Applying the 4Ds of Time Management to Your Firm

Meeting your deadlines is crucial, especially when your accounting firm needs to prepare for an audit. You need to organize data and provide audited financial statements, reports, and schedules on time. Because of this, proper time management is important.

With the many hacks and tips shared by entrepreneurs, business people, and professionals, you may have difficulty determining which time management method works best for your accounting firm.

How to Apply the 4Ds of Time Management to Your Firm

If you’re looking for one of the easiest and most effective ways to beat deadlines and work efficiently, learn about the 4Ds of time management and apply them to your accounting business.

  1. Delete
  2. Delegate
  3. Defer
  4. Do

1. Delete

As Steve Jobs once said, “deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” The idea of deleting in time management is scrapping personal and business-related commitments that aren’t necessary or important. 

Check your to-do list and determine time-wasters from your accounting workflow. For instance, avoid attending or cancel unproductive meetings, unsubscribe from newsletter subscriptions that you no longer open, or eliminate interruptions during your working hours, like phone notifications. Dropping all of these may make you anxious at first, but doing this will help you use your time more efficiently, reduce your stress, and boost your productivity in the long run.

2. Delegate

As a business owner, you may feel like you have to do everything yourself. This is especially true if you have trust issues or feel like the quality of work will decline when you let others do it. However, the key to growth is to avoid spreading yourself too thin and learning to delegate tasks to your employees. 

Start by assessing activities your accounting firm needs to accomplish but makes you inefficient, then assign them to someone else. For example, you may have to produce content for your website. You may know the basics of content writing, but it’s best to let professional writers and marketing experts handle it so your accounting firm can save time and focus on more essential tasks.

An added bonus of delegating, is having your employees feel more involved in business decisions. 79% of employees quit due to ‘lack of appreciation’, which can stem from lack of opportunities for professional growth to not being given projects and tasks. Involving your employees more actively instead of taking on every new task will help your and your employees long-term.

3. Defer

Determine if you can delay tasks to another date or time and focus on addressing pressing issues that have to be accomplished right away. The key to deciding what to put off until later when everything seems urgent is to make time to complete items at the top of your to-do list. An example of this would be scheduling an important meeting in advance but failing to write its agenda, which should only take two to three minutes. 

4. Do

If you feel like you have a million tasks to complete, assess which tasks to prioritize before starting any work. Avoid multitasking because it can make you prone to distractions or decrease the quality of your work. Instead, concentrate on completing one thing at a time. Finish all your current assignments first before starting on something else. You can also follow the 2-minute rule, which encourages you to get the task done as soon as possible if it takes less than two minutes to complete it. 


Stepping up your accounting firm’s time management game may seem next to impossible, especially when you feel overwhelmed with the plethora of tasks you have to complete. But by following the hacks listed above and using them to your advantage, you can use your time on things that truly matter. 

Besides mastering the 4Ds of time management, consider using a CPA practice management platform like ours to enhance your accounting business’s efficiency.

Stay efficient and boost your firm’s profitability using our cloud-based accounting practice management solution. At Financial Cents, our platform offers task delegation, staff management, and time tracking for accountants. Start your free trial today!

By Shahram Zarshenas

Laying the foundation to scale your firm is tough. You have to document your workflows, establish collaboration channels for your team, and implement the right tech to overcome the challenges you will face as you.

Shahram Zarshenas has helped thousands of accounting firms overcome these challenges. He is the CEO of Financial Cents, an easy-to-use practice management software built to help accounting firms track the status of client work, collaborate with their team, and get work done.