of manual data entry by integrating the useful third-party add-ons with your accounting software such as QuickBooks desktop to automate your tax and document collections, invoicing, and other paperwork. Eliminating errors and faulty spreadsheets by using automation tools will save you more time and energy, leading you towards higher productivity.
6. Say “No” To Distractions
Be responsible and accountable. Put all the notifications to silent during working hours, and don’t spend much time on social media while at work.
There’ll be days when all the Netflix shows that you want to binge will be calling your name and distract you from your tasks, but you must continue on your work to avoid overtime.
7. Eat Healthy and Exercise
Now that you’re at home- avoid cabin fever. Give your eyes a break from electronic devices and gadgets every hour by gardening or taking a walk. Try not to be stuck in one place. Exercising regularly energizes the brain, increases workplace stamina, and boosts your mood.
Also, it’s essential to eat healthy, nutritious food, and stay hydrated. Try energy boosters like green tea, instead of binging on packaged, unhealthy drinks. Your health and safety should always be the top priority.
8. Take A Nap
Accountants and bookkeepers often pull long hours. They mess up their schedule and have an inordinate amount of sleep at times. As Aristotle said, ‘It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.’
Having a proper good night’s sleep will keep you active throughout the day the next day, and you’ll be able to achieve higher targets.
9. Happy Hour
Being social is key. Take a virtual break together and have coffee with your teammates every once a while, just like you would do in office. At times, if you’re stuck somewhere while doing a task, your colleagues can help you jump back to your train of thought and help you continue from where you left.
10. Daily Connect
Accountants must have a focused and short face-to-face conversation or a daily stand-up meeting with the remote team and clients every day or weekly as per their convenience. Keeping the time factor in mind, aim for short 15 minutes meetings.
11. Use Multiple Screens
Accountants have to scan across multiple documents and files on a daily basis. Tabbing between multiple transactions, general ledger entries, and cash records can be time-consuming.
Therefore, use multiple screens, just like you did in the office that will leave you with more energy, and higher productivity.
12. Find Your Workstation at Home
While at home, you’re your own manager, so it’s your responsibility to set up your comfortable, distraction-free work desk. Be it a corner in the living room or in your study, it should be separate from other people you are living with to set boundaries between work and home.
Also, make sure to sit up with your back straight and maintain a healthy posture.
13. Trust Your Team
Feedback is fuel. It is very important to talk to your team and know how satisfied they are with their new routine, take their feedback, articulate the results, and have crystal clear expectations. Work harder on this than you usually would.
14. Make the New Employees Feel Welcomed
Make sure you introduce the new members of your accounting family to everyone in the team so that they don’t feel left out. You can do so during your daily meeting or prepare a video call to feel that connect while engaging with the newest member in your firm.
Let’s ask for compassion from one another and do the best for one another during this time of the crisis. So, let us all create some positivity during this time and come out a winner.
What are some of the productivity tips that you follow while working from home? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.