In today’s world, there are so many different types of task management systems for accountants. Sometimes this leads to major overwhelm and difficulty making and sticking to a decision. Like many of you, I have been through multiple task management systems that just did not feel like my trusted advisor. I know it may sound strange to say that your task management system is your trusted advisor, but that is exactly what it should be. If I would have looked at it that way years ago, perhaps, like many of you, I would not have struggled with so many of them.
How to simplify your task management process
After taking many classes on how to build an accounting business and find the right tech stack, I had to stop and take a hard look at my systems. I had to take a hard look into what was holding me back from using my task management system the way I needed. The main reason, I had way too many systems. I had too many that had tasks in them. I am talking about the Excel sheets, post-it notes, notebooks, my head, tax and accounting programs, and so many more. I had too many forms of communication between clients, team members, and myself. It was hard to see what was really going on in the firm. The common questions that I would ask myself EVERYDAY:
“Why do I not get anything done during the day?”
“What do I need to get done today?”
“What is my team working on?”
“Is my team working on the right things?”
“How can I trust that my clients are being taken care of?”
When I really started thinking about this, I decided that I needed a system that worked more in line as a trusted advisor. That is when I decided to look for just that. A task management system is more than what you put tasks in. It tells you what you need to do each and every day. It can tell you every task that the business needs to accomplish for the day, week, month, or year. It tells you if you are over capacity. It tells you why you are working so much if used correctly. It can tell you whether you need to hire someone and what tasks that position would be for.
Rethink the way you use your practice management system
As I have worked with many accountants over the years, I have found that we don’t think of it this way. We think of it as automation and what it can help us get done. I have found that using it as a trusted advisor has been instrumental in my business. I can quickly move tasks around as people are over capacity. It yells at me when I am over capacity. When you see you have 60 tasks to do in one day, it is shouting at you that you have way too much on your plate.
One of the biggest challenges I see firms face is the actual implementation of the task management system. They don’t think through the actual build-out of the system. They think of it as a plug-and-play system. That is furthest from the truth. The applications sell it as “We have all these templates to get you started with ease,” but they are not your templates.
Those templates are for the masses and not specific to you. They do not take into account all the other tasks that go on in the firm. They don’t take into account that we have a business and it is not just about our client work. Seeing all the tasks that should be happening inside your firm alongside the client work is eye-opening. For example, having all your firm tasks that include business development, key metrics, marketing, sales, sales follow-ups, team development, and so much more. This helps you identify all the tasks you should be doing in your business.
Many don’t take into account all of these items as well. We are looking at it from a client-work perspective. Then in the implementation and purchasing phase, it has the same thought process. It is built around our clients, not the entire firm. For example, I did a task management implementation for a firm, and we had to go to multiple different systems to be able to build out one system. Not to mention people’s heads, and we wonder why people struggle to “figure it out.” Now she is able to go to one system to see what is going on in her firm, and in her words, “This was life-changing!”
Transform your task management software into your "trusted advisor"
The whole point of this article is to get you to think about your task management system as your trusted advisor in your firm and not just another system. Before going into one, or if you already have one, think, “What would it take to make this system my trusted advisor? Can it be a trusted advisor?” For me, I had to look for a solution beyond what’s included in the accounting applications to find one that worked for me, but they are definitely out there. The key is to find a product that works for you and that you 100% trust! Whether that means that it can easily move overdue tasks and plan out your day or the ability to capture every task performed in your firm, no matter how big or small. Work alongside your "trusted advisor" all day, every day, and don't let it go a day without informing you of something. As my client said, “It was life-changing!”
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