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Stuck on the Hamster Wheel of Serving Clients?

trading time for money Feb 08, 2021

Stuck on the Hamster Wheel of Serving?

Are you currently stuck on the hamster wheel of serving your clients, working 60+ hours a week in your J.O.B either as an employee or a business owner?

Is the wheel turning faster and faster because clients are demanding more and more of your valuable time? Especially now during these UNPRECEDENTED times (Unprecedented happens to be the most used word in 2020 - just saying)?

 

Are your clients literally sucking the life out of you with all their hourly,  daily and monthly “demands”?

 

Are you exhausted and the year has barely started? ...

 

Welcome to the ....

TRADING TIME FOR MONEY

HAMSTER WHEEL TRAP!




That is YOU and millions of service professionals like Accountants, Bookkeepers, Coaches, Consultants, Lawyers around the world and the list goes on. 

 

It WAS also the case for ME and my Accounting Business 10+ years ago.



That was until I discovered the BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD!







I discovered CLOUD COMPUTING!

 

I discovered a way to work SMARTER not harder

 

I discovered a software ecosystem that has changed my life and is also changing the daily lives of professional service providers around the world - ONE HOUR & ONE APP at a TIME!

 

Sound too good to be true? Wait I will explain! But ...



I just want to pause for a moment and tell you a little bit about my story!

I have been in the accounting industry for 35+ years and one thing I know is the constant mind-numbing, time-sucking tasks I used to have to perform to be able to provide my clients with a set of Financial Reports for Tax purposes that was often more than a year out of date! How valuable was that to their business? NOT!

What were some of the tasks you might be thinking about? Let me list some of them as they will also help you identify some of those tasks in your business and industry and I will show you how I dealt with those later:

 

1. CLIENT NAGGER!



I became my client’s “nagging wife”, the person that would call them up week after week nagging them to bring in their bank statements, their receipts and all the other paperwork so I could start working on their Financial Reports because the TAX deadline was fast approaching. 

I hated this part with a passion and could not understand why they could not just simply give me their stuff.  The problem was they were also JUST TOO BUSY, trying to earn their next dollar! 

They also had no SYSTEMS to keep the paperwork in order and it took a mammoth task to try and find everything they needed from wherever they had last dumped it!  Remembering it was stuff that they were asked to produce for events that happened more than a year ago! The memory had faded and so had most of the receipts

 

2. EXPERT PAPER SORTER!



Once I was able to lay my hands on all the paperwork, I became an

expert paper sorter.  I spent hours and hours going through boxes

and boxes of receipts, supplier invoices and bank statements sorting

them into date order.

 

True Story

It was sometimes a “shocking experience” of finding some strange

objects and things among the “business paperwork”

 

Some of the things I came across in my time that stood out:

  • A huge dead rat in one of the boxes of receipts ( it scared the living daylight out of me) 
  • Countless personal letters from my married client’s girlfriends (no, I did not read the letters once I discovered they were personal)
  • Receipts for “services rendered” by women, you know the type!
  • Movie cassettes of the “Blue” variety!

 

3. CODER

Once all the paperwork was sorted into monthly piles the coding process started, assigning an expense or income code to each piece of paper as well as checking them off against the bank statements. Going back to the client multiple times looking for missing items and trying to jog their memories of how they spent the money! 

Not an easy task!

 4. PROCESSOR

I first started off having to write everything into paper ledgers and then when computers and accounting software came about I used to then have to data enter everything into the software each month.  We were often 3 months behind depending on how diligent the client was in bringing in their paperwork.

Part of this task was also the process of having to do daily back-ups, monthly and annual rollovers. Store back-ups off-site.  Update all the computers with the latest software versions and there was a total shutdown of business while the computers were being updated and there was always that 1 computer that did not play ball and we had to call in the IT team to sort it out and nobody could get any work done.

 5.  ACCOUNTANT

This was the final stage of the process and took up the least amount of time and also where most of the value lies, but often when we got to this stage the budget for the annual fee was totally blown and we had to justify to the client why their bill was so much higher than the previous year. 

In their minds, the amount we charged them should have been the same because we produced the same reports and tax returns as last year.  

They did not understand the process behind the service we were providing and could not see the value of paying so much money for a set of reports which many of them did not even bother to open, because it was not relevant to their business NOW!

That was the problem I was facing and the same problem ten’s of thousands of business owners were facing too!  I felt like I was always behind the eight ball, always playing catch-up, always looking back into the past, instead of into the future. Paying for a service that provided very little benefit on the surface.

I wanted to help my clients deal with what was happening in their businesses NOW not a year ago! 

 

But, I did not know HOW,

 

YET!

 

The sad part of this story is that too many times I produced the financial reports and the results did not look good and often there were serious cash flow issues putting the business at serious risk.  Sometimes the reality was to shut down the business as it was considered insolvent!  Not a nice thing to have to tell a business owner when they have put their heart and soul into the business and have invested everything they have into it and could not make a success of it often through no fault of their own.

 

You see, the REAL ISSUE was, they were DRIVING THEIR BUSINESS with a BLINDFOLD on. If you had to get into your car right now and close your eyes, there is no doubt that you are going to CRASH!

Most small business owners had no roadmap to guide them on a daily basis and no accurate “real-time” reports to show them how well or how badly the business is performing. If they wanted those they had to pay extra!

 

That is why so many small businesses go under. As per the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 per cent of small businesses stop their operations within the first three years of their startup journey. Business failure in Australia has been widespread. The market is challenging and it demands real courage to stand the test of time and destiny. The advice from the experts is to do your research, plan ahead, test the market, find a mentor, devise a solid plan and set your ego aside.

 

There is one other very important thing that every small business owner needs to try and achieve very soon in their business journey and that is to make themselves "redundant" in their business. 

What this means is that they need to structure the daily operational side of the business so that it can function without them for most of the time if not all of the time. 

Most small business owners find out the hard way that they do not have a business, but a JOB when they get sick or want to take a break from their business. There is NOBODY that does the work while they are away! 

They realise they spent a considerable amount of money buying themselves a job and not a business.

I was one of those business owners who found out to my horror that I did not have a business to sell when we decided to move across the ditch to Perth, Australia for health reasons,  but that is a story for another day!

When Covid – 19 hit last year there was a real shift in everything. Life and business as we knew it changed forever. The market became unpredictable and businesses went under because they had to shut down operations.

That was tragic and is still happening on a daily basis around the world! 

Not forgetting the tragic loss of millions of lives!

Some industries were decimated and other industries flourished and I am sure if you are sitting reading this and your business was adversely affected, you are probably wishing that you were in a different industry.

I was on holiday in New Zealand for my grandson’s first birthday when Covid-19 became a thing when Australian’s stockpiled toilet paper and fought in the supermarket aisles to get their hands on as many toilet rolls as they could.

I went into voluntary lockdown for 2 weeks and I spent most of that time scouring the internet and listening to the news to try and get up to speed with what announcements the government were making and what they were doing to help small businesses.

I received countless calls from distressed clients, wanting answers and wanting to know what they needed to do and what help they could get to continue to put food on the table and keep their businesses afloat.

I spent the next 9 months helping my client’s make sense of this Covid thing that seemed to rob us of our income, our freedom and for some of us family members.

 That's it for now!

Tune into the next episode to find out more about what we did!

Until next time KEEP SAFE!

Erika Williams

 

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