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Welcome to my new world

12th Sep 2012
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September 12 - It feels like I’ve been away from here for a long time. Candidly, quite a lot feels like quite a long time ago to me right now, but it’s time to plan a come back.

It’s two months now since I realised I didn’t just have a does of shingles (although I am assured I did manage that) but something that was going to debilitate me for longer. No medic has, as yet, told me with any confidence just what I do have. The most honest, who is the GP I’ve seen most, admits he just doesn’t know. Candidly, I’ve grown to appreciate his embrace of uncertainty.

I’ve been a pin cushion and drugs have been pushed in my direction. I have undoubtedly improved. But then words like chronic fatigue syndrome, that I thought would never come near me, have also been pushed in my direction.

The one thing everyone seems agreed on is I’m not depressed, although I could now cheat at all the tests they use to assess depression I’ve done so many. They also seem to agree that I’m not mad. Actually, on reflection, no one has told me I’m not, but I don’t think that’s because they’re just being kind. Nor has anyone asked me, yet, who the prime minister is.

So I have come to, a bit reluctantly, accept that for reasons medical science can’t yet explain I am suffering low energy and nothing from Red Bull onwards seems to be able to do much about it right now. The consequence is I’ve decided not to fight it and instead to get on and live with it. There’s no doubt I’ve felt better since doing so.

The result is that, working with the Chair and the shareholders (who have been remarkably supportive) it’s been agreed that I can change my work duties, and role. That means the Chair is stepping down to become a non-exec, I’m taking his place and after discussion with both East and AM it’s AM who is taking over as CEO. East fully supports the move. He admits he’s a born number 2 and will never want the top job. AM on the other hand takes over the role that I guess I always thought might be hers one day from the time I poached her from our auditors. If the success of a manager is to be to groom their successor to take over then I really do think I’ve succeeded with her.

The result is that whilst the PM’s reshuffle seems to have impressed no one, we’ve done one that appears to be keeping lots of people happy. The ex-Chair is still there as wise counsel. The shareholders were adamant they wanted me on board to manage their complex relationships with each other and the company. I keep a key role but with less demand and AM’s new role was well received when announced. And by a little judicious negotiation the wage bill is pretty much the same, which inevitably means I’ve taken a cut. Well, that’s life. Many facing the situation I’m in would be a lot worse off than me.

But it also means a new direction for this diary. I’ve been in discussion with the folks at AccountingWEB and after nine years of the day to day stuff we’ve agreed it may be a time to change that too, not least because I may not be in every day. What they put to me, and which rather appeals to me, is that I write instead about what I’ve learned over my career. I’ve been in practice, even if it seems some time ago now. I’ve managed accounts departments, been an FD and then a CEO. And certainly over the last nine years, bumpy on occasion as they have been, I have definitely accumulated one heck of a lot of experience on and off the job (much of the latter being during those moments in the night when either the scale of a problem hit me, or with greater welcome, a solution arrived out of the blue and needed to be reflected upon before heading back to sleep).

So the aim is to write something a bit more column like, based around my experience, on real accounting, managing, business, people and all the other things no one ever properly mentions when you set out to be a professional accountant.

The aim is to write often enough to notice, energy permitting. As to themes, I’m open to suggestions, although some will definitely reflect my own loves and hates. But feel free to comment, just in case the glaringly obvious passes me by, which it does, all too often.

The first one should be coming up, soon.

Welcome to my new world.September 12 - It feels like I’ve been away from here for a long time. Candidly, quite a lot feels like quite a long time ago to me right now, but it’s time to plan a come back.

It’s two months now since I realised I didn’t just have a does of shingles (although I am assured I did manage that) but something that was going to debilitate me for longer. No medic has, as yet, told me with any confidence just what I do have. The most honest, who is the GP I’ve seen most, admits he just doesn’t know. Candidly, I’ve grown to appreciate his embrace of uncertainty.

I’ve been a pin cushion and drugs have been pushed in my direction. I have undoubtedly improved. But then words like chronic fatigue syndrome, that I thought would never come near me, have also been pushed in my direction.

