4 Ways I Simplified My Job, Got Better at It, and Saved Time

by David Trenk

David Trenk
“Challenge anything that doesn’t make sense or repeats another step that you or someone else on the team performs.” – David Trenk, Accounting Analyst

Time is money.  You can either choose to spend it wisely or poorly.  The time you spend in the workplace is no different.  You can either spend your time working efficiently or inefficiently.  The difference might come down to a few small changes.

Workplace efficiency and simplification are, now more than ever, a necessity for Xerox employees.  Across the company, Xerox people have taken on more responsibility and are looking for ways to be more efficient in their everyday work.

Below are some examples of steps that my coworkers and I have used to simplify our jobs, get better at them, save time and increase our workplace productivity.

Challenge checklist steps that don’t make sense

The accounting department I work with encourages us to go through all the checklist steps we perform, and challenge anything that doesn’t make sense or repeats another step that you or someone else on the team performs.  Then we bring our edits to our managers to see if they agree.  In a lot of cases, checklist steps are altered, simplified, or removed completely.

Remove redundancies

If you notice a coworker provides similar data as your deliverables, set up a quick meeting with them to ensure you’re not duplicating efforts.  It’s also a good idea to write out a list of your own deliverables so that way you can visually see the work you do.  This helped me understand where I could be more efficient.  I used to run journal entry reports twice daily: once in the morning and once before I left for the day.  I realized it was unnecessary to run the morning reports since there rarely were changes from the night before, and the checklist didn’t ask for morning reports either.  My manager agreed it was unnecessary, so now I only run the evening reports.

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Automate workbooks and processes

Be wary of Excel workbooks that have been passed down from employees who previously performed your job, especially if it has been used for many years. Be sure your workbooks are easy for you and your customers to understand, and that you automate whenever possible.

Several Excel workbooks that I inherited required me to print out an “ECS kdv” file, find the number I was looking for, and manually type in the number on the output tab. I spent hours on the updates, and the process was susceptible to error. I automated the process when I linked cells to SmartView data pulls. Now, the update/review time is down to 5 minutes – and human error is significantly reduced.

Earlier this year, our Accounting department implemented a cloud solution to assist our quarterly account reconciliation procedure.  Now that the entire process is online, our documentation is much easier to follow.  At the same time, we have fewer print outs and the process is much more streamlined, saving our accountants precious hours when we close the quarter.

Make sure deliverables are required

Probably the easiest step to simplify your work load: Check with your customer or manager to make sure that they still require your deliverables. I eliminated a few of my deliverables after Xerox spun off Conduent earlier this year. There’s no sense in doing work that will never be looked at or used.

There are so many other ways to simplify and increase workplace efficiency. Time is a commodity you can’t get more of.  Spend it wisely.

Please comment below and provide your own examples.

David Trenk is a Xerox employee with nearly 5 years of experience at Xerox World Headquarters, working in Corporate Tax, Finance, and, most recently, Accounting.  In 2014, he was the youngest member of the Xerox divestiture team that sold Xerox’s IT outsourcing business to ATOS. He updated excel financial models in preparation of the sale.

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  1. Bob S November 29, 2017 -

    David – great post and some great thoughts that demonstrate simplification and transformation do not always need to come from above from consultants or other groups – each one of us have the ability to look at our jobs and find opportunities for simplification. Thanks.

    • David T November 29, 2017 -

      Thanks Bob!

  2. Janet Bailey November 30, 2017 -


    Your post is very insightful. Documents and data are the lifeblood of our business; they are how things get done. I agree that in today’s increasingly complex business environment – with ever-changing technology, and torrents of data and business information flowing 24/7/365 – outdated processes and workflow inefficiencies drag down our potential and limit our profitability.

    For example, after years of following the same practices/procedures for our paper filing system in the Trademark Legal Department, we designed an effective process to streamline our trademark paper files.

    Where should you start?

    In general, the first step to organizing paper files is to understand and document what information you need to keep, why and for how long – (record retention). For a better understanding of this process, please follow the guidelines provided in the Xerox Corporation Document Retention Policy.

    The second step is to create a file structure. This structure will be unique to your particular business needs and will reflect the information identified when following the document retention guidelines. It is also important to establish file and folder naming conventions for consistency. When this crucial step is omitted, files and folders are easily lost and information is hard to find.

    Our new filing system reduced costs, time spent looking for information, helped our workgroup be more productive, and will accommodate projected growth.

    • David T December 1, 2017 -

      Great document filing example, Janet.

  3. Tracey Shaw December 1, 2017 -

    Thank you all for enlightening us with your experiences. I appreciate it.

  4. Jeff December 8, 2017 -

    Great article. Documents and filing are major component here at http://www.lackawannaprinting.com.

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