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Efficiency or Effectiveness?

here is a big difference between efficiency and effectiveness. For instance, if you are a bank that chooses to outsource their whole support function to Asia, because it saves money (efficiency) it’s not effective when they start losing hordes of customers for quite frankly, wholly predictable reasons.

Time is so precious and I guess that’s why we are drawn to ‘efficiency’ as a concept, as it apparently saves time – but does it?

We are born, we die and in between there is time and it’s that simple! For every human being, not just accountants, time is a precious commodity and in today’s modern digital world, never is this more obvious.

Accountants have always lived by time; we manage our performance by time, we analyse what we do by time and importantly, we regularly charge by time.

Clients ask us if the, “Clock is ticking”, so they clearly understand the deal when it comes to their accountant’s typical charging system!

Accountants never seem to have enough time and the impact of the financial downturn a few years ago and that of technology, has meant most of us are working harder and harder, often for only incremental gains.

Technology was supposed to release we humans from the toil of boring graft, but in reality it has simply squeezed efficiency and meant we are all expected to do more than ever before; so much for the IT revolution and it being humans’ salvation!

The big question for partners in accountancy firms is, “How do I focus on advisory services that I know are essential for our sustainable long-term future, when I have such chargeable hour and client pressures?”

It’s a good question, but actually what is time? We work on a 24-hour clock that you would imagine straightforwardly answers the question, but does it, as 20 minutes sat in the dentist’s waiting room to have a tooth removed, is not the same 20 minutes as those spent frolicking in the swimming pool with your children or grandchildren?

It’s the same unit of measurement, but not the same experience of time passing, or to that extent…value.

Use of time is about the quality and effectiveness of our use of what we have available, not just about how efficient we are with this time.

We read a lot about time management, but of course the reality is that we cannot manage time at all, we can only manage how we use the time we have available.

Let’s use our time effectively on strategic goal driven priorities – that’s effective!