If you’re working 50, 60, even 70 hours a week, you’re not running a lifestyle practice.
If you feel like you hardly ever see your family – well, you know where this is going.
A well-structured and properly run CPA practice allows its owner to get the most out of life, both work and play. It can be a rich and rewarding existence indeed. And it’s possible for anyone – including you.
As you may know, I was born and lived in Kenya the first 20 years of my life. Every so often, my family and I are blessed with family visiting us from there.
A few years back, father-in-law came from Kenya to stay with us for several weeks. He’d worked hard for many years as a radiologist, running his own busy medical practice. When he saw me working only three days a week during tax season, he was shocked.
As he watched me coming home in the evening at 5:00pm, with time enough to go out with my family for dinner and a movie or go and play table tennis twice a week for several hours at a time, he simply couldn’t understand how I stayed successful.
In his experience, running a practice meant giving up all these pleasures of life.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can do what I did. You can design your CPA practice around the life you truly want to lead.
Running a lifestyle practice means removing yourself from the bulk of day-to-day “busy work”; detaching yourself from the tyranny of the daily routine by creating a practice that can function seamlessly without you.
By deliberately creating such a practice, you’ll find yourself in the enviable position of not having to worry about or be involved in every little thing that goes on in your practice. The result? Less stress and fewer hours.
The fact is, my office is indeed very busy. But I don’t need to be the one doing the technical work. My job is to make sure the firm has the right vision, the right culture, the right marketing systems in place, etc.
Mine is the work of the leader, the CEO. And it’s work that’s not measured by the number of hours I clock in, but by the progress my firm makes over a period of time.
So, in practical terms, what can you do to create the lifestyle-driven practice of your dreams?
- Let go of the need to micro-manage every aspect of your practice. Get comfortable with delegating work to your employees. Give them the opportunity to develop their skills and prove to you that they can be trusted.
- Create systems and document them. It may take some time, but it’s well worth the effort. With the cooperation of your team members, write down step-by-step instructions for every task, every commonplace situation that arises in your firm. This way, if someone on your team is absent or leaves your employ, someone else can step in and take up the slack quite easily.
- Constantly strive to adopt time management techniques that work for you. For example, I never answer my own phone. I have a receptionist who does that, and she routes each call to the team member most capable of handling that call. I am seldom interrupted unnecessarily. Additionally, I aim to handle each piece of paper only once – and never more than twice. I don’t put anything aside. I take action immediately. It’s much faster to “do it now” than it is to put that paper down and look at it again later.
Many of these changes may seem small, but take it from me – they’re the keys to creating a lifestyle practice.
Follow my advice and you’ll free yourself up to focus on the things that really matter – your family, your health, your personal goals and aspirations – while simultaneously growing a successful practice.