We made it! I don’t know about you guys but 2023 was... a year. There were some definite highs but there were ALOT of learning curves too. All in all, we’re better and stronger because of those learning curves but it wasn’t exactly the year we had planned. If you’ve been following along with our recent posts, we’re big into annual planning (here’s the link in case you missed it), so when we looked at 2023 from our 2022 rose colored glasses, we thought we got the plan right, but as it played out, we realized we missed a few turns when charting the road to our final destination. But you know what? That’s okay. Truth be told, we don’t love getting it wrong, but at the same time, sometimes that’s what you need to learn and grow in order to do it better the next time. So, that’s what we’re going to do! Heads up 2024, we’re coming for ya!
Moving onto the wins, we definitely had some good ones in 2023! Our biggest win of all is having an awesome team! Our team is what keeps us ticking and makes our world go ‘round! So shoutout to all our kick-ass accounting, marketing, IT, & admin superheroes! You guys were and will continue to be our biggest win each and every year!
So, let’s look forward to 2024!
First off, January is National Organization Month! Seems fitting right? All we want to do is get organized, stay on track, and set ourselves up for major success this year. Out with the clutter and in with Marie Kondo. So, to kick off this month, we’re going to keep it short and sweet and highlight a few of our favorite business efficiency tricks that you can start using immediately!
#1: Calendar Blocking & Boxing
As I type that, I’m thinking to myself, dang this could be a whole blog post (future idea?!) but we’ll stick to the basics for now and share some of our go to resources. One of our core values is “run your day”. In other words, don’t let your day run you! You’re the adult, you take control! This starts with having a digital calendar that is continually updated and shared with any applicable team members or even family members.
Time blocking is when you set aside certain times of the day to dedicate to certain activities when you know you’ll be most successful. For example, I’m a morning person, so anytime I need to develop a new process or be creative, I do that first thing. When it comes to my easy one-two punch list, that gets done at the end of my day because that’s when I need the easy wins to keep focused. So, think about when you operate best, and put the most difficult activities on your calendar at those times.
Time boxing, on the other hand, is when you set aside time in the future for tasks/projects that need to be done, allocating a “boxed” amount of time to spend on the “doing.” For example, I know that I need to write two blog posts each month and I know it’s going to take me about 3-4 hours to get my initial concept from thought to paper (yes, I’m spending that much time to get this amazing concept out in the world for you people!). So, each month, twice a month, on a recurring schedule, I block 4 hours of time during one of my mornings (because that’s when I’m most creative) to get this puppy done. Similarly, if you know you have a project coming up and it’s going to take 20 hours over the course of 3 weeks, use this concept and block out that time now.
As you can see, you can use both of these tools together. Here’s some additional reading material on each if you’re interested ➡️time blocking + time boxing! And just another tip – at Accounting Therapy, we block everything from checking emails throughout the day, to lunch, to walking our dogs! And it’s all on a recurring schedule so it just flows into the future without having to think about it, plus you can always change and adjust as you figure out what works best for you!
#2: Delegate and Elevate®
This is a super fun exercise developed by the genius team at EOS® to help you identify what you could possibly take off your plate. We’re linking the activity here, so check it out, but the goal is to identify what you’re doing that you A) don’t like but are good at and B) don’t like and are not good at. Chances are that someone on your team might be great at that thing you hate, you just may have to spend a bit of time training them and... gasp... letting go of control! (Probably the harder of the two!)
Ultimately, we aim to get everyone on our team in a space where they are doing things they love or at least like - the stuff that fills up their cup and doesn’t drain it. That's when we find our team produces the best work and is the happiest! So, start by having everyone on your team go through the Delegate and Elevate exercise. You may be surprised by what you find!
#3: Keep Your Finances Up To Date
Yup, we went there! I mean, we are an accounting firm, so shameless plug, right?!
But truly, when you’re working on your calendar blocking & boxing, add in time to keep those finances, cashflow, accounting systems, whatever you use to track where you’re at, up to date. Think of the relief you are going to feel every time you know it’s done and current, I don’t have to explain how that heavy weight on your shoulders from not knowing suddenly just lifts. And if you’re thinking you’d rather not know because it’s not looking good – take it from someone who’s been there, knowing is less stressful, I promise.
On the other hand, maybe you identified keeping your finances up to date as something that you hate during your Delegate and Elevate® activity, which in that case, it’s time to delegate! Maybe that’s to another team member or maybe that’s to a trusted bookkeeping firm... like us! (I told you, shameless plug.)
#4: Streamline Communications
Ever feel like you’re bopping between texts, Slack, and email all day long looking for that “one message” from four months ago? Consider streamlining your communications with your team and even your clients. We use an accounting specific tool called Liscio for all of our client communications which works swimmingly – anything to do with a specific client happens in that app and is directly tied to the client account so that everything lives in one place. We love this because we aren’t rummaging through emails or trying to find a siloed text on a team member’s phone.
Obviously Liscio is accounting specific but consider using something like a Slack channel to house certain topics of conversation, or even invite your clients or colleagues to a “working channel” in which all communication and documents related to a certain project can live.
#5: Block the End of Your Day to Get Organized
While you’re setting up your time blocking, add a block to the end of each day to get yourself organized. This means going through your various communication channels, updating & adding things to your calendar, and mapping out your priorities for tomorrow. This simple trick will leave your brain feeling calm and orderly before you sign off for the day, and heck you’ll probably even sleep better too.
#6: Automate What You Can
One of our other core values is “work smarter through automation” -- think through your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, what could be automated? Maybe it’s a monthly commission report, maybe it’s your 401k contributions, maybe it’s getting your clients on autopay versus sending them an invoice and spending time on collections. There’s a lot of different ways you can automate things these days with so many apps at your fingertips. If your question is, “Where do you start?”, start with the thing that will save you the most amount of time or that is easiest to implement. And if you really need help, consider enlisting your trusted accounting team when it comes to things like payroll, contributions, worker’s comp, or even those commission reports. We’re full of ideas on ways to automate these things to save you a bit of time!
Alright sports fans... that’s it for now! We hope you at least found one take away from this that you can put into practice ASAP! As always if you have any lingering questions... you know where to find us.😉
And last but absolutely not least, we want to take a moment to thank our clients, our readers, and everyone that has engaged with us over the years! You all are what makes us possible, so thank you! And cheers to you and yours as you kick off what we hope is an amazing 2024!