12 SMART Goals Examples for Accountants

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:

Specific

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

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.

Attainable

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.

Relevant

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.

Time-Based

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.

Why Every Accountant Should Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals is essential for accountants to guide their professional growth effectively. Specific goals like enhancing tax planning expertise or improving audit efficiency provide a clear direction for skill development.

Measurable goals such as aiming for a certain percentage increase in client satisfaction ratings help track progress tangibly. Attainable goals ensure practicality, like completing a specified number of continuing education courses within a set timeline.

Relevant goals that tie into career advancement, like obtaining a specific certification relevant to the field, can be highly motivating. Time-bound goals, such as finalizing quarterly financial reports by a set date, create a sense of urgency and structure to tasks.

Breaking down these objectives into smaller actionable steps, like dedicating a certain number of hours each week to studying for an upcoming certification exam, can enhance focus and productivity for accountants in meeting their goals efficiently.

Types of SMART Goals for Accountants

Accounting professionals play a critical role in ensuring financial accuracy and integrity within organizations. Implementing SMART goals is vital for accountants seeking to excel in their field. Let’s delve into various types of SMART goals for accountants:

Financial Reporting Goals

Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of financial reports is paramount in accounting. These goals may include reducing errors in financial statements by a certain percentage, implementing internal controls to enhance accuracy, or conducting regular audits to identify discrepancies.

Timely Financial Close Goals

Meeting deadlines for financial close processes is essential for providing timely financial information to stakeholders. Goals here may involve reducing the time taken to close the books each month or quarter, streamlining reconciliation processes to expedite closing procedures, or implementing software solutions to automate repetitive tasks.

Cost Reduction Goals

Identifying cost-saving opportunities is a key objective for accountants. These goals may include reducing overhead costs by optimizing resource allocation, streamlining procurement processes to negotiate better terms with suppliers, or identifying and eliminating wasteful expenditures.

Compliance and Regulatory Goals

Staying compliant with accounting standards and regulations is critical for organizational integrity and reputation.

Goals here may involve obtaining certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), ensuring adherence to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), or implementing controls to mitigate risks of non-compliance.

Skill Enhancement Goals

Skill development is crucial for accountants to stay abreast of industry trends and best practices. These goals might involve pursuing advanced certifications or specialized training programs in areas like taxation or forensic accounting, seeking mentorship opportunities with senior professionals, or attending relevant workshops and seminars.

12 SMART Goals for Accountants

Let’s take a look at 12 examples of SMART goals for accountants:

1. Boost Productivity Levels

SMART Goal: “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.”

  • S: The aim is to become a certified public accountant.
  • M: There are specific requirements established by the state that must be fulfilled, and the CPA exam must be passed.
  • A: Becoming certified is possible if the required steps are completed promptly and efficiently.
  • R: This statement relates to career growth and professional development in accounting.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: You have a particular action of researching and implementing automation solutions.
  • M: Track the time and money saved by automating the bookkeeping process.
  • A: This SMART goal is achievable with the proper research and guidance.
  • R: Automating bookkeeping processes will save you time and money.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: 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).
  • M: You can measure the increase in client satisfaction ratings over time.
  • A: Increasing client satisfaction by 15% within 6 months is doable.
  • R: Improving client satisfaction ratings is vital for your firm’s success.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: The specific statement outlines what needs to be achieved and the timeline.
  • M: Review the accuracy of financial records every month by tracking errors and omissions.
  • A: The provided timeline is enough time to make necessary changes and improvements to the organization’s processes and procedures.
  • R: Improving the accuracy of financial records is a pertinent goal that needs to be addressed.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: The goal is clearly stated, and the scope of learning is well-defined.
  • M: The statement can be measured by attending seminars and completing courses.
  • A: Make sure you attend professional development courses and seminars.
  • R: This is pertinent to accounting because it will help the accountant stay informed on the latest practices and principles in the field.
  • T: There is a four-month deadline for accomplishing the goal.

7. Adopt New Technology

technology tools

“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.”

