“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” - Tim Ferriss
Are you feeling pressured and find that you’re working more hours than contracted? Most often, a lack of time is simply a lack of priorities.
In part 3 of our 4 part ScribeFest series, Hannah, Jane and Jade from the Scribe team talk about a real issue for clerks and RFOs which is lack of time.
This 4 minute video covers things you should prioritise to help manage your time.
Check out the video below
Promise: manage your time effectively
- Setting aside time to keep your cashbook up-to-date
- Taking time to fully understand your cashbook system
- Ensuring accurate record keeping
- Asking for help & advice (Check out our Facebook Group dedicated to Council Clerks)
A problem that seems to be a real issue for clerks and RFOs is lack of time as many customers I speak to fit being a clerk around a ‘proper’ job as they call it. There seems to be an increasing pressure on time and many are working more hours than they are contracted to. This is not only due to completing the accounts but because the other tasks within the role still have to be done and this year has produced additional challenges with Covid in juggling new guidance, risk assessments and for many the dreaded home schooling which we have all been through here at Scribe and would all agree was not much fun! Hannah what advice would you give regarding managing time?
As Jane has identified lack of time can often be an issue as can lack of experience. Because the role of clerk can involve many different elements, sometimes finance and accounts may not be the part in which the clerk feels most comfortable. This can often be exacerbated by being the only employee of the council and feeling like you are somewhat going it alone.
In this case I would recommend setting aside time regularly to keep your cashbook up to date so that you are never overwhelmed by how much you have to enter. Again this goes back to having an appropriate cash book system that records all elements of the transactions that you will need to analyse your data and produce your reports easily. Also try to complete regular bank reconciliations, ideally monthly as this will also save time as if you do have a reconciliation difference it will be limited to just the last month’s data to check through.
With regards to lack of experience and confidence in the accounts this will improve with time. Taking some time to fully understand your cash book system and also the reports that you prepare should help. You could consider formal training in this area but I certainly wouldn’t say this is necessary. A lot of the accounts work is actually about accurate record keeping and providing the information you need to. It may be helpful to look at linking up with other clerks that you can then ask for advice or check things with.
Yes I feel this links back to what I was saying just now about feeling isolated. I know even from my own personal experience of working from home the past 6 months one thing I have really missed is being able to turn around in my chair and run an idea past Jane or Hannah- or to just ask a question from time to time about something I’m doing. I know for a lot of Clerks/ RFO’s working from home isn’t a new thing and for lots of people it’s how they’ve worked for many years but I think that having something like Scribe in place isn’t just about having a software package that will run off all these reports and year end- often and especially for our smallest councils it’s about having someone on the end of the phone who knows what you’re talking about or looking at and is able to advise professionally and confidently. It’s often about having the assurance that you are doing it right or knowing that if you run your bank reconciliation and it doesn’t balance you can call us and ask for a fresh pair of eyes to take a look and help you find that 11p that’s been keeping you up last night. We all have one thing in common and as cheesy as it sounds we do really like talking to you guys and it’s a real sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ve helped someone fix something or given the right piece of advice which has meant they no longer need to worry about it or feel alone.
I agree with that , we do enjoy solving problems and it's definitely one of the most satisfying parts of the job.