One of the main struggles for accounting professionals is staying on top of their workload. The key to staying ahead of the curve is being organized. This is an area many people struggle with, but here are some effective ways to boost organization in your practice.
Set your Goal
If you haven’t started a new process to organize your work by, make a specific plan with what you want to accomplish. Give yourself realistic deadlines that you know you and your team can stick to. You don’t have to transform your entire practice overnight. Start small if you have to – anything to make the transition as sustainable as possible.
Before jumping into a new organizational system or process in your firm, make sure you have a sustainable plan. Have a timeline and set milestones for everyone involved. Make sure communication is open and frequent between all people involved in the new system.
Use Graphics and Colors
When possible, make generous use of colors and shapes. These are processed much faster than reading text. Use different colors for different clients or different employees on the calendar. These can also help signify something’s priority level. Customize apps and different software with company logos for quick recognition. There are a lot of different ways to use shapes and colors, so feel free to be creative!
Use Bookmarks and Sub-folders
There are probably a million different documents that you need for your clients. It is important that each of these are easily accessible. You can often store these documents in different cloud applications, but hard copies on your desktop should be organized in folders based on client, date, and project. Create as many subfolders as you need to help you find these documents later. You can do the same thing with bookmarks on your web browser. Some apps like Client Hub also put apps and documents in one place without the use of bookmarks, so use those to your advantage as well.
Stick to the Workflow
The hardest part about getting organized is keeping up with the new process. Whether you are making tweaks to your existing workflow, or are starting all over with something like Aero, keep up with the changes! Repeat the process as many times as you need to the exact same way to create a routine. Once you have a routine in place, it becomes more difficult to deviate from it. Repetition is the key to lasting change.
Create Priority Levels
Take the time to decide which projects, processes, and systems have the highest priority. When those are determined, make sure you and your team complete these first. There can be some flexibility in the order and designation, but make sure the most important things are done first. Eventually this will just become a part of the routine workflow and it will be easier to determine priority levels of future projects.
Create Mini Deadlines
Just because something is listed as a top priority doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole project must be done in one go. Take care of the parts of the project that needs to be done every day by setting mini deadlines. Once those are done, feel free to work on less urgent tasks in the same day. This allows you to put more focus on one thing at one time, while working on multiple projects at once. If you prioritize and plan properly, everything should be done by the due date.
Give Things a Home
If you’re prone to losing things, chances are you put them in a different place every time you use them. This is the easiest way to get derailed from staying organized. I like to designate homes for every object and document in the office or in my computer. This means that as soon as something is done being used, it goes back to its designated spot.
Know your Limit
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of taking on new projects and letting other projects fall to the wayside. This is one of the main ways people fall behind. While it’s important to have ambition, also be aware of your limits. Know the workload you’re capable of completing on your own. Don’t implement more change than you know you can handle at one time.
Keep yourself accountable for the new processes your firm is implemented. Keep yourself on track, and if necessary, get other people to keep an eye on you. Everyone slips up, but it’s important to keep going forward every time you slide back. Build a support network that will keep you motivated to keep up with the change.
Staying up to date with new systems and keeping yourself organized takes a lot of energy and planning. Do your best to stay motivated and give new processes a chance. It’s also important to note that not every process works the same for everyone. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t feel bad about trying something else. Just stick to a process that works for you and you’ll become more productive in no time!
What are your tips for staying organized? Let us know in the comments below! You can contact Think Leader Consulting for help organizing tech solutions in your firm here.