Accounting professionals are inundated with tasks throughout the day, from simple email replies to complex onboarding for new clients. Without the right processes in place, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and let to-dos slip through the cracks. The good news is that there are a handful of simple strategies that you can use to stay on track.
Let’s take a look at six ways to level up your to-do list and get more done each day.
Is your to-do list out of control? Try these six strategies to streamline your workflows and get more done each day.
#1. Provide Enough Detail
Many people create to-do lists with overly generic tasks. For instance, a task to return a phone call isn’t very helpful without context. Why do you need to call them back? When are they expecting a call? These details may seem obvious when creating a to-do, but you might not remember them a day later when a reminder pops up.
In addition to providing context within a to-do list item, customer relationship management (CRM) tools can help quickly add context to any client interaction. You can quickly see when things were last done (e.g., a payroll run) and notes from any interactions (e.g., a phone call or meeting) to get up-to-speed with their current status and needs.
#2. Make them Manageable
Another common mistake is creating tasks that are too large in scope. For example, onboarding a new client might involve several steps across multiple days, so it shouldn’t be confined to a single to-do list item. Breaking these large tasks into smaller steps not only ensures that every subcomponent gets done but also provides you with a sense of progress.
Many project management tools make it easy to break down large workflows into individual tasks. Even better, some tools enable you to create templates for common workflows that you can copy across different clients in order to streamline your processes. You don’t have to worry about missing any steps and you can deliver a consistent experience across clients.
#3. Reprioritize Each Day
Priorities often change day to day and your to-do list should reflect those changing priorities. It’s a good habit to go through your to-do list every morning and prioritize all of the items before starting the day. At the end of the day, try to revisit your to-do list to review what has been done and add any new to-do items for the next day.
When prioritizing to-do list items, deadlines play an important role in any decision. Be sure to mark time-sensitive to-do items with a deadline, such as a payroll run or tax return submission. That way, you can quickly see what items should be prioritized above all else and avoid having anything slip through the cracks during busy days.
#4. Involve the Entire Team
Most to-do list items involve either clients or team members in some way. If you’re using a to-do list in isolation, it’s easy to check off a to-do item after you pass it along to the next person, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s done. You may need to nudge that person or remember to come back and follow-up to ensure that it’s completed.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of cloud-based solutions that make it easy to share to-do items across your team—or even with clients. These workflows typically involve assigning a to-do item over to someone else to complete while still having it on your radar for follow-up. There may even be a way to auto-remind others about the to-do.
#5. Use the Right Technology
Software has changed the way that businesses operate by automating tasks and streamlining workflows. When it comes to managing a to-do list, there is no shortage of options that you may want to consider, from OmniFocus to Todoist. These tools provide a lot of functionality to help anyone stay organized and ensure that everything gets done.
Client Hub supercharges your to-do lists with accounting-specific features. In the Client Hub dashboard, you can manage deliverables and deadlines in a jobs panel with each job consisting of individual to-do list items. You can easily create recurring jobs (e.g., groups of to-do items) as well as provide task details and internal notes on each client.
In addition to internal workflow, Client Hub makes it easy to create client tasks, such as uploading an account statement or categorizing transactions. You can also send and receive messages from clients from within the client portal (or associated mobile app) and easily organize and access files securely in a single location.
#6. Be Realistic
A final piece of advice is to be realistic: Even the most organized accounting professionals have their limits. If you’re constantly falling behind despite following best practices, it may be time to consider asking for help or hiring additional team members to lighten the burden. A failure to complete to-do list items on time often leads to a poor client experience.
If you don’t have the budget to hire help, you may want to consider narrowing the scope of your services or even firing difficult clients. For example, a client that uses your least profitable services, pays slowly and takes up a lot of time may not be worth the effort when you can free up time to focus on A-list clients or prospect for better clients.
The Bottom Line
Accounting professionals are inundated with to-dos every day. Without the right organization methods in place, it’s easy for tasks to slip through the cracks, leading to a poor client experience. By keeping these best practices in mind, you can keep all of your to-dos organized and ensure the best possible client experience.
Client Hub is much more than just a task manager—it’s a client portal that combines internal workflows with client collaboration to radically improve productivity. For more information, take the product tour or sign up for a free trial to test drive it yourself.