cat sitting on bookkeepers desk

A day in the life of a bookkeeper

What do I get up to during my working day?

Like most mums, my weekdays start with getting the kids ready for school. It can be a bit manic, so once they’ve got to their classes, I like to squeeze in a little bit of yoga so I can regain my focus and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead.  

My business day usually begins with checking my clients’ bank accounts and notifying them of any payments that have come in, so they can process their orders. I’ll do some reconciliations, send out some client invoices, input purchase receipts, and generally take care of all the smaller but just as vital tasks that make my clients’ lives easier. If I need to, I will also create supplier payment lists for bills that are due that week, and either schedule the payments myself or send the list to the client, ready for them to implement. 

Lots of people have a preconceived idea that, as bookkeepers, we spend a lot of our time scanning bags of receipts into accounting software and making sure they’re allocated to the correct bank transactions. Well, they’re not wrong! This is something that business owners and their teams rarely have the time to do, so I’m happy to help. I’m very detail-oriented, so I enjoy double checking (and triple checking!) all the paperwork to make sure everything is in order. If a receipt is missing, or I have a query about a particular transaction, I’ll always follow up with the client straightaway.

Certain business-related tasks are dependent on the time of the month or year. For example, if we’re nearing the end of a quarter, I’ll work on VAT returns and make sure they are submitted ahead of HMRC’s deadline. Towards the end of each month, I’ll run payroll for my clients who want me to manage this vital process for them. And every year, I’ll make sure my charity client’s gift aid claims are taken care of, plus provide budget reports so they can track their financial progress. I’ll also liaise with my limited companies’ accountants at year end to help them complete their corporation tax returns and assist my sole trader clients with submitting their self-assessments.

As you can imagine, every day is different. One thing’s for sure, though – one of my cats is guaranteed to want some attention while I’m busy working away! They like to snuggle up on my lap or take the occasional walk across my keyboard…

cat on bookkeepers keyboard

What’s important to me?

I try to arrange regular meetings with my clients wherever I can (usually over the phone or on Zoom, because I work with people all over the country). I think it’s important to check in frequently; it really helps me understand how their business is progressing and how I can best support them moving forward. I can also provide them with a more objective view of their finances, answer any queries they might have, and help them make sense of their numbers.

Aside from catching up with company owners and their finance teams, I’ll often attend networking groups in the local area. I find these events are brilliant not just for sourcing new clients, but for making connections with other local entrepreneurs. I love hearing about their own journeys. I think there’s so much you can learn from other people who have decided to become self-employed. (It’s also so nice to get away from the screen for a little while!) 

Another great perk to being a bookkeeper is having the flexibility to work when I want to. If I need to take some time off to do something with the kids, or attend a school meeting or event, then I can. I’ll just work earlier in the morning or later in the evening to make sure I’m on top of my tasks. It’s so lovely to be able to take some time out in the afternoon to ask about their days at school or help them with their homework. I know I can always pick up my laptop again after we’ve all eaten, and they’ve vanished to their bedrooms!

And, when I have the time, I like to spend my late afternoons gardening or working on my side business.

I love my job – and not just because I get to make a real difference to my clients’ businesses. The flexibility and variety offered by my role is, I think, second to none. I’m always learning, and I’m lucky that I have the option to run my working day around my other commitments.

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