Art of Accounting: Staying in Control

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A new year has just begun. Start it by getting and staying in control. Here are some ways to do this.

10 Ways to Stay in Control

1. Keep desk clean.

2. Open postal mail and take care of, assign, file or toss it. Neat piles become tomorrow’s mess.

3. Do the same with emails—open, take care of, assign, file or delete them.

4. Return (or have someone return) all phone calls with calls or emails. With emails you don’t have to ask about their weekend, vacation or sick pet.

5. Schedule work realistically and keep promises or let people know early on that a commitment cannot be met and reschedule it realistically.

6. Establish checklists, standardize procedures and make sure they are followed.

7. Your staff needs to report to you on schedule, meet deadlines, use the checklists and follow the procedures.

8. Partners and managers need to get back to staff with open items and answers to questions, and your staff’s schedules need to be respected.

9. Think and be orderly.

10. Be quick, open and frank with clients (or partners and staff) when surprises, errors or problems develop.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, published by and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition,” published by the AICPA. Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or

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