With 14 weeks left until your office’s Christmas closure, are you nervous or are you all over it?
If you are all over it, congratulations and enjoy the ride over the next 14 weeks knowing you can relax over the Christmas break and when you return, you and your staff will return to the office refreshed and revitalised.
If you are nervous, there is still enough time to get some structure and organisation into your practice so you too can have a well deserved break. Christmas closure can be great for a practice for a number or reasons:
- most other accounting practices close down and if you do choose to stay open, you may find that you are a free advice service for businesses that cannot contact their own accountant
- most legal practices close down
- the ATO close down
- it is a perfect opportunity for both practice owners and their staff can have a reasonable break which will allow them to come back in the new year refreshed and hopefully full of energy and enthusiasm
- it is perfect from a practice workflow perspective as staff are forced to take annual leave, and remaining leave can be taken during the year without draining capacity when you need it most
Over the years, in my practice, our Christmas closure has been gradually getting longer and longer as we have educated both our staff and our clients. Our workflow is monitored all year round, however very close attention is paid between now and 22 December. We also ensure our expectations of clients are communicated very clearly – queries need to be provided in a timely fashion not a day or so before our office closes!
With this is mind here are a few tips which may help in the countdown:
- start scheduling and prioritising
- are there jobs that must get completed due to ATO deadlines
- work on completing a small number of jobs at any one time and then only moving on once they are completed (all too often, too many jobs are being worked on at once instead of a regular number of jobs being completed and billed progressively during the month)
WIP & INVOICING
- review WIP and invoice where possible NOW
- if a job hasn’t been billed due to a hold up or a dispute, chase up outstanding information, resolve dispute and invoice ASAP (your WIP is idle practice money and it is easier to complete a job of this nature instead of starting another one from scratch)
- writeoff anything old or unrecoverable – this will allow you stop stressing, wasting energy and will allow you to move on to another matter that will actually make you money!
- review your debtors and chase anything outstanding (again this is idle practice money and recovery now will build up your cash resources for the Christmas closure)
- writeoff any debtors that are no longer recoverable
- monitor closely how your staff are coping as stress levels may rise during this period
- provide support, encouragement and mentoring
- consider providing some snacks to get staff through the day (we have small baskets in our kitchen area of nuts, fruit, muesli bars and then every now and then we have sweets, lollies, soft drinks). If you have a large office and this would be cost prohibitive, just randomly place a small chocolate bar/sweet on the desk of each staff member before they arrive on a Monday. All it takes are really little things that show your appreciation. It could even be something novel like a “time-out bar”!
- if you have a staff Christmas Party, start planning
These are just a few strategies that may make this Christmas countdown a little more joyous for yourself and your staff.
If you would like a complimentary strategy session where we will discuss your business and the suitability of working together so your practice becomes more profitable, productive and rewarding, click here http://thebizbuddy.com/session/