The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Accountants

Are you a highly effective accountant? If you are, your productivity, ever-widening skills set, and constant flow of new clients will confirm it. If this isn’t your reality, it can be. You can become a highly effective accountant by adopting a few simple habits.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Accountants

There are habits that all highly effective accountants have. Here are 7 examples:

#1 – Ditch the to-do list – Amazingly, less than half of what the average person puts on his or her daily to-do list actually gets done, reports Travis Bradberry, contributor to Business Guru Club. He wrote, “Throw away your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar. It turns out that only 41 percent of items on to-do lists ever get done. All those undone items lead to stress and insomnia because of the Zeigarnik effect, which, in essence, means that uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them. Highly productive people put everything on their calendar and then work and live by that calendar.”

#2 – Answer emails immediately – Accountants who are highly effective respond to emails immediately, or as soon as possible, once they receive them. However, they only check their email during scheduled times (see habit #5).

#3 – Network – If you want to reach your full professional potential and consistently bring new clients into your accounting firm, you’ll need to network. This applies to introverts (especially introverts!) as well as extroverts. Here are a few networking ideas for accountants.

#4 – Leave your work at the office – One of the hallmarks of a highly effective person is the ability to have a work-life balance. Don’t scoff at the idea; work-life balance is real, and it is crucial to your success. To achieve this coveted balance, leave your work at the office. If you must work from home in the evenings, set aside a block of time during which you can do that. Ask to be uninterrupted. Then, get back to the important business of being present with your family.

#5 – Have a schedule for checking email – How often do you check your work and personal email? More than three times a day is probably too much. Make a schedule for checking email – perhaps twice while you are at work and once in the evening. Stick to that schedule.

#6 – Organize your workspace – The way in which you manage your workspace is linked to your productivity as an accountant. The American Institute of CPAs’ article 4 Work Habits That Will Get You Ahead states, “According to research from the University of Minnesota, a clean desk can promote a healthy and productive attitude, while a messy desk can foster creativity. Consider what works for your personal style.” What changes do you need to make in your workspace in order to become more effective?

#7 – Be relationship-centric – Above all, a successful accountant is one who makes relationships a priority. Natalia Autenrieth, contributor to Accounting Today, wrote, “A CPA’s true expertise in accounting, audit, tax preparation, and consulting is all about people. By building and nurturing relationships, whether with co-workers or clients, CPAs can create a social and professional network that feeds their referral machine, supports their professional efforts, and helps them bounce back after a tough day.” If there’s one habit that can help you reach your full professional potential, it is this one.

Highly effective accountants aren’t born; they are made by the habits they choose day after day. You can decide how successful you will be in the accounting field. Which of these habits will you implement?

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