Do you take time to analyze your internal business cycle or do you ‘back burner it’ from year to year depending on client demands?
Every business has an external and internal business cycle. For example, when I work with CPA firms providing accounting and bookkeeping, audit, employee benefit plans and tax services, we are faced by an endless stream of deadlines. That’s certainly what it was like at my former firm. We set aside 4 non-deadline driven months to conduct the essential firm management operations, yet doing so still seemed like an Act of Congress. However, if we were to get any internal work done, it was imperative that we create a master activity plan for the year that included both technical work and firm management.
Here’s what we did:
- Established blackout (no meeting) periods: January to May 15, August 15 to November 15, December 15 to December 31. This required us to be incredibly efficient for a 100-person firm.
- Developed annual project initiatives for firm planning, learning & development, performance reviews, and compensation meetings. A monthly checklist of ‘must do’ activities was created for each operational area.
- Limited the number of important meetings to quarterly, which was the only exception to the blackout (no meeting) periods.
- Invested in the absolute best people to form a strong group of officers in management, learning & development, human resources, marketing, and technology.
At the beginning of each year, activities were added to an annual calendar, Outlook appointments were sent, and the operations group stayed productive year-round.
In the world of burnout, less is more. In the CPA world, people work a lot of hours. What is it like in your business? What can you do to reduce the stress and pressure so true focus on your team members’ roles and performance can be properly elevated?