SMART actions are an essential component of our eLearning courses. At the end of each eLearning module, you will be asked to identify up to 3 SMART actions relating to you or your firm at a professional level. These actions should be documented in a consolidated spreadsheet and reviewed at least once a month.

SMART is a pneumonic acronym that provides criteria in relation to the setting and achievement of goals. Setting SMART actions helps you to clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in work and life.

There are a number of variations of the acronym. The one used by learners of our eLearning platform is as follows:

  1. Specific (clearly defined, not ambiguous)
  2. Measureable (outcomes can be measured)
  3. Achievable (the actions are realistic)
  4. Responsible (responsibility for implementation is identified)
  5. Time bound (there is a clear timeframe –start and end date)

Identifying SMART actions

It can take some time to effectively identify SMART actions. If you are not sure, it’s best to ask a colleague or your manager.

For example, ‘Spend more time talking with clients’ is not a SMART action; it’s a statement of intent. By all means, describe WHAT you would like to do, but then outline HOW you will do it. A SMART action based on the goal of ‘spending more time with clients’ may be ‘Commencing next week, I will have a 1:1 conversation with at least one client per week, based on the ‘How’s it going’ discovery script.’

Sometimes, we may be reluctant to put a specific timeframe on an action or may instead have a deadline some way into the future. In these cases, it’s best to identify the NEXT action that you will take within the next 4 weeks or so, then update with the following action when this has been completed.

Another variation of SMART actions you may wish to consider is to incorporate a rating of urgency (1 = high, 2 = medium and 3 = low) and importance (same ratings) for each SMART action, then sort the actions based on prioritisation.

Consolidation and review of SMART actions

As you proceed through your course, you should consolidate all your individual SMART actions into one document for ongoing review. A sample consolidated SMART action spreadsheet is provided with your course material. Both SMART actions and priorities may change over time, so it’s essential that you review your SMART action list at least once a month. Make changes as needed and keep the list as a working document.

CPD For Accountants | Extract from Guide for Learners