At Abacus we understand the demands that Accountants are facing and are always looking at how best to manage these pressures. With client needs at the highest levels for some time, our conversations with Accountants have revealed some great initiatives and inspiration for getting through this challenging season.
We understand you have lots of government initiatives that clients need help with, lodgements due soon, staff working remotely & stress all around. So here we have put together a list of recommendations to assist you with your time & client service.
Essentially, It’s all about time management, client support & staff productivity.
1. Try time blocking.
Rather than trying to do everything at once with interruptions, block out certain times of the day for:
- Responding to emails
- Talking to your staff about client matters
- Responding to missed calls
2. Screen your calls
Consider not taking calls throughout the day and then prioritising your call backs.
3. Pre-empt client enquiries
Distribute information via your website or email. Upload essential updates to your website or use a PDF attachment and send an email to all of your existing clients covering the following points:
- Explain that you have received a large inflow of client enquiries given the change in the economic environment & government stimulus
- If they would like some information or assistance with the government stimulus (eg JobKeeper) than please refer to our website or attachment
- If they are ready to send information for their return, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- If they would like to talk to us than please call zzz on (00) 1234 5678 or organise a time to discuss the matter (have that person note the subject matter)
- If they require a meeting, you’d prefer telephone or virtual (eg Zoom).
4. Acknowledge delays
If you have a backlog of email or phone enquiries, use an automatic response or recording, acknowledging a delay and covering some of the points above.
5. The earlier the better
If you really need to call the ATO then do it at 8am (Eastern time)
6. Re-focus staff and schedules.
Put together a list of all outstanding lodgements due this financial year & organise them by category (eg. company, trust, SMSF, individual etc). Allocate who will be responsible for completing the bulk of the work for each job.
7. Prevent missed deadlines
Send an email to each client with outstanding lodgements asking them for all of the information you need & when you need that information. Note that the team (your firm) values them as a client, has been inundated with work recently & the implications to the client of not receiving the information on time. Ask them to respond immediately if they think that there will be a problem getting you this information by the due date.
8. Break, stretch and breathe.
Take regular breaks during the day for stretching or mindfulness exercises. Take a 15 to 30 minute break around lunchtime. Go for a walk & get some fresh air if you can.
Have someone from the office call those clients that you need to meet (phone or virtual) before the end of the financial year (eg tax planning) & organise a time with them. Best to organise those meetings in blocks (certain times of the day) and try to limit the time taken for those discussions.
10. Appreciate your staff
Its during these times that Accountants really get to understand the value of their staff. Don’t forget to thank them for their hard work.
Don’t have time?
We hope this provides you with some inspiration. You may even consider permanently implementing some or all of these ideas for the future. We know there are many Accountants out there who are really struggling with their workload, so don’t feel alone.
If you need some assistance with bulk emails, blogs and website content or organising your day then please contact us.