Back to school: 7 efficiency tips for parents in accountancy

timthumb | Back to school: 7 efficiency tips for parents in accountancy
By Steve Cox | 3rd September 2020 | 15 min read

Schools are back at last, after coronavirus forced closures across the country earlier this year.

Normally, as summer holidays near their end, most working parents look to the new school year with relief and anticipation, mixed with twinges of apprehension.

But this school year is different in so many ways and those familiar feelings feel acutely amplified.

For those of you who have admirably juggled childcare and work for months upon end, the new school year signals a new beginning.

It is a huge shift in how working parents will be able to structure their working week, especially those still able to work from home.

Here, we look at how working parents in accountancy can seize these 30 child-free hours a week and put them to best use.  

1. Embrace lockdown lessons

If you have multitasked parenting and working recently, you’ll have become honed your ability to prioritise. These may have been hard-learned habits, but they will stand you in good stead as you look to fit a working day’s demands into 9am-3pm. Other lessons, like taking breaks and separating work and home life at the end of the day, are just as important now as they have been all year.

2. Manage your workload

Making use of practice management software can help you to plan, track, manage and control staff, clients, jobs and communications. You get visibility over tasks and more control over workflow.

As well as this there are web-based (cloud) options too. Cloud practice management means that regardless of whether you return to the office, work from home, or have a blend of the two, you can work seamlessly and consistently.

3. Go with the flow

The lockdown and home-schooling may have helped working parents realise that the concentration spent on tasks matters more than the amount of time taken. When energy levels are high, you get into a ‘flow’ of productivity, completing projects faster and feeling more fulfilled as a result. Consider when the best time is for you to achieve this ‘flow’; if it is immediately after school drop-off with a coffee in your hand, block this time out to concentrate on a specific challenge and see productivity soar!

4. Make work-life easier

Look for ways to save yourself time and make life easier. For example,  IRIS OpenSpace enables accountants to share documents securely, cutting back on emails and getting bogged down by lengthy to-and-fro communications. IRIS Snap allows clients to quickly scan and store receipts; this is another simple way to reduce effort and free up time.

5. Remain flexible

The lockdown may have made you rethink your work/life balance, especially regarding flexibility and home working. Local lockdowns or quarantining may come, so you a flexible mindset remains key. Simple solutions include hosted desktop, enabling you to use your accountancy software and other vital applications no matter where you are.  

6. Stay on the digital journey

Digital tools are one thing we have all learned to embrace. Practices that invested in tools, like cloud practice management software and hosting, are well equipped for the next normal that we find ourselves in. What other tools could you adopt?

As well as tools for work there are even tools for schools. With this even busier home life we're leading now, it's getting even trickier to keep on top of what our children are doing at school. Check if your child's school has software or apps so you can order school dinners online, make even easier school payments for things like school trips, and facilitate parent-to-teacher communication on the go.

7. Be kind to your mental health

The pressures working parents faced won’t magically vanish in September; stay in touch with colleagues and clients to manage expectations and collaborate.  Social interaction matters as much as it always has, so use tools – like instant messenger and video calls. Share the mental load where you can - if you have a partner, co-parent or support network, talk about your professional pressures.

Homeschooling, and the last six months in general, have delivered many lessons. The learning curve continues for us all – and now is the time to embrace the fresh start that a new school year represents.

Learn more about how IRIS solutions can help. Call 0344 964 844 or email