Yes, it’s that time of the year again, you’ve spent months in building anticipation for it. No it’s not summer, and unfortunately not your holiday. It’s the end of the financial year. The time financial teams across the nation dread, a sort of time-honoured tradition for accountants as they scramble to meet looming deadlines. Stress levels mount and pressure builds, as they prepare to sign off accounts, complete paperwork and collate reports.
We can sympathise. Like any other company we are trudging through the same swamp. We know the pain of the 12 hour days during the bleakest months of the year. We know you’re juggling a million other things, the company doesn’t close its doors so end of year tasks can be completed, there will inevitably be ongoing projects, perhaps payroll to submit and month end reports to complete. You then start unknowing projecting stress into your life outside of work, frustrated to find a cue to get your much needed caffeine fix. For those of you sharing these woes know you’re not alone, here are our tips to help you survive this intensely stressful time.
Delegate! You know that your team is your most valuable asset. Your job is to ensure that they maintain focus on the most pressing tasks. It is critical to prioritise tasks and balance the work load efficiently. While you may see delegation as a loss of control, it is a beneficial tool empower your team and keep them focused. It is valuable to explore adding temporary contracted employment to help ease your teams work load. We can help minimise the stress on your team, allowing them to keep focused and consistently meeting deadlines!
Review! It’s fairly obvious and I’m sure most of you are already doing it but “if your fail to plan you plan to fail” really is true. While it’s easy to have the aspiration to plan, it can be a tricky task to execute, perhaps try to spend Monday mornings drawing up a rough idea of the week to come, know meetings scheduled, deadlines coming up and listing tasks that have to be completed in order of urgency. At the end of each day take 5 minutes to review, and reshape accordingly in order to make progress. It’s easier to chew small bites than to swallow something whole. You may discover your team are burning out, to improve efficiency you may need to add staff.
Mindfulness! Everyone can agree that the end of the financial year feels like it goes on for a lifetime! But it’s important to remember that it doesn’t. And to sprinkle salt on a wound it is winter, its cold, wet and you can rest assured that you won’t be seeing daylight for the next few weeks, as you make it to work before day breaks and you leave long after the sun sets.
Alas there is a light shining through the trees, there is a clear goal in sight. Keep focused on the ‘now’, maintain competing short-term deadlines and reshape plans day by day to adapt and overcome obstacles. Don’t be distracted by asking “what if”. Have faith in your work, and tackle the complications when they present themselves. Negative thinking will never help, try to stay positive!
Motivation! The last quarter of the year can be the more stressful than other months combined. It marks the clearing of social calendars, missing your loved ones and resorting to microwave meals when you eventually do make it home. It is important to keep yourself and your team motivated throughout this time.
Keep moral up by presenting small rewards, occasional team lunches to keep you all feeling connected. During a time of very little joy and a whole load of stress it will remind you and your team that you are not alone, you’re in it together. Adding temporary employees can spread weight of the work and allow your team to make time for the small things, in turn keeping them motivated.
If you can see the stress in beginning to produce cracks in your team it may be time for you to review your approach. Yes it will always be a busy time and yes stress is inevitable but it’s about how you can minimise stress, reduce errors and improve the efficiency.