Working Smart

time-management2Robert Half once said, “The combination of hard work and smart work is efficient work.” Efficient work strategies can make any practice more profitable as owners determine how to get more done in less time.  Here we share 6 tips that will help you work smart and eliminate the unnecessary so that you can find more time for billable hours.

1. Clean and organize your workspace. You can waste hours looking for important documents if your office is not clean and organized.  While this tip may seem like one designed to lengthen your workday rather than shorten it, you’ll find that setting aside just a few hours to tidy up your office will save you a lot of time in the long run.

2. Schedule the workday around your most productive times. One perk in being self-employed is that you’re not required to comply with a traditional work schedule.  This can be incredibly helpful for those who may work better early in the morning or late at night.  Determine the times of day you are most productive and schedule your workday around them.

3. Establish a routine.  Once you determine a work schedule, you should develop a routine.  Determine when you will read and respond to email; abide by that routine.  Determine when you will call and meet with clients; abide by that routine.  While there will definitely be times you must break from this schedule, generally it can help you stay on task and reserve the bulk of your time for billable hours.

4. Perform similar tasks at same time. When multi-tasking you can expend a lot of energy beginning and ending the different tasks you’re trying to juggle: taking files from drawers, looking up phone numbers, logging into your email.  You can save yourself some time by performing similar tasks all at the same time: making phone calls, scheduling appointments, reviewing your clients’ status, and emailing.  When you do this you don’t waste precious time building momentum only to shift gears to move on to a different task.

5. Hire help. Oftentimes it really does take money to make money.  Some of your more tedious tasks could be accomplished by a part-time employee.  While you may need to pay this individual minimum wage or more, think of all the time it affords you to make more money and possibly take on additional clients.

6. Dedicate more attention to higher-yielding clients. While it’s important to spend time increasing your client base, some of that time may be better spent attending to higher-yielding clients.  They already find your services valuable.  Is there more you can do for them?  Do they need tax planning services or financial consulting?  Or could you enhance your service offerings in order to become even more valuable to these clients?  Chances are your greatest profits come from a handful of high-yielding clients.  Your business could become more profitable by better serving their financial needs.

Increase Service Offerings

Once you improve efficiency, you can increase your billable hours by offering complementary services. Training in tax preparation will enable you to help clients manage their tax burdens year-round.

Enroll in Universal’s Professional Tax Preparer Program and become a full financial provider, acting as a client’s tax preparer as well as their small-business accountant – a skill that will make your services invaluable.

Get started today!  UAC has been training professionals like you for over 30 years.  Benefit from our experience and expertise. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today.

Christine Petersen, UAC’s Senior Enrollment Director, is Passionate about Helping

christine-petersonChristine Petersen is Universal’s Senior Enrollment Director.  As such, she helps individuals select training programs that will enable them to achieve their career goals.  Roger Knecht, UAC’s President and CEO says, “She has been integral in the success of the company and the students we work with.”

Christine has worked at Universal for more than seven years and enjoys her position as Enrollment Director.  In the past she has also traveled to various Start Today Seminars around the country, selling UAC training programs to attendees.  She also presented at the UAC Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, leading a breakout session entitled “Phenomenal Women in Business.”  In addition, Christine enjoys the highest lifetime average of sales and units per “manday,” longest tenure among enrollment directors, is a member of the $1 million dollar club, and sole member of the $2 million dollar club.

But Christine most enjoys the opportunity to get to know people of diverse backgrounds as she helps inspire them to achieve their business goals.  She says, “Each person I talk with I have the opportunity to make a real and deep connection. It is in making these connections that I am best able to motivate and inspire individuals to get started with the program.  This is what keeps me motivated and satisfied at Universal.”

She finds “the biggest challenge for students is making the commitment to act, stepping outside of their comfort zone and moving toward their true goal, albeit uncomfortable, but nonetheless the goal they profess is truly important to them and the career they say they want to have.”  The greatest obstacle holding most individuals back is fear.  Christine explains, “This fear…can be overcome if they know they are in business for themselves, but not by themselves.  It can be overcome if they learn the proven system for building a business.  It can be overcome by offering them a specific solution so they can visualize this being achievable for them.  Universal offers these solutions.”

