Finding an accountability bookkeeping buddy could help you on the road to success

The notion of accountability — to yourself and to others — has been an important part of pandemic living. To avoid spreading the virus, we’ve needed to be accountable for wearing a mask, limiting our contacts and keeping our distance. However, in the world of self-employment, it’s a vital tool to keep you on track to running a successful business.

The transition to working-from-home for the first time, or moving into self-employment can be tough, mainly due to the sudden loss of accountability. Getting the client work done is the straight-forward part, but when you begin working on something new, or something out of your comfort zone, it’s easy to procrastinate, panic, over-analyse and lose confidence. The previously shared responsibility of a growing a business now totally rests on one person- you- but you don't have to do it alone.

Research shows that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you tell someone about it. Those chances rise to an astounding 95% if you commit to meeting up with that person within a given timeframe. The advantage of being an ICB member is that you don’t have to find yourself a peer-to-peer network. At ICB, we promote a sense of community and this week's International Women’s Day celebrations highlight just how important this community can be to your business.

Sujay Patel, ICB’s Practice Onboarding Manager said "I speak to new ICB practice owners every day and quite a few talk to me about their fears and lack of confidence in starting a business on their own. We decided to put together the International Women’s Day event to help nurture our new ICB practices and help these new practice owners build connections amongst their peers. The ICB network is so powerful, it’s a great way to knowledge-share, bounce ideas off each other and just be an additional source of support.”

Keeping yourself accountable can help you stay on track and achieve your goals, so here’s how you can do it:

Find yourself an accountability bookkeeping buddy

An accountability buddy doesn’t need to be a bookkeeper, but by choosing someone who is in a similar position to you, you have a mutual understanding of the challenges and successes in the industry. Mutually agree to coach and support each other and provide feedback on a regular basis. Share your wins, your woes and everything in between!

Set yourself deadlines in between your check-ins

The catch-ups with your bookkeeping buddy don’t have to be time-consuming. They can range from 5 mins to an hour or more. However long they may be, make sure to utilise them properly. Set yourself ‘accountability statements’ – these are small actions that are part of a larger goal. Have a clear outcome and be realistic about the time frame you set for yourself. Use the check-ins with your bookkeeping buddy as mini deadlines in which to complete these accountability statements. Breaking your goals into smaller bitesize actions can help you achieve them quicker.

Adopt Mini Habits

Setting up as a sole trader can feel overwhelming when you have to manage all aspects of your business on your own. Set yourself mini goals; whether that be reaching out to 1 new lead every day, making sure you are taking a proper lunch break every day or ending your day by writing a to-do list for the next day. A common trait amongst bookkeepers is organisation. Organise your thoughts, break them down, and take it step by step. You’ll find that you can be more productive when you have an order or routine in place.

Celebrate the small wins

Running your own business can be a rollercoaster. Make sure you reward yourself for the small wins as much as you do for the big ones. Share your challenges with your bookkeeping buddy – refocus and realign yourself to your goals. Accountability means you accept that things aren’t going to run perfectly every time, but when it does, it’s much easier to share your happiness with someone who can fully comprehend how far you have come.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

CPD allows you to keep yourself up to date with anything pertaining to your professional development. ICB runs Anti Money Laundering webinars every Monday at 2pm, the popular webinar Thank Furlough It's Friday every Friday at 2pm, specialist Technical Updates every month, as part of a varied programme of specialist webinars covering everything from soft skills to software updates. Utilise the free resources available to you as a member of ICB. By doing CPD, you are keeping yourself accountable to provide your clients with the most up-to-date information and services in the industry.