The one thing everyone seems agreed on is I’m not depressed, although I could now cheat at all the tests they use to assess depression I’ve done so many. They also seem to agree that I’m not mad. Actually, on reflection, no one has told me I’m not, but I don’t think that’s because they’re just being kind. Nor has anyone asked me, yet, who the prime minister is.

So I have come to, a bit reluctantly, accept that for reasons medical science can’t yet explain I am suffering low energy and nothing from Red Bull onwards seems to be able to do much about it right now. The consequence is I’ve decided not to fight it and instead to get on and live with it. There’s no doubt I’ve felt better since doing so.

The result is that, working with the Chair and the shareholders (who have been remarkably supportive) it’s been agreed that I can change my work duties, and role. That means the Chair is stepping down to become a non-exec, I’m taking his place and after discussion with both East and AM it’s AM who is taking over as CEO. East fully supports the move. He admits he’s a born number 2 and will never want the top job. AM on the other hand takes over the role that I guess I always thought might be hers one day from the time I poached her from our auditors. If the success of a manager is to be to groom their successor to take over then I really do think I’ve succeeded with her.

The result is that whilst the PM’s reshuffle seems to have impressed no one, we’ve done one that appears to be keeping lots of people happy. The ex-Chair is still there as wise counsel. The shareholders were adamant they wanted me on board to manage their complex relationships with each other and the company. I keep a key role but with less demand and AM’s new role was well received when announced. And by a little judicious negotiation the wage bill is pretty much the same, which inevitably means I’ve taken a cut. Well, that’s life. Many facing the situation I’m in would be a lot worse off than me.

But it also means a new direction for this diary. I’ve been in discussion with the folks at AccountingWEB and after nine years of the day to day stuff we’ve agreed it may be a time to change that too, not least because I may not be in every day. What they put to me, and which rather appeals to me, is that I write instead about what I’ve learned over my career. I’ve been in practice, even if it seems some time ago now. I’ve managed accounts departments, been an FD and then a CEO. And certainly over the last nine years, bumpy on occasion as they have been, I have definitely accumulated one heck of a lot of experience on and off the job (much of the latter being during those moments in the night when either the scale of a problem hit me, or with greater welcome, a solution arrived out of the blue and needed to be reflected upon before heading back to sleep).

So the aim is to write something a bit more column like, based around my experience, on real accounting, managing, business, people and all the other things no one ever properly mentions when you set out to be a professional accountant.

The aim is to write often enough to notice, energy permitting. As to themes, I’m open to suggestions, although some will definitely reflect my own loves and hates. But feel free to comment, just in case the glaringly obvious passes me by, which it does, all too often.

The first one should be coming up, soon.

Welcome to my new world.

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Replies (15)

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By Mitchel_Cottingham
12th Sep 2012 17:10

Welcome back & all the very best for balancing your efforts & energies.  Having enjoyed your diary since before AM days I very much look forward to your columns.

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Replying to SteLacca:
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By cwilson
12th Sep 2012 17:41

Hear, hear

Glad to "see" you back and good luck in your new role.

 

Colin

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By A mum and an accountant
12th Sep 2012 21:34

Sounds interesting. I will look forward to reading it. Will the column be in the blog area or will it be somewhere else on the website?

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By Midlands Accountancy
12th Sep 2012 22:43

Management style

I’m always a little dubious when people write about their experience of managing a business, because what works in one organisation could prove totally toxic in another. So much depends on the actual business, the size of the business, and the ethos of the business.  I started in what was then a nationalised industry  employing tens of thousands, I’ve been FD of a group of companies employing around 500 staff, and I’ve been involved in managing a “family business” employing around 50, and the whole atmosphere and ethos was as different as chalk and cheese.  The former was very structured and formal, the latter more like a free for all with everyone left to “do their own thing”.

What I find interesting is the change over the last couple of decades, driven by “new” corporations like Microsoft and Google, who are both huge companies, but, who seem to be moving their management style more towards the “family” business model of letting staff “do their own thing”.

Maybe we really are seeing something of a revolution in management, and a recognition that staff are people, each with something to offer, rather than just regimented workers to be ordered around and not allowed to think for themselves.

