My Top Tips (for Bookkeepers) to Survive this EOFY
It goes without saying that EOFY can be a highly stressful time for Bookkeepers. It’s a drawn out process consisting of multiple deadlines and a lot of responsibility to ensure that client and ATO obligations are met. And to make matters worse, you are often reliant on other parties, out side of your control, supplying you will correct and timely information.
For many, it also represents long hours, weekend work, and sacrificing valuable family time. For those with only a small (or no) team to lean on, it can be particularly difficult to manage the demands of EOFY with the day-to-day activities (which also do not stop).
I created a detailed Survival Guide for my Bookwiz Academy Members. But I thought I would share with ALL of you a few tips and tricks to get through this crazy time.
- Email clients an EOFY Checklist outlining all requirements, delegation of tasks, and deadlines. This should be done early June. Ensure you clearly define tasks that need to be actioned before June 30, and then those that need to be actioned after 1 July.
- Advise your clients that during a particular date range, you and your team will be prioritising EOFY compliance requirements and working towards strict deadlines, and as such, non-urgent matters may not be attended to as promptly as usual.
Education and Learning
- Educate yourself and your team on any legislative, process or technological changes that may impact the EOFY processes.
- Ensure your clients are aware of any new requirements or processes well in advance, and include these on the EOFY Client Checklist.
- If your clients or team need to skill up on a specific task, now is the time to write up procedures or instructions. Consider using a tool like Loom to quickly screen record and share instructional videos.
- In an ideal world, I recommend reconciling payroll and BAS on a monthly basis (or at least quarterly), though if that hasn’t been achieved and you have a backlog, get Q1 – Q3 reconciled and resolved now, so that you only have Q4 to complete come EOFY. Refer to the BAS Reconciliation Template in the EOFYS Planning Toolkit.
- Review and resolve any other data sources that can be broken down into monthly or quarterly blocks. In Australia, this includes STP data.
- If you have clients that have Audits through July or August, start the prep work now. Review last year’s Auditors checklist, as it’s likely to be very similar, and start compiling the data now.
- Include any client requirements on the Client EOFY Checklist, so they can also get a head start.
- Book out time for a planning session with your team (or just yourself if you are flying solo), ideally 4 weeks prior to EOFY. Review workflows, assign tasks, set deadlines, and prioritise action items.
- Be methodical. If you are using a workflow management system, utilise it’s full capabilities to organise, communicate and manage your tasks. If you’re not at that stage, create a manual checklist or workflow in excel (anything is better than nothing!), sort by project and by deadline and work your way down.
- Celebrate the wins. It’s important to keep everyone motivated throughout the period. Tick off each completed task, acknowledge and celebrate milestones.
- Conduct a quick scope review and identify any out-of-scope work that has made its way on the list. This may include new legislative requirements, processes, or client requests that may have not been part of the original agreement (such as STP2 readiness).
- Inform your clients of any additional out-of-scope fees, and organise any additional authorities to be signed off, well in advance of commencing work.
EOFY is a busy and critical period, though not everyone understands this.
There will always be clients, and even team members, who take the ‘drop everything’ approach to asking for assistance. Regardless of how much you have on your plate, they feel their request should be top of the list – always.
It’s important to set expectations early by communicating early (refer to Client Communication in above point). Let them know that during a specific time period, you will be prioritising EOFY compliance requirements, and unfortunately may not be able to attend to less-critical work immediately.
If you’re a bit top heavy with Quarterly clients, you may experience bottlenecks during the deadline periods.
Now is a good time to review this and consider moving, at least some, to Monthly. You will likely find that it not only removes that bottleneck, though also increases generally efficiency and productivity, reduces the risk of human error (as it eliminates the bottleneck rush), smooths over your billing, decreases your risk of underbilling, and creates a more consistent, enjoyable working rhythm for you and the team.
Review your Capacity
If you’re finding that no matter how organised you are, you just cannot keep your head above water – it’s likely you have a capacity issue that urgently needs to be addressed. This may relate to EOFY, BAS deadlines or other aspects of your business.
Hitting capacity is a real risk, particularly for solo operators and small business owners, as there are limited (or no) people to delegate to. Hitting capacity needs to be carefully managed, as it can have far reaching effects, like increased errors, inefficiencies, and not delivering on client and contract requirements. It can also make you feel pretty rotten about yourself and your business – like your up that creek without a paddle
Look After Your Mind, Body & Soul
Once EOFY is upon you, it is really important to look after yourself (and your team). Not only are you a valuable human and deserve to put yourself first, you also need to keep your mind, body, and soul healthy so you can blaze through that finish line.
Unfortunately, as small business owners, sending up a flare is usually not an option, and there may not be anyone that you can delegate to if you go down, so be prepared to look after yourself and your team.
- Schedule a “time out” into your calendar each day – go for a quick walk, grab a cup of tea – whatever brings you a moment in which you can realign and reset.
- Take a proper lunch break (crazy, I know)
- If you respond well to tools such as meditation, positive affirmations or other means of relaxation (reading, drawing, stretching), incorporate these into your day. Apps such as Calm, and Headspace are worth looking at.
- Keep your body properly resourced – balanced diet, healthy snacks at the ready.
- Stay hydrated – invest in a nice water bottle or glass that will encourage you to keep your water intake up.
- Watch your caffeine and alcohol levels.
- Keep your exercise routine going. If you don’t have one, try to start with a light walk around the block.
- Move throughout the day. Avoid staying put for too long – a little stretch, dance or walk around the room will do you wonders.
- Book yourself in for a reward. A massage, a movie, a cold beer at your favourite pub, a weekend away – it doesn’t need to be huge, so long as it is of value to you.
- Say thank you. Tell the people around you that you appreciate them, and why. And tell yourself while you’re at it! Warm fuzzies all the way!
- Engage your senses. Touch, Smell, See, Taste, Hear – the ability to be present in the moment is a really powerful tool when it comes to de-stressing. Make a playlist to get you through the day, buy your favourite flowers, burn a candle, have tasty healthy snacks on hand, and give your space a refresh so you feel at ease in your surroundings.
Keep a close eye on your Team – the above applies to them too.
Finally, if you are not coping….
This is the most important tip of all….
If you feel you are not coping (with EOFY or anything else):
- Reach out to others in the industry – we understand what you are going through.
- Communicate with your friends and family so they understand what you are experiencing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether that’s seeking professional support, getting someone to help with dinner or fold the washing, or just having someone beside you for morale support, it’s important to know that you’re not alone.
- If you would like professional assistance, contact your GP or health care professional, or utilise one of the many help-line services available.
I hope this provides some action items that you can start working on to make your EOFY process a little easier this year. If you are interested in accessesing the full Toolkit resources on this topic, or many more, check out our membership which was created just for Bookkeepers and Accountants, Bookwiz Academy
Keep thriving 🔥