Knutsford Bookkeepers polish their skills at Cheshire Cookery School

Team Day Out! Officially it was Knutsford Admin’s Christmas Do a trip out on a cookery course – however you could call it ‘Team Building’, it was certainly interesting seeing our different personalities shining through as we set about the various cooking tasks.

First we gathered by our office door, wrapped up warm to head off to the train.

Then with a bit of magic we transformed from bookkeepers into proper chefs.

We’d found the Cheshire Cookery School via social media but had never visited previously.

A complete treat, a fantastic foodie facility with a well set out and equipped kitchen and very best of all the delightful assistants who cleared up behind us.

Our challenge was to make ravioli with a mushroom sauce and baked focaccia, this perhaps doesn’t sound that difficult but it took us a while and was huge fun, testing our skills as we went.  Do you use a sharp knife to crack eggs?  Well we learnt how to sharpen knifes and then crack eggs.  Did you know the weather and humidity will affect how much water to put in your bread dough.  Would you know all about proper olive oil?  Great to learn new knowledge.

It’s fair to say that our most mathematical team members Jon and Alison took a far more precise approach to their ravioli and produced uniform squares, all very neatly executed.

My approach is much more about getting tasks done quickly – my plate of food was cooked and ready for eating way before anyone else, my ravioli tasted absolutely fine of course, but lacked the finesse of Jon and Alison’s, I like to think mine had a more ‘rustic’ look.

Interestingly though this is reflected in how we work with Knutsford Admin – I am much more prone to pushing work along quickly, whereas some of the others like to take more time – as clients are charged by the hour so long as the work is correct most of them prefer a speedier approach, and that’s what makes a good team, achieving a good end result but in the time frame the client desires.

All in all we had a marvellous day enjoying a complete break from computer screens and enjoying each others company – there is no doubt about it, the odd social activity does a great deal to keeping a team motivated and I for one, thoroughly enjoyed the Cheshire Cookery School experience with the Knutsford Admin team.

Now let’s start planning 2018!

Happy Christmas from

Helen and team KA

Knutsford Admin Ltd, Cheshire, talks Bookkeeping in Lego

Let me tell you a story …

Recently I was delighted to take part in the funded Smart Cheshire Innovation Program through the Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub along with around 20 other business owners.  This course run through Manchester Metropolitan University is designed to help businesses who are established and looking for guidance in the next stage of development, the aim to support businesses who may be taking on more employees which, of course, is excellent for the local economy.

An inspiring selection of speakers came to our sessions and put us through various classroom exercises – some more fun than others (personally I loathe ball games!) – but all valid and enlightening in their own way.

Isla, superstar, of Ruby Star Associates asked us to create in Lego how we view our customers experience.

What a simple way to pull together a visual of who we are as a business and what we can do to help potential customers, exercises such as this help us define the vision for our businesses and our mission statements.

So here is Knutsford Admin’s lego story from left to right in three stages:

Stage 1) businesses call us, they may be in a dark period, there maybe cobwebs on their files, they may feel like a headless chicken, the authorities (HMRC) might be after them.

Stage 2) Knutsford Admin comes along, working closely with the business owner together they whip the files into shape, maybe even using files in calm and co-ordinated colours, everything becomes symmetrical and in a uniform order, it is a bit like a visit from a genie in a lamp.

Stage 3) the business owner feels like the King on top of their castle again.  Life is full of bright colours and doors are opening – note the palm tree behind the pink door – that is the opportunity for the business owner to go on holiday and take some essential time out.

Hope you like the Lego story and if you think we can help you then call 01565 625615

 

Mail Merge Labels for envelopes – a Microsoft Word Training Guide from a Knutsford, Cheshire Secretarial Service

Do you have a whole list of people or businesses you need to send post to, would you like to quickly produce typed labels to stick on the envelopes?  Christmas is a popular time to do this when it comes to sending out cards.

We can help you do this.

Click to open our HOW TO MAIL MERGE guide.

First you will need to have created a spreadsheet in Excel.  Put your contact details into rows, follow these column headings:

Title, First Name, Last Name, House/Building Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, Address Line 3, County, Post Code

Save this document with a name and in a file on your computer where you can find it when you browse to link to it from Word when you’re creating the labels later.

Please get in touch if you have any questions, we’re happy to give very brief help over the telephone.

Alternatively, if you would like to use one of our services, we can produce the labels for you or you could book one of our two hour training sessions at our office when we can show you how to use Microsoft Excel and / or Word.

Office@KnutsfordAdmin.co.uk

01565 625615

 

 

Bookkeeper, accounts experience, excel – JOB VACANCY – Knutsford Admin

Due to expansion we’re looking for a new member to join our friendly team.   Knutsford Admin, has been established 6 years and prides itself on exceptional customer service and happy clients we’re looking for an experienced bookkeeper / accounts person who is confident in bookkeeping software and excel.

