Frequently, time – and the value of it – comes into conversation. Everyone knows the famous equation “Time equals money” and in my profession I constantly find myself in the nexus of the two. As a young staff accountant at your local front-range sweatshop CPA firm, I was taught the importance of time management. In my current stage of the profession, I’m directly responsible for my own time and how it’s used as well as that of about 10 others.
The first thing that everyone needs to know about time for tax purposes is that it is irrelevant as it is not deductible. I hear all the time about how someone’s time spent on a non-profit board, volunteering at a local Church, etc is equal to $XXX, XXX in charitable contributions. The IRS figured this out long ago and they do not qualify the value of lost income in performing services or what would ordinarily be charged for those services as a donation as these things can be easily manipulated to the benefit of the taxpayer. With the amount of construction and real estate happening in the valley, I often hear the “value” of self-improvements on real estate as one thing, but a few questions later the actual costs paid end up being substantially less. And it’s these actual costs paid that constitutes the real figure that can be allowed as a deduction or improvement.
Since the first few years of my career were days spent targeting tasks in 15 minute increments, it helped me learn to focus on the limited availability of time, the difference between urgent and important and most importantly the value of time while not at the desk. Anyone can fall victim to leaving enough undone tasks to create a false sense of pressure on themselves, but the fallacy in this is that tomorrow will bring its own set of challenges; and fortune favors the prepared. In a world of deadlines, we must isolate what is urgent (wanted now) versus what is important (needed now) which is easily solved by clear communication. If the first two points are followed, the third will fall in line and there will be time for personal pursuits. Thankfully, “The Gods do not deduct from a man’s allotted span the hours spent fishing” (Babylonian Proverb). So, if you’re like me, you’ll live to be 125 years old.