ATSA 2017 Wrap-up: Improving Productivity, Increasing Capacity, and Staying Relevant Amidst Changing Landscape
Topic 1: If you don’t have an assistant, you are one: expert insights on how to win the war against productivity
Date and time: October 16, 2017 (3:10 p.m.)
Topic 2: The long-term view of outsourcing, building capacity and winning customers
Date and Time: October 17, 2017 (1:05 p.m.)
If you don’t have an assistant, you are one
Expert insights on how to win the war against productivity
He offered expert insights on how one can fight the war against productivity and be a step closer to improving capacity and doubling profits.
Importance of controlling your time
Accountants face quite a number of challenges but one of the things that the most obvious and immediate impact is the lack of time. A non-renewable resource, it is vital for accountants to know how to manage their time well because that is going to have a significant impact on their output.
The main problem is accountants are too buried in work they don’t lose time for more pressing concerns like actually meeting their clients to provide financial advice.
In one poll conducted by TOA Global in one of the roadshows held earlier this year in key cities across the country, 56% of accountants are too busy with handling emails and calls they no longer have time for their clients while 25% say meetings consume much of their time.
CEO Nick Sinclair talks about tips on how firms can win the war against productivity
These have serious repercussions.
Accountants are forced to spend longer hours at work and become susceptible to having negative effects on their work life balance. Additionally, decreased productivity will translate to less value for the firm.
One of the most immediate impacts of being neck-deep on non-core, time-consuming tasks is you become less proactive which means you can’t provide that much value to your clients anymore.
So how do you free up time and ensure you are focusing your energy on the right tasks?
— TOA (@TheOAccountant) October 16, 2017
First thing you need to do is figure out how much your time is worth?
When you sit down and really think about how much every hour of your day is worth, you will be able to identify the things you need to spend your time on. There are four major considerations:
- Importance of having an executive assistant
- Letting go
- Self-awareness of your strengths and limitations
- Take enough breaks to avoid burnout
Plan for the long-term
“You can lock out your time 12-18 months in advance.”
Long-term planning is crucial to boosting productivity.
Get the most out of your time by establishing regular meetings (daily, weekly, and yearly) and strategic planning. This will help you structure your schedule accordingly and keep everyone updated with deliverables. Plotting your calendar also helps the team identify problem areas.
To make the most out of your time and ensure productivity, Nick previously shared three questions firm owners need to ask:
- What is your role?
- What are your three core tasks?
- Are you performing the three core tasks every day?
Answering these will help accountants address the problem of not having enough time.
Exciting times here @ #ATSA17! come & get urself some coffee & have a nice and warm chat with us about building your own #GlobalTeam! pic.twitter.com/QYOwsRy8EB
— TOA (@TheOAccountant) October 16, 2017
Put simply, long-term planning helps firms maximise time because it allows one to focus on the more urgent and important tasks. Don’ forget to include blocked time. Spending time away from work should help you recharge and have a renewed vigor when you come back to work.
Have a clear understanding of your outcome profiles
What is the importance of outcome profiles?
Outcome profiles put everything in line. These make it easier to see if your tasks and responsibilities are aligned with the company values. This way, firms are guaranteed that those they hire have the right skills and are matched for the role.
Proper skills matching will ensure everyone in the team is doing the right task, which means the team wastes no time and that all resources are utilised efficiently.
Here is an example of an outcome profile of an executive assistant:
CEO Nick Sinclair discusses the importance and benefits of building a global accounting firm.
Effective communication for productivity
Communication is an integral part of any firm. With the right communication rhythms, teams are able to get more work done in less time simply because everyone is on the same page.
Establish communication rhythms and stick to them. Structure daily, weekly, and annual meetings. It is during these huddles where you are able to talk about the progress of the previous day and the tasks you need to focus on today.
But what’s equally important is it allows you to identify areas where you’re stuck. Huddles provide you the opportunity to address problem areas so that you can re-allocate, re-focus and re-prioritise.
An effective communication rhythm will free up everyone’s time, allowing you to perform revenue-generating tasks. Furthermore, it will help you communicate daily with clients, which is a prerequisite in maintaining a fruitful relationship with them.
How to be more efficient
The solution to becoming more productive lies in outsourcing. By transferring the non-core business tasks to an offshore team that’s equally capable, you’re freeing up your time for the more vital tasks.
The key here is finding the right people for the right tasks.
When you have the right people doing the right tasks, you will be able to maximise your resources–manpower, software, and technology–and get more done in less time.
Here are some killer tips on how you can be more efficient:
- Identify and remove stucks
- Find the right people to do the right tasks
- Segregate your emails
- Get to know data and set metrics
- Make the most out of technology
- Don’t forget to map out your holidays for work life balance
— Ross Dougall (@merossdtoa) October 15, 2017
The long-term view of outsourcing, building capacity and winning customers
There’s a revolution happening in the accounting industry
The demand for outsourcing has been on a rise since 2013. Since firms are more focused on delivering more value to clients, it follows that would look for ways to get more done with the resources they have. And that means tapping into the huge talent pool from the other part of the world.
Building a global accounting team will help firms become more efficient, structured and provide more value to clients.
While some firms are still not warming up to the idea of offshoring, those that do are already experiencing phenomenal gains. Know that the longer you delay, the more difficult it would be to catch up with the competition.
— TOA (@TheOAccountant) October 17, 2017
More than 70% of firms are interested in outsourcing/offshoring but many companies are taking too long to get set up. Some of them are not doing it right.
The accounting landscape is changing thanks to factors like globalisation, cost of labour, technological advancements, customer expectations, and skill shortages. Accountants need to be resilient and learn how to adapt to these changes if they want to remain relevant.
Building a global accounting team can help with that. The following are some of the benefits of offshoring:
- Process engineering
- Workflow focused
- Client outcomes
- Skill matching
- Employee development / retention
- Leverage cloud technology
- Improved capacity
- Growth of IP
- Community impact
Assessing your needs
Outsourcing, offshoring, and dedicated outsourcing are different types of models. That’s why you need to first identify and assess your needs before making a decision. Figure out which business model best suits your current needs.
Getting your firm ready
Once you’ve determined which one best suits your firm’s objectives, it’s time to get your local team ready. There are four steps:
- Finalise your partner (offshore service provider)
- Appoint a global team champion
- Train your local team
- Train your offshore team
Set expectations between you and offshoring partner
It’s important to determine first what’s expected from both parties and identify the things you need to put to the table.
Mapping out your people strategy
Your people strategy should be laid out for the next 24 months. It needs to:
- Identify specific roles and expectations for members
- Reconcile company values and vision
- Identify opportunities for growth
- Find effective ways to disseminate information
- Free up people and improve capacity
Build a profit division with your offshore team
Bookkeeping wasn’t considered a vital accounting service but due to the changes in the landscape, it has now become a viable means of improving revenue generation for firms. Accounting firms that are bringing in these services are seeing 25-75% increase in their margins.
If you are an accountant, bookkeeper or finance firm experiencing capacity restraints and looking to scale your firm, call our local industry experts Cameron, Shane or Cam today at 1300 896 522.
Book a 15-30 minute no-obligation appointment with us by clicking here.