 

Initially this post is for 12 hours per week and will be based at our Knutsford town centre office, visits to clients premises will be required.

We are a very close team and support each other continuously, we do like to have a laugh whilst working professionally at all times.  Our clients are very important to us and we have developed good relationships with them.  Continued external training is always on offer at Knutsford Admin.

If you would like to know more about Knutsford Admin and the role please do call 01565 625615 or email with a covering note and CV to Helen@KnutsfordAdmin.co.uk

“…bookkeeping is probably something you should not even attempt.” A quote found by Cheshire Bookkeeper, Knutsford Admin


Those with ADHD might make better Entrepreneurs. Read the very interesting original article from Entrepreneur.com HERE

In the article Lydia Belanger, associate editor,  writes about business owners who may have ADHD “It’s also understanding that bookkeeping is probably something you should not even attempt.  Nobody I’ve met is able to do their own bookkeeping.  They hate it.  It creates all sorts of anxiety.  I’ve interviewed several people who, every freaking quarter, they are delayed filing their taxes.  They have to pay extra fees.  Typically, they need people to help them.”

Do some business owners have ADHD?  

Do people with ADHD gravitate towards being business owners? 

One thing is for sure, being a business owner is not for everyone and is not for the faint hearted.   It can also be jolly lonely being the business owner and frankly keeping on top of the books is the least creative or exciting part of a day to day routine for the average entrepreneur.  

The team at Knutsford Admin can fit in well here, our approach to supporting business owners and their teams means that they can get on with the day to day marketing, creative and sales work within the business while we keep the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed.   We understand how tedious bookkeeping appears on people’s ‘to do’ lists and we work with business owners  to give them maximum meaningful information from their figures with minimum effort on their part. 

If you would like more information about how the Knutsford Admin team can help you with bookkeeping and Admin tasks, please call 01565 625615. 

New Office & Website for Knutsford Admin Bookkeeping & Secretarial Services

Old website

Knutsford Admin was established in 2010 with a fabulous strap line ‘get your ducks in a row’ which is exactly what Helen set the business up to do.  Help people get their ducks in a row and their paperwork in order.   Inness from Inness Design had prepared a logo that reflected paperwork flying off in all directions and Emma from Damsel in Design created a website with ducks flying in from the side.

 

The Elements reflecting the services offered by KA

Now, in 2016, it is ALL CHANGE!  The business has grown and Knutsford Admin Ltd needed a new, more professional look and a website that clearly showed the extent of the work Knutsford Admin does to support businesses.  Inness based the new branding around the existing colours on the website and created a whole new website, he used the idea of the periodic table to create ‘elements’ which represent the different services Knutsford Admin offer.

These elements have been introduced all over the new website and signage at the new office, located on the first floor of King Edward House, behind Costa Coffee where the Carmichael Physiotherapy Clinic is.   We particularly like the contact us page where the elements have been used as shop signs.  Of course we can’t fail to mention the Team page with the fabulous photography by Paul Worpole that Inness has put together.

That is the story of our new branding, we hope you like the more modern look.

New website

 

NOW FILLED: Bookkeeper job vacancy | Knutsford, Cheshire

duck1“Get your ducks in a row” – that’s our slogan and we like to help businesses achieve this.  Knutsford Admin is a bookkeeping practice registered with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.  Alongside bookkeeping Knutsford Admin offers secretarial services and training on Microsoft Excel, Word and Powerpoint.

Due to growth we are seeking to appoint a qualified bookkeeper, with good computer bookkeeping experience, preferably with SAGE.   Alongside bookkeeping experience it is essential that the candidate is proficient and confident with Microsoft packages and not scared of I.T!

The ideal candidate will enjoy a challenge and be able to adapt their work flow to the daily demands of the business.  Each member of the team looks after their own clients, but, equally all team members are able to cover each other, sometimes at short notice.

Knutsford Admin is a small business and can offer a degree of flexibility of hours; this post is part time but full time may be considered.  We are a small team who are proud of the professional service we offer to clients and actually enjoy coming to work!

Salary will be based on experience.

If you are interested in this role then please email over a covering note and CV fao Rachel office@KnutsfordAdmin.co.uk

Cheshire Bookkeeper Pedometer Exercise!

pedometer.Spurred on by the BBC headline:

Inactivity ‘kills more than obesity’ www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30812439 made me analyse just how sedentary our work as bookkeepers and personal assistants in an admin business really is.

It is very easy when the workload is busy to crack the whip, start early, finish late and work through lunch.  The result is sitting in one chair busily working away with little physical activity.

