Where did the time go? We are now at the end of September. There is only 2 months left before all the March year end stat accounts work needs to be completed, signed and filed. And your firm has a backlog of year end accounts work...
Here are 4 unusual but simple to implement ideas to help you drastically clear down your backlog of year end accounts work.
I’m sure last year you said “next year it will be different.
How to permanently clear your backlog of year end accounts work
Before I dig into how to clear the backlog of year end accounts work you have right now, I want to explore a few things that you can do differently so that at this point next year, you don't have a backlog of year end accounts work.
I'm sure last year you uttered the immortal words, "next year it will be different".
However, if you haven't done anything different to last year, you are going to get the same results. Not surprising that is it? So, do me a favour, between now and March, take a long hard look at why you are generating a backlog of year end accounts work. Are you under resourced? Do you need better capacity planning? Do you need to be more proactive at getting your clients to get their information to you earlier? Whatever the problem in your firm, put some steps in place now to stop the backlog of year end accounts building up again.
Be ruthless with diary commitments
When I speak to my clients October and November about their remaining backlog of March year end accounts work to be done, I often ask how this has built up. Very often, its due to multiple numbers of reasons. But one which stands out is laissez-faire holiday planning with their team. I call it "laissez-faire" as my clients often say yes to holiday requests without thinking through whether their practice can afford to have someone off at this time! It's not just holidays which can reduce available capacity. It's the merry-go-round of conferences, events, CPD and exams which seem to take people out of the office between Sept and December.
Look through your diary and your team’s diary commitments and ask everyone to clear out anything which isn’t related to clearing the backlog of March year end work and tax self assessments. Do you really need to attend the conference? Can the training wait?
Whatever you do, don't take the seemingly easy option to skip the team meetings. When you work with our "making it happen" team meeting rhythm, you can really help your team pull together, keep morale up and focus on reducing the backlog.
Hire a Virtual Assistant to support you to get all the paperwork in from clients
Remember that not all of the year end accounts work needs to be done by a qualified or part-qualified accountant. After all, what is it that takes the time with year end accounts work? It’s often not the work itself; it’s the chasing of clients to get the paperwork back and answers in to queries. How about hire a temporary admin assistant, either on a freelance or fixed term basis to do this chasing work for you and your team. This then leaves you and your team freed up to focus on doing the work.
Stick to your "drop dead dates" you give to clients
I would place a large bet on the fact that some of the backlog of year end accounts work is actually due to disorganised clients being slow to get all their information to you. Often ignoring the "this is the last date we can guarantee we can get your accounts done" date you give to them. You as a firm then work stupid hours to make sure that their accounts are finished, signed off and filed before the deadline.
It doesn't need to be this way!
If a client ignores your warnings and still doesn't get the information to you by the last date you can guarantee the work will be done, then don't stress. They can file late and take the penalty. I suspect they wouldn't be late again!
Outsource the backlog of year end accounts work
If you can outsource the chasing of paperwork and answers to queries you can actually outsource the year end accounts preparation work too. It may sound like a radical idea, but it is a low risk way of getting that extra pair of hands that you need. Some accounts outsourcing companies, for example Global Infosys, work on ‘pay as you go basis’ so that you only pay them for exactly what you need. There is no having to pay for a number of seats. You may find working with our recommended accounts outsourcing company, Global Infosys, is actually significantly cheaper than using a sub-contractor.
Now is the time to take action to clear your backlog of march year-end accounts work. By getting ahead now you and your staff can take the opportunity to actually enjoy the Christmas break without worrying about how you will get all the self-assessment tax returns done.