It’s one of the most important resources at any business, big or small. And it isn’t just your business that it affects, either – it also comes into play in your private life.
In order to get the most out of it, it’s important that you properly budget, manage, organise and plan it so you don’t run out or run into major issues later down the line.
No, we aren’t talking about money (shocking, since we’re accountants!)
Rather, we’re talking about time.
You know what they say: time is money. And just like your finances, your time needs to be carefully managed and planned in order to ensure that your business succeeds.
Today, we’re going to be taking a bit of a break from sharing small business accounting tips to focus on something that we haven’t really talked about before (but which is just as important) – managing your time.
Time management tips
As accountants, we deal with dozens of different clients throughout the day, as well as countless meetings, financial discussions and projects. Our time is tight, so we know a thing or too about successfully managing it!
The life of a small business owner is a tough one. Many manage to figure out how to best manage their time eventually, coming up with a system to ensure that everything gets done on time while also leaving enough personal time.
Unfortunately, many never make that jump successfully.
Luckily, you don’t have to be one of them – if you’re struggling with time management, we’ve got a couple of solutions for you…
Tip 1: budget your time
Obviously, there are going to be moments where you’re going to have to go overtime – as a general rule however, it’s a good idea to take stock of all your time and budget it depending on what needs doing.
That means looking at each of the tasks you do each day and “budgeting” a certain amount of time to it.
For example, that might mean allocating half an hour per day tops to bookkeeping, another 30 minutes to payroll, an hour to inventory and so on.
By setting out your maximum, you’ll be better able to keep the amount of time spent on each task to reasonable levels.
Just make sure that you also include overages in your time budget!
Tip 2: schedule
In addition to setting out how much time you’re willing to allocate to certain tasks, it’s also a good idea to schedule your days as well.
Whatever you do, don’t try and wing it.
Doing things ad-hoc and dealing with problems as they arise only leads to trouble as you end up mixing different tasks, lose track of time or go over-budget time-wise.
Using a schedule helps you stay on-task throughout the day, while also ensuring that things move at a clip and that each of your tasks get completed without soaking up too much of your time.
Don’t want to schedule hour-by-hour? Want more flexibility? That’s fine – a great alternative is to schedule by day. So for example:
- Monday might be finance day (budgeting, bookkeeping, payroll)
- Tuesday might be inventory day (performing stocktakes, placing orders)
- … and so on!
Whatever system you end up settling for, the most important part is that you stick with it – consistency is king!
Tip 3: delegate
That’s what you have your team for, after all!
Many small business owners take on all the responsibilities on their own, looking after everything to do with their business from the bookkeeping, to inventory management, to resolving customer complaints.
It’s admirable that you want to be so hands-on – it’s also a lot of work.
The best piece of advice you can use to improve the time situation? Delegate some of these tasks to your team members.
While it may feel strange putting these duties in someone else’s hands, it can also free up heaps of time for you to focus on other things or to simply relax!
A good place to start is by identifying time-wasters or timesinks, and finding ways to delegate these tasks to your team members either partially or in full.
Tip 4: don’t try to multitask
It might sound like a good idea – get more out of your day by doing multiple things at once.
However, that leads to problems. Specifically, it means that your work on each individual task suffers as you can’t give each one the attention it deserves.
Worse, you might even end up taking longer to get the job done!
According to some studies, multitasking is linked to issues such as overload, mental stress, worse performance and inefficiency. You may actually make the problem worse if this is your solution to your time problems.
Tip 5: include rest time
Some people simply can’t operate for long periods of time without needing a bit of a mental breather or a short break.
And even if you aren’t, operating at full pelt for hours on end can become mentally exhausting, and can burn you out.
The best way to get around that is to allocate rest time to yourself, helping you mentally refresh yourself.
At the same time, it can also serve to help you get the distraction “out of your system” if you’re one of those people who is easily diverted or who has a short attention span (this is known as the Pomodoro technique).
Tip 6: automate
One of the best things about living in the digital era is just how many previously manual business processes can now be done automatically with computer software and programs.
Not only does this make your life a lot easier – it can also save you heaps of time.
For example, our small business accountants in Melbourne are big proponents of cloud-based accounting software like Xero, MYOB Essentials and more.
Compared to traditional pen and paper accounting, these programs can automatically:
- Run calculations
- Generate reports
- Process invoices
- Sync with your accounts and systems
- Check inventory
And that’s just for your bookkeeping and accounting.
The right software and programs can make crucial business processes considerably easier – and quicker for you!
And of course, don’t be afraid to get help
Finances and accounting eating up too much of your time? Get your finances looked at by a small business accountant
The final piece of advice is this: don’t be afraid to get in touch with a professional to look after all the stuff you can’t do on your own.
Not only will this help you get a better outcome, but it’ll also help you save time as well!
And nowhere is this more true than with your accounting.
With a range of different accounting services on offer, our small business accountants can help you get your business finances under control – and save you time while we’re at it.
All you need to do is get in touch.