On the face of it, accounting can seem like a lot of spreadsheets and jargon – from an outsider’s perspective anyway. At Hamilton Blake we strive to be as approachable as possible for our clients, and as part of this, we’ve launched a series of blogs that chart the workdays of our team members.
First up is me, Conor Murray. Having worked at the firm for five years now, I’ve seen over 200 Mondays! So come with me now on a journey through time and… spreadsheets!
On a typical Monday I get up early. I jump straight in the shower, brush my teeth, and aim to be out of the house by 7am, trying not to wake my girlfriend on the way out. My commute takes around an hour, with the usual traffic.
Once in the office, I make myself a cup of tea (milk and two sugars), some breakfast (whatever floats the boat that morning) and sit down at my desk to get caught up on emails from the weekend. If there is anything relatively quick to action from those emails, I’ll jump on it straight away. Any tasks which are not urgent, I will flag them to follow up when appropriate. I will also create a to-do list for the forthcoming day to focus my efforts on those tasks which are urgent. By the time 9am comes, and everyone else filters into the office, I’m ready to crack on with my main tasks for the day.
From 9am to 12pm, this is where I typically get most of the urgent tasks completed. This workload consists of company accounts preparation, corporation tax return preparation and the preparation of management financial reports which are supplied to clients monthly. The process for preparing management accounts for clients is as follows:
- Client sends across all information required including sales invoices, purchases invoices and bank statements.
- I will review the information provided to ensure it is complete.
- I will input all documents into Xero, the accounting software package we use with 90% of our clients.
- Reconciliation of sales invoices, purchase invoices and bank statements will occur, ensuring all bank transactions have either a corresponding piece of documentation or an explanation from the management as to what the transaction relates to.
- Review of Xero generated reports, including profit and loss and balance sheet, to ensure completeness. I will also examine these reports for any discrepancies. If any crop up, I will investigate and contact the client if required.
- Once any discrepancies are cleared up, I will either send the Xero reports directly to the client with my commentary or will transpose the data from Xero to a separately held Excel spreadsheet to aid comparison. This is really important if the client wishes to compare information across multiple financial years or have their own format that they would like to see the data in.
- If required, I will jump on a call/zoom meeting with the client to discuss the performance from the past month and the future business prospects for the client.
I find management accounting the most fulfilling part of being an accountant due to the relationship you can build with the client and the impact your business advice has. It’s so rewarding helping business navigate not only tax and accounting difficulties, but business complexities.
I religiously take lunch between 12pm and 1pm simply to refresh the mind. I will normally walk to a local supermarket to source a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a snack. After lunch, I will return to my desk, review any emails received from the morning, and start to plan the workload for the afternoon.
Early afternoon, I like to schedule in my meetings with new and existing clients. The reason being is since I have achieved the bulk of my main tasks in the morning, this opens a lot of free space in my mind to discuss clients’ tax, accounting, and tax affairs. Pre-pandemic, these meetings used to be in-person but more have transitioned onto Zoom, which is great due to us being based in Swaffham with clients all over the country, cutting down on significant travel time. However, I’m very much looking forward to more in-person meetings taking place as they truly allow us to build better relationships with clients.
Towards the end of the day, I make a conscious effort to catch up with my team. This involves discussing any issues that have arisen that day, how everyone is progressing with their work and if anyone would need any assistance with any tasks they have in progress. This is a great opportunity to engage with each other and build good relationships with my colleagues.
Due to my commuting time, I tend to leave the office at 5pm. I find by doing this, I have a good work-life balance. As I’m still studying my ACA-CTA joint pathway, I will usually spend a couple of hours in the evening studying. I’m currently preparing for the Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management exams within the ICAEW. After study, my girlfriend and I will prepare something to eat and then spend the rest of the evening watching TV and just catching up. However, I am rather guilty of monitoring emails in the evening to ensure nothing urgent has arisen!
That summarises a Monday in the life of Conor Murray. Roll on Tuesday when I can hopefully help more clients get on top of their tax, accounting, and business affairs.
After neglecting the old site for a few years we have finally caught up and are proud to unveil our brand new website! We will be using the site to send across important changes in regard to accounting and taxation as they come up. We will be uploading a summary of the changes announced in the budget shortly after this update for you to view at your leisure.
Now April is here, which for many signals the end of an accounting period, you will need accounts and/or tax returns for the tax year 2015/16. If this is the case then please feel free to drop in for a chat with one of our team and get the ball rolling!
We look forward to catching up with all of our clients over the coming months.