There’s not a second to spare this time of year in Finance. Which means strong time management skills are a must. So how do yours rate?
And how about the rest of your finance staffers?
The folks at Penn State University created this great quiz to test your business time management abilities. We’ve adapted it to Finance at year-end to help you see how ready you and your staffers are for the challenges of the next two months.
See how you rate
Answer the following 15 questions, then look below to see how to score yourself.
1. 5 o’clock already? Where did another day go? How often do you take work home?
(a) Every day (b) Three or more days per week (c) Twice a week (d) Once a week or less
2. Finance’s open-door policy can have its downside. What’s the mileage rate again? When must the last purchases to count towards 2011 be in by? How many people constantly interrupt you in the course of a day?
(a) Six or more (b) Four to five (c) Two to three (d) One or less
3. It’s often the busiest time of year outside the office, as well. How much time do you spend each week in other activities outside your job (e.g., hobbies, exercising, social and cultural events, etc.)?
(a) Three hours or less (b) Four to five hours (c) Six to nine hours (d) Ten or more hours
4. How much time do you spend each day socializing on the job (e.g., extended coffee breaks, late luncheons, long visits with other supervisors, etc.)? (And, no, that mandatory holiday luncheon doesn’t count. )
(a) Two hours or more (b) Sixty to ninety minutes (c) Fifteen to thirty minutes (d) Less than fifteen minutes
5. Quick – take a look at your desk. How many separate stacks of work are on your desk right now?
(a) Three stacks or more (b) Two stacks (c) One stack (d) My desk is clear
6. Yes, everyone is stretched tight in Finance, especially when you add year-end responsibilities to an already-heavy workload. How much of your work do you delegate?
(a) Very little (b) About 25% (c) 40%-50% (d) More than 50%
7. That one sales manager just keeps approving non-allowable expenses. Marnie is still struggling to get past-dues on the phone. How often do you approach and discuss things with people on a one-on-one basis in the course of a day?
(a) None (b) At least once (c) Twice (d) More than two
8. Even a staff full of veteran finance pros needs to keep improving. How much time do you spend with your people in training and developing during the course of a week?
(a) None (b) Less than an hour (c) One to two hours (d) Three hours or more
9. From which healthcare carrier to use to whether or not to expand your e-pay program, you are faced with lots of big decisions in a day. How often do you procrastinate or put off making decisions in the course of a day?
(a) Fairly often (b) Occasionally (c) Seldom (d) I don’t
10. Even if you file your information returns, tax returns and sales and use tax forms electronically, your Finance department probably still isn’t a “paperless” office. How many times do you handle a piece of paper in the course of the day before doing something with it?
(a) Four times or more (b) Three times (c) Twice (d) Only once
11. The deadlines come fast and furious at year-end, from getting W-2s into employees’ hands to the cutoff for the final expense reports of 2011. How often do you permit extensions of your own deadlines?
(a) Fairly often (b) Occasionally (c) Seldom (d) Only when there’s a good reason
12. A keen eye is a must in Finance, especially when closing out the year. One little mistake can have big consequences. How do you approach detail work?
(a) Do it all myself — I love it (b) I do most of it (c) Delegate some of it (d) Delegate most of it
13. Finance pulls together as a team more than ever at year-end, but that team is also made up of different individuals with different goals. How often do you set, communicate, and review department and individual goals with your staffers?
(a) Twice a year (b) Quarterly (c) Monthly (d) Weekly
14. You may feel like there isn’t a sheet of paper large enough to house it these days, but how often do you prepare a to-do list and set priorities?
(a) Monthly (b) Bi-weekly (c) Weekly (d) Daily
15. Don’t answer this last one until you’ve had your coffee. How much of your work do you do because you really want to do it?
(a) About 5% (b) Less than 50% (c) About 75% (d) Almost all of it
How’d you do?
Score one point for each “a” answer, two points for each “b” answer, three points for each “c” answer, and four points for each “d” answer.
Your total score: ________
How that translates:
Mediocre: 30-44 – You probably need to take another look at how you’re handling things.
Poor: 29 or below – Don’t be surprised if deadlines get missed and chaos rules.