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Taking time off?

Do you let clients know in advance?

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As a small practice (husband & I) how  do you handle taking a week or 2 off?

Do you email all clients in advance so they know or simply turn the out of office on and shut the door? .... or keep any eye on emails even while off ?

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By 0098087
16th Feb 2021 09:50

We are the same. We do let clients know. However doing payroll as well and having a few weekly payrolls we still have to do the weekly payrolls. Most of them are pretty good with regards to us closing and being on holiday.
Christmas week was the first time in 11 years we shut as we had not had more than one day of last year due to lockdown and extra work.

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Scooby
By gainsborough
16th Feb 2021 09:51

If it's just a week, generally I just turn the out of office of and shut the door. However, if I happen to be contacting clients shortly before my holiday, I usually mention the dates that I will be away and ask them to contact me on my return ( saves a build up of emails/phone messages).

Think we all need a complete break at some point, so my phone is completely off. I won't check emails daily unless there is something urgent going on at the time (maybe a claim or return deadline). We're not brain surgeons so hopefully there's not ever too much that can't wait a week :-). I would probably check emails twice a week if I was away for 2 weeks.

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Replying to gainsborough:
By 0098087
16th Feb 2021 10:04

But how can the poor darlings cope for more than 5 minutes...

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Replying to 0098087:
Scooby
By gainsborough
16th Feb 2021 10:38

*Chuckle*. I do sometimes feel like accountant/counsellor.

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By Youareatit
16th Feb 2021 10:07

Only corteous to let folk know.

Although last time I gave about a months notice and reminded them a couple of weeks before and seemed to receive more phone calls and emails with dumb questions during my supposed break that I might as well have not bothered. Sure some of them did it on purpose.

Next time, phone will be off.

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Replying to Youareatit:
By 0098087
16th Feb 2021 10:14

It's like they think you aren't never ever coming back, like you've got 6 numbers and then they go sorry forgot you were on holiday. That's my smile for the day. -)

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Universe
By SteveOH
16th Feb 2021 10:50

What's a holiday?

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By 0098087
16th Feb 2021 12:12

Yer we say that. And why do people have to call after 4pm?

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Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
16th Feb 2021 11:03

Small sole practitioner - I don't let everyone know as many clients are just annual tax returns but the larger clients I do tell (then they'll generally leave me in peace), plus anyone whose VAT is due soon I'll chase with a note to send by x-date as I'm away until then, and obviously anyone else with ongoing work.

I try not to check emails if it's a week or less - as gainsborough says we're not surgeons - it's unlikely anything that urgent will occur! If they really need me I tell them (the larger clients) they can text/whatsapp me and I'll call back when convenient.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
16th Feb 2021 11:44

My approach as a one man band is as follows:

Away for less than a week, I change the message on voicemail to say "I'm out, first day back in the office [say] 1st March". I also set up an email autoresponder with a similar message as the voicemail "out of office until ... etc".

Away for a week or more, as above plus send out an email to all clients with about 10-14 days notice of my unavailability. Important to say "unavailable".

I never check emails while I'm away.

I didn't used to change the voice mail message but since doing so I find there are a lot less messages when I get back.

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By DaveyJonesLocker
16th Feb 2021 11:45

As a sole practicioner I learnt a while back to have a separate mobile for personal use otherwise you never switch off when away

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By memyself-eye
16th Feb 2021 11:46

I let them know when but not where - don't want them finding out about my 3 weeks in St Barts - they might conclude I'm too expensive.....

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Replying to memyself-eye:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
16th Feb 2021 13:15

Also for a year or two I was taking quite a lot of holiday which led to some remarks such as "going on holiday again?". That's when I started only telling them if I was away for at least a week.

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Replying to Red Leader:
By 0098087
16th Feb 2021 13:40

Yer we got that too. 2020 when we took one day off..like a long weekend

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By ArianBloodwood
23rd Feb 2021 10:55

I'm a sole practitioner. I take a week off every month - I find I just have to otherwise I make mistakes and I'm constantly miserable. I call it a "break" and not a holiday. I implemented this pattern by telling them of my upcoming break dates via a monthly newsletter which I was sending anyway to explain the big changes with AML2017 and GDPR. I notified the upcoming break for a bit over a year, and kept repeating why I was doing it (more health for me, better quality for them) and ppl gradually got used to it.

Now I always have my break dates for the next 6 months up on my website. And a link to that page in my autoresponder during the break week.

I've found gradually several clients are replicating this - taking my pattern as reassurance it's possible.

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Replying to ArianBloodwood:
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By Cathy Milligan
23rd Feb 2021 12:27

That is a great plan, I'm not sure about a whole week but I think i might consider booking a few days off at the start of every month. Does not look like we will be going away anytime soon anyway.
Thanks for the idea

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By Helenrs
24th Feb 2021 10:11

I love this approach. Out of interest, how much more efficient do you think you are in the weeks you do work?

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By ArianBloodwood
24th Feb 2021 10:33

Mmm good question. I'm clearly getting through all the work in the weeks I'm working, so I'd say significantly more. Some of it is I feel more able to put my "Life" aside in the knowledge that I will soon be able to take care of it properly. Some of it is more bluntly prioritising things cos I have less time, and as a result some things I think I should do I realise I just can't do. So in a way it helps me to not "over-service" and to move towards what is realistic given all the constraints !/we work under.

To be honest, some of it also is that I'm no longer expanding my business - I have enough clients. Which means I no longer put time/energy into marketing, and PR beyond my client base.

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By Cylhia66
23rd Feb 2021 14:18

I'm a sole practitioner and I figured out by now that switching off completely is not possible.

A fair amount of clients have WhatsApped me whilst in the middle of filling out a form and expect me to talk them through the answers there and then. Which I'm usually happy to do but if I'm away on holidays it can be slightly frustrating.
Also, when they apply for a mortgage, they want that accountants certificate that day! I've had that whilst on holidays too at least twice. Grrr...

Having said that I haven't been anywhere in a year so lately it's not really been an issue :-)

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Replying to Cylhia66:
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By ArianBloodwood
24th Feb 2021 10:34

Yes accountant's cert for a mortgage is one of the very few things I'll attend to immediately even on a break. So I do keep an eye on emails and texts - but very rarely respond.

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By Marlinman
23rd Feb 2021 14:55

I would only tell them if I'm going to some remote part of the world with no internet access, but even then I find emails in my inbox when I get back online. Most places I have internet access and its business as usual because most client queries dont take long to deal with.

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By FCExtraordinaire
23rd Feb 2021 17:37

I put it on the autoresponse on my emails and on my phone message.
Or say you are on a course....

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