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 [email protected]

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

Are you looking for a Secretary or Virtual Assistant in Knutsford, Cheshire?

What is the difference between a secretary, a virtual assistant or a P.A, personal assistant?

Looking at OxfordDictionaries.com a secretary origin is

“late Middle English (originally in the sense ‘person entrusted with a secret’)”

and is defined as,

“a person employed by an individual or in an office to assist with correspondence, make appointments, and carry out administrative tasks “.

OxfordDictionaries.com has no definition for Virtual Assistant, there is a definition on Wikipedia.org

“A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office”

Our interpretation is that a VA is a modern day equivalent of the more traditional named secretary or PA.  A VA is less likely to have day to day or face to face contact with the client with work arriving by phone call or email.  Whereas a secretary may be more likely to sit and plan work with the client.

One thing in common is indeed the comment ‘person entrusted with a secret’ – be it a secretary, personal assistant or virtual assistant the client can be sure of confidential treatment of their work.

If you are self-employed and running a business you will know how overwhelming day to day admin tasks can be.  Buying in a secretarial / virtual assistant service can be a wonderful solution providing much needed help, either as a one off or indeed as a regular set up.

Perhaps you are looking for that extra help, in Cheshire, to see the bottom of your in tray and tidy up your desk, why not call us for a free, no obligation chat about your requirements 01565 625615.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping relieve your stress.

Bookkeeper Job – Knutsford Post filled March 2014

Update – VACANCY FILLED but thanks for looking.

Are you looking for a new bookkeeping job? Part time?

We are recruiting:

Experienced Bookkeeper, SAGE / Excel competent (plus QuickBooks experience or happy to learn)

12 hours p/week £21k pro rata

To work at our office on Parkgate Industrial Estate, Knutsford

Please email your details / CV to

[email protected]

Testimonial – Microsoft Office 2010 Training Knutsford Cheshire

Thank you to R.Anderson, Knutsford for the following emailed testimonial:

I recently undertook a series of ‘Upskill’ training sessions at Knutsford Admin in Microsoft 2010 Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  This was conducted on a one to one basis, tailored to meet my individual requirements and carried out in a professional and relaxing atmosphere.  I highly recommend Knutsford Admin to meet all your training requirements, no matter how simple or complex.

February 2014

Excel and Word training in Knutsford Cheshire

Do you wish you knew a bit more about Microsoft Office Word and Excel?  Perhaps you don’t feel confident and would benefit from some extra help showing you what can be done and where to look to find out how to do tasks.

If you’re new to Excel and Word 2010 you might not be familiar with ‘The Ribbon’ and its functionality.

Essentially everything with The Ribbon is easy especially when you know where to look!

We know people have enjoyed learning at our office.  Training is on a one to one basis or as part of a small group, max of three.  It is possible in this setting to tailor the learning to what you as an individual need to learn.

Do get in touch if you have something you would like to learn more about in Word or Excel.

Meanwhile click to see our simple guide to adding regularly used text into your Word document Microsoft Word Quick Parts

Excel Training Menu – Knutsford, Cheshire

If you are looking for training on Excel in Knutsford, Cheshire, then we’ll be happy to share our knowledge with you and have produced a ‘menu’ of some of our favorite uses for Excel.

Please click on the link below to see examples of what you can learn.

We look forward to hearing from you.

ExcelMenuTrainingJan2014

Training Dates Winter/Spring 2014

Below is a list of the available times in Knutsford, Cheshire, for training slots to be booked within.

It is sometimes possible to offer a degree of flexibility so please ask if the time you wish for training is not displayed.

Any times between the hours below
MONDAY          09.00 – 20.30
TUESDAY         09.00 – 17.30
WEDNESDAY  18.30 – 20.30
THURSDAY      12.00 – 20.30
FRIDAY             09.00 – 17.30
SATURDAY       09.00 – 17.00

For a printable list of days of week and times please open this PDF.
Knutsford Admin Training Dates Availability Winter . Spring 2014