5 productivity hacks to power-up your practice

An efficient accounting or bookkeeping practice is like a well-oiled machine: it runs smoothly, minimises friction and consistently delivers value. When your team is performing well, you’re likely to have happy clients and a healthy bottom line. But hey, distractions happen, right? If you’re still with us, here are five hacks to boost your firm’s productivity.

1. Find focus

Ever feel like your to-do list is out to get you, with phone calls, emails and a million other distractions vying for your attention? The Pomodoro Technique (inspired by those little tomato-shaped timers!) is a time management method that breaks work into 25-minute increments - known as pomodoros - followed by 5-minute breaks. After four pomodoros in a row, you can take a longer break to recharge. Some of us at FreeAgent use the technique ourselves and can vouch for its effectiveness. 

If you’d like to give it a try, there are plenty of productivity apps out there that use the technique. And if you prefer to get in the zone to music or ambient sounds, there’s also the trusty headphones option. Apps such as Brainfm and Noisli can help you increase focus and mask loud noises.

2. Create a winning workflow

We all have our own methods of keeping tabs on our work, whether it’s writing bullet points on sticky notes or typing up daily tasks in a document. The good news is that these can form the basis of a new workflow. A well-organised workflow can help you automate repeatable tasks, give you a bird’s-eye view of your practice workload, and improve collaboration within your team.

Depending on the services you offer, creating individual workflows for tasks such as processing payroll, preparing tax submissions or onboarding new clients can be beneficial. Organising these tasks into weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual categories can be helpful. Remember to also include things your clients are responsible for, such as sending financial information by a deadline. 

You can also keep track of your to-do list with project management software like Notion or Trello and share tasks with your team. Consider exploring dedicated practice management software if you are setting up numerous workflows for a larger practice.

3. Save time with AI

The future of AI in accounting is projected to improve ways of working, increase productivity, and save time on tasks. One of the most actionable applications of AI is simplifying admin jobs - Google’s chatbot ‘Bard’ can integrate with your Gmail and Google Drive to summarise the contents of an email, generate meeting ideas or highlight the most important points of a document. In addition to Bard, OpenAI’s ‘ChatGPT’ can assist individuals or small teams in generating new ideas, optimising content for organic search, and even refining messaging. Remember, AI tools should complement human expertise and creativity, not replace them. 

4. Automate with accounting software

Cloud-based accounting software like FreeAgent can make it faster and simpler for clients to share their data with you, and you’ll both have access to their financial information from wherever you are. It can also help explain clients’ bank transactions in bulk, run reports across your client base and set up alerts to help you keep on top of crucial client deadlines and activities. 

Consider how you communicate with your clients. It can be tedious to write the same email over and over again, so create some standard templates you can copy and paste when you need them. We also have a handy Client intro tool you can use to build tailored introductions to FreeAgent for your clients in just a few clicks.

5. Implement integrations 

When building your tech stack, focus on software that works together seamlessly. Integrations eliminate the need to toggle back and forth between tasks, improving your efficiency. You won’t need to log in across various tools; an action in one app can replicate the action in another. 

FreeAgent’s market-leading integrations cover practice management, data entry,  forecasting tools and more. These include:

Your clients can also benefit from integrations with Amazon, PayPal and Shopify.

Want to get started with productivity tech? Watch FreeAgent’s CPD-accredited webinar - How to build the right tech stack to maximise practice success -featuring speakers from Client Engager, Reddy Siddiqui LLP and M Willis Accountancy Services.

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