I have been in practice for over two years and grown the practice well in terms of client numbers and fee income. Client base started at 5 and is now just over 100. Fee income has reached approx £80k. I have a full time technician doing the guts of the work (payroll, VAT, accounts prep, tax returns) although I still meet the clients, finalise some cases myself and look after all the practice management/development side of things such as:
- Practice accounts, admin and compliance
- New client meetings and sign up procedures
Recently things have been fairly hectic and I feel it is down to a number of things:
- Poor time management by me - I haven't set aside time to review jobs and get these finalised with clients, especially the SA tax cases. My wife and I are expecting our first child soon and I want all my SA tax cases done by Xmas if possible so I'll need to focus on these for the next 4-5 weeks.
- Need to get my technician to do more, which means a bit more time now to be spent with her getting tax returns finalised, but worthwhile in the long run.
- The admin/compliance/accounts side of things is taking more time. All clients are on monthly SO which is good but needs closely monitored.
- Jumping to client requests too quickly at the cost of more important/urgent work.
- Replying to client emails probably too often/quickly.
- Allowing too many client meetings for trivial issues.
The changes I am considering are as follows:
- Block out specific time in my diary to review SA tax cases only with my technician.
- I've considered hiring someone for part-time admin work, maybe one day per week (or two half days), to take over the practice accounts, admin, new client sign up documents etc. (it takes 2 hours or so to get all documentation in place for new clients!)
- Allow client meetings only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with maximum of 3-4 meetings per day.
- Check emails first things every morning and respond/delegate accordingly. Then, turn on an "Out of Office Response" even when I am in the office to say something like "Thank you for your email. Our firm responds to all email communication from our customers within 24 hours so you will hear from us again before this time tomorrow. If your request or issue is of a more urgent nature, please contact our office".
- Using the phone a bit more to resolve client queries rather than email, especially to determine whether or not a meeting with me is absolutely necessary.
Anyone got any further thoughts or experience or my current situation? All advice greatly appreciated!