A lot of the Australian accounting firm owners are hard pressed to manage the work they have inhouse, and come to talk to Odyssey when their growth is improving, or their resources shrinking in efficiency.
And it may be that both may be happening at the same time. Earlier this week we spoke to an accounting firm owner whose bookkeeping business was expanding past his capacity, and his senior staff were bogged down in bookkeeping work. The accounting firm owner had determined that the high value items such as business valuations, management consulting, which he could sell at 300-$400 per hour, were not being done. And instead his senior managers were bogged down in performing $100 per hour bookkeeping work.
For many accounting owners, charging on an hourly rate, there is no real way putting a more senior person on the job makes any sense at all. Sadly many accounting firm owners work 12-14 hour days, and don’t recover this time. Scope creep and inefficiencies erode the profitability of the firm.
Most accounting firm owners struggle with the ongoing discipline needed to focus on the big items. The end result is a constant firefight of answering emails first thing in the morning, responding to urgent client calls (instead of being proactive before the fire starts), or just checking social media for important accounting updates – we all do it, and we all somehow justify the business right!
There needs to be a clear time for focus. When work commences make sure the desk is clear and the mind is clear. Focus on the big tasks first when the brain is fresh. Complete those tasks that will irk you for the rest of the day if they aren’t done.
Use the finite energy you have at the appropriate time. That means while a one hour walk in the morning is a good thing, if it blows a hole in your energy levels then it leaves you with stress due to the unfinished deep thinking you had planned. And then it’s a slippery slope while you do other less brain intensive tasks. Instead of that early morning cycle or run, perhaps some light stretching and exercise in the morning to get the motor warmed up.
Remember: the best time to start is yesterday, the second best time is today.
Ps if you need some help getting through a bit of compliance work while you’re doing some deep thinking, then drop Odyssey a line.