Posted by: LYF | January 23, 2009

Managing multiple files

My desk is big enough to fit my laptop, a second monitor and an inbox tray width wise.  And I have a small shelf above it where I can put the files that I’m working on.  My work space gets cramped very quickly and if I don’t keep everything organized I won’t be able to see my desk by 5:00.  Because our firm is small by virtue so are our clients, which makes their files relatively quick to complete.  So I end up getting assigned a few files at once.

Smaller clients tend to be less sophisticated in their accounting knowledge.  Often a lot of my work is getting my clients information together in a form that’s workable.  Meaning, getting it to a point where I can actually start the work we wrote the engagement letter for.  As I work through the file I will email them asking for more info, they will be slow getting back to me and bottlenecks will form.  Files will pile up on my shelf and my desk will gather more paper.  I’ll have lots of files outstanding, but I won’t be able to do any work.  And ultimately I’ll need to request more files to work on – more things to manage.

There’s nothing you can do about this.  It’s the nature of a small firm.  However, I’ve been developing a system to help me manage the workload.  I’ve been using my delicious account and rainlendar to keep track of all my files.  Delicious categorizes all the research, information, CRA guides, tax forms etc. about a client and rainlender allows me to track my progress and deadlines.

Delicious is amazing for organizing information found on the internet into meaningful categories you can search for later.  I’ve been saving everything under accounting.  It’s made my research a lot easier to keep up with.

Rainlender looks like this

rainlendar

And you can download it here.  I know a lot of people probably use outlook, but this software is remarkably easier.  If you need to set up an event you just double click on a day.  That’s it.  I set up events for deadlines and I use the “to do” box for my daily activities.  The best thing about this approach is it’s relative economy.  Delicious and rainlendar are extremely easy to use and won’t bog down your computer or eat away at its ram.

How do you cope?

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Responses

  1. Cool.

    My files are mainly digital, aside from random scraps I write up when the computer’s real estate is fully occupied.

    Except for that stint when I was doing tax returns.

    And the other time I had to create a paper file for some bizarrely arcane reason. That was irritating. Sort of fun, but only the kind of fun that an auditor would appreciate.

    Paper files have a home – in the records archives.

  2. Man, some days it feels like I kill trees for a living.

  3. That’s why I joined our environmental group at work 🙂


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