Sales Tax Management Tip: Keeping a Time Spent Journal

Do you know how much time you spend managing sales tax? If you’re frustrated by how much time you’re spending managing sales tax and how long it take you to file but can’t get the attention of higher-ups, it’s time to gather some evidence. Writing down exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks can help you better manage your time and find where your time is worst spent. Once you’ve found these areas, you can fix the problems to increase your productivity. For a few weeks, keep track of your tasks. You can do this by hand: just mark down the start and finish times and calculate how much time you spend on each task. If you’re an Excel lover, you can use a simple Excel sheet to track your time. Break down what you do into categories to find out where you spend your time the most—such as answering email, helping others with tasks, or preparing sales tax filing remittances.

Be honest with yourself and write down time for talking with co-workers and time spent procrastinating. Too old school (or too time-consuming)? Check out tools like and RescueTime. These apps will help you track your time automatically. Whether you like the online tools or prefer to put pen to paper, this step is essential. After you’ve discovered how you spend your time, you might be surprised to find you spend a significant amount of time on tasks you didn’t even plan for in your day. You might find that you spend too much time helping others manage tasks or that you spend more time than you should answering and sorting email. Take a look at your time and think about how you can reduce the time on tasks you spend too much time on that aren’t a priority. Can you set up email filters to deal with junk mail or create canned responses ready to answer common questions? Could you better train your coworkers so they need your help less? If sales tax is a big time suck out of your workday, it’s time to look at alternatives like our sales tax software. Most of our clients can finish their sales tax returns in under an hour—are you taking longer?

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