Going on holiday in August? FreeAgent has 5 tips to get you and your practice summer-ready
It’s not always easy to leave your work behind when you head off for a summer getaway. To help ensure that you have a stress-free break, award-winning cloud accounting software provider - FreeAgent - has put together this holiday checklist to get you and your practice prepared for summer.
1. Check the MTD deadline off the to-do list
When taking your August holiday, remember that this year 7th August marks the first Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT submission deadline for clients who submit VAT on a quarterly basis. It’s beneficial to set up and test the submission process with a few clients early, due to the amount of time it takes to sign up and register with HMRC:
- If your clients’ first MTD VAT quarter started in April, their registration deadline for paying by Direct Debit was 26th July (if not paying by Direct Debit, they must be registered by 2nd August).
- If your clients’ first MTD VAT quarter started in May, they must be registered by 29th August if paying by Direct Debit (3rd September, if not).
Make sure that your practice and clients are setup for their first MTD submission, especially if your holiday is scheduled around these dates!
2. Prepare your clients
Put some time aside in your diary to let your clients know that you’re planning a summer break, particularly those who are likely to be in touch with urgent questions. This should help to limit the number of emails and calls that will be waiting for you when you return to work! If you have clients using FreeAgent, why not suggest downloading the FreeAgent mobile app, so they can easily keep an eye on their business.
In the rush to get everything finished before your holiday starts, it can be easy to forget to set an ‘out of office’ message on your email or phone, so write yourself a note or set a reminder to do this. Hopefully you’ll be setting all of your work aside, but if that’s not possible, use your out of office message to let your clients know that you’ll have limited access to emails.
3. Have a colleague or accountant friend on standby
Why not delegate or ask a friend for help when you’re away? If you work for a larger practice, you can ask colleagues to cover for you. If you use FreeAgent, you could add colleagues as account managers to your FreeAgent Dashboard so that they can access any information that your clients may need while you’re away. Have a think about what is likely to come up and write some detailed handover notes for them. If you’re a freelancer, maybe try asking a fellow accountant friend.
4. Limit check-ins to 15 minutes per day
Going on holiday is about taking time off to recharge your batteries and boosting your productivity when you return. If you struggle with the urge to check your emails while you’re away, you may never fully switch off and take the break that you need.
If you’ve left good handover notes with your team, you probably shouldn’t need to check in while you’re away. However, if you really can’t avoid it, try dedicating a restricted time of 15 minutes per day to answer urgent queries or check how your practice is doing. Some cloud accounting software systems like FreeAgent will allow you to set up alerts on your dashboard, so you can easily see at a glance whether any of your clients need attention.
5. Plan for your return
Before you leave, prepare a general plan for your return to work. Consider what will be likely to need your attention and perhaps even some new business opportunities that you’d like to pursue once you’re back up to speed. Do you want to get better at marketing, expand your business, leave the office earlier or spend more time with your family? Jot down a few ideas to help you feel more relaxed and focused.
All in all, when heading off on your summer holiday you should feel comfortable leaving your practice behind without having to answer calls and emails. Having a break and taking a proper step back from work should give you a clearer perspective and more energy on your return.