Maximising productivity: 7 tips for accountants and bookkeepers

As accountants and bookkeepers, we constantly strive for efficiency and productivity in our work. With the aid of technology, such as accounting automation and Xero apps, we’re able to streamline processes and reach our goals. However, even with the best tools, distractions and roadblocks can still impact our productivity.

In this article, we delve into the 7 biggest productivity saboteurs and offer practical tips to overcome them. Whether you’re looking to boost your individual efficiency or enhance the productivity of your entire accounting team, this guide is a must-read. So let’s get started on optimising your workflow and boosting your productivity.

Overcoming productivity roadblocks for accountants and bookkeepers

Let’s examine some of the common individual barriers to productivity and explore ways to overcome them.


Manage distractions

Problem: In the modern workplace, it can be difficult to maintain focus and stay productive amidst distractions such as social media notifications, workplace communication tools, clients, and colleagues.

Solution: To combat these distractions, start by managing notifications effectively. Turn off notifications from email and other work communication tools when you need to focus on important tasks. Utilise tools like Slack’s “Do Not Disturb” mode to indicate to colleagues that you’re busy and cannot be disturbed.

Additionally, consider implementing time management strategies like time blocking or time boxing to schedule focused time for tasks that require undivided attention. Setting a limited time frame for a task can also improve motivation and help you stay on track.


Avoid multitasking

Problem: Multitasking is often viewed as an efficient approach to work, but studies have shown that it is actually detrimental to productivity. Our brain is not capable of focusing on multiple tasks at once and constantly switching between tasks requires more mental effort and ultimately leads to decreased efficiency and higher levels of fatigue.

Solution: To optimise your workflow, prioritise focused work sessions for complex and important tasks. Dedicate specific blocks of time for tasks like answering emails or processing invoices to minimise the need for context switching. This will help you complete tasks more efficiently and with higher accuracy.


Streamline meetings

Problem: Meetings are often essential for collaborating with your team, and client meetings are important for accounting and bookkeeping practices. However, if not properly managed, meetings can become a waste of time for all parties involved. Surveys have shown that a significant number of senior managers find meetings unproductive and inefficient.

Solution: Determining the necessity of a meeting is crucial. Consider alternative methods such as emails for simple updates or status reports. When a meeting is necessary, establish a clear agenda and share it prior to the meeting, sticking to the agenda during the meeting.

Common challenges in accounting & bookkeeping that hinder productivity


Clear Accounts Payable clutter

Problem: Accounts payable clutter refers to disorganised invoicing and approval processes. When processes are cluttered, it leads to time-consuming searches for relevant information. Clutter affects focus and concentration by competing for attention through visual stimuli.

Solution: Consider using accounts payable automation software, such as ApprovalMax, to streamline invoicing and approval processes. Additionally, regularly taking breaks to organise your work environment can improve productivity by reducing visual noise and distractions.


Harness cloud technology

Problem: Reliance on outdated bookkeeping and accounting software can negatively impact your team’s efficiency and give your firm a disadvantage in the market. Holding on to traditional methods may feel comfortable, but it limits opportunities for growth and innovation.

Solution: Adopting cloud technology can greatly improve your financial processes, offering real-time access to data and cost savings. Investing the time and resources to move to the cloud will pay off in the long run.


Implement real-time data analysis

Problem: Relying solely on yearly or quarterly reports is no longer sufficient for successful business management. This reactive approach can result in incorrect decisions with lasting consequences.

Solution: Cloud accounting tools allow you to analyse business activities in real time, providing a comprehensive view for informed decision-making. Accurate, actionable data also facilitates cash flow forecasting and gives insight into the company’s financial health.


Adopt an automated Accounts Payable process

Problem: Manual accounts payable processes, such as using emails or paper for purchase orders and invoice approvals, can consume a significant amount of time and effort. Chasing approvers, handling physical documents, or attaching invoices to emails is time-consuming and inefficient. It is also challenging to maintain a proper process, leading to missed deadlines and delayed payments.

Solution: By using a cloud accounting platform and digitisation tool, you can create a paperless, automated accounts payable process. ApprovalMa’s automated workflows then streamline the approval process, helping to take care of routine tasks and free up time for more valuable work. The right tools can help increase productivity and achieve better results.

Wrap-up: Boosting productivity for accountants and bookkeepers

Productivity is an ongoing challenge for accountants and bookkeepers. To stay productive, try implementing solutions such as turning off notifications, prioritising focused work sessions, and using cloud technology. Additionally, utilising tools such as accounts payable automation software (ApprovalMax) and cloud accounting platforms (Xero) can streamline your processes and help you focus on high-value tasks.

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