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Accountant or Professional Multi-tasker?

by Jen Mueller | Jun 06, 2018
jillian robison headshot

Member Insights from Jillian Robison

When you consider how many different tasks you help clients accomplish, the title of “professional multi-tasker” might be a more accurate description of your job than “accountant.”

“I sometimes feel like l run 50 businesses,” WSCPA member Jillian Robison says. “I help with QuickBooks questions, file payroll reports, consult on big business decisions, help with business setup and closing, provide advice on financial metrics, do tax planning, save people money, help decide how to spend money, and more, oh, and prepare tax returns.”

Robison is a tax manager at Eide Bailly LLP in Spokane, and because her job requires so many different touchpoints, she’s placed an emphasis on the way she builds relationships. The way she sees it, getting to know people is one of the ways she demonstrates leadership qualities.

“I think that people and relationships are so important,” Robison says. “Showing people that you care and appreciate them goes a long way. If they respect and care about you, they will work for you and work on your team at a higher level.”

Respect isn’t gained overnight. Relationships aren’t built in one exchange. They can, however, start with one conversation. It’s one of the reasons Robison attends networking events with a specific approach and goal in mind.

“Relax, have a conversation, and have fun. I used to put way too much pressure on networking, so much so that I would dread events altogether. Over the years, I have decided to just listen and enjoy the conversation. I always felt pressure on coming up with what I was going to say next or how I was going to promote my business. Then I would feel distracted and never gave the other person the attention they needed or deserved.”

When Robison started to shift the focus of the conversation, she saw a change in how she viewed networking.

“It is about connections,” Robison says. “I was too worried about myself and what I was going to say to make quality connections. Now I just relax and learn about the other person and enjoy it.”

That strategy not only increases the quality of her interactions, but ensures she’s making the most of time, something that’s in short supply. To get the most out of her day, she often reshuffles her to-do list based on the time needed to finish a task.

“If something will take less than five minutes, just do it,” Robison advises. “We receive so many emails, calls, texts, etc. through the day that I can easily get lost in all the to-do lists and email flags. It is nice to just handle something if it will go quickly, even if it is out of ‘last-in-first-out’ order.”

This habit boosts productivity and provides a psychological boost from crossing something off the list, which is important when you’re juggling as many tasks as an accountant, aka professional multi-tasker, like Robison.

Jen Mueller headshotJen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and the founder of Talk Sporty to Me. She is an expert in business communication and can be contacted at Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.

Find more practical career tips through the WSCPA’s News and Resources section or attend an upcoming CPE program on personal development.

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The Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants is the only organization in the state of Washington dedicated to serving the professional needs of CPAs, educating consumers about CPAs and the services they provide, and encouraging students to study accounting and enter the profession.

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