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Work/Life Balance … I’m Working on It

Column: My Perspective

From the June 2009 Issue

Is it Work/Life balance or Life/Work balance? I guess that’s the question.
Work is definitely a big part of my life, but I heard once that we should engage
in our work in order to support our life, family and the causes that are important
to us. As tax season closes each year, I always think of the price paid during
those three months. This year was especially interesting for me. As I continued
to manage the accounting firm that I have led for the past 20 years, I also
launched RootWorks — the consulting arm of my firm that is dedicated to
helping small firms achieve profitability and balance of life and work. Having
also taken on the role of The CPA Technology Advisor’s Executive
Editor, it’s been a busy year.

It would be hypocritical if I told you that I’ve managed a good work/life
balance over the past six months. But even though I’ve been operating
at breakneck speed, I know there is hope that I can achieve the balance I seek
… and so can you. Many small firm practitioners don’t spend time
managing their practices; they spend time working in them. And when you treat
your practice as a “job” and not an “operation,” you
have little say in your own work/life balance.

When you work in your firm, the tasks dictate the time spent in the office.
When you manage your firm efficiently, you are in control of where you spend
your time. Practice management is, in my opinion, the most important activity
within any firm. Having a vision and a plan to operate as a real business, independent
of yourself, is what you should be spending your time to develop.

True practice management means many things. First, it means getting the right
people on board and then placed in the right position to maximize their individual
skills. This empowers staff to help make the organization better. Practice management
also encompasses the workflow processes you have in place that enable you to
provide quality services to clients. Then, of course, is technology. It is imperative
to stay current on new technologies. By dedicating time to consistently research,
test and implement the right technologies, you can keep your core system operating
at peak efficiency, and that is what allows you to manage your practice instead
of just working in it.

You can find all the information you need on the latest technologies and innovations
right here and in the print pages of The CPA Technology Advisor, on
our blog (,
or within one of our webcasts
or podcasts.
Regarding practice management applications specifically, the technology within
these systems has certainly come a long way. In the following pages, our expert
writers discuss the leading practice management solutions and provide detailed
information on each. You can also read up on the profession’s most powerful
document storage systems and loads of other helpful information to help you
change the way your firm operates.

By managing your practice, and not just working in it, you build an organization
with saleable value. Firms that run like a well-oiled machine emerge as leaders
— highly profitable and competitively elite. Through true practice management,
you are better positioned to create an enjoyable balance between your personal
life and your work life.

In other words, smart management of your firm gives you the choice to take
on more responsibilities or use the extra time to spend with family and friends.
I am certainly dedicated to getting my balance back. My family and I both deserve

Be sure to take a look at the work/life balance articles available in the
coming months in our online exclusive section at
And read Tom Ellsworth’s
from this issue. I think you will enjoy it. And stay tuned; I will
let you know how my personal challenge to enhance my own work/life balance is


See inside June 2009 issue

Products that Help Small Businesses

Column: From the Trenches


2009 Review of Document Storage Systems

Document Storage Systems Offer Affordable Organization Tools