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How much of your work is admin?

How much of your work is admin?

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Admin, ad hoc queries, and sundry items (such as changing client name or address at HMRC, following up a letter etc) seem to take up an inordinate amount of time.

What would you say your ratio of "actual work" (doing accounts and tax returns etc) is to admin and sundries?

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
17th Dec 2014 21:32

65/35

Fee earning work/admin

Post, scanning, e-mail admin, planning work , requesting info, phone calls, etc, etc.

Yep, seems to take far too long sometimes. 

Mind you, keeping on top of the admin means that when the work is done its done far more efficiently.

If I get 5 chargeable* hours a day I'm happy 

 

* - not for billing but calculating hourly fee rate per client. If its too low its time to up the fees or reduce the work we do.

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By Maslins
18th Dec 2014 09:13

Definition of actual work

If "actual work" only includes preparation of accounts/tax returns, then probably about 1% for me.  If it also includes answering client/junior staff queries re tax/accounting, probably about 50%.

Guessing the % will depend heavily upon how big the business is and what position the person in question holds in that business.

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Replying to Matrix:
By Red Leader
18th Dec 2014 11:39

66/34

For the period from 1.7.14 to date, it's 34% for non-client work.

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By Glenn Martin
18th Dec 2014 11:54

Too Much

is the answer most people will come up with and its something I must get on top of in 2015.

I always under estimate the initial client sign up stuff ad need to get a better process to deal with it.

I wish my wife would have the time to help out as she is very good at that stuff. I will have to star training my daughter to help out.

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Logo
By marks
18th Dec 2014 22:48

in line with others

On average my time is 2/3rds chargeable and 1/3 non chargeable.

Which suppose is to be expected when I do most of the admin work eg filing/shredding/eng letters/meeting prospective clients/marketing/social media work.

Really need to think about getting an office junior for a day or two a week.

Currently have 1 full time employee and met a freelancer today who may start next year helping out 2 - 3 days per week.  Other option is to get a school leaver or graduate and put them through CA or ACCA training.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Maslins
19th Dec 2014 10:07

Yup, when you recruit, what do you want them to do more of?

marks wrote:

Which suppose is to be expected when I do most of the admin work eg filing/shredding/eng letters/meeting prospective clients/marketing/social media work.

Really need to think about getting an office junior for a day or two a week.

I do think this is a significant choice sole practitioners have when they recruit, directly related to the OP.  Do you get someone in to deal with the admin so you can focus on the nitty gritty accounts stuff?  Or do you bring on board an accountant who will almost purely do "actual" work, but inevitably mean your role drifts more into HR/supervisory/salesperson.

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Replying to DJKL:
Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
20th Dec 2014 10:42

Recruitment

Maslins wrote:

marks wrote:

Which suppose is to be expected when I do most of the admin work eg filing/shredding/eng letters/meeting prospective clients/marketing/social media work.

Really need to think about getting an office junior for a day or two a week.

I do think this is a significant choice sole practitioners have when they recruit, directly related to the OP.  Do you get someone in to deal with the admin so you can focus on the nitty gritty accounts stuff?  Or do you bring on board an accountant who will almost purely do "actual" work, but inevitably mean your role drifts more into HR/supervisory/salesperson.

Taking maternity leave really helped me see what's best, as I didn't do any of it! And they all disliked the misc admin misc queries side of things, and I was very glad to hand that over! For me, as I'm now part time, it's better for me to deal with the ad hoc, as I can do it off my phone and around baby stuff, whereas a dedicated accountant can just crack on with sets of accounts, which is much harder for me to find the time to do.

I'd love to go in for a day a week, bash out some sets of accounts and go home again, but it's gone lunchtime by the time I deal with all the misc stuff that comes across my desk (now I'm back, somehow it seems to find its way to me again!) and it makes sense for me to take that on again (sadly).

Oh, and about 80 directors tax returns. Woo hoo. Go me. I love January! ;-)

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By petersaxton
19th Dec 2014 07:20

Similar experience

I think I have a similar experience to everybody else.

Sometimes I'll go all day without getting a set of accounts or a tax return finished - and hardly do any of that stuff.

Because I have a lot of deadlines coming up I have got most of the admin done and I can concentrate on accounts and tax and I am getting two or three company accounts and the same personal tax done every day.

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Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
19th Dec 2014 08:31

It's all good fun eh?

Thanks. I would say those % are similar to ours.

Pre-maternity leave I used to spend probably 80% of my time on admin/ad hoc, but had staff who were 90% accounts etc.

Currently having a rejig. And hoping someone really really awesome applies for my accountant's job.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
19th Dec 2014 08:47

Difficult to say ...
As I don't keep timesheets, but like others I suspect it is in the region of 2/3rds chargeable to 1/3rd non-chargeable. I have no staff working for me.

Throughout my 13 years of being self employed, I have always felt the high amount of non-chargeable was a temporary aberration that would be "fixed" in the following month or two, but that point of efficiency never seems to arrive!

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Routemaster image
By tom123
20th Dec 2014 13:16

100%

For those of us in industry - the view would probably be 100% - ie non of it is earning anything for the  firm.

Varies between companies I have worked for. Some unreconstructed ones have actually said that we in finance only work 'for the government' - others, such as my current employer, appreciate the use of the information that we can provide.

Applying the logic of the question, I probably spend about 50% of my time on actual accounts work (Month end, statistics etc) and the rest on what I consider admin - dealing with insurance, fire alarm testing, vehicle fleet, mobile phone contracts, etc.

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