Fundamentals are base or core rules or principles. They are of central importance, especially in the accounting industry, because without them you risk losing focus and making mistakes that could hurt your firm.
There are three accounting fundamentals or basics that you never want to ignore when running an accounting firm:
Fundamental No. 1 – Have a Goal
Goals are important. They motivate. They give us something to strive for, and they keep our focus sharp.
How do you set a good goal? Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to accomplish this week?
- What distractions will I need to squash?
- What will I need to do in order for work to be complete by the end of this week so that I feel like I’ve been successful?
Fundamental No. 2 – Plan Ahead
Planning is vital. If you don’t have a plan, then you will lack focus. As a result, if something crazy happens (and let’s face it: this usually happens), you’ll quickly go off the rails and find yourself lacking productivity and success.
How can you effectively plan? Ask yourself:
- When are you going to schedule the challenging, high-concentration work?
- When are you going to tackle the menial administrative tasks that take limited brainpower?
- How will you gauge your progress?
Gauging your progress is important. You need milestones or markers that are either time, day, or percent based. As you check these markers off, you’ll see your progress and be able to adjust to any unforeseen hiccups as they arise.
Fundamental No. 3 – Anticipate
Anticipating is all about predicting the future. It’s like the weather forecast. While it isn’t always spot on, it’s accurate enough to prepare you for when to carry an umbrella or watch for treacherous conditions.
Unforeseen hiccups tend to crop up when you execute your plan. They can derail you if you aren’t at least somewhat prepared.
Think ahead. Consider the possibilities and plan for the future so that you can stay ahead.
Be ready to adjust your plan. Have a backup! You can accomplish this by asking yourself:
- Since I planned for this, what has changed?
- What is bogging me down or moving faster than I anticipated?
- What wildcards are liable to pop up?
Once you’ve answered these questions, think about how to adapt. While a certain amount of anticipating will factor into the planning stage (Fundamental No. 2), you’ll need to actively anticipate as your putting your plan into action.
These three fundamentals are the basics. They are designed to keep you at peak performance, ensuring your focus is sharp and your energies are used wisely.
By sticking to the fundamentals of accounting, you will separate yourself from others. Not only will you stop yourself from becoming the unwanted procrastinator, but you’ll also be (and stay) the professional your clients will love!
For more detailed information on practice management success, check out the book: Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Know To Increase Profits in 2014.
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