Someone tell me it gets better

Antoinnette Registered Posts: 118 ? ? ?
I have only recently started out as a MIP and have taken on some bookkeeping for two charities in order to learn about how charity accounts work and to get some regular income. Both charities use sage and have major historic errors which they expect me to wipe away in very little time. One of the directors sat on my back for four hours last week asking after every fifteen minutes if I had sorted it out....we are talking errors made over three years:ohmy:
In trying to work to the time pressures I find I have actually started making mistakes in trying to correct the historic mistakes and have to go back to reverse them, leaving a riot of red lines which I feel makes me look incompetent. I have been using Sage since 2007, have set it up from scratch, use it for bookkeeping and accounts etc so its not like I don't know how to use the software. I think the asking for so much in so little time is getting to me a bit.
I probably need a mentor as I suspect I have actually started on the wrong footing. Any advice will be very welcome.:001_smile:


  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Bookkeeping isn't really what I do Antionette.

    However, I would look at it and start by deciding what you have originally been appointed to do? Is it particularly sorting out these errors or is it ongoing bookkeeping and they thought they could get the errors sorted whilst you were there.

    In my experience charities and not-for-profit organisations can be particularly demanding and I don't get involved with many.

    Is there any major need to sort these errors out or are they really minor and immaterial?

    I would say as a bookkeeper your going to get two types of work. Those who are looking for a new bookkeeper (ok work) and those who are in a mess and need help with sorting things out (a pain but possibly the most rewarding work).

    You say you know Sage well. My advice would be to firstly establish what errors exist and then work your way through one by one.

    I may be able to help with some mentoring, if you are interested then send me a pm.

    Best of luck.

  • Antoinnette
    Antoinnette Registered Posts: 118 ? ? ?
    Thanks for the reply Ian and offering to mentor me. I have just sent a PM. I think the problem is that I want to keep every single client no matter how difficult because I am starting up and that possibly cant be good.
    I agree with you about establishing the problem before I post anything. I must admit I crumbled under the pressure of posting as many transactions as possible in as little time as possible and this was the start of my problems. The most difficult of these two charities likes to move things around a lot and I suspect this has been the cause of the problem. Expenses are switched between funds a lot and past bookkeepers have struggled to keep up. Because there are a lot of entries and only four hours to do it no one has actually found the time to go back to correct most of these. Some accruals haven't been reversed in two years so the balance sheet is a complete mess.
    I have decided for my own piece of mind to offer an hour or two free just to do a balance sheet reconcilliation before I start posting again.
  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    Jobs like this can be a nightmare and it's a mistake I made so often when I was starting out - underestimating the time it'll take to get past transactions straightened out. There will probably be people who disagree with me here, but I think that in your situation the best thing to do is, as you say, offer to work at a reduced rate or for free just until you get things how you want them. The disadvantage of that of course is that you get a sick feeling at not being paid to do something which is probably pretty challenging, but the advantages are (a) the pressure is off and you're free to plod through it at a steady pace - this is excellent experience anyway, (b) the client will gain trust in you and hopefully this will result in a long-term happy relationship, (c) You'll not get a reputation of giving up at the first hurdle and (d) you'll learn not to give time/cost estimates to correct other people's work before you know exactly what's involved again (although I'm sure it took me many many occasions before I had the confidence to deal with this properly!)

    Good Luck with it - you will feel amazing when you get to the bottom of it.
  • Antoinnette
    Antoinnette Registered Posts: 118 ? ? ?
    Thanks JodieR, I must admit charity clients are a rather steep learning curve for me but its a bit of a consolation to hear someone else has been in a similar position of underestimating the time needed and of course the support on this forum is priceless:thumbup1:
    I will get there!
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