I’m never quite sure why but if those that appear in the media are to be believed, new year’s resolutions appear to be little more than wild hopes of changing ingrained habits.
How many people give up drinking for more than a week or regard the gym as anything other than a charity happy to accept payments in return for nothing?
15 ways to improve your practice and your life
This selection is meant to be little different. It consists of some suggestions that might help to improve both your business and your life, if that doesn’t sound too highfalutin.
- Perhaps it’s finally time to stop being a last-minute manager. While some people clearly relish filing tax returns at 11.59 on 31 January, it isn’t always a good idea for your health or that of staff and clients. I was most amused by a chat with a friend having asked him how his Christmas had gone. Inexplicably, he was unenthusiastic about the joys of spending Boxing Day with his accountant, completing a long overdue set of accounts. Surely there is more to life than this?
- Find your phone’s off button. If you can’t, then I am happy to provide a consultancy service at very reasonable rates and have the capability to do the necessary with both Android and Apple mobiles.
- As part of a similar project, think about refreshing your tech both at home and work. Not only will this improve performance, but it might even be fun. Who doesn’t love a new phone or laptop?
- Try taking more time off. Most of us feel an obligation to be tied to our desks, even when we are being inefficient or there is little to do. Life will almost certainly seem better if you take longer breaks and holidays.
- That might lead into trusting members of staff to a greater degree. If you can’t, then try to find some who are more reliable, although that may not be easy given the current market conditions.
- One way to achieve this might be to ramp up fees. If you get the formula right, it should be possible to make the same profits with less work and/or fewer staff.
- If you can’t get away completely, then at least improve the work/life balance by spending a few more days at home with the family or the pooch, working but at least communing with friendly faces.
- On the client front, perhaps it is time to sack the badly behaved ones, who make your life a nightmare and rarely pay decent rates.
- The same could be said for lacklustre staff who take advantage and put you under unnecessary pressure.
- Having got rid of the troublemakers, try treating the good clients better. A quick anecdote says it all. A friend of mine runs a group that is currently making seven figure profits. For the last two years, there top 10 firm of accountants have failed to file either the accounts or corporation tax returns by the respective deadlines. Ironically, as my friend was beginning the search for competent advisers, the contact partner sent out a shirty (please read that carefully as otherwise it could seem far too accurate) letter telling them to go elsewhere as they were not big enough.
- Clients that get good service cause no trouble and are usually happy to pay, as long as they can afford it. Those that get shirty service will not only moan, groan and demand that you pay their fines but will also badmouth you to other accountants, journalists and prospective clients.
- Don’t penny pinch. It is really stressful and rarely pays off in the longer term.
- If you hate your job, then stop suffering and get a new one.
- If you hate accountancy, then perhaps it’s time to retire or leave the profession.
- This brings us to the question of how much money do you really need? While we might all like to be as rich as Elon Musk, it doesn’t seem to be bringing him any happiness and most even moderately successful accountants probably have a nice, healthy nest egg stashed away if they do want to take life easier.