Time Management – A New Addition to the List of CPA Firm Profitability ‘Best Practices’

Marc Rosenberg, CPA / Mar 4, 2014

time management About 7-8 years ago, while idling away my time in an airport somewhere, I listed the Best Practices for profitability and success at CPA firms.   My initial list numbered 40 or so, but I cut it down to the top 25.

Since this inaugural list was created, I have bounced it off savvy MPs and nationally known consultants and, I’m pleased to say, it has withstood their critical review. But everything changes over time, so I have periodically made revisions, the most recent being to add “Time Management” to the list.

Ben Franklin said “time is money” and for good reason.  Time is the most abundant asset we have but probably the easiest asset to squander.  Partners in CPA firms make decisions every day how to use their time.  They are very busy people, constantly deciding how to allocate their priorities between practice development, billable time, training and mentoring staff, firm management, billing and collection, preparing for partner meetings and retreats, writing articles, professional reading, education…the list is endless. Some choose wisely. Others do not.

Partners constantly ask:  “Our staff average 1,500 billable hours a year and work 2,250 total.  What on earth do they do with the other 750 hours?”  I would challenge partners to look at themselves in the mirror.

The 15th annual edition of The Rosenberg MAP Survey shows average billable hours for partners at 1,148 and their total hours at 2,418.  Are they spending the 1,270 non-billable hours wisely?  Dozens of great MPs tell me that it’s more important what a partner does with his non-billable than billable time.

Imagine how much more valuable a partner could be to her firm if she could increase the efficient use of her time by just 10-20%.  Do first things first.  Delegate.  Better email hygiene.  Eliminate unnecessary meetings.  Better focus (multi-tasking is NEVER efficient).  Reduce interruptions.  Better planning of your day.  Less procrastination and perfectionism.  Saying “no.”

William Penn said:  “Time is what we want the most, but what we use worst.”

Click for a copy of our revised worksheet listing CPA Firm 25 Best Practices.


  1. Stephen Phillips on March 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    We participated in your survey for the first time last year and I have purchased several resources from you. Thanks! Do you have any resource to assist us with “email hygiene and interruptions”?

    • Marc Rosenberg on March 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Steve – by separate mail, I sent you our handouts on email hygiene and efficient time management. Let me know if this is helpful.

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