Every one talks of time management from Primary school In-charge to PMO office but very rarely is it observed and implemented. All learned professionals of the three Institutes viz. CA, ICWAI & CS are very well aware of it and in most of the cases they cannot help because they are afraid that they may lose the client. I had the rare chance of seeing one very well known Corporate lawyer firm in Hyderabad rejecting a FEMA case of our company because our CFO could not meet him on the day we took appointment.
While nothing much can be done in the initial stages of practice one can always make one’s point of bringing the importance of time management by proper communication. It won’t make radical changes in the clients’ approach initially but gradually they may try to understand its importance for the smooth running of the organization.
While we have good techniques of Transformation & Change management, which most of the learned and experienced members of the three Institutes might have implemented or aware, the new members in practice must understand to communicate the same progressively to their clients else they will be slogging away extended hours on the same issues.
Without going deep into how you can bring about transformation in the clients’ attitude to time management, a few ideas of what I tried to bring the importance of it I am stating here for the benefit of the new members in practice
a) Never visit a clients’ office just like that no matter how close he may be to you personally.
Instead send a mail stating the time when you will come to their office and tentative time of leaving.
b) Never say you will call back in 2 or 5 minutes because, even though they don’t call you when they say, will question you if you don’t call them.
Instead say I will get back to you shortly.
c) Never say we will start audit from tomorrow onwards.
Instead send a mail with start date and more importantly tentative time of closing it and stick to it so that you can schedule other clients’ work .
d) Never talk over phone on legal updates.
Instead prepare them in advance by sending a mail with a copy of notification.
e) Never say you will not come for a meeting if you are invited as an advisor.
Instead tell him that you scheduled or allotted time to some other client but will try to make it to the meeting. Make sure to ask him about summary of the meeting at the end of the day preferably or at the next visit to their office .
f) Never say that resources are not adequate after commencing the audit.
Instead send mail of your requirements like system, documents/ returns, access to internet, printer and contact person so that you can save your valuable time. You may not get all of them but there is nothing wrong in asking. That way you are making your point well in advance .
g) Never talk in advance.
Instead ask him the issue and listen to his version first and provide a solution that best meets the scenario. This way you can cut short unnecessary points and use the time more effectively .
h) Never accept last minute IT clients.
Instead tell them politely that you cannot spare time because you allotted time to other clients who came in advance. This way he will understand that he did not use his time properly.
i) Never jump into client activity immediately without idea of tentative fee to be charged.
Instead take the help of a senior and try to find out tentative time it takes and the fee they are charging for the same work. Have a small meeting with your client and tell him the scope of work, approximate time to complete and ask for his budget as he might have already enquired about the fee being charged for the work. If you don’t do this not only your valuable time and effort will give you little reward but you will end up regretting the time spent for the work.
j) Never bite more than you can chew.
Instead set a small goal say for example in next two years I will deal with tax cases and increase it accordingly to audit of companies as you progress. If you say you will deal with all activities, from how a voucher is to be to finalized and ultimate signing of financials, it will take away all your time since there are so many updates on accounting, service tax, income tax, VAT, Company Law etc., due to overall development of the economy and will continue to do so in the next five years.
Also I cannot understand why our very own Institute, which teaches time management as a part of “General Management and Communication Skills” program wastes its time as well as the time of wood-be members’. In the application form which you have to file for applying for Membership as well as for COP the documents to be attached start from class X marks sheet to your degree marks sheets’ and articles completion certificate which you might have already sent at the time of admission. Last but not the least you are required to furnish the mark sheets of final both groups when they have already given you the final examination pass certificate with your photo and signature. Had they digitized the documents this could have been avoided and one could become a member in just an hour’s time. That is what I call professionalism and time management.
The Governing members of the Institute, who read the article, may excuse me if I cannot understand the significance of filing all the documents again for membership.