Your thoughts would be interesting.

 

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By alistair_king
13th Sep 2012 05:45

Welcome Back

I look forward to reading your new column. I assume you will also from time to time give us insight into your new role as chair. I hope AM fulfils your trust in her, in her new role.

I will continue to hope that you recover from your mystery illness.

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By paulwakefield1
13th Sep 2012 09:01

Delighted you're back

and immensely looking forward to the new column. No pressure then. :-)

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Replying to Tim Vane:
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By landscaper
13th Sep 2012 09:24

was only thinking of you yesterday....

and then up popped your latest!  So glad that you might be on the mend and that you have new challenges ahead.  I have read your blog since day one and have found it so interesting, helpful and intriguing!

I wish AM all the best and especially you and your family.

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By kfosborne
13th Sep 2012 09:42

Welcome back and diet

Great to have you back again.

I've a lot of sympathy for you as I went through something similar when I was studying for my ACA. In my case it started as glandular fever, but long after the virus had gone I still felt exhausted. I had loads of tests and it wasn't depression (although I did feel pretty fed up), diabetes, heart problems or anything else they could test for.

After about 4 years of this, someone recommended I changed my diet (avoiding wheat, red meat, and dairy, and eating lots of fruit and raw veg) which was the first thing I did that made a difference to my energy levels.

What really transformed my health though was a book called the Wright Diet (I don't think it's in print any more but you can get them second hand online). The book makes seemingly incredible claims about how changing your diet can transform your energy levels, but I found its claims to be 100% true for me. At its base the book recommends at least 50% of your food is raw fruit and veg, avoid all processed food, eat 80% alkaline forming food (a new concept to me which I've never quite bought scientifically but it seems to work), and don't combine protein and starch in the same meal. I'd thoroughly recommend this diet to anyone, partly because you generally don't feel on a diet at all as you can eat as much as you like as long as it's the right sort of food.

Anyway, best of luck, I hope you get better, and I'm looking forward to your columns.

 

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By tom.pennington
13th Sep 2012 11:42

Welcome back

Also looking forward to the column and hoping for a fuller recovery.

I have read your diary from start to finish and found it fascinating, you should really spend some time collating it into a book in my opinion as I am sure others would really enjoy reading it through as one structured document, perhaps with added reflections from your position now, with 20:20 hindsight!

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By Gouldn2me
13th Sep 2012 12:58

Just a Suggestion

First and foremost, its good to hear you are improving and organising your new "normality".

I have been appreciating your column for a number of years and, if I remember correctly, AM had guessed your identity prior to being poached. Would you consider asking her for an occassional contribution to put a different opinion on what appears to have been a similar career path. You might be surprised at the differences that arise between your respective views on the same event.

Best of luck with your new role, and I look forward to your "new" column.

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By Hugh Scantlebury
14th Sep 2012 10:52

Best of luck

I am sure whatever you write will be as insightful and entertaining as your blog entries.

Maybe you could persuade John S. to let you do a review of Aqilla (mid range cloud based accounting and business software)!

In any event I wish you the best and hope that with the new regime your health improves.

 

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By steve.oldham
14th Sep 2012 11:14

Congratulations
Congrats to AM (who I presume still reads this blog!) You seem to have landed on your feet here, and I wish you well in your new role.

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By stephen_hoare
14th Sep 2012 11:34

Welcome back & good luck for the future

As someone else who has read this blog since day 1, it is good to hear from you again. I wish you the very best of luck and health in your new role and look forward to reading the column.

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By bevknowles
17th Sep 2012 13:21

Loose ends

Welcome back and glad to hear you're on the road to recovery, albeit slowly.  And looking forward to the new column.

As a reader from the outset, can we have a final loose ends wrap up?  What happened with the IT guy?  Did he ever come back?  And is there any news of what happened to Ops, NewC and the accounts lady whose name completely escapes me...

And any chance of AM taking over the blog, given she's already a reader of this blog (and good luck, AM).

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By Ian Bee
17th Sep 2012 15:32

Welcome back

Good to hear from you, and what is now happening.

Look forward to the first column!

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