Being an accountant requires a great deal of attention to detail, organization, and strategizing. Goal setting is essential for success in this industry.
The SMART framework is a valuable tool for any accountant looking to take their performance to the next level. These goals provide structure, clarity, and focus on increasing productivity and ensuring objectives are met effectively.
Here we’ll explore examples of SMART goals tailored to accountants so they can hit their targets and exceed expectations.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) method will allow accountants to develop effective goals. Still trying to understand?
Let’s dive deeper into each SMART element:
Having specific goals in place can help accountants focus on achieving the desired outcome. But what exactly makes goals clear enough?
You can ask yourself questions such as “What do I want to achieve in the next three months?” or “What will success look like for this project?” Adding clarity and detail that focuses on the actionable steps will give you a better chance of reaching your targets.
Measurable goals enable accountants to monitor their performance and make changes where necessary. For instance, if you want to reduce expenses by 10%, tracking this percentage regularly allows you to check if the target still needs to be met.
Before embarking on your journey toward success, make sure you have a realistic game plan with achievable steps. Don’t be afraid to chunk down your bigger end goal into smaller objectives to give yourself something tangible each time you reach one of them.
Ensure that your goals align with your core values. Connecting your ambitions and aspirations to what matters most will motivate you to keep going and help guide you in making decisions along your journey. You’ll stay focused on what matters during times of difficulty or when unexpected obstacles arise.
A timeline helps you stay laser-focused on what needs to be done and when. It also serves as a potent reminder to keep you accountable on your journey.
Determining an appropriate time frame involves minimal planning or intense calculations. You’ll need to find the most realistic approach that suits your goals and lifestyle.
12 SMART Goals Examples for Accountants
Let’s take a look at 12 examples of SMART goals for accountants:
1. Boost Productivity Levels
“I’ll strive to boost my productivity by 10% within the following three months. To do this, I will create a daily agenda that helps me stay organized and complete tasks promptly. I want to also take regular breaks to refresh my mind and body.”
Specific: The plan is to increase productivity by 10% over three months.
Measurable: Track what time it takes to complete tasks and try to reduce them.
Attainable: This goal is possible if the person sticks to their agenda, takes regular breaks, and commits to completing tasks on time.
Relevant: Increasing productivity is essential for any accountant who wants to advance their career.
Time-based: Goal attainment is expected within three months.
2. Become a Certified Public Accountant
“I want to become a certified public accountant by the end of one year. I will need to pass the CPA exam and fulfill other requirements as established by the state. I’ll also dedicate time to studying for this exam to become certified quickly and efficiently.”
Specific: The aim is to become a certified public accountant.
Measurable: There are specific requirements established by the state that must be fulfilled, and the CPA exam must be passed.
Attainable: Becoming certified is possible if the required steps are completed promptly and efficiently.
Relevant: This statement relates to career growth and professional development in accounting.
Time-based: There is a deadline of one year for completion.
3. Automate Bookkeeping Processes
“I will research and implement automation solutions to streamline the bookkeeping process. I want to save time and money while ensuring accuracy in data entry. I’ll have the automation process up and running within 6 months.”
Specific: You have a particular action of researching and implementing automation solutions.
Measurable: Track the time and money saved by automating the bookkeeping process.
Attainable: This SMART goal is achievable with the proper research and guidance.
Relevant: Automating bookkeeping processes will save you time and money.
Time-based: You have 6 whole months to meet success.
4. Increase Client Satisfaction
“I will increase client satisfaction ratings by 15% within 6 months through better communication and understanding of their needs. I’ll check in with clients regularly and provide customized solutions to their problems.”
Specific: This goal details precisely how you will increase client satisfaction (through better communication and understanding) and by what percentage (15%) for how long (6 months).
Measurable: You can measure the increase in client satisfaction ratings over time.
Attainable: Increasing client satisfaction by 15% within 6 months is doable.
Relevant: Improving client satisfaction ratings is vital for your firm’s success.
Time-based: You need to achieve this goal within 6 months.
5. Improve Accuracy of Financials
“I want to ensure that our financial records are 100% accurate by the end of 8 months. I will review our processes and procedures to identify improvement areas and make necessary changes to ensure accuracy.”
Specific: The specific statement outlines what needs to be achieved and the timeline.
Measurable: Review the accuracy of financial records every month by tracking errors and omissions.
Attainable: The provided timeline is enough time to make necessary changes and improvements to the organization’s processes and procedures.
