As a bookkeeper, end of financial year is a pretty hectic time. We firstly have tight time constraints with preparing and providing Payment Summaries; then there’s the June BAS; and usually there are a number of clients who come out of the woodwork with the past 12 months of accounts to complete; and everybody seems to want their accounts done ‘yesterday’.
Now that end of financial year is done, what have I learned?
At the end of the March BAS, I contacted all client’s I prepare payroll for and requested any employee information that I was missing. This gave some time for client’s to come back to me with information, so when it was time for the Payment Summaries to be done, I had all the information I needed and could get started straight away.
When it’s time to get started on the BAS, I prioritise my time and request client information early. Some clients have less time to lodge BAS so they need to take priority over the ones who have longer to lodge. From there, it’s usually ‘first in, first served’.
What I’ve learned: When something big is coming up in your business, take some time in advance of the event and start planning and preparing. When there’s lots to do and all the work comes in at once, prioritise what needs to be done first and work through your list.
Payment Summaries are my first priority at end of financial year. These can be completed any time between the last pay cycle in June, and the first in July. So for client’s who pay fortnightly and although there’s still one more week of June, the payment summaries are okay to do now.
What I’ve learned: Don’t leave things until the last minute.
Keep Client’s Informed
During this very busy time my inbox quickly becomes inundated. Everybody wants things done ‘now’ and there just isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done quickly. During my busy times I can’t always respond to emails immediately so have an ‘out of office’ auto responder informing clients that it’s a very busy time of year and I’ll get back to them shortly.
What I’ve learned: Client’s generally don’t mind that things aren’t going to get done ‘today’, as long as they’re kept informed of the status of their project and how things are progressing.
Don’t Put so Much Pressure on Myself
When I want something, I make quick decisions and things tend to happen quickly. When I first started in business I’d get a call and squeeze everything into my diary within the next couple of days and it was stressful to ensure everything was done. My business coach at the time told me to think in terms of a hairdresser – if there are no appointment slots left this week, I need to be slotted into a free space next week. I learned that just because I want things now, doesn’t mean everybody does.
What I’ve learned: Communicate with your clients and see what their time expectations are. You may have more time than you initially thought, which will allow you to work things better into your diary, and take the pressure off.
Things Don’t Always Go To Plan
No matter how prepared or organised you are, and how many systems you may have in place to get through this busy time, things don’t always go to plan – staff have personal emergencies, children get sick or injured, technology fails, client’s move the goal posts.
What I’ve learned: Life happens and sometimes our plans get disrupted. Have some flexibility in your schedule so these unexpected events don’t turn your life to turmoil. Communicate with your staff, family and clients, and work through the obstacles together.
All of the above things have happened in a past couple of months – personal emergencies, injuries, technology failures and clients moving the goal posts. It’s been great to have people in my life at home and at work who’ve been able to help me.
What I’ve learned: You don’t have to do everything yourself and it is okay to ask for help.
Take Care of Myself
Remember the safety spiel on an aircraft – secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. As a mother of small children, I’ve heard this a lot too – if I fall in a heap because I’m taking on too much and not looking after myself, who’s going to care for the children?
What I’ve learned: Make some time to look after yourself – eat well, get enough exercise and sleep, spend time away from the business.