February is a crazy month.
First we have the romantic Valentine’s Day then plunge head first into tax season as soon as the romance and chocolate wear off.
This time of year emotions tend to run high. Something I’m sure my bookkeeping colleagues agree with. But rather than waste a perfectly good day complaining I thought I would relay how I handle being told off.
The first step is to breathe. Four to five times if the situation is excessively emotional. Your first instinct may be to fight back and defend that polished ego. Don't! That fight or flight thinking won't help.
Then my next step is to determine what the issue is. Focus on the problem not who did it. For me it’s usually the client who has goofed in some capacity and is upset that something isn’t right. Find a solution rather than focus on which employee or whose responsibility it is! It’s a better use of both of your time.
If necessary I resort back to the scope of services contract signed prior to commencing bookkeeping services to ensure both parties understand their respective responsibilities. With this type of exercise it is a great time to review and see if something needs to change or if additional services are required.
The final step is to care. In my experience clients are working at 110% capacity so their compassionate meter gets a little rusty. In February every employee is looking for their T4 slip ASAP. It’s the worst time of year for retail sales, restaurant industry and home building etc. So cash is often short. Then there is the worry of if they have contributed enough to RRSP’s. Finally there is the weather. February is one of the coldest months of the year in Canada. We lack Vitamin D because its too darn cold to go outside. Unless you got your minivan stuck in the driveway like I did yesterday and ended up shovelling snow.
In a weird way I admire someone who is able to feel comfortable with me to show their emotions. Most times these individuals are looking for a compassionate ear to “listen” to their burdens and understand what they are going through. A great bookkeeper does more than organize records. My role involves being a coach, a kick you in the butt when you need it, a second ear to run a crazy idea by, a mentor to someone in need, and ultimately the person that isn’t afraid to say get your sh*t together!
Hang in there. You are doing a great job!