Welcome to our Spring newsletter. This quarter we’ll be sharing our favourite lesser-known accounting tools that could really save you some time. We also interviewed Helen from Clear Day about how to prevent business burnout. Plus read about the staff member with all the puppies and our newly qualified team members. Head to the bottom for our upcoming webinars and events.
COS Crew News
Read about what the team and members at COS have been up to this quarter.
Win becomes a puppy Grandma
Win’s dog Lilah has given birth to the cutest little puppies. We had to share the news, along with a picture of course. We are sure it has become a mad house for Win, but there’s nothing like a cute animal to cheer you up during a pandemic.
Steph and Ben get officially qualified
We are extremely proud to announce that Steph and Ben have achieved their AAT level 3! They have worked awfuly hard to achieve this, especially with the lockdown and trying to juggle work and, for Steph, homeschooling too! We are lucky to have such committed and bright team members and so here’s to you!
Exam Success for Laura
Congratulations to COS member Laura Holmes on getting 90% on her AAT Level 4 budgeting exam! That is impressive indeed and we wish her all the best with the rest of her AAT studies.
The team get vaccinated
A number of our staff have now had their first vaccine which is wonderful news. Certain members of our team have already started going back to the office, on a part-time basis, with the rest of the time working at home. The team are very much looking forward to some normality again!
8 lesser-known accounting tools that are invaluable
A guide for those wanting to save time on their bookkeeping and admin
We share below eight useful tools that we, our clients and our members, use regularly. The list is in no particular order as they are all useful in their own right. If you’re still using shoeboxes and Excel documents for your books then this list could definitely help you save time.
1. Dext (previously Receipt Bank)
ReceiptBank have re-branded as Dext and now include even more wonderful features! Ditch the shoebox and start scanning, or forwarding your receipts and invoices into Dext. It connects with multiple accounts packages so you easily see all your invoices in one place and organise them as you need. You can also email documents to Dext and you can connect many of your online bills accounts with it so your invoices automatically go from the billing company to Dext. For instance, you can connect it with Adobe so that your monthly bill from Adobe will magically appear each month. And that’s only the beginning! Fancy a free trial of Dext, followed by a discount? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Futri has two main elements: Advisor and Predict. Advisor is all about cashflow forecasting and helps to manage those KPI’s, produces useful reports for management meetings and generally helps with planning for the business. Predict looks at the historial P&L along with the outstanding invoices to create future financial predictions. If you’d like a free trial of Futrli and a discount on your future subscription please email email@example.com.
Pleo is a handy tool to control employee spending and budgets. You simply supply your employees with a Pleo card (virtual and/or physical) which has a budget so that when they go and spend, it’s easy to track. Once the employee spends they are prompted by an app on their phone to take a photo of their receipt and record what it was for. You can give different staff, different budget levels. It also connects with numerous accounting softwares so you can see what people are spending quickly and easily. Gone are the days of having to give employees the company credit card. Pleo also tracks expenses when employees use their own money for business expenses. Email Karen for a free trial and discounted thereafter: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone has debts to chase but some are worse than others. Our in-house debt collection team use Chaser to support clients and we recommend it to anyone who wants to get on top of those debts. There are automated features that save you time chasing, plus it connects with a number of accounting packages. You can view a full audit trail to help you stay on top of things. You can even automate thank you emails which makes for a nice touch when someone pays their debts. If Chaser sounds like something you would like to trial please contact email@example.com, if you continue your subscription with us afterwards we can offer a discount.
5. Link my Books
This is specifically for companies using Amazon and Ebay for their business. Link My Books automatically downloads all the relevant information from Amazon/Ebay to Xero/Quickbooks including VAT, fees, and sales. The charge is less than the time it takes to do it manually so it’s worth the investment! Sign up for a free trial of Link my Books here.
This enables you to create accurate cashflow forecast §for your business and connects to numerous accounting softwares. Both Xero and Quickbooks rate it five star. Fluidly can also put you in touch with the right funding should your business need it. You can chase debts with it too and so overall it aims to make your bank balance a happy one. Don’t we all want that? Sound like something you’d like to trial, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer a discount on your subscription once your trial ends.
7. Quickbooks Time (previously TSheets)
Quickbooks time enables you to monitor attendance and time easily via a mobile app. Employees and subcontractors can download the app and you can organise shifts, projects and jobs between your workforce easily. There’s even facial recognition and photo attachments included to aid tracking. As it connects with Quickbooks and Xero it helps streamline your payroll and invoicing tasks. For a free trial click here
8. Appogee HR
Although not strictly an accountancy programme it connects with Xero payroll. It’s a tool we use for our own internal HR and have found it really useful. If you would like a HR software that doesn’t break the bank then it’s the way to go. It’s connection to Xero payroll reduces admin time so that you don’t have to enter the information twice. It also integrates with Office 365 and Google Workspace.
Want to know more about what can assist you in your business?
If you’d like to know more about any of the above then please get in touch. We are partners for them all and as we use them regularly we can offer training, integration aid, and support for them all. We can offer a free half hour consultation with our MD Karen for an informal discussion on areas that could be improved in your business. To book a free session, please follow this link
How to prevent business burnout
Interview with Helen Calvert from Clear Day
Q. Firstly, tell us a bit about you and your business
I set up Clear Day in October 2018 to provide freelance admin support to business owners and small organisations. Clear Day has since grown into a business support agency, providing PA/VA services, and marketing and social media assistance. I have a team of seven associates who assist me in clearing the days of our lovely clients. A new addition to the business last year was my coaching practice, as I obtained my coaching certification from the MOE Foundation. I provide coaching to business owners who are ambitious and focused, yet struggle with anxiety and overwhelm, perhaps finding that imposter syndrome hampers their progress. I can help those who are unsure of the next steps for growing their firm, or who have recently expanded and need some help figuring out what kind of leader they want to be.
