When you are continually fire-fighting and still have an over-whelming pile of tax returns and year end accounts which need to be finished, high stress levels are the norm. Is it any wonder that many of us accountants feel like our sanity is slightly slipping away as we get to the peak of our aptly named ‘silly season’.
We’ve been talking to a few of our clients to see how they managed to keep their blood pressure down to non-life-threatening levels and keep their sanity in their busiest period of the year. Here is what they shared with us:
1. Have a plan
The coolest calmest and most collected clients seem to always be working to a plan. They know, almost on a day-by-day basis, what documents need chasing and what needs to be done on what clients in order to hit their deadlines. When we have visited their offices we often see big whiteboards showing their teams the work to be got out the door that week. Just the act of having a plan can take a huge burden off your shoulders.
2. Be realistic
I suspect you know all too well that clients can ruin the best thought out workflow plan, in the blink of an eye! Which is why your plan needs to build in contingency and be reviewed on a daily basis as the 31st of January deadline approaches. In other words, your plan and planning needs to have a healthy dose of realism. It’s common sense really, but how often do we forget that, when everyone in the team has been working flat out for a while, mistakes do creep in and it can all take a bit longer than we first thought. In these situations it can often be very calming to have some back pocket capacity built into your team. In fact, we know that we are many of our client’s back pocket capacity. With our pay-as-you-go service we flex up to smooth out their workflow peaks.
3. Protect your breaks and recharge time
When you are maxed out with work it can be tempting to skip or shorten your breaks and ‘me’ time. The more full on you are at work the more essential these breaks and ‘me’ time actually becomes. Therefore, allocate time once a day to do something just for you. This may only be a 10 min walk to clear your head, but it could be just the thing which keeps you on the right side of the line.
4. Delegate to other family members
Everyone here at Global Infosys has felt the impact of home life sabotaging work life. The ever present programme of school Christmas events, parent’s evenings, drinks with friends…. If you have the luxury of school age kids, then make sure that the home chores get shared around fairly and equally.
As well as outsourcing your home chores, now may be the time to consider using a cleaner so you can enjoy coming home to a clean house. After all, when you have done 12 hours at the office, the last thing you want to come home to is a toilet which needs a decent scrub. It is amazing how much of a mental lift this can bring. Or is this just me?
5. Outsource the chasing
If only clients got all the paperwork to you when they said they would! I guess that would make your life so much easier. We know that one of the benefits our clients gain when they work with us is that we do (with their permission) the chasing for them. This frees them up to do the more fulfilling and interesting pieces of client work which comes across their desk. Whilst you may not be ready to go the whole hog and outsource your book keeping and accounts prep work to us, you may find it helpful to buy some time from a virtual assistant to help you chivvy and nudge clients to get their paperwork sent to you for processing.