At the same time as the BBC headline an article appeared on the Buffer Twitter feed by Carolyn Kapprasch, Chief Happiness Officer at Buffer www.carokopp.com/post/107273061758/steps-30-day-challenge about trying to complete 10,000 steps per day.

So, I set about my own challenge.  As the owner of Knutsford Admin and someone who spends more time than I should sitting I set about doing 10,000 steps a day throughout February 2015.

However, this had to very quickly change from being a goal to being an observational pedometer analysis to see how many steps I actually did a day.

Working as a bookkeeper, life is already full of deadlines, so putting the pressure on every day of achieving 10,000 steps very quickly became yet another stress!  It joined the camp of belonging to a book club and the reality that trying to finish the book in time for each meeting becomes a burden!!

Chatting about my mini challenge with a dietitian friend she pointed out that it would be easy to make the effort to move around for 10 minutes in every hour.  This sounds simple enough to do too.  When you think though that each day can be made up of 7.5 chargeable hours, then 10 minutes out of every 7.5 hours is 450 minutes reduced by 75 minutes, this is 16% of the day, which, if costs are critical to a business these 10 minutes per hour can be hard to find.  Though of course, the business is nothing without a member of staff or owner who is unable to work based on bad health or worse …

Below is a highlight of just some of the days in February.  It has certainly been an interesting exercise and has really shown just how ‘sedentary’ being in a sedentary job is, some days were shocking where the steps taken were less than 1,000, this made me sit up and take notice.

In conclusion I do way too few steps and need to ensure that on busy days I find the energy to exercise outside of work.  It is also important to me as an employer to check that others who work at Knutsford Admin are getting opportunities to get out of their chair and are encouraged to at lunch times and are taking exercise outside of the workplace too.

The result of this exercise for me is that I have been putting more walking into my daily routine and swimming much more frequently than I was before and have noticed that slowly I am toning up, I am less out of puff, and, the same as for Carolyn Kpoorasch I am definitely sleeping better.

If you have a sedentary job – count your steps it is worth seeing what the results are.

    STEPS WHAT DID THE DAY INVOLVE?
01/02/15 Sunday 6126 Weekend – including walking the dog
02/02/15 Monday 623 From bed to car, to office, sit at desk ALL day, long day in office, home in car, quick dinner and collapse on sofa.
09/02/15 Monday 16881 Holiday – City Break, lots of sight seeing
10/02/15 Tuesday 21564 Holiday – City Break, even more sight seeing
15/02/15 Sunday 9557 Weekend – including walking the dog
16/02/15 Monday 6776 Conscious effort to walk to work and go out for a walk during the day and again in the evening.
20/02/15 Friday 4710 Walked to work and made sure carried out a few errands popping out of the office.
21/02/15 Saturday 9049 Weekend – including walking the dog
24/02/15 Tuesday 643 From bed to car, to office, sit at desk ALL day, long day in office, home in car, quick dinner and collapse on sofa.
28/02/15 Saturday 11061 Weekend – including walking the dog, and making the effort to go that bit further!

2015 The Team; Bookkeeping and Secretarial Services in Knutsford

Photo of the team

L to R: Rachel, Alison, Helen

Four years delivering secretarial, virtual assistant and bookkeeping services in Knutsford Cheshire with a smile!

Knutsford Admin was established in January 2011 as a sole trader business by Helen Rogers based at her home office.

The business has gone from strength to strength and as Knutsford Admin reaches its fourth birthday it is registered as a Limited company, has a practice licence with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and is established in its own office in Knutsford with two permanent members of staff now working alongside Helen.

Alison is a Chartered Accountant, mother of four so is very talented at multi tasking, she loves nothing more than receiving the archetypal shoe box full of unordered receipts, or a years worth of unreconciled accounts and working with your accountant to create calm from disorder!

Rachel, joined Knutsford Admin as a graduate in August and was unsure where her career would lead. She has been encouraged and sponsored by Knutsford Admin through AAT exams and is enjoying learning how to be a bookkeeper along with the multifarious tasks daily life throws into the admin mix such as mail merge, printing on labels using software like Salesforce and Mailchimp, updating WordPress websites, Gmail contacts, Facebook, Twitter; her particular favourite is using Publisher and creating super newsletters and flyers.

Helen started her career at BBC Broadcasting House as a secretarial trainee and enjoyed her first job there working for the Head of Copyright department. One key message she remembers from the training is always to anticipate what your boss and the department need, and work on your initiative, don’t always wait to be given instructions. From the publicly funded BBC she went on to work in the very commercial setting of the oil industry at Total Oil, working in the Commercial and National Sales office, where customer service was high priority.  Her father had always insisted, ‘the customer is always right’ in the family retail business (well you let them think so in a polite way!) which was her first introduction to the importance of customer service.

