In this expert webinar, listen as our CEO Nick Sinclair provides highly effective tips on how you can be more productive at work. Learn how you can identify productivity blockers that impact accounting firms and discover the solution — based largely on his personal experience in running his own business — to supercharge your productivity.
- The war against productivity: How did we get here?
- The art of planning to help scale your business fast
- Killer tips on efficiency for firm partners and accountants
- Why you need to outsource specific tasks
- Case Study: The importance of having an Executive Assistant
- Valuable life lessons on overcoming the struggle for productivity
The war against productivity: How did we get here?
Productivity suffers on a daily basis. Things like phone calls, emails, and meetings, although crucial to day-to-day operations, can consume a significant amount of your time. By understanding what takes up your time, you will be able to adjust and streamline your processes to ensure you get things done without compromising the important tasks.
From our first poll conducted in this webinar, 56% identified emails and calls as the biggest roadblock to productivity, followed by client issues (25%). For 25% of the respondents, meetings are a big productivity killer while 6% believes calendar management and reporting are keeping them from accomplishing their tasks. These things take people away from what they should be doing.
We see so many firms and business owners who are not doing the right task. Instead, they focus their days on the wrong things and that makes them unproductive.
You need to have the right strategy to add value to your clients. This entails recognising where you can maximise your time and contribute to your goals. This is where planning comes in.
The art of planning to help scale your business fast
Long term planning
Consider how you’re managing your time. To get the most out of it, you need to start establishing daily, weekly, and yearly plans. This will help you structure your schedule efficiently. You will also know which areas you need help with. This means considering training other people to do some of the work you do so you can free up time in the future and use that free time to focus on tasks you enjoy doing.
Identify your role and strengths as a starting point
Nick shares the most important questions firm owners need to ask:
- What is your role within the business?
- What are your three core tasks?
- Are you performing the three core tasks on a daily basis?
Based on his experience communicating with clients, Nick found that managers and firm owners are constantly concerned about the fact that they don’t get work done because they don’t have enough time.
“Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward.”
Identifying your three core tasks is a sure-fire strategy that will help you avoid getting distracted and help you become productive.
As his company started to grow, Nick discovered that he was getting pulled into areas where he wasn’t necessarily skilled at. To avoid spending twice as long on these areas, he realised he needed to have some real structure.
Long-term planning is an efficient way to maximise your time as it allows one to focus on the important tasks. For Nick, several issues needed to be resolved first and immediately to be able to jump right into long-term planning more effectively.
- Managing his diary efficiently made it possible to accomplish all the important tasks without compromising personal time. His tip: map out your schedule for the next 12 to 18 months.
- Identify your firm’s key projects and initiatives that run on either a 12-month or 18-month strategic planning cycle and make a strategy around this. This can be broken down to 90-day and 30-day cycles. A strategy like this will provide you with such laser focus you will be able to oversee all aspects of your business.
You should also identify the following:
- What tasks are you good at?
- What tasks do you enjoy doing?
- How much is your time worth?
- What tasks are you focused on daily?
The answers to these questions will help you determine if you are better off reassigning tasks to someone else, like a virtual assistant or an executive assistant.
“When we start focusing on the right activities we start getting the right results.”
Rhythm and workflow
Strategic planning will result to a more efficient and streamlined schedule. By practising specific methodologies, you will be able to learn how to manage an ideal week. What does your ideal week look like? With this as a guide, you will be able to plan all your daily tasks.
- With a clear timeline of tasks, everyone will know where each one stands. Share your calendar with your team. This will help each member focus on their respective tasks, so they don’t end up stealing your time, which is one of the biggest productivity killers.
- Another helpful element to improve your workflow is keeping in touch with everyone. Daily huddles are instrumental in keeping everyone updated on milestones and progress of certain projects.
Thought to ponder: Which tasks take up most of your time? How much do you spend on connecting with your staff, implementing growth strategies, and dealing with clients?
You can plan strategically when you pay close attention to your outcome profiles. Identifying the tasks each member needs to focus on will help you, as a business owner, assess if the results are actually in line with your client’s strategy.
