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My Week: Busy Fool

15th Dec 2017
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Hello folks.  I failed to stop myself from indulging in YouTube/Trump.

Thanks to a box set of  The West Wing complete series - Presidential edition of course and YouTube,  I am better-informed and also gripped on American politics as compared to UK politics. I cannot see a sex scandal brewing when it comes to our PM. That would get me interested! PM has enough on her plate with trying to work out a deal on Brexit.  

Stress

It was a stressful week. at the same time, we are getting through our workload. By the end of next week, all the March 2017 statutory accounts will be completed. Further, we are in control of tax returns season. It is very much doable without working the extra hours.

I do not think we would be humans, if I say, the tax returns season will not be stressful. It is always stressful. It is good stress. In the sense that it improves our productivity.

Saying NO 

As I mentioned in one of the earlier blogs, we have now reached a fee bank that meets all the expenses and provides me an okayish income that I can live on. The question I was pondering on over the week, is whether not to take on any more:

  • One-off clients: For example, clients who just want a tax return completed and then they are off, not be seen again since they are either leaving the country or going into employment. Time and effort involved do not make this a viable way forward. Also, they would be further headaches down the line if they end up with a Compliance letter from HMRC.
     
  • Not to take on work below a minimum fee level say £600+VAT. Even £600 is a low figure. My heart and brain is telling me it should be higher -maybe £1000? I will give this area further thought.
     
  • I have identified clients who are currently not viable for the practice. So far, I approached one client and talked about increasing fees. After I had outlined my reasons, she sounded okay with the increase. I have no doubt, other will NOT be so amenable.

On some of the clients, we are busy fools. That is down to yours truly. Unlike Trump's excuses, the buck stops with me. You have to bear in mind, I did not have a practice background when I started. Also, I had an employee mindset. It meant, I made decisions that have been costly and not good for the practice.

With experience, I now have a practice owner mindset and I also have practice experience. It is time for a gear shift. 2018 is that time.

Will it work?

We are living in a highly competitive world. As practice owners, we are NOT the only ones blessed with the forces of a competitive environment.

Here is my take. If I take on clients who will make us nothing but busy fools, it is just not worth carrying on. Further, it is demotivating to work in this way.  It is best to move on to something else. The worst for me would be becoming an employee. It is better than being a busy fool.

As you know. the other side of the equation is/are efficencies in productivity. The way the work is done. Works need to be completed, to the required standards, in the shortest time possible. That comes from taking on people who have a similar mindset and more importantly are motivated to improving the productivity of the practice.

If I choose the busy fool route, I will not have the time to make changes to improve the productivity of the practice.

Dare I say it, I have a sense that they are many practice owners who are busy fools. Whether they would admit and make changes to this fact, is an entirely different matter and it will never be a subject of My Week. I do not give advice unless requested.

And Finally 

I have put my head down on my studies. It is so difficult to find the time, sit down and study. At the same time, I am learning so much. It is and will be a direct benefit to FT Practice Ltd.

We are nearly at the end of exhausting 2017. I am looking forward NOT having to respond to client emails over the holiday period.

 

Replies (9)

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By dbowleracca
15th Dec 2017 22:42

I’ve just been catching up on your blog, as I haven’t had the opportunity over recent weeks.

You say you don’t have the time for your studies, but you have been sat watching You Tube for who knows how long over recent weeks?

I think £600 is a fair fee level to start from. We take on clients below that level, if we can see it being profitable, and we find that some of them go on to be very good clients paying us £3k or more a year after a few years.

I agree that one off jobs are just not worth the hassle, especially one off tax returns. The time and effort required to set them up outweighs the profit on the job!

Hope 2018 brings you the success that you are seeking, and a more focussed and clear mind to achieve that.

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
16th Dec 2017 11:33

...Thud...

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Steve Edwards
By stevo5678
16th Dec 2017 13:39

The penny dropped with me recently re trimming the fat by cutting/increasing fees with certain clients.

It was always the plan to grade my clients in year 2/3 but never got round to it (now year 4). My mentality has changed from say yes to everyone to putting up fees by 25% minimum and trying to be more in control of the client relationship.

This along with being part of the GoProposal facebook group (sharing ideas with like minded accountants) and also looking too get 80% of suitable businesses onto Xero this year should completely transform us. I also spend a lot more time on processes, Glide has been great for this as it is so flexible (although lacking in the CRM side).

We now have bigger premises, the right amount of staff and a great sub-contractor so can look positively to 2018.

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Replying to stevo5678:
By Red Leader
16th Dec 2017 14:05

+25%? Did you do that in one go or spread it over more than a year?

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By Red Leader
16th Dec 2017 14:07

@FT

Employee/Owner mindset: when I was an employee, I enjoyed any complex tax issue. As an owner, I avoid them.

I have also watched all the West Wing episodes! I think it was on Lovefilm or Netflix. Really enjoyed it but it did become a bit sentimental towards the end. There are so many players with different roles in US politics that there's always a story there.

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Replying to Red Leader:
bike
By FirstTab
18th Dec 2017 00:06

Hi RL

Thanks. I also watched the complete set of West Wing, about 6 months ago. Great entertainment.

On Tax, reading some your questions on AA, you tax knowledge is better than mine. I am finding studying for CTA a great help. I am putting in the hours now.

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20th Feb 2018 13:49

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By fredricksonglenn
20th Feb 2018 13:49

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By LukeMill
27th Jun 2018 14:14

We are living in a highly competitive world. It is so true!
Interesting blog! Thanks for sharing!

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