It costs nothing to say “I am sorry”

I don’t know if it is just because it is the festive season that everyone seems to have their  tinsel in a tangle.  But if you are wrong, please say sorry.

There is no need to be rude, abusive and pretend those around you, whether they are a service based business, retail, customer service or anything in between, is any less deserving of your time and attention.

Most people think that being a bookkeeper and accountant is a pretty cushy job. We add shit up, we hoard stationery, we deal with the ATO (because that is ALWAYS fun), and we literally just surf cloud programs all day. How hard can it be?

Well let me give you an insight into the shit I have had to put up with this week.  And this is just 4 days worth of crap we need to deal with, and you decide how “cushy” our job is:

  1. We had a business coach (who charges 3 times as much as we do) berate us and cc in a client telling us to “reconcile it, it is not complicated”.  Now let me tell you this, the expert business coach was trying to work out why a cash Profit and Loss and an accruals invoice report were not showing the same numbers and he couldn’t reconcile it himself. I used the exact same report and in under 7 minutes worked out he was looking at one cash and one accrual report.  Useless. They will most likely never be the same. Now excuse me for learning that on the first day of uni when I was 18, but I would have assumed an expert business coach know that difference.  And if they don’t, trust me you don’t want them as a business coach.
  2. Stacey, you need to lodge my BAS, my accountant told me you didn’t lodge it.  Now, I am happy to put my hand up and admit we didn’t do things, however on this case we lodged the client’s BAS on the 3rd of November.  A whopping 5.5 weeks ago.  And yes, we have the ATO time stamp in our electronic lodgement program to prove it. So instead of the client and the tax agent investigating if the BAS was lodged, they just threw me under the bus, blamed me for a non existent problem, which then took 30 minutes of my time (unpaid of course) to tell them they were both wrong.
  3. I have paid your bill, 60 days late, so stop sending me overdue reminders. Oh well excuse me for trying to chase money that is owed to me, from you, for work I have completed like you asked me to, and lodged with the ATO so you wouldn’t get a late fine, and for me to pay my staff out of my own pocket for you to pay me 60 days late. I mean how rude of me to ask for payment.  I tell you what is rude – not paying for services that you requested.  And not saying sorry for being so late. That is rude.
  4. Staff resigning whilst on “annual leave” a week before Christmas. Now not only does this put the small business owner up the creek without a paddle whilst they try and recruit people. But these two staff who resigned (different clients) were already paid in advance for December, paid for days they are now not working.  They just sent a message to say they are not coming back. So, just when we thought we could down tools, we have to revert 12 different pay runs. Recalculate annual leave owing, set termination dates, do final pays.  Then post the correct payruns, issue final payslips and change six weeks of direct debit payment amounts.
  5. Receiving “why is this not done phone calls” from the ATO.  We took on a new client in September this year. Perfect. We did the BAS tidied up the Xero file, reconciled everything and lodged the BAS. Happy days. We knew the March and June BAS were not done, however as this was before our engagement, we advised the client their tax agent would need to do them as we don’t have the information. Cue the phone calls from the ATO to us as the tax agent has not done the 2 overdue BAS.  I email the client and let her know they are now on their radar. Tax agent promises to do BAS’s in 3 weeks. 6 weeks later and the day we are closing for Christmas, we get an irate call from the ATO saying they have still not been done and what am I doing about it. I try to explain to our dear friends at the ATO I am not responsible for those two BAS. That they need to ring the tax agent. But that is all too hard for the ATO. So now it is my job (my unpaid job) to inform the client yet again that the ATO are hunting them down.

“You know what it costs to say sorry or to say thanks? NOTHING. Nothing at all.”

Well it will literally take about 5 minutes of your time to type an email saying “Sorry the invoice is late”. “Sorry I got my wires crossed”. “Thanks so much for all your help”. “Sorry to make you do 12 payruns again”. “Thanks so much for checking for me, I really appreciate it”. “Sorry to give you so much extra work on the day you close for Christmas”.

“So I don’t want you to think I am being a Grinch or anything. But seriously, I don’t earn anywhere near enough money for me or my staff, to be verbally abused by people. Abused by people who are wrong, and then don’t have the courage to apologise and say sorry.”

We do not sit here each day just twiddling our thumbs. When we close for Christmas, we are still doing payruns for clients who are not closed. We are still dealing with the ATO.  There are still monthly activity statement reports for December that need to be prepped. We are still dealing with employee issues.

So no, we don’t advertise that this is all part of our job.  I mean every single job there are “down sides”. But I think it is very disappointing that we cop so much flack from other small business owners who have not done their research and checked their facts before verbally abusing us.

Trust me, in 2020 I simply won’t tolerate such behaviour.  We are implementing a hard and fast “one strike” policy. Unnecessary language towards any of our staff will receive a “sorry we can’t work with you any more” email.  And I won’t be apologising for that.  The mental health of our staff is what we need to remember is impacted, each time I accept being treated like dirt.  And I just can’t compromise on that.