Member Since: 20th Feb 2007
13th May 2013
As I understood it they still seem to be trading, albeit with a hole in their balance sheet that is not going to sink the thing, just require them to sell assets to put the balance sheet back into the right frame. Has nothing to do with the ethics of the bank which are not compromised. A piece I read in the paper said that one of the good points of the situation was that there would not be anything like a run on the Co-Op because their customers were not the lemmings to be found elsewhere.
I have to say that they are the finest bank I've ever had and I use them personally (as smile) and commercially (as Co-Op Business Direct). They're human, approachable, have been known to contact me to appraise me of potential overdrafts which would cost me in bank charges, deal with problems in a practical, friendly and Mancunian way. Customer surveys confirm this and show that although they are nothing special in terms of problems occurring, they are second top in terms of how much they are liked by customers because of how they deal with problems.
9th May 2013
Brings it all back - well actually my abiding memory of running my micro-practice is of using a cordless phone (modern technology back then) hunched against my shoulder and talking to the Inland Revenue and changing nappies at the same time. In order to ensure that nappy-changing went contentedly I have an inane cheese-eating grin on my face and I'm trying to put an 'interesting tone to my voice which probably meant the Revenue thought they were dealing with a dribbling lunatic.
There's a great photo of my elder daughter sat in a car seat but on my desk, clutching and seemingly reading a Tax Return completion leaflet guide for 1986/87. No wonder she grew up to become a translator.
23rd Mar 2013
A Brief History
Strangely I did actually manage to read A Brief History of Time, but only because I was stuck on a train spending 3 hours stuck near Loughborough. So for a period of about 3.5 hours I was all over String Theory. But by the time we'd reached our destination it was all gone again. Not really worth the effort I'm sad to say.
Audiobooks I find dangerous. They immerse me utterly because I have to focus on the book and nothing else. When I'm reading a physical book my find flits from one thing to the next and I realise I've gone through an entire paragraph and can't remember a single thing in it. But with an audiobook I'm there and utterly hooked into it and can't do anything until I've found out what happened. Great for aeroplane trips too. I spent 6 hours on Nairobi airport followed by an overnight flight to Heathrow and barely ever left the world of Vienna 1913 and the First World War of 1914-15 as portrayed by William Boyd's Waiting For Sunrise.
19th Mar 2013
Ignoring the blatant advertising
Are there really a lot of employers who create cashflow by consciously underpaying their PAYE and then paying a massive M13 amount? If there are then they deserve everything they get.
But then what do I know - I got a junkmail approach today for the idea that we should utilise the VAT that passes through our hands in order to generate better cashflow and then they would fund us so that the VAT actually got paid. Madness.
6th Feb 2013
Each to their own
I used to be in the "a suit makes you stuffy" brigade and that philosophy was one of the reasons I set up on my own many moons ago but having transitioned from sole trader working in his dressing gown until lunchtime, I returned to working with other people and learned that it isn't so simple.
The thing is, people are different and for some people putting on a suit, tie or even just smart clothing affects their mental approach in a positive way - it makes them feel more business-like and you get better end-product from them. But to then impose that thought and philosophy on all is as equally wrong as I was 30 years ago.
The right answer is to let people determine this sort of thing for themselves. The only caveat is that people should dress with an understanding of the tastes/whims of the clients to whom they are talking. That means not turning up unshaven in scruffy shorts and a creased T-shirt when you're talking to some small business owner with pompous tastes. But it also means not turning up in an identikit suit and tie when going to chat to a heavy metal band about the difference between a partnership and a limited company.
11th Dec 2012
Amen to all of the above. I choose to do them twice a year when we can zilch Q1+Q2 and then do the same for Q3+Q4. But finding the reference drives me up the wall.
11th Sep 2012
Par for the course
It seems to be a long-standing problem. People trying to use the blog system for what is really naked self-promotion and advertising. But as you say, it's placement here actually does them more harm than good.
It'd be good if AWeb were able to put some kind of disclaimer on these things to ensure it was clear it was an ad rather than intended to be helpful or interesting.
7th Sep 2012
It is so difficult to be definite about these things. My practice was set up partly so that I would have the opportunity to work with a few clients, look after our first daughter and allow my wife to go back to work full-time. The plans one makes pre-babies are quite funny in hindsight. You really don;t have a clue - and although our first daughter was angelic my recollection of the period was trying to change nappies whilst on the phone to the Revenue with the phone held to to my ear with a hunched shoulder.
There's even a photo of our baby girl sitting in a car seat seemingly reading a Tax Return Guide. Some kids are brought up with stories being read to them. I used to chat to my little one all the time - only she was well versed in distinguishing capital from revenue.and not Fireman Sam. But when we had a second daughter we realised how good the first one had been and swapped roles around so that my wife looked after the girls and I tried to make the business make a family living.
So don't commit - stay as flexible as you possibly can and don't rule out any options until you have to. You can't say how things are worked out until you know just what being a mother-of-two will entail.
5th Jun 2012
The cowboy says amen
One key question/corollary to the qualifications question is 'what part of your examinations and qualifications will help me with my problems here?' For some people seeking someone to lash together some figures and a tax return, the best qualifications are experience. But if you have a company where you need to give some thought to structure or more complex stuff then there are advantages.
Over and over again I like to tell people that they should only ever use an accountant who comes to them with a first or second hand recommendation.
The other advice I give people who aren't my clients is that unless they're 100% delighted with the way things are working, that they should consider changing accountants every 5 years to get a fresh perspective. Of course that assumes you can get a new firm that you like. I don't actually give this advice to existing clients!
1st Jun 2012
Bring the Republic!
I'm with Cloudcounter. I did consider pointing the speakers outside and giving the neighbours an endless rendition of The People's Flag is Deepest Red.but fortunately we have two family birthdays to celebrate and so will have other things on.
The whole palaver is another promotion of a deferential society where some people are thought better than others, more deserving of praise for their putting in of 60 years work in the same job. Not a unique achievement and I only hope when I've been running my practice that long, I'll get a Red Arrows flypast. Or maybe not.