In the world of Teams or Zoom, could this be the most common phrase spoken in any online meeting?

You hear it so often that, no matter what, you are not going to say it. But then, it just pops out. You just wanted to know if your tech was working and then you said “Can you hear me?”. You feel such a fool.

What about when you meet someone and they ask “How are things?” or “How are you?” Do you instinctively say “Not so bad” or “fine”. You know you are supposed to say something more uplifting. I know, but on a Monday morning or in the middle of a bad day, I refuse to say “Fantastic, thank you for asking”. It just does not fit right with me. Nevertheless, I found something that fits the way I want to portray myself. So, next time you ask me how I am, you will hear me say “I am good”. It’s maybe not the best, but it suits me, and I have been saying it now for a while so it is my automatic answer, no matter how I actually feel. I have been reprogrammed.

What other instinctive reactions do you have that you are barely conscious of doing? Do you need some reprogramming?

Speaking about daft things that we do without thinking, let’s talk mobile phones. Why do so many people raise their voices when they’re on their mobile. Is it because the other person is so far away, so they need to speak up to be heard? I don’t think so. But it does seem to be something that most people do instinctively.

Something that I do not seem to see so much these days is people automatically putting salt on their meals. When I was growing up, there was always salt and pepper on the table at mealtimes. Everyone added salt and a few hardy souls added ground white pepper. Now, we rarely if ever have a salt pot on the table, and only cook with it sparingly.

I also remember when most people added sugar to their tea or coffee. Now, it is becoming common to find people who don’t even drink tea or coffee.

So, there are things that we do without thinking and over time these can change and evolve. They do say that the only constant is change. As time goes on, I understand the truth in that statement. I remember preparing annual accounts with pencil and paper. Don’t ask why I did not use a computer. The answer is that there were none. Yes, I can even remember when there were no mobile phones.

In our own business, technological change is constantly driving us forward. The pace of change is greatest just now in the world of bookkeeping. Did you know that you can now prepare your books by scanning all your purchases and sales invoices and combine this with automatic bank feeds so that you barely need to enter anything manually? It’s maybe not quite that simple but this is the direction of travel. You can even track your books on your mobile phone (yes, I do have one and I know how to use it). It seems like yesterday that I was manually filling out my first 32 column cash sheet and reconciling the bank with a pencil and calculator.

Is this sort of technological advance exciting or scary? I must admit to finding it all very exciting, but I do get left behind sometimes. I used to be able to take a car engine apart but these days I limit my forays under the bonnet to filling up the water and checking the oil. But when it comes to accounting and tax and how technology can help, I think I have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on.

So, what will the next update bring?

Alan Long

The Long Partnership

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