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2024 with the 0 as a target AccountingWEB Accounting for success: Achieve your New Year’s resolutions
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Make time to achieve your new year’s resolutions

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As the new year begins, talk of resolutions fills the air. With many setting big goals and objectives, maybe it’s time to take a step back and reflect, paving the way for a successful year. 

8th Jan 2024
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Many of us kick off the year with a list of resolutions – whether it’s going to the gym, learning new skills or aiming to reduce our workload. However, they are usually forgotten about by the end of January.

Fixating solely on setting new but often vague and unachievable goals doesn’t lead to the best outcomes. For accountants especially, January is a busy time, with self assessment season well underway meaning more often than not these resolutions are even more futile. 

Reflective thinking and breaking down these goals into more manageable chunks is an effective way to achieve personal and professional growth in the year ahead. 

And the resolutions begin 

The AccountingWEB community was asked whether they had come up with any new year’s resolutions they wanted to implement in 2024. 

There was a mix of both personal and professional goals and a popular personal resolution was taking time to focus on yourself. 

AccountingWEB commenter, JimLittle wrote: “Business has been very good but on a personal level it’s been very difficult. I am hoping for more success on a personal level than on the business front in 2024.”

This resolution led to others suggesting that clients’ personal lives had a profound effect on their wellbeing. Matrix wrote, “We are in a position of trust and, dealing with several hundred clients, some end up confiding in us, which can be draining.”

Another member, Spilly agreed that it is difficult dealing with the chaos of clients’ lives. Their resolution was aiming to sddress those that caused unnecessary stress. 

“This year we aim to ask them to move on or else they will start to receive much larger fee invoices for the ‘hassle factor’ they give us,” Spilly said.

Some of the community didn’t want to think about creating new year’s resolutions until self assessment season had passed. Regular commenter David Winch said, “I’m working on the basis that New Year’s Day is on 1 February!”

And others felt that resolutions shouldn’t just be made on 1 January. “I take the view that if anyone wants to make a resolution to better their life, there is no reason to wait for a new year to start,” Truthsayer wrote. 

Do resolutions do more harm than good?

It’s all well and good creating resolutions but making sure they are put into practice is important. 

Carol McLachlan, executive coach and consultant of theaccountantscoach.com, argued that resolutions aren’t as helpful as people think for the very reason that no one sticks to them. “Some studies have suggested failure rates of up to 80%, transforming an inspirational intent into a feel-bad energy drain, triggering recrimination and impacting self-esteem,” she said. 

Lucy Cohen, co-founder of Mazuma and upcoming speaker at the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping, powered by AccountingWEB, also echoed this: “Too often we set ourselves goals like, ‘I’m going to hit the gym three times a week and quit chocolate’, but we don’t break it down to the smaller things we need to do to achieve that.”

Reflection is key

McLachlan instead suggested that looking back on the past year is a good way to establish goals in the upcoming year. This involves recognising and celebrating accomplishments while also identifying what areas need improvement. 

“It will help create a feel-good platform to kick off the year, vital for mental wellbeing in January, fighting stress, viruses and those heavy reporting deadlines,” she continued. 

Asking yourself reflective questions is a more successful process in comparison to rash decision-making on 1 January. 

Some questions you could ask yourself are the following. 

  • What am I most proud of?
  • What do I wish I could have done differently?
  • Where do I want the emphasis to be for the year ahead?

Focus on the process 

Cohen shared the advice of not just focusing on the outcome but on the activities needed to be done to get there. 

She said, “If you’ve set yourself a resolution to not onboard poorly fit clients, how are you going to stop yourself falling into bad habits? Have you got a strategy that you can lean on or someone to keep you accountable?”

The easiest bit is setting the goal, Cohen continues. She advised that breaking down these goals into smaller, more manageable chunks to keep measuring yourself against is more motivating and therefore effective. 

“And if you miss a target or slip on a resolution, don’t throw the whole thing in the bin,” Cohen concluded. “Realign, reset and go again. Just because you ate a biscuit on a Monday afternoon doesn’t mean you should write off the rest of the week.”

What resolutions do you have for this year and how are you going to make sure they are put into practice? Let us know in the comments below. 

Replies (3)

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Mark R
By oneclickapplications
09th Jan 2024 10:35

This is a great post. We have just started looking at same same position last year at the same time and trying to understand we we did well and not so well. Interestingly we asked 50 of our customers about changes they thought we should make ofr 2024 and over 60% came back to us with thoughts/ suggestions. This will now be a key part of our planning.

Thanks (1)
Replying to oneclickapplications:
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By FactChecker
09th Jan 2024 17:03

I thought that was what *every* software developer did (especially when you operate in a niche market). Helps to avoid falling into the trap of 'knowing better than our clients what they really need'!

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John Toon
By John Toon
09th Jan 2024 11:58

I'm afraid to say unless you've cracked a universal constant you can't "make" time. You can take time to achieve things by reprioritising though

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