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Preparing for the week on SundayEvening My typical week actually starts on Sunday evening when I review the upcoming week. I start by reviewing my Project database (PROJ.GDB=), one that I created using the 200LXs built-in Database application. It contains all open tax returns and projects e.g., financial statements, estate work and planning, financial planning and pension work that I am working on, except for individual returns I'm working on during tax season. (I keep them in a separate database file.)
The Data Item screen for my Project database is shown on this page. The data fields in this database are as follows: Done The box checked when the project is completed.
Week -- The week the project must be completed (e.g. 1= this week; 2= next week; 3= in three weeks, etc.; 9 = I'm not sure, sort this project to the end of the list.
Missing Info -- The box I check if I need more information to complete this project.
Staff -- Initials of the member of my staff that this project is assigned to.
Cl # -- I assign client numbers to each client.
Client -- The name of the client.
Priority -- 1 is highest priority, 5 lowest.
Task -- The task to be completed (e.g., 1120 FYE 9-94 means IRS form number 1120 Fiscal Year End September, 1994.)
Type -- The type of task it is.
Time Est -- The amount of time (in hours) that I think the project will take.
Due Date -- Date by which a project must be completed.
Done Date -- Actual completion date.
Notes -- Misc. notes on the project.
I use the Note field of my Project database to document phone calls regarding projects, dates I requested certain information I need, if data is missing, or other items of interest for planning purposes. It is not a field I use often as most of the projects are self explanatory, such as tax returns, ledger work, financial statements, estate work, etc.
I also keep a NoteTaker file of client notes, phone calls, and related matters so that I have a record of important items. This way the information is always available even after the project is done. Actual material to be placed in the clients file for permanent records is usually on paper I use this NoteTaker file as my memory jogger.
A CPA firm is run by tax deadlines, and the Week field is an attempt to anticipate work deadlines and avoid urgent last minute crunches. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Of course you get those panic phone calls which require a complete juggling of your schedule, but that's life. Ideally I will have more time available in the coming week than projects needing completion. In order to avoid everything being done on an urgent basis at the last minute, I have been trying to finish a project before it has to be done. This is not very feasible during tax season. I can file extensions for tax deadlines that can push off the due date six months, which is why I use the Week field rather than the due date for project scheduling. Of course the due date still needs to be watched so that tax deadlines are not missed.
I review the Project database subset which shows my work only. It shows projects with rjk in the Staff box and sorts the projects by week order, and then by priority. I can see if the work load for the next month is realistic. If not I will change my plans, delegate more work, plan on working overtime, or some combination of the three.
When I'm ready to schedule a day for any particular ToDo, I use the Link feature added to the HP 200LX by Buddy 2.0 =. This Buddy feature lets me specify a clip that will copy pre-specified data fields to the clipboard. I highlight the desired item in my Project database and press (Fn)-(T). BUDDY copies the information to the clipboard, opens Appointment Book, switches to the ToDo screen, enters the clipped information as a ToDo, moves the cursor to the Date field, and calls up the calendar so that I can enter the date of the ToDo. For example, I plan on doing the Johnson Novelties corporate tax return 1120S for FYE (Fiscal Year End) 12-94, on Monday, so I move the cursor to that entry and press (Fn)-(T). After BUDDY places Johnson Novelties 1120S FYE 12-94 in the Description field in the ToDo list, it moves to the Date field and calls up the calendar. I move the cursor to Monday and hit enter. I enter ToDo's for this week only. ToDo's for the following week are entered next Sunday evening.
As I plan my week I keep in mind the time I have allocated for field visits, office time, correspondence, and telephone calls. I repeat the (Fn)-(T) procedure for each project due this week. If there is room in the current week I will include some of the projects that are coded for week 2.
By sitting down once a week and reviewing my projects, I find I keep on track. The HP 200LX is always there so I constantly add to the ToDo list and the Project database. I am also able to rearrange my schedule and still not loose track of work in process. Once I focus on the weeks goals I can begin to deal with its inevitable changes.
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