End of Year Cleanup

At the end of every year, there is some routine “maintenance” every agency and creative services department should perform.

I know it’s the last business day of the year, but you can (and should) do these things regularly throughout the year…so let’s start now!

I’ll begin with the least enjoyable items on the list since we’re heading into New Year Holiday – and what better way to kick-back and relax than to know you got this annoying stuff off your plate…besides, these two items can directly affect the accuracy of billing, and thereby, profits.

[Blah, blah, blah. I can year you now. Read on anyway.]

Timesheets – Everyone hates them. If management allows you to go more than a week without turning them in, everyone loses. They’re a hassle, and moreover, they become increasingly inaccurate the longer you delay. So do cleanup now and make a resolution to do them daily.

Expense Reports – Second only to timesheets, expense reports are a hassle and tend to be completed only when Finance grumbles. It’s especially tough if you toss receipts into your pocket and try to rebuild your trip or monthly expense report long after it occurred. Resolve to complete expense reports right after a trip, or by the end of the month. No more delays.

Hygiene – I’m talking about clearing your space. Clear out completed projects – from your desk, around your desk, and on your computer. Archive completed projects and assets, delete all those versions taking up valuable space. And if you’re the type to store multiple copies on the cloud, local server and your own device, make a plan for the New Year to consistently save to one place. Others may need access as well…

Tools, Apps and SoftwareThis is very important. People come and go and so does the use of collaborative tools, storage solutions and the access to the systems that run everything – including that service that issues you a paycheck.

Your agency, department and individuals are all vulnerable to theft, attack, sabotage, ransom. So, at the very least, once a year – now is a good time – to audit all the applications you use and remove individuals who are no longer with the agency (remove their name/username/password), have assumed new duties (review/change access privileges); review application setup and templates; archive projects and assets; and shut down applications that are no longer in use. One person is using an app? Kick them off, and introduce them to the one that everyone else is using.

Additionally, an audit of every app that every individual is using in the agency or department is an absolute. The bar to entry for many collaborative apps is low – free to join. Without oversight of apps used, they grow, and before you know it, you now have projects spread across multiple apps, with assets strewn across the globe.

Contain the property you own. It is not okay for an employee to create a Slack account just because they don’t like what is current protocol in the agency.

With that, an audit is a good time to really find out what the staff likes and hates – and why. A collaborative application becomes an annoying side-note when everyone is still communicating via email.

I have spent this past year evaluating dozens of software applications, collaborative apps, and data storage. They run the gamut of accounting, media, CRM, creative, project management and more. From fully-integrated programs to one-offs, there is good reason to evaluate what you currently use, and possibly replace it. (More on that later)

Time wasted going from app to app, copying from one to the other, and the absolute worst… spreadsheets … are killing productivity.

So, do cleanup, audit, evaluate and build a better environment for 2018.

You know, many of the legacy applications out there have been updated to make it super easy to do the stuff you hate the most. I have seen it for myself and I do timesheets. All of them take direction from their users. Systems get better because clients demand it.

Need help? I’m here! charlotte@charlotteblauer.com

Oh, yeah. And I resolve to be more diligent in my postings!