A constant protest I get from my colleagues is that they don’t have enough time to do everything. Time management is a personal matter and it’s hard to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do. A suggestion to help you manage your time better is to review what you do and how much time you really have to work on what’s essential.
To help you, I have prepared a model counting the total number of days in the year and how they could be spent. What I did was consider the 365 days of the year and break down the things I need to do (like sleeping) and the things I might need to do like marketing and some optional things like holidays and spending time with my family.
I’ve chosen categories that feel typical and relevant to me, but I haven’t personalized them. For example, I stopped writing articles (and books), presenting webinars, and teaching college classes as an adjunct professor. I also spend more time on social media than I care to admit, and a lot of time interacting with colleagues who call me with practice management questions. Each reader will have different ways to spend their time. You should not just accept my grid, but use your own tasks and time. However, the template can easily be changed.
One thing this model shows is that there may not be as much time available to spend on client work as you might think or think is reasonable. I think this model is much more useful for an owner, partner controller, or CFO than a staff member. It’s probably less useful for entry-level staff who have far less leeway or choice over what they work on and who are expected to spend substantial budgeted time on customer services. However, I believe it would be effective for anyone at any level in any type of position. Plus, it creates a pattern of what to expect as they move up the ranks.
The categories of work I have listed are:
- Travel to/from office, clients or meetings;
- hours of CPE;
- Learning, research and technical update and reviews;
- Read news sources;
- social media;
- Calls, texts and emails to clients and scheduling meetings;
- Talk and discuss with partners, staff and colleagues;
- MBWA (managing on the go) time spent with staff;
- Running and managing your practice, including administrative tasks;
- Partner meetings and retreats;
- Training, deployment and preparation of personnel;
- Marketing activities;
- Proposals from new clients;
- Association and professional networking activities; and
- Personal development.
If you like, I’ll email you the excel template along with reprints of a few columns I’ve written on time management if you email me at [email protected] and just put time model as subject. No message needed.
Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] with your questions about practice management or assignments you may not be able to complete.
Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPA. He is on Accounting Today’s list of the 100 most influential people. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns”, co-authored with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition”. He also writes a blog twice a week dealing with the issues customers have with www.partners-network.com with the Pay-Less-Tax Man Blog for the bottom line. He is an adjunct professor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MBA program and teaches end-user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is an ongoing series where he shares autobiographical experiences with advice he hopes his colleagues can adopt. He welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or [email protected].