Rick Telberg
Rick Telberg

Recession Weighs on Work-Life Balance

CPAs share some of their best time-management tips. How hard are YOU working? Join the survey, compare the answers.

August 20, 2009
by Rick Telberg/On Careers

With the days of summer rapidly dwindling, accountants and finance managers across the nation are grabbing their last vacation days. But it's not always easy.

Many finance and accounting professionals are working harder than ever, doing more with less as their organizations cut back with the recession. Balancing life and work becomes all the more difficult and all the more important. So we've been asking AICPA Insider readers for their best time-management tips for a balanced life.

Here are a few of the best we've received so far:

"Make it happen for yourself," says Bethany (no last name, please) in Texas. "Decide that you will work until x times today, and stick to that commitment. Work never ends, and it will be there when you get back. No one is going to tell you to go home and have some personal time."

How hard are YOU working?

Join the survey; get the comparisons.

(Free. Confidential.)

"I take lunch breaks by myself to unwind and not think — relaxing, eating a good meal and enjoying 'me' time," says Brandy in Florida.

"Always put yourself first!" urges sole practitioner Cathy Elliott in Cave Creek, Ariz. "If you have something already scheduled for you or your family, don't change your schedule to accommodate something for work! Your employer or client will live!"

"Sometimes I get twice as much accomplished if I come in two hours early and have time alone in the office without 20 people needing something from me," according to Christine Boatman, a senior staffer at a tax practice in Pensacola, Fla. "This tax season I am planning a new strategy and will be delegating more."

"Delegation is key," agrees Dave McCarthy, a partner at a local CPA firm in Medina, Ohio.

"Prioritize what is important to you," advises Dana Best, a CPA in government in Carlisle, Pa., "and find a job that either has those same priorities or allows you to live up to your priorities."

"Have priorities, know what they are and stick to them," says Dawn LeBlanc, a senior executive in industry in Gregory, Mich.

Don James, a CPA firm owner in Strongsville, Ohio, seems to have a lot figured out: "Have a good system — one that works for you — to keep track of all the things you need to do. For the little stuff, a pending file with copies of notes, e-mail, etc. works for me. Each week I prepare a list of important tasks that I want to complete and I review that each day to determine that day's priorities. I track my time in a book that is always with me. It also contains my to-do list, which is constantly updated as new tasks arise. This system — by capturing each task as it arises — eliminates that feeling of 'what am I forgetting?' and enables me to better enjoy my family time and social life."

Amber Hurst, a junior staffer at a local CPA firm in Napa, Calif., urges: "Don't procrastinate."

Good advice, that. Let's get started. As one CPA told us: "You can have many jobs, but just one life."

HOW HARD ARE YOU WORKING? Join the survey, compare the answers.

COMMENT: Questions, ideas, rants or raves? Send an e-mail to Rick Telberg.

Copyright © 2009 CPA Trendlines/BSG LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. First published by the AICPA.