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Time Flies … Are You Having Fun?

Column: Up Front

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
This quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Annie Dillard sums up
one of the greatest challenges facing most of us today. Our time is truly our
most precious commodity. Everyone has exactly 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes
in each hour. And no matter who you are, you just can’t buy more time.

So how do you make the most of the time you DO have? How can you get more done
(something with which everyone in today’s business world is tasked) in
less time and, in many cases, with fewer people resources than before? What
is your time worth? Are you making the most money by focusing your valuable
time on the high-level revenue producing areas of your business? When you look
at technology purchases for 2008 from this perspective, suddenly (I know for
myself at least) it places the priority of my time back at the top of the list,
and the tools that can help me work smarter rather than just longer hours increase
in value significantly.

This issue and many of the upcoming webcast events we have in the month of
November focus on how technology tools can assist you in managing your time
wisely, thereby helping you increase your productivity and profitability by
letting technology solutions and devices do what they do best in automating
certain parts of your business. This, in turn, allows you to do what you do
best — apply your expertise and knowledge to the areas where your clients
need your help (and are willing to pay for it!).

Here are just a few specific items you should look at as you consider ways
to save time and increase revenue (and if you aren’t in that boat, please
send me an e-mail and tell me your secret to picking the lottery numbers you
played to win the last jackpot!):

  • Time & Billing Review — If you are not tracking
    the time you and your staff are using, how do you really know if you are making
    a profit, breaking even or taking a bath? Check out the reviews that begin
    on page 22 (and refer back to the Practice Management review from our October
    issue at
    for additional solutions).
  • Save time searching — Do you ever get lost in search
    engine space? You start off looking for one thing and end up hours later reading
    about weird facts or people you never knew existed (maybe it just happens
    to those of us that are easily distracted!)? Help is here in Part
    2 of “Know Your Search Engine,”
    where Isaac gives some additional
    pointers that will help you narrow your search path significantly.
  • Randy presents Part 2 of his firm
    infrastructure checklist
    in this issue, as well, to give you quick and
    easy-to-digest info that will allow you to rest easy knowing your infrastructure
    is done right.
  • Lisa’s List of Top
    5 Excel Strengtheners
    will definitely save you time and allow
    you to take advantage of a technology tool that’s already in your box.
  • Heard of “utility computing?” If not, check
    out Brent’s column
    . This could save significant time and money in
    the not-too-distant future.
  • Greg reaches nirvana (in at least one area of life, and
    that ain’t half bad). Read his
    to see where zero data entry is actually a reality and read about
    an exciting new tool on our website that will save you time in looking for
    the perfect Document Management System for your firm.

Technology should allow us all to maximize our time so at the end of the workday
we are spending our evenings and weekends doing what we love with the ones we
love. See our Productivity in Practice
profile to learn how one accountant has done a remarkable job on both fronts.