Christine finds she has the most success enrolling students in the Accountrepreneur Program which includes everything individuals need to launch a full-service financial practice:

Just last week, Christine was able to enroll Agnes Semey-Akorli, from Regina, Saskatchewan.  Agnes has a degree in accounting from her home country of Ghana and runs her own accounting practice.  She was interested in bolstering her accounting skills with UAC’s training programs.  Christine says, “She and I had a serendipitous connection – the first time we spoke she told me it was like speaking with her sister.  We had a very amazing rapport and it left me feeling so thankful to get the opportunity to work with such wonderful people!”

Of the exchange they enjoyed over the course of three days, Agnes says, “I was really satisfied with Christina for her good interpersonal relationship and encouragements, prompt response to my demands and questions, just to name a few.”

If you would like to talk to an enrollment director yourself to see how Universal’s training programs could change the course of your professional future, call us now at 1-877-833-7908 today!

5 Reasons Why Your Business May Be Stuck

Smart young executive working on a laptop with colleagues in the backgroundMany find that while their business is making enough to get by, it isn’t growing; it’s stuck.  If you find your practice in a rut, it may be time to assess the situation and determine what might get you out of it! 

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author and business owner, Chad Cox shares “7 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Growing.”  Here we share 5 of those potential holdups:

1. Tracking down overdue payments.  Your time could definitely be spent on more lucrative tasks.  Consider making this duty easier by sending automated reminders and enabling payment through online technologies.

2. Not asking for referrals. Building your client base through referrals is one of the most cost-effective ways to secure quality customers who are credible and trustworthy.  Often we are uncomfortable asking our friends, family, and current clients to refer others our way, but there’s no reason to be when you offer the valuable services you do.  

3. Chasing Whales.  As Cox explains, If we learned anything from Captain Ahab and Moby Dick, it was don’t let the pursuit of the whale drag you under. While on paper a big contract looks very appealing, the energy and resources required to attract, win and keep those once-in-a-blue-moon opportunities could put your entire company at risk.”

4. Reluctance to outsource or partner with complementary businesses. Small-business owners must track the daily tasks that eat up their workday, because while there are core-functions to any business, entrepreneurs often become distracted, and sometimes consumed by, necessary tasks that could be done just as easily, and probably more economically, through outsourcing.

5. There’s no obvious reason to choose you over the competition.  There needs to be something that sets you apart and makes your service offerings more appealing than the competition’s.  Maybe it’s the fact that you’re a full-service financial provider or that you offer business assessments or act as a QuickBooks Specialist.  Whatever the case, you need to ensure that you stand out as a premier financial professional.

Making these necessary, yet relatively small changes to your practice could be all it takes to launch your business to the next level.

UAC’s Training Programs Will Catapult You Ahead of the Competition

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that by expanding your service offerings you can quickly expand your client base and, consequently, your bottom line.  As an accountant, adding tax and QuickBooks services to your menu will not only attract more clients, but it will enable you to strengthen your competitive advantage.

If you’re interested in strengthening your business, visit Universal Accounting Center to sample our online training for FREE.  Or see what our graduates have said about their experiences!

Resource

Cox, Chad. “What’s Holding You Back? 7 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Growing.” 7 March 2014  Entrepreneur.com

 

Customer vs. Client

performance-reviewHow Understanding the Difference Can Change Your Business

A customer is someone who purchases products or services from a business.  And while the definition of “client” is somewhat synonymous with that, the word specifically refers to individuals retaining professional services.  Beyond that, the key difference is found in the relationships the professionals supplying these products and/or services build with customers and clients.

In an article found on the Small Business Chronicle website, author Christian Fisher finds that loyalty often distinguishes customers from clients.  He says, “Closer professional relationships are built with clients over time.  Businesses such as law offices, graphic design firms, talent agencies, accounting firms, health care providers, and matchmaking services offer ongoing advice and specialized solutions to clients.”

Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht, vice president of operations for Universal Accounting Center further explains, “A client is someone that an accountant or bookkeeper is working with on a monthly basis, no less than quarterly.  This is doing the work and meeting with the client to review.  Customers, however, are those that are occasional, those that are not met with regularly…”

If you run your own practice, chances are you could look at your roster now and determine which of those individuals you serve qualify as customers and which qualify as clients.  The truth is, your business depends upon you turning customers into loyal and regular clients.  To do that, Fisher recommends ensuring that you stand out from the competition, “Through direct contact with and regular feedback from customers, a retailer can respond with customized suggestions and special product and service deals specifically catered to individual customers’ needs.”

As an accountant, you must assess your practice to determine how you might enhance your services offerings to better fulfill customers’ needs.  Perhaps that means adding complementary services to your menu or consultation options.  Whatever it may be, the focus should be on building a following of loyal clients.

What have you found helps customers become loyal clients?  Please leave your feedback!

Increase Service Offerings

You’ll be better equipped to improve customer relations when you offer current and prospective customers and clients complementary services.  And when you receive training in tax preparation, you understand how to help your client manage their tax burden year-round.

Enroll in Universal’s Professional Tax Preparer Program and become a full financial provider, acting as a client’s tax preparer as well as their small-business accountant, enabling you to contribute to a client’s year-round profitability – a skill that makes your services invaluable.  Imagine how that will enhance your business appeal!

Get started today!  UAC has been training professionals like you for over 30 years.  Benefit from our experience and expertise. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7909 to enroll today.

Resource

Fisher, Christian.  “What is the Difference between a Customer vs. a Client?” Small Business Chronicle

Self-Discipline and Success

income-securityOne of the key traits that sets prosperous entrepreneurs apart from other professionals is their keen commitment to self-discipline.  The ability to self-start and exhibit drive when no one is checking a timecard is not only admirable but required if one is to experience genuine success.

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author, consultant and coach Dan S. Kennedy explains “Why Self-Discipline Will Make You Unstoppable.”  Kennedy states, “Having and commanding the respect of others is a tremendous advantage in life.  That edge comes from self-discipline.  The highly disciplined individual does not have to point a gun at anyone to take what he wants; people “sense” his power and cheerfully give him everything they’ve got.”

He shares a three-step process that can help anyone get their self-discipline on:

1. Awareness.  Recognizing the significance of time is where it all begins.  Being present and acknowledging the good, bad and ugly of your time management will enable you to better manage it.

2. Decision.  As much as we might like to think otherwise, success does not just fall in one’s lap.  It’s generally the result of thoughtful decision-making.  The ability to weigh the pros and cons, calculate risk and then make a deliberate decision is the reflection of good self-discipline.

3. Action.  As Kennedy explains, “There are three kinds of action: starting things or implementation, follow-through, and completion.  When you’ve made a decision, you have to start doing things about it.” Many suffer from analysis paralysis where they get stuck at analyzing their decision and can’t move into action.  Those who want to develop self-discipline, however, will recognize that this is where true self-mastery can be accomplished.

Launching or Expanding a Practice Takes Self-Discipline

If you’ve considered starting your own accounting and tax practice, but have decided the obstacles in doing so are large and ominous, it’s time you reconsidered.  With the Professional Bookkeeper and Professional Tax Preparer programs, you’ll have all the information you need to succeed—just add self-discipline:

Professional Bookkeeper (PB)

Universal has designed a curriculum specific to the needs of small businesses, offering the most complete small-business accounting course anywhere.  The Professional Bookkeeper Designation assures clients that you have been properly trained in small business accounting and will help you know what those clients need most from you.

Professional Tax Preparer (PTP)

Many tax preparers make more money in the months leading up to the April 15 tax deadline than others make all year long! Since all individuals and businesses, small or large, are required to file taxes, tax preparation is a respected skill that will always be in demand.  Also, more and more are becoming weary of tax preparers without any credentials.  The Tax Preparer Designation will put many of those individuals at ease, assuring them that you have been properly trained in tax preparation.

Don’t let a lack of self-discipline hinder your path to success.  Make the choice now to act on your dreams.  Call Universal at 1 -877-833-7909 to enroll in these two programs now!

 

Resource

Kennedy, Dan S. “Why Self-Discipline Will Make You Unstoppable.”  20 December 2013  Entrepreneur.com

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