It was only 9am and I already knew I would be eating my lunch at my desk today, but don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of this as a big deal. I love what I do and wouldn’t pass it up for anything; it’s just that from experience, I know the first week of July each year offers little to no respite. But that’s just small business bookkeeping for you!
As my calendar filled and I organised my day, I stood staring in front of my three monitors trying to recall when my life got so busy that I moved from needing one screen to three – I don’t remember ever having two, I must have skipped right past that. Now resembling the bridge of the USS Enterprise, I recall the days when my desk was tech-free and consisted of a growing pile of documents, whereas now it’s an unyielding email inbox!
I’ve seen remarkable technological changes over the years of my bookkeeping career! From pen and paper to automated cloud accounting software and everything in between – it’s incredible how things have developed. I see almost no paper these days, with banking data getting automatically transferred into clients’ ledgers and forms being digitised. Nevertheless, while nostalgic for the past, I truly value the modern ways of bookkeeping and how far we have come.
Quickly snapped out of my daydreaming by the smell of coffee, my greatest vice, I see Wendy bringing me my favourite brew, ready to get the working day off the starting line. Having worked for me for five years now, I sometimes wonder how I would survive without her; it truly is the people you have around that matter most!
Diving into my first task for the day, running the payroll for Vandelay Industries, one of my oldest clients. This needed to be completed by 11am, if not I knew there would be trouble. One thing I have learnt over the years is no matter what’s going on in your life, payroll cannot be processed late. If salaries don’t hit employees’ bank accounts the minute it’s expected, you can be sure a riot is soon to follow!
Processing the Vandelay payroll is always something I enjoy; it’s never dull and I regularly learn something new. Wow, it looks like their senior latex salesman is leaving! I wonder what happened there? This means I’ll need to calculate his end-of-employment payment and applicable tax. Having been with the company for 16 years, I imagine he’ll be entitled to a pretty penny!
10.45am and I’m just finishing the single-touch payroll reports for Vandelay. I send it off to the financial controller letting him know the payroll is done and ready for payment to all the company employees. Feeling a sense of relief having this task done by the deadline, it quickly fades on opening my Inbox.
I know I shouldn’t still be surprised by the volume of new emails, but this time of year never ceases to surprise me. Skimming through the list, one email caught my eye. Its sender, Marian Carver, the CEO of Tet Corporation, my biggest client. I don’t recall ever receiving an email from her before; typically I’d be dealing with her staff. Marian’s email is polite and to the point. She reminds me of the monthly deadline to reconcile the Tet Corporation general ledger and to produce the BAS by 5pm. Without the need for further explanation, I understand that it’s particularly important we meet the deadline.
They’re a mysterious bunch over there at Tet. After all this time I’m still not 100% sure what exactly it is they do… But whatever it is, it’s working well!
11am is usually my scheduled time to return client calls. Taking up roughly two hours of my day, though at times I feel like a one-person call centre, supporting on all things cloud accounting and bookkeeping. I really enjoy this part of the job, it helps keep things interesting. But given the tone and that Marian emailed directly, I figured I’d jump straight into the Tet file, moving my client support calls to the afternoon.
Having worked on the Tet file for many years, the monthly reconciliation process comes naturally to me. While it’s a lot of work, it’s not complex, and I could recite the steps in my sleep: bank reconciliation, debtors, creditors, payroll, fixed assets, single touch payroll, super and BAS.
Starting to feel some stiffness in my neck and shoulders, I sense I haven’t left my chair for a couple of hours. With a quick glance at the clock, I realise what an underestimation that is 2.30pm and I’m only just finishing the last reports for Tet. I review my work, satisfied with the quality I have produced and upload the reports for the client well before the deadline. Feeling a sense of relief and anticipation as I now move on to my favourite part of the job. It’s time to chat with my clients and help them with any questions; responding to anything that has arisen for them in the past 24 hours.
As always, every enquiry my clients have is urgent. I really feel energised by this part of my job. Whether it’s solving problems or that I’m an extravert, this element of my day really helps recharge my battery! This is why I recommend outsourcing bookkeeping where you can – it enables you to stay in touch with your clients and maintain great working relationships.
Many of my clients are time-poor and they are grateful for my support. I particularly enjoyed one of my calls with Jenny from The Hard Deck Bar. We previously worked together to implement an app that helps her organise all her purchase invoices on her phone, automatically uploading them to her cloud accounting software. It’s such a great time save for her. In addition to this, we implemented a payroll app, which allows her casual staff to clock on easily. Jenny told me she intends to keep the old Bundy clock on the wall for sentimental reasons. Helping Jenny resolve some teething problems with the software integration and withholding tax rates. She is very excited as she believes this automation of her small business bookkeeping will save her up to six hours a week with her paperwork!
My final call is to Mr. Pensky. I check his file is up to date before I call him to get my head around everything that is going on for him. He wants to know what the changes in employer superannuation obligations and tax rate changes are from the 1st of July and how they would impact his business. I answer his question and he thanks me as he is closely managing the business cash flow.
Now, it’s 5.30pm and I’m trying to recall if I had lunch today or not. From the empty feeling in my stomach, I’m guessing not. Oh well, not to worry, I have a booking this evening at my favourite restaurant Jack Rabbit Slims. Can’t go past their burgers and $5 shakes.
Before I turn off my computer for the day, I post my timesheet entries for each client I worked with today. I genuinely do receive great personal rewards for supporting my clients, saving them time and helping them solve their accounting compliance problems – for me, I don’t think I could have found a better way to make a living!
Speak to Bishop Collins about our Bookkeeping Services
If you’re considering the benefits of bookkeeping, then give the team at Bishop Collins a call. Our expert team are specialists when it comes to small business bookkeeping, and our staff stand ready to assist you.
To learn how Bishop Collins can help you with our bookkeeper services, visit bishopcollins.com.au or call (02) 4353 2333.