Relevant: Improving the accuracy of financial records is a pertinent goal that needs to be addressed.
Time-based: There is an 8-month end date to meet this certain goal.
6. Develop Your Accounting Skills
“I want to become an expert in my field. To that end, I’ll attend professional development courses and seminars on accounting principles and procedures over the next 10 months. This will help me stay up to date on best practices to provide the most accurate services to my clients.”
Specific: The goal is clearly stated, and the scope of learning is well-defined.
Measurable: The statement can be measured by attending seminars and completing courses.
Attainable: Make sure you attend professional development courses and seminars.
Relevant: This is pertinent to accounting because it will help the accountant stay informed on the latest practices and principles in the field.
Time-based: There is a four-month deadline for accomplishing the goal.
7. Adopt New Technology
“In order to keep up with modern standards, I’ll research and implement a new accounting software by the end of 7 months. I’ll train all team members on the new system so they can use it with confidence and accuracy.”
Specific: The SMART goal is straightforward since it outlines the steps for adopting new technology.
Measurable: The accountant will ensure they set deadlines for researching, implementing, and training on using the new system.
Attainable: The timeline of 7 months is reasonable for adopting new technology.
Relevant: All accountants should learn to efficiently use new technologies.
Time-based: Seven months is required for goal achievement.
8. Maximize Financial Opportunities
“I will review the financial statements of my clients and other businesses to find areas where I can offer services that increase their profits. Within 6 months, I’ll identify two additional opportunities to benefit my clients and utilize those services to generate more revenue.”
Specific: The person will review the financial statements of their clients and other businesses to identify opportunities that can increase profits.
Measurable: You will aim to identify two additional opportunities in 6 months.
Attainable: This is feasible because the accountant can access financial statements, research, and identify new opportunities.
Relevant: The statement is appropriate because it focuses on increasing profits, which benefits the firm.
Time-based: The goal is time-bound because it has a specific end date of 6 months.
9. Enhance Data Insights
“Over the course of 8 months, I will research and implement a data-driven approach to our accounting processes. That includes creating more detailed weekly, monthly and quarterly reports detailing financial insights.”
Specific: The goal states what will be done, the timeline, and how it will be measured.
Measurable: You could measure the accuracy of the reports and the time taken to create them.
Attainable: This is achievable because it involves research, planning, and implementation over 8 months.
Relevant: Data-driven insights can help the company make better financial decisions.
Time-based: There is an 8-month time frame for completing this goal.
10. Build a Robust Network
“I will make new relationships in the accounting community by attending a minimum of two networking events each month. I want to leverage my network of contacts to find new business opportunities, job leads, and industry insights.”
Specific: This is explicit because the person wants to attend two networking events per month.
Measurable: Ensure you attend two networking events every month.
Attainable: Two networking events per month is a reasonable goal for building a robust network.
Relevant: This is essential for developing solid relationships in the accounting community.
Time-based: The goal is an ongoing effort, so you must pursue it monthly.
11. Launch Online Presence
“I aim to launch an online presence for our firm within 5 months. I want to create a website, set up social media accounts, and launch an email marketing campaign. That will help us engage more potential clients with the firm’s services.”
Specific: The statement is evident as the accountant aims to launch an online presence for the firm.
Measurable: You will proactively follow the listed action items to succeed.
Attainable: Creating a website and other online accounts for the firm is achievable within the given time frame.
Relevant: This is appropriate as it will help the firm engage more potential clients.
Time-based: The SMART goal should be accomplished within 5 months.
12. Deepen Knowledge of Tax Laws
“I want to challenge myself and deepen my knowledge of tax laws for the 6 months ahead. I’ll read up on relevant laws and regulation changes, attend webinars related to tax laws and participate in professional organizations that further my knowledge.”
Specific: This outlines what you need to do (read up on laws, attend webinars, join organizations) and how often you need to do it (for 6 months).
Measurable: You could count the hours you’ve spent on reading, webinars, or joining organizations.
Attainable: You have actionable steps to deepen your knowledge of tax laws.
Relevant: Understanding the law will benefit your profession and help you become a more reliable accountant.
Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated over the course of 6 months.
SMART goals are invaluable for accountants to set and reach their professional aspirations. They can create a clear action plan to attain their goals through thoughtful consideration.
With the right combination of planning and dedication, there is no limit to what you can achieve. So make sure you understand the SMART method and apply it to your work. It will only be a matter of time before success follows.
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