Working Smarter Not Harder for Accountants

Accounting can be a challenging career, this should not come as a surprise, but why do some people seem to effortlessly coast through while others struggle to get the most common tasks done? 

This can mean the difference between a promotion or a pink slip.  How can you manage your work so that you can get more done with less effort?

Communicate with Management and Coworkers

Often times you will get assigned a task that you have never done before, and may try to go about doing it your own way.  However, if this is a task that has been done by others in the past, there is often times valuable insight that management or the person that did the task before you has on the best way to perform the task.  While they may flexible in how you go about doing it, it is usually best to start out doing it the old way and improving on it rather than starting from square one.

But what about those situations where you aren’t simply re-performing something that someone has already done?  In this case, communication with management as to what their expectations are is the best route to take.  Don’t sit around trying to make guesses as to what they are looking for, as if you aren’t correct on this it will make you look bad.  Occasionally they might not even have a clear picture as to exactly what they want, in which case it is even more important to take note of they key elements they are looking for.  Set a good foundational framework for your project so that it can be changed and presented in different ways – this way a last minute change will only take a minute rather than break the deadline.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Many times at the beginning of a project with a tight budget, it may seem like a waste to sit down and make a plan or to brief your employees on the objectives of it – the reasoning being that this will take even more time from the already slim budget.  However, we cannot look at things like this if we want to actually make the budget.  If expectations are not communicated outward, employees loose the ability to self-manage thus making them more effective and accountable.

Think Strategically

Sometimes in accounting you can kill two birds with one stone – as so many things are interconnected.  We need to get out of the mindset of each piece of work being separate, but that each of them need each other.  For example, you may be able to perform all your confirmations at once, rather than trying to compartmentalize them to different individuals.  This can save time and confusion with multiple individuals juggling the task.

Slow Down

Believe it or not, working fast and jumping into everything head first isn’t always the best way to approach things.  Analyze everything before starting on it – maybe there is another way to do it that is much better, or perhaps you don’t even need to do it in the first place?  Don’t kill yourself in the short term in exchange for long term results.  Don’t forget to check out some other great ideas in our Busy Season Survival Guide!

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