For a lot of us, the new fiscal year represents both a time to celebrate, and a time to plan for a better organized year ahead. Closing the fiscal year books is only the beginning of making your organization operate more efficiently by reviewing goals, implementing new best practices, and, if your finances have been a little rumpled around the edges, drawing a line in the sand for making your operations work more effectively going forward.
One of the best ways to enthusiastically prepare for a new fiscal year is to become more personally organized. I’ve loved personal organization systems since the days of the old PDAs – mine being a Palm Pilot way back then. They are fun and guilt-free self-indulgences. If you’re better organized, then your team will be empowered to work more efficiently too.
But while there are plenty of electronic tools to use, it’s the principles behind being organized that help the most. You must depend on your own commitment toward working smarter and understanding the principles behind every organization system if you’re serious about personal efficiency.
Right now, I’m reading a good book by Michael Linenberger called “The One Minute To-Do List.” He has some great ideas on how to keep your action items from overwhelming your work day (only 5 items on your “Critical Now” list will surely make you feel successful every day).
While Michael quickly transitions us from scribbles on scraps of paper to electronic tools, I tend to work at the same desk every day. That environment doesn’t require mobile organizers, so I use an older system of index cards to keep repetitive tasks logged. I acquired that system from another book, this one from the ‘80s, called “The Side-Tracked Home Executives.” While the book was obviously written for stay-home people, the ideas were easily transferable to a work environment. My favorite part is that you move a repetitive task, like checking the bank balance, physically from one place to the next. It has that same endorphin boost as crossing items off a to-do list.
Beyond self-organization, here are some bookkeeping and accounting tips and tasks to prep for the new year and keep your operations running well:
- Set Goals – Are you using Microsoft Office? If so, Outlook has some great tools to help you record and keep handy your thoughts on the new year. I use the Notes feature a lot for those goals and tiny pieces of information (like small how-to thoughts). These are the things I need handy, but out of the way. Once your goals are set, make an appointment using the Calendar tool to review your goals regularly-probably no less than once a quarter. In the appointment description put the name of your saved note and a specific area of goals you’ll review in the next appointment. Without the reminder, you’ll be tempted to skip an appointment with yourself.
- Review & Update Your Budgets – Whether you use a spreadsheet or a feature like Tangicloud’s Budgeting, powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, you know it is critical to set your budgets, review them regularly, and update them as funds and needs change.
- Set Up Repeat Transactions in Advance – You can do this by using recurring entries. You may pay the same vendor every month for the same thing, like rent or utilities. Why risk a typo throwing your books off, if you can set up the main areas of the transaction, like GL account, fund, or vendor number in advance and simply adjust line items to meet the current need? This will save you a lot of time and worry in the new year.
- Check Your Immediate To-Do Items Often – You can do this with the help of task tiles in Dynamics 365. When you open the software, your dashboard opens to tiles of your expert area. Each of those tiles will list the number of tasks or items that need your attention. If you get in the habit of checking your dashboard once an hour, you’ll always have a grasp on action items requiring your attention.
- Period End Processing – In Tangicloud (and Dynamics 365 BE), closing a period is both easy and important to do. The best tip I’ve heard is from an accounting friend who said the best way to close a period is to keep on top of your transactions every day. Beyond that, use a software that makes period end closings as straight forward as possible. Remember to reset your allowed posting dates and you’ll keep out of trouble every time!
Now it’s your turn. Are you going to make an appointment with yourself to reset for the new fiscal year? An hour now can save you many more hours in the months ahead. Do you have favorite re-set practices you’d like to share? Please comment below.
Meanwhile, happy new fiscal year!