The power of competitive capacity management in accounting

Your ability to manage your firm’s capacity is crucial to its long-term success and growth. It’s that simple. The execution of that statement is less straightforward, however.


We are diving into a three-part series on professional capacity to enhance our understanding of how to sell our services, lead our teams, and create more efficiency and profitability for our firms.

This article is part two of three in this series. You can read the first article here. Stay tuned for part three.

In this article, I’m going to share why the intentional and strategic management of future planning will help you manage your team’s capacity and help your clients understand the value of your firm’s time.

Strategic Calendar Work Blocking (S.C.W.B.)

Strategic Calendar Work Blocking (S.C.W.B) is the path forward to competitive capacity management. 

There are a number of foundational principles to strategic calendar work blocking, but for now I’ll touch on the future oriented aspect of this methodology. 

Blocking a calendar in the future is the antithesis to time tracking. Time tracking is about billing for services done in the past, looking backwards. Many firms are leaving this behind (as our firm did over a decade ago), but firm leaders often ask, “What goes in the place of time tracking?” That is the right question. 

Future calendar work blocking is about looking forward. Instead of trying to get paid for what we’ve done, we instead seek to make our work fully intentional, blocking work and services on a calendar before we do it. Then we can see the availability of our capacity, and we can price in valuable ways to place work into our future calendar containers.

Services-based professionals who plan their work before completing it will always be more efficient, competitive, and have less stress in the process. 


Our work is complex, the scope is often misunderstood, and we are always doing our work within the context of complicated relationships (either with bosses, colleagues, clients, and vendors or contractors). 

Until you get serious about how you want your work to look (in the future), and make that clear on your calendar to those you work with, you will be at the mercy of your emotional whims, your ‘hard day’, the decisions of your team or boss, and the lack of planning on the part of your clients. 

If you are serious about scaling your firm, then you have to get serious about planning your team’s and your work. We do that with strategic calendar work blocking.

I won’t fully teach strategic calendar work blocking here, but I will say that my partner and I plan our calendars out a year in advance, and our team is required to block their calendars a week in advance.

We focus a lot of time on our planning so that our work is at its ultimate efficiency with a more accurate view of the plan for our team’s capacity. 

It takes courage to manage a firm’s capacity

I love this quote from the Management Guru, Peter Drucker in his book, The Effective Executive:

“Concentration—that is, the courage to impose on time and events his or her own decision as to what really matters and comes first—is the executive’s only hope of becoming the master of time and events instead of their whipping boy.”

Managing capacity is a forward-thinking skill to grow in. As opposed to tracking past work, capacity management is a forward looking skill where professionals learn to prioritize their work, gaining skills in what to say yes to and no to (something professionals are not generally good at), and working according to a plan that maximizes their efficiency. 

That all sounds good, but when we begin working with people on leveraging calendar work blocking as a way to manage their futures, that’s where things get tricky. 

When anyone (a professional, basketball star, or a Youtuber with a million subscribers) begins to block the future of their calendar, they find that decision runs into other people’s desires for their time. 

When we become super intentional (which is another way to say ‘efficient’) about our future, people begin to question us.

They wonder why they can’t talk to us like they used to, or why they can’t just pop in to your office when they have an issue, or why you can’t just ‘knock off early’ on Friday. “You’re the boss, why can’t you leave for a long weekend whenever you want to?”

We’ve found it takes courage for people to block the future of their calendars because of what it means for them and those around them.

Families, colleagues, bosses, and employees begin to wonder why things are changing. “Why are you so strict now?” And it’s because you are becoming serious about achieving at a high level. And those who achieve at high levels are always planners. 

Planners look ahead, decide what they will do in the future, and then reflect their intentions on a calendar that they stick to. Other people struggle with that type of intention, and it takes courage to stay the course.

Why do we say capacity management is ‘competitive’?

Firms who manage their valuable capacity well are firms who can scale more successfully. 

Capacity is the ‘inventory’ firms are selling, in a sense. So protecting it and developing processes around remaining clear about how your capacity is used will make you a competitive firm. Few firms focus on keeping their capacity buttoned up.

Capacity management is also the key to long-term growth, and produces firms that are of high value. Being highly valuable means being highly intentional about yours and the team’s capacity. And highly valuable firms are difficult to compete with. 

Maintaining competitive capacity is ongoing work that firm leaders do, so it takes commitment and focus on the team that is scaling.

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  • Are you ready to build a highly valuable firm by focusing on your competitive capacity?

  • Are you ready to become a planning mofo, and see your firm become super intentional

  • Are you ready to sell high valuable services that you know you have time to pull off?

Yes? Then strategic calendar work blocking may be right for you. It will take courage, but the investment is worth it.

This was part two of a three-part capacity series. Stay tuned for part three.