Q. How can we prevent burnout as business owners?
The key thing business owners tend to forget is that they are their own boss. Sure, we say it all the time – “I’m my own boss” – but we don’t take in what that actually means. It means that we are the only ones who can set expectations for ourselves, and we are the only ones who can stop ourselves from working crazy hours and getting burnt out.
We have all had frustrating managers. We all know what good team leadership looks like, and when it sucks. Becoming self-employed, we think to ourselves “Hooray, now I’m free!”… and then we take on the worst traits of every bad boss we have ever had and treat ourselves like crap.
The most important way to prevent burnout is to sit down and actually think about what you expect from yourself. Literally write an employee handbook for your business, telling yourself what hours you are expected to work, how many holidays you are expected to take, whether you can take back time in lieu for working at weekends and so on.
Our well-being as business owners is entirely our own responsibility. I talk about this further in my blog post “Being your own boss – and being the best boss“. The way to prevent burnout if you are self-employed is to recognise that it is down to you to prevent it in yourself, because nobody else has the power over your working practices.
Q. How can we better support our employees from experiencing burnout?
Again, it all comes down to clear expectations. Sure, some team members will try to get away with doing as little work as possible, but the majority of people want to do their best. If you as a leader don’t tell them what you expect, they will just keep working and working, in fear that doing less or taking time off means they could disappoint you.
Be clear in your employee communications and handbooks how you expect your team to look after their physical and mental health. Encourage them to take their allocation of holidays, encourage self-care, and encourage work-life balance. Crucially though, you have to demonstrate this yourself. If you tell them they can take time to look after themselves when necessary, but they see you working every hour available and burning yourself out, they are going to believe your actions, not your words. Demonstrate self-care and sensible working practices, and you will encourage that in others.
Q. What are your tips for a healthy work/life balance?
Work out what balance means to you. Not everybody needs a balance of activities every day, we all have different rhythms. Personally I tend to work flat out on my business, the housework, and parenting, and then collapse and do nothing for a full weekend when the children are with their Dad. Other people will prefer to carve out a little time for themselves every day. It is also important to consider what you are actually trying to balance. Is watching TV genuinely downtime for you or does it leave you feeling flat? What activities actually fill your cup and make you feel replenished? How often are you scheduling these in?
Finally, be realistic. List out everything that requires your focus: work, children, partner, other family responsibilities, household management, hobbies, self-care, your personal circumstances. Then build a routine that is honest about your capacity. It is no good having a beautifully crafted work routine if it takes no account of the realities of the rest of your life. Far better to be realistic and build in time for everything that is important to you.
Q. What are your tips for overcoming the overwhelm at work?
Excessive kindness. That is really what it boils down to. The difference it makes when we stop being unpleasant to ourselves and start being excessively kind to ourselves is immense. What does this mean in practical terms? Attending to our basic needs – not allowing ourselves to go hungry or thirsty or miss a toilet break. Wearing clothes that make us feel comfortable and safe. Taking breaks to get fresh air and stretch our bodies. Positive, kind self-talk, always. No more constantly berating ourselves inside our own heads. Planning time off. Taking time off. Giving ourselves what we need, when we need it, instead of imagining we have to work ourselves into exhaustion. Asking for help. Taking care of ourselves when we have to push out of our comfort zone and do something scary and new.
I could go on and on. Essentially though just be kind to yourself. You are the only person you will spend every single second of your life with, so it will be a long ol’ life if you are mean to yourself all the time!
For more in-depth discussion of my tips for overcoming the overwhelm, check out my videos available to buy on my website here.
Q. How can we better improve our headspace?
Stop. Which is much harder to do than it sounds. When we have loads to do or are worrying about things, the adrenaline starts flowing and we get this feeling that it is dangerous to slow down. We have to catch that feeling, and literally take a breath. Physically calm down to stop the adrenaline from flowing, and then press the reset button by taking ourselves for a walk, having a nap or doing something else.
Those times when we feel we can’t possibly get it all done and we’re totally overwhelmed – those are the times we actually need to stop and move away. Spending an hour clearing our heads with a walk, some exercise or something else that works for us will lead to the next two hours being so much clearer and more productive. Instead of spending the full three hours being “busy” and achieving very little.
Sometimes though we cannot untangle our thoughts for ourselves. Those are the times we need to talk to somebody else to get clear on what is happening for us, and where the blockages are. For anyone who would like an hour to clear their head, I offer one-off Headspace coaching sessions for £75.
Want to know more?
If you would be interested to know more about how Helen can help you then email her on at: Helen@clear-day.co.uk, call her on 07867 534 152 or visit her website here.
Click on the date of the event to be taken to the corresponding booking page.
|Xero Purchase Ledger and Overview Webinar||14/04/2021|
|Xero Bank Reconciliation Webinar||21/04/2021|
|Quickbooks Online Webinar – Invoices and Sales||22/04/2021|
|Quickbooks Online Webinar – Purchases and Departments||04/05/2021|
|Opportunity Networking -FREE||05/05/2021|
|Quickbooks Online Webinar – Bank Rec, Rules and Feeds||06/05/2021|
|Xero Sales Invoicing and Sales Ledger Webinar||12/05/2021|
|Xero Purchase Ledger and Overview||19/05/2021|
|Xero Bank Reconciliation Webinar||26/05/2021|
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