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Goal setting tips for accountants from “The One Thing”

Ready for a journey to success? This blog is all about how accountants can optimize their goal-setting game using tips from "The One Thing" by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan.

Think about this: juggling endless tasks, emails, and projects can get overwhelming. We'll keep it simple – find that ONE Thing, focus on it, and watch your practice transform for some awesome success in 2024. Let's get started!


Multitasking is simply a chance to mess up more than one thing at a time.

We can do two or more things at the same time. However, we can’t focus on more than one thing. It’s like switching between tasks really fast. 

For example, we can eat and read a client’s email. It is quick to switch. However, responding to clients’ emails and tackling complex tax returns together – not the best plan. It can reduce the quality of your work, slow you down and take more time to switch. 

Instead, focusing on ONE Thing at a time, like finishing those tax returns before diving into emails. This way, you can concentrate better, do better work, and save time. The ONE Thing basically wants us to put our energy into one task at a time for the best results.

Domino Effect

Ever dropped a line of dominoes and watched them all fall, one by one? That's the domino effect - one action causing a chain reaction. Here is an example of how you can use this idea to make a positive chain of outcomes in your professional journey.

For example, imagine you're managing a growing practice, and as the number of clients and projects increases, keeping track of client information, project progress, and billing becomes more challenging. Realizing the need for a more organized and efficient workflow, you decide to implement a practice management software solution.

Experience the Domino Effect with the Implementation of a Practice Management Software Solution:

  • Efficient Client Management: With the software, you can centralize client information, communication logs, and project details. This leads to a more organized client management system.

  • Task and Project Tracking: Utilizing the software's task and project management features to plan and track work. This results in better project organization and timely task completion.

  • Accurate Time Tracking: The integrated time-tracking tool ensures accurate recording of billable hours, minimizing discrepancies and enhancing billing accuracy.

  • Streamlined Document Management: Leveraging the document management feature to securely store and share files, reducing the time spent searching for documents and ensuring easy collaboration.

  • Efficient Invoicing: The software automates the invoicing process, generating invoices promptly based on tracked time and project milestones. This accelerates the billing cycle and improves cash flow.

  • Enhanced Communication: Communication features in the software, such as secure messaging or client portals, facilitate better collaboration with clients and team members, fostering stronger relationships.

  • Workflow Automation: Utilizing automation features for routine tasks, reducing manual workload and minimizing errors. This boosts overall practice efficiency.


Result: By implementing a practice management software, things get way smoother. Clients are happier, there's less hassle with admin stuff, and you get more time to focus on the important parts of your work, leading to business growth.

Here are a few practice management software options that you can consider:

  1. Karbon 
  2. TaxDome
  3. Canopy
  4. Jetpack Workflow


Focusing Questions - Finding Your ONE Thing

The focusing question is like finding the first domino in a row. It helps you answer the big picture and the small details. It not only tells you what your goal should be but also the first step to reach it.

Instead of spreading yourself thin across various objectives, you should identify the ONE Thing that, when achieved, will make everything else easier or unnecessary. 

Start by asking, "What is the ONE Thing that I can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary

Additionally, consider the follow-up question, "What is the ONE Thing I can do right now to progress toward my goal?" 

In your busy practice, as the client base grows, the manual onboarding process becomes increasingly time-consuming leading to delays in initiating projects. Recognizing the need for a more efficient onboarding process, you set a goal to automate the client onboarding system.

Big Picture Focusing Question:

  • Question: "What's the ONE Thing I can do to streamline and enhance the entire client onboarding process?"

  • Answer: Implementing a comprehensive workflow automation system for client onboarding.

Small Focus Focusing Question:

  • Question: "What's the first step I can take to automate the initial client documentation collection?"

  • Answer: Create online forms to collect necessary information from clients during the onboarding process, engagement Letter and proposal, and tax checklist.

By implementing an automated platform, clients can securely submit necessary documents online, complete onboarding questionnaires digitally, and sign engagement letters electronically. This automation not only reduces the administrative burden on you  but also ensures a smoother and faster onboarding experience for clients, setting the stage for positive client relationships from the start.

Consider these options for online fillable forms.

  1. Microsoft Forms
  2. Google Forms
  3. Jot Forms
  4. Typeform


Click here to explore more options for fillable forms along with their pros and cons.


Here are a few options for automating engagement letters and proposals.

  1. Practice ignition
  2. Pandadoc
  3. Proposify


You can download the new client questionnaire here.

These questions help you work on the big goal of making client onboarding smoother (like implementing a full automation system) and the first step (such as setting up an automated way for clients to share initial documents). It's about being focused and efficient to reach the goal.

What's that ONE Thing you can do to level up your practice and make things better in 2024? Time to pinpoint your game-changer!

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