Although my website does now say that I am not currently taking on new clients. I decided life was too busy and stressful a few months ago and to take a break from recruiting. Like you I recruited several new clients in the last year and only now am I having to do the work.
It was a real relief to put the 'no new business' banner on the website. Of course I will still do extra stuff for existing clients or take some referrals from good existing clients but I no longer feel obliged to tout the free consultations in the hope of getting a small job.
I upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 in mid August. Like you, it was fine for a week or two but then I couldn't access the start menu, search bar or edge. Lots of re-boots, but no luck. I found it so frustrating that I ended up reluctantly reverting to Windows 7 after a few weeks.
Of course my PC keeps dangling the upgrade at me and I am tempted but worried the same thing will happen again. Interesting to hear that it is a known issue and it was fixable. I am always wary of following instructions on the internet that change the registry etc, how do you know they are legit?
Is very important but I would not pick an upstairs or out of the way room. Presuming you want clients to come to you the last thing you want to be doing is tidying kids toys before they trip over them, or winding them through all your personal space to get to the office.
We are fortunate to live on a corner and so when we built an extension years about 7 years ago, I got an office with separate side entrance. So clients don't get inside the main house at all. It makes such a big difference in terms of separating work and home but also not having to spend an hour to tidy up kids mess before a meeting (2 sons, it can be a big mess!).
Good luck with your quest.
It's pretty easy to foil an auditor
if you know what you are doing.
I was a senior audit manager in a big 4 firm and then left, for lifestyle reasons, to be the finance manager in a £2m turnover organisation. Having been on the other side of the fence and knowing what auditors look for, I produced an audit file for them to come in and 'audit'. All the normal backup paperwork was there but I am pretty sure I could have hidden something if I had wanted to.
Six years in that job and I never had one audit adjustment. Maybe I am just brilliant and maybe it was because I had effectively audited the books before I handed them over.
That said, I think a large part was that I knew how to present a file that would satisfy them and limit questions.
I like lectures too
I find the interaction more useful than listening to a very dry lecture in front of my PC where I sit 5 days a week on my own. Also listening to a webinar I do find if it's a bit boring I end up trying to multitask and doing something else at the same time which then negates any usefulness it ever had.
I do try and go to places where it would be useful to go anyway or where there is something interesting nearby so that I can kill two birds with one stone. So next month I am going to a lecture close to a big shopping centre, I will probably go Christmas shopping in the few hours one side of the course.
Us sole practitioners who are real 'sole' practitioners need to get out sometimes!
Won't be watching
I used to watch intently but this year I can't be bothered to be honest.
I will wait for the ICAEW Tax Faculty's summary to pop into the email inbox later that afternoon / evening and read that carefully.
I gave up suits a few years ago
When I first started my practice I wore suits to meet every new prospect and each client.
In the last few years though I now stick to smart casual and don't even wear a suit for networking any more. It is nice not to have to after years of a suit every day.
When working in my home office I wear jeans unless I am expecting a client meeting. I couldn't meet a client in jeans though, that would be pushing it!
You have hit the nail on the head
I left a London big 4 office in 2003 and it was for very much the same reasons as you state. Work-life balance was the end killer for me having had children but also I was never in the 'in' crowd for drinking and that certainly didn't do me any favours.
I remember going in at 7am on a Sunday morning to finish some vital accounts off for a partner who was about to fly abroad to see a client at lunchtime, bad enough on its own but the fact I still felt obliged to go in despite being distraught as a close friend had been killed in an accident the previous night says a lot. At the end of the day, it was a set of accounts - did they really matter that much? And did anyone appreciate my efforts??
Not that I'm bitter at all, it was a great place to be for the first 6 years or so when young and with no outside life, but I should have left a few years before I did so I envy you that.
Good Luck with your new role.
I agree, you're very lucky
When power snoozes were all the rage in the mid 90s, I was out on audit one day and really tired at lunchtime. I decided to power snooze for 20 minutes, lo and behold I woke up 3 hours later slumped on the boardroom table feeling rubbish.
I'd love to be able to catnap but it's not for me as I always feel dreadful afterwards. Good for those that can though, I'm envious.
I'm here too!
I read nearly all of your posts although don't tend to comment. Along with the VAT inspection, can we know what happens with your multi-named employee please?