Slideshow

An accounting calendar for 2019

To create at least a sense of order in the vast, uncharted wilds of 2019, we offer this annual set of to-do items, one for each month on your blank calendars. Think of them as a sampler of seeds of various kinds of progress, from the personal to the professional, and from the minor to the major.

January
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Look back to last year and figure out how many times you met in person with each of the top 10 percent of your clients. Then aim to add at least one more meeting with each of them this year — one that’s outside your regular workflows, and is focused primarily on getting to know them, their needs and their industry better.
February
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Pick a date no later than March 31 (but hopefully earlier), and tell your tax clients that if they don’t have their materials in by then, they’re automatically going on extension. Then stick to it.
March
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It’s tax season, so we’ll go easy for two months. First, do a quick survey of your staff to find out three things: what software solutions or apps each one is comfortable with, which social media platforms they use (if any) and how many followers they have, and finally, what languages they speak.
April
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Google your firm’s name and your own, and see what people are saying about you. Are there any reviews of your services, or links to your firm? Note that the worst possible result is not that people are saying bad things about you — but that they’re not talking about you at all.
May
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Spend some time with your partners figuring out exactly how much you want to grow over the next 12 months, and then match that against your pipeline of prospects to make sure the size of those potential engagements will yield the growth you want. (You do have a formal pipeline of prospects, right?)
June
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Delegate something — doesn’t matter what, as long as you stop doing something that’s below your pay grade. And if you’re a sole practitioner or don’t have anyone to delegate things to, find some software that will do it for you.
July
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Spend an hour each week this month thinking where you’d like yourself and your firm to be in 10 years, then identifying people who are there already, and then figuring out what they did to get where you want to be.
August
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Arrange a meeting with four or five people who are in a similar professional situation as yourself — whether that’s fellow Staff 1s or grizzled partners skirting retirement — but who don’t work where you do. Have lunch or coffee or drinks as a forum to share problems, concerns, strategies and solutions. See if they’ll meet up next month, too.
September
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Check your firm’s giving and its charitable activities; are they serving you well? Is there a way to deploy the same efforts and resources in a smaller range of areas, to magnify your impact? Or better yet, to do that, and to focus them more strategically on areas that touch the firm’s interests?
October
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Mentally prepare for a minor disaster, one that just cuts everyone off from your office. Can all your people still work? Do you have contact lists to be able to reach them? Do you have a reciprocal agreement with another firm so you can use their space?
November
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Do in-depth research to determine whether and how blockchain and/or AI will affect not you, but one of your clients’ industries.
December
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As a holiday gift to your firm (and yourself), fully close your office between Christmas and New Year’s.