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Outsourcing – SOS. I am drowning in an admin nightmare.

Happy New Year. Well, it probably is a Happy New Year to those who are not drowning in admin. Combine that with ATO deadlines and basically my life is hell right now. Absolute hell.

Now I know what you are thinking – seriously Stacey, pull yourself together. I mean how much admin can you have? You are a small business, you don’t have an office to look after and it is holidays. Surely you are over reacting just a little bit?

Well, here is the thing. There is a lot of behind the scenes admin in our business nobody sees. Reminding clients of deadlines for monthly IAS, monthly BAS, monthly super, quarterly super and quarterly BAS. Not only do we have to remind them that we can now start preparing the job, but we have to send queries, follow up queries that are not answered, follow up to ensure payment is made and for those clients who are struggling with cash flow we need to have a conversation about payment plans and then speak to the ATO.

We need to ensure that potential clients who contact us are responded to in a timely manner and followed up a week later to see if they have any questions about our services. Clients contact us via our virtual reception phone number, my mobile number, email, Facebook and Instagram. So keeping on top of those and ensuring everyone makes it to our Sales Funnel so we can track the flow, well that is a job just in itself.

We then have appointments to book in our diary, workflow jobs to manage, reminders sent to clients for appointments, data file reviews to schedule, phone calls with potential new clients to slot in.

We need to ensure our staff are doing the right training and development and keeping on top of software changes, not to mention legislative changes that will impact our clients.

We need to write blog posts (well we don’t have to but that is what drives traffic to our website and our business so we would be crazy not to). Some blog posts we post on Linkedin and some direct on our website. We then need to schedule those to flow back into our newsletter and our social media. Yes, shock horror, we repurpose our content.

And don’t forget to ensure all our processes and procedures are up to date. I mean if we have someone new starting, we need to make sure when they start (hopefully soon) that they can understand how we run our business and that they can hit the ground running from day one. 

So I am madly recording videos of programs, of tasks, setting up Trello boards, making lists of things that they need access to, ensuring our internal policies are up to date, plus our internal HR handbook is updated. Not to mention allocating time in my diary each day for a Skype catch up so I need to slot that in as urgent, but it needs to also work around existing commitments. Seriously, my diary is often like a jigsaw puzzle!

Oh yeah, and how could I forget social media. The beast that is social media. Given that we get around 50% of all new work from social media, we can’t ignore it. But at the same time we don’t want it to consume our lives. Where is the balance? Is there balance? We do all of our social media in house, yep that’s right, we don’t outsource it. Personal choice, but we feel that having someone who hasn’t worked in accounting or finance write posts about accounting and finance could be a total disaster. It could also be fantastic and a total load off our plate, but right now the control freak in me wants to keep doing it in house.

So is there much admin in our business. You better bloody believe it. And each time I, as the business owner, spend time on this admin, it means it is taking my valuable time away from clients. It means I can’t book as many appointments as I would like, which in turn means we lose revenue. It means the time taken to respond to clients is that little bit longer. It means our clients will potentially think we have lost interest because of that extra day consumed by admin.

And that breaks my heart a little bit. Actually it breaks my heart a lot. This business is my pride and joy. It is so much a part of me that small things make a huge impact.

We pride ourselves on caring about our clients. About really understanding their business needs. We love being part of their journey to help them sort out ATO obligations, their numbers, and their accounting software. We are experts at being the “hand holder” and guiding them in the right direction. Those questions that are stopping them from moving forward – that is our jam.

But we can’t do any of that if I am drowning in admin. And January felt like I was constantly putting up my hand wanting to be rescued. If one more person had asked me how much fun I was having on the “holidays’ I think I could have screamed.

And I probably did scream on the inside – but on the outside it was game face on because god forbid we should tell anyone that we are not coping with everything this “small business life” throws at us. There was no holiday. There was no fun.

On a positive note, we are aiming to have our new admin person start in February (late February) however that also feels like it is light years away. Hopefully I am still sane by the time they start. Fingers crossed.

(Note: this is part 3 of a 6 part blog series written over 6 months. Before deciding to outsource overseas, to finding and hiring our new office manager, to working with someone offshore and managing the process).