That includes talking about data. To remain competitive, you must establish ways to talk about your numbers. This will allow you to gather feedback and insights that can be useful in formulating plans. Moreover, this will help you set revenue targets.
Having the right people for the right tasks is vital to a team’s productivity. But it doesn’t end there. You need to take care of your team and that means mapping out a people strategy. Most firms don’t have any people strategy in place, which can be disadvantageous because having such strategy will help you focus on ensuring you have the right people working on the right tasks and that these people are at their best.
Additionally, your team needs to utilise the right technology. Embrace technology to see how much more efficient your team can be.
Nick also shares one of the biggest tips on staying productive: removing “stucks.” Identifying stucks (areas that keep you from moving forward) will help you refocus, re-prioritise, and reallocate.
Here at The Outsourced Accountant, we conduct daily huddles to answer the following questions:
- What are your highlights yesterday?
- What’s your focus today?
- Where are you having problems with?
- What’s stopping you from doing your job today?
Removing stucks on a daily basis will help people become productive.
Killer efficiency tips
- Remove stucks or areas that are keeping you from moving forward
- Have the right people do the right tasks
- Identify and implement data and metrics
- Segregate your emails
- Utilise the right technology
- Map out your holidays to avoid burn-out
Why do you need to outsource specific tasks?
The results of the poll is quite surprising, with 52% saying they want to outsource their marketing tasks. This shows that a lot of the participants are doing marketing tasks and that they’re most probably not experts on the field.
Email and calendar management is next with 48% which is really not surprising since email is one of the biggest productivity killer. 33% says they don’t want to do sales support while 67% doesn’t want to do reporting anymore.
Outsourcing specific tasks will free up time and allow you to focus on the more urgent and important aspects of your business. When you tap into the skills of other professionals, you will have more time to foster relationships with your clients.
Case Study: Get help from a trusted professional, like an executive assistant
It’s easy to get busy with being busy. As a result, it’s probable that you might spread yourself thin. Checking and responding to hundreds of email, setting up meetings and following up on them, communicating with the staff and clients, and ensuring everyone is meeting their KPIs are just some of the things you need to address on a daily basis. Plus, there’s your personal life. You don’t have to do all these yourself.
By hiring an executive assistant, Nick was able to improve his productivity, allowing him to successfully run his business. Outsourcing certain aspects of his job helped him accomplish the following:
- Identify the important emails he needs to respond to (he gets around 350 emails a day)
- Travel without any hassle
- Spend quality time with his children
- Maximise his time and skills
Valuable life lessons on overcoming the struggle for productivity
At this point, you’ve already learned helpful tips on streamlining your processes for a more productive day at work. You’ve learned that you need to:
- Identify your core tasks
- Plan strategically to provide value to clients
- Focus on your strengths and capitalise on those
- Maximise your time
- Delegate certain tasks
- Communicate with your team regularly
- Hire the right people
- Utilise technology
- Identify stucks
The most important lesson is letting go. Now that the importance of delegating certain tasks is clear, you can focus on letting others take the reign.
When you let go, you show your team that you trust them enough to be great at their respective jobs. This is important for them because it shows that you respect them. Most importantly, you will have enough time to deal with the more important parts of your business.
Letting go is never easy but having the right people and the right systems should make the process easier. Let’s go back to one of the earlier questions: “what is your time worth?”
By letting go, you give yourself the chance to truly value your time and use it to scale your business.
Nick has had an amazing journey in offshoring and in his personal life. Get to know more stories and wisdom from him here that have helped a great number of accounting and finance firms across Australia, New Zealand, the US and UK.
Expert advice is always readily available at The Outsourced Accountant. If you are looking for ways to increase productivity, we are ready to talk. We have offshoring experts for your accounting and finance needs.
Headquartered with an executive team in Australia, we provide dedicated team members as a high-quality offshore team. Growing rapidly with over 600+ qualified accountants and support staff in the Philippines, we deliver all the recruitment, onboarding, facilities and amazing culture to support your workflow.
If you are an accountant, bookkeeper or finance firm experiencing capacity restraints and looking to scale your firm – call our local industry expert specialists Cameron, Shane or Cam today at 1300 896 522 (AU).
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