The Practitioner: paying the bills

BUSY DOING NOTHING? Everyone is complaining about being too busy, chargeable time is at an all time high, yet the bill book is as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

The trend since summer has been as follows: week 1 – no bills; week 2 – no bills; week 3 – a few bills; week 4 – an avalanche of bills!

This has a negative effect on cash flow during the month, as well as causing the blood pressure of the partners to escalate as the month, and the empty bill book, sticks out like a sore thumb. 

It also begs the question: what the hell are people doing all month?

In an effort to resolve the issue, we are trying to monitor the work output by holding regular weekly staff meetings where all staff are given the chance to update the rest of the team on their progress, but the issue lingers on.

When I quiz the staff as to why a particular job is still on their list, the conversation seems to go as follows:

Staff member: “Client hasn’t got back to me with the queries”

Me: “Have you phoned him up to chase?”

Staff member: “No”

Me (out loud): “OK, well try that today please.”

Me (in my head): “You lazy sod! Do you not realise the importance of getting jobs done and getting bills sent out? It pays your bloody wages you idiot! 

I have had a few training sessions recently with an external coach and have raised that issue with her a few times. The general feedback seems to be that I need to be saying out loud more of what I would otherwise keep in my head.

Perhaps things are a bit too friendly and comfortable in the office and staff meetings in particular, so maybe it’s time to get the baseball bat out of the sideboard and crack a few skulls. Figuratively speaking of course.

I don’t mind a few blood stains on bills, as long as there are bills going out the door.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a regional firm in the heart of England


Related reading