Accounting Learnatorium: Everything You Need to Know to be a Better Accountant
You took the classes and passed the CPA exam. Now, you are working as an accountant and building up your client base. By all calculations, you have done everything right to be a success. However, like any career, there are always steps you can take to get better, introducing the accounting learnatorium.
To help you become a better accountant, here are some steps you can do right now:
- Streamline tasks: With so many cloud-based systems now available, including many automated bill paying apps, you should be able to streamline those daily, weekly, or monthly operational tasks that take you away from your core capabilities as an accountant. Additionally, you will be able to save resources by spending less time wrestling with paper and filing tasks.
- Use a project management app: Rather than trying to wrangle Post-it notes and lists scattered all over your desk, consolidate all your projects and tasks into one online project management solution that gives you a better view of what you need to get done and when. You can also use this app to track what the rest of your office or any outsource staff are doing with their time. This enables you to be more productive and timely in your delivery of client accounting records, keeping them happy while providing you with more time to take on more work or provide tax advice to your clients.
- Automate the invoice process: Your clients will appreciate receiving an electronic invoice for your tax services that will allow them to pay online with their debit or credit card or another online payment portal. Additionally, you will have a way to see all your outstanding invoices in one place to stay on top of payments. Some online invoicing tools also come with a time tracker that allows you to keep a better handle on your billable hours and how you are breaking down time between your clients.
- Keep learning: With tax laws and regulatory issues constantly changing, you need to keep up by continually refreshing your industry knowledge. Staying on top of this information will help you to provide better accounting advice for your clients and ensure that their tax records are as accurate as possible. Additionally, supplementing your accounting knowledge could also help save your clients money or provide a way to make smarter money decisions, which would not only please them, but you may also find that your name is passed on to more potential clients.
- Join organizations: Becoming a member of industry organizations can help you hone your skills and knowledge because you can gain access to industry experts and information as well as take courses and seminars. Additionally, you can get assistance with business basics, operations, and marketing.
- Network with industry professionals: Knowing other accountants and industry professionals can benefit your business by exchanging ideas.Getting to know other accountants can help our grow your business by making it easier to share ideas. Rather than seeing each other as competitors, you can discuss the possibilities of partnering together on certain projects or passing on work that is outside of your niche, especially if your client base is growing rapidly. You can also find accounting professionals who are willing to work on a freelance basis, which can be particularly beneficial during the busy tax season.
- Mentor and be mentored: By teaching accounting skills to other up-and-coming accounting professionals, you can reinforce and improve your own skill set. At the same time, you are shaping future talent that may be of benefit to your accounting practice. Of course, you can also look for someone to mentor you, providing their experience and knowledge could help by suggesting areas of improvement, and working with you on a plan to address these areas.
- Schedule time with clients: While you may speak with your clients by phone or email, you can solidify your relationships with them by scheduling short meetings over coffee or lunch to get to know them better as well as better understand their short-term and long-term financial goals. In this way, you can offer more personalized advice and service for all their financial and tax needs. You can do this for both personal and business clients. In return, they will be impressed that you have taken time out to meet with them, strengthening that bond you need for maintaining your client base.
- Delegate the busy work: To focus on your core business, don’t be afraid to delegate some work to others in your office or add temporary help. They can take on some of the tedious tasks related to tax preparation or financial statement preparation. Giving that busy work to others will free up considerable time for reviewing, assessing, and offering solid financial advice to your clients.
- Create a routine: If you create a daily routine for your workday, you are more likely to stay on task. This will increase your productivity while removing the distractions that slow you down and potentially increase human error.
- Make time for diversions: Don’t forget you need to take daily breaks as well to step away from your accounting practice to recharge your body and mind. Even if you love what you do as an accountant, you still need a balance in your life. Set aside time to spend time with family and friends as well as cultivating hobbies that enrich your life. It’s okay to take a day off or even go on a vacation. Obviously, you would want to pick the slowest time of the year preferably just have the major tax season ends for those longer breaks from working.
- Stay healthy: Studies have shown that a good diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as staying hydrated and making time for exercise go the distance in helping fuel your brain and energy levels. You will be able to stay mentally sharp and feel on top of your game, enhancing productivity and critical thinking.
This list provides numerous areas where you can increase your abilities as an accountant. While you may not be able to take on all of these at once, you can create a professional strategy with a timeline of steps to implement to incrementally improve.