AccountingWEB guide to getting things done

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With less than two weeks to go, many accountants are feeling the stress rushing to file those last-minute tax returns. Alongside our stress management article, AccountingWEB provides a guide to help you better manage your time and organise your staff during the busy season.

Time management
During one of last year’s posts, AccountingWEB blogger FirstTab put the question: “I really admire people who get things done. They plan and do. I plan and do a bit and then do a bit again and never finish. Is this the difference between successful people and people who are not a success?”

As our blogger goes on to say, there are a number of books that you can read to help you manage your time better, not to mention blogs and courses. 

Utilising various technology tools, such as website and mobile applications, can help organise your workload and manage your time. Stephen Bynghall explains that online personal-knowledge management usually falls into the following categories:

  • Managing data from the web: Subscribing to RSS feeds will allow you to keep abreast of updates quickly. Efficiently manage all your feeds in one place through a reader, such as Google Reader.
  • Managing tasks, ‘to do’ lists and calendars: Applications such as Toodledo can help
  • Places to capture data on the fly: Mobile app and website Evernote will help you note down useful data whilst on the move.
  • Social networking and contact management: Twitter and LinkedIn also provide platforms to quickly monitor any new happenings.
  • Document and file management: Google DocsDropbox and Documents to Go are all useful tools for storing files that you can access in and out of the office.

Soft skills
Communication skills and problem solving are arguably as important as our technical skills but we spend little time developing these.

As Carol McLachlan FCA reports, technical competence in iXBRL, FRS or ISAs tend to take precedence over personal competencies in the accountancy profession but developing these skills is important in effectively managing your workload. In her experience, better soft skills lead to better communication, more effective problem solving and leveraging relationships. “Imagine what we could achieve if we invested a tiny percentage of the time and money we spend on technical CPD?” she said.

If you’re an accountant heading up your own practice, developing personal skills are a must to ensure you provide good leadership. Psychologist and emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman outlines six common leadership styles and why mangers must interchange these as conditions around them change.

For more information on this topic, visit’s time management page or consult the following articles: 

Robin Tidd's guide to getting things done
Knowledge management tools and techniques
Managing business email

What techniques do you use to manage your time? 

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