When Helen first set up the business it was her belief that excellent admin and customer service is fundamental to any business model, a belief she still evangelises to this day.

Knutsford Admin markets itself as the admin behind newly established businesses, small businesses or as a compliment to the existing admin in a medium sized business.

As a team we are well placed to help you with secretarial work, bookkeeping and all general admin jobs that might pop up and suggest creative solutions to your admin headaches. Examples might be helping organise an event, research for a particular project via publications, the internet or telephone enquiries, travel booking, producing documents or office manuals, creating a filing system, inputting of data or telephone/email cover.

Whatever your needs, Knutsford Admin would be delighted to have a no obligation chat and provide a free quote for you. The service is always professional, confidential and delivered with a smile!

Telephone 01565 625615
Email office@KnutsfordAdmin.co.uk

Business Owners NEED Holidays – Tips from a Cheshire Bookkeeper & Secretarial Service


STEP OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL!

image

Running your own business is a responsibility – it involves working in the business and on the business and this can become a bit overwhelming to the point at which it might feel like the only way to keep up is to turn the wheel faster and keep on running.

Warning! The cog on the wheel will wear and rupture – let the wheel have a rest! Take a break!

TIME MANAGEMENT

It may feel impossible to work out when fitting a break in would work if your bookkeeping and secretarial services business has clients who have regular tasks that need completing.

This is when time management comes into play.

Perhaps book holidays mid month to avoid month end tasks, avoid VAT quarter deadlines and year ends.  With careful time management it is possible to get up to date and even ahead of the task list before going away. Communicate with clients, let them know you’re going away with plenty of notice, ask them if there is anything they’d like doing before you go, leave them feeling reassured everything is in control. Make an excellent diary note for exactly what needs to be completed in the first week back at the desk in the office.

PRIORITISE

Don’t sweat the small stuff, worrying about leaving the business, packing and who’s going to look after the pet etc… can get overwhelming.

Prioritise the worries.

Worry and focus on getting the business up to date, this is important.

Packing is incidental, unless you are planning a trip to the wilds you’ll be able to buy anything you’ve forgotten while you’re away, which will also support the local economy.

Perhaps (like me!) you like to leave your home and garden in order, do your best, but don’t let this worry zap your energy – an hour after returning home, emptying the suitcases, making a cup of tea and opening the post the tidiness will be lost, but, you’ll have more energy to tidy and clean at that point as you’ll be relaxed and energised after the break away.

PLAN

A successful break is all in the planning!

Fail to plan, plan to fail!

Plan your holiday where you’ll get maximum pleasure so you’ll feel relaxed.  Check the average weather for the area you might visit, it might not be a holiday if it rains every day! If you like peace and quiet don’t stay in the a bustling resort or town, use the internet, tools like www.TripAdvisor.com can be invaluable to check out this type of information and ask around people you know to research where to go.

COVER

Some advice is to leave devices at home to enjoy a real break.  Only you can decide if this is what will work for you and your business.  It can be more relaxing to feel in control and have mobile phones and laptops available.

If you intended to take devices make sure you are set up to use mobile phones abroad without hefty tariffs, use a synced email account like Office 365, cloud storage for documents, put in place some measures like answer phone messages and auto responder emails that let the people know you are not at your desk but they will get an answer within 24 hours.  That way access to devices can be restricted to an hour a day to pick up messages and respond reliably to relevant ones.

Alternatively find a member of staff or agency who you can trust to provide cover.

At Knutsford Admin, as business owner, when I’ve taken holidays I have conscientious reliable part-time staff I can leave in charge at the office, whilst I provide support by being available on email once or twice a day.

For our clients we have also provided cover for phones and emails when they have been away.  In our experience, if an enquiry comes in, or, an existing customer calls, when they receive a personal response either solving their problem or advising that the person who can deal with their query will be back on a set date they are happy.

BE REALISTIC

Knutsford Admin is proud to always offer excellent customer service, and it would be a shame to think that a new enquiry came in whilst the owner was away and we missed an opportunity of possibly engaging a new client – especially as we really love learning about new businesses and genuinely enjoy a variety of work coming through the office. But, if, as the owner, I didn’t take a rest, my hamster wheel would break and there would be a risk of losing existing clients too, so a holiday is good for me, clients, and the business in general!  Knutsford Admin is still in its infancy as it grows there will be increasing full time cover during holiday times.

Here’s wishing all business owners happy, restful and energising  holidays.

 

If you have read to the end of this you may be interested in a couple of articles found during research whilst writing this blog post.

Richard Branson on How to Take an Inspiration Vacation

Time-poor entrepreneurs: take a break to boost your small business