  • S: The SMART goal is straightforward since it outlines the steps for adopting new technology.
  • M: The accountant will ensure they set deadlines for researching, implementing, and training on using the new system.
  • A: The timeline of 7 months is reasonable for adopting new technology.
  • R: All accountants should learn to efficiently use new technologies.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: The person will review the financial statements of their clients and other businesses to identify opportunities that can increase profits.
  • M: You will aim to identify two additional opportunities in 6 months.
  • A: This is feasible because the accountant can access financial statements, research, and identify new opportunities.
  • R: The statement is appropriate because it focuses on increasing profits, which benefits the firm.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: The goal states what will be done, the timeline, and how it will be measured.
  • M: You could measure the accuracy of the reports and the time taken to create them.
  • A: This is achievable because it involves research, planning, and implementation over 8 months.
  • R: Data-driven insights can help the company make better financial decisions.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: This is explicit because the person wants to attend two networking events per month.
  • M: Ensure you attend two networking events every month.
  • A: Two networking events per month is a reasonable goal for building a robust network.
  • R: This is essential for developing solid relationships in the accounting community.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: The statement is evident as the accountant aims to launch an online presence for the firm.
  • M: You will proactively follow the listed action items to succeed.
  • A: Creating a website and other online accounts for the firm is achievable within the given time frame.
  • R: This is appropriate as it will help the firm engage more potential clients.
  • T: 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.”

  • S: 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).
  • M: You could count the hours you’ve spent on reading, webinars, or joining organizations.
  • A: You have actionable steps to deepen your knowledge of tax laws.
  • R: Understanding the law will benefit your profession and help you become a more reliable accountant.
  • T: Goal completion is anticipated over the course of 6 months.

FAQs for Accountant

How can I tailor SMART goals to my accounting role?

Tailoring SMART goals to your accounting role involves aligning your objectives with the specific demands and opportunities within the field.

Begin by identifying areas where improvement or growth is needed, such as productivity, client satisfaction, or technical skills. Once identified, formulate specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

For instance, if you aim to enhance productivity, set a target percentage increase over a defined period and outline actionable steps to reach it, like implementing time-saving tools or streamlining processes. Ensure these goals are realistic given your workload and career trajectory.

What strategies help overcome obstacles in achieving SMART goals in accounting?

To overcome obstacles in achieving SMART goals in accounting, adopt strategies that promote resilience and adaptability. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to prevent overwhelm and maintain momentum.

Stay flexible and open to adjustments as circumstances evolve, and seek support from colleagues, mentors, or professional networks for guidance and accountability.

Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, focusing on critical objectives that align with overarching career or organizational goals. Regularly review progress and adjust strategies to stay on track toward goal attainment.

How do I prioritize multiple SMART goals in accounting?

Effectively prioritizing multiple SMART goals in accounting requires careful assessment of each goal’s importance and urgency. Evaluate the impact of each goal on your career development and organizational objectives, categorizing them into short-term, medium-term, and long-term priorities.

Allocate time and resources based on the priority level of each goal, focusing on high-priority objectives first to maximize impact. Continuously reassess priorities to accommodate changing circumstances or new developments, ensuring alignment with evolving needs and objectives.

What practical ways exist to measure action effectiveness towards SMART goals in accounting?

Practical ways to measure action effectiveness towards SMART goals in accounting involve utilizing relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and outcomes.

For example, if your goal is to increase client satisfaction, measure improvements through client feedback ratings or retention rates. Similarly, if you aim to enhance technical skills, track proficiency levels or certification achievements.

Regularly monitor and evaluate performance against established benchmarks, adjusting strategies as needed to optimize results and ensure alignment with SMART objectives.

Are there any tips for tracking progress and staying organized with SMART goals in accounting?

Staying organized and tracking progress with SMART goals in accounting requires disciplined planning and consistent execution. Use tools like calendars, task lists, or project management software, to schedule activities and monitor deadlines.

Maintain detailed records of activities, achievements, and challenges encountered along the way, facilitating continuous improvement and informed decision-making.

By staying organized and diligent in tracking progress, you can effectively navigate toward successful goal attainment in your accounting role.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.