10 reasons accountants struggle to prioritise what really matters

May 16, 2023 | Sole practitioners, Strategy

One of the topics that often comes up is the challenge of prioritising anything (non-billable) you might think you want to do when there is client work that could be done.

Certainly, some of the accountants I work with tell me that they struggle to make time to prioritise developing, building and promoting  their practice. One reason for this is that some business related plans seem to require big and continuous amounts of time which are hard to schedule.

And, of course, some accountants (quite rightly) prioritise family, exercise or other non-work activities and then feel guilty about outstanding work related matters.

It seems to me that one important reason why accountants want to prioritise key tasks effectively is to feel more ‘in control’. This would mean that all key tasks are being completed in good time, there is less need to rush stuff at the last minute, you have some breathing space in your week and you no longer feel the need to work late or at weekends.

More than this it means there is less work that you feel you must do yourself, you feel more comfortable about increased automation and more regular delegation and, overall, you have greater clarity as to your KEY tasks and priorities.

After I encouraged a group of a accountants to discuss this whole issue, I then summarised the ten key reasons they told me why they found prioritisation a challenge:

  1. Absence of any real plan as to what key tasks need to be prioritised
  2. Lack of clarity as to what you need to do so that you can organise and prioritise the tasks.
  3. Too many (apparent) priorities meaning you are over committed.
  4. Failing to make time to schedule the tasks that will contribute to the achievement of your key priorities.
  5. Allowing too many things to become urgent so you have less time the important stuff.
  6. Your calendar evidences what you really prioritise. Thus a failure to focus on your priorities is revealed by their absence from your calendar.
  7. Trying to do too much yourself as you haven’t invested the time to identify what you could DOA (Delegate, Outsource or Automate) – which should be everything you don’t enjoy doing yourself.
  8. Whilst you want to make more time to work on developing, building and promoting your practice, it’s hard to prioritise this over client work that pays the bills.
  9. Some business related plans seem to require big and continuous amounts of time which are hard to schedule.
  10. Some accountants (justifiably) prioritise family, exercise or other non-work activities and then feel guilty about outstanding work related matters.

Working with the accountants we identified many practical ways to resolve capacity issues, to identify and make time for important tasks before they become urgent and to stop putting-off major projects ‘because there just isn’t any time and they’re not urgent, yet’. We also identified a number of related tools and software solutions that can help accountants in prioritise more effectively.

If you would like to know more about how to prioritise your key tasks more effectively, feel free to get in touch >>>

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