The thought processes for writing an article like this every week are fascinating. It is so totally different from the computational aspects that are so much a part of my day job. Later today I will be returning to chasing up “the usual suspects” to get their 2021 tax returns submitted before the extended submission deadline at the end of February. I will then probably spend some time preparing tax computations, maximizing claims for capital allowances and trying to minimize the tax paid by other clients. But, just now I am in writing mode.
Funnily enough, both aspects of my work require imagination and creativity. The tax rules, even at a basic level are ridiculously complex and the challenge is to use them to our client’s best advantage. For a farm, do we average the profits or not, and how does this affect any loss relief claims. In other situations, we will look at restricting capital allowance claims so that personal allowances are not wasted, or tax reliefs offset with no tax savings. We want to preserve deductions that can be utilised to good effect in a later year. Intellectually stimulating but most people will largely be oblivious of our efforts. At least we get the satisfaction of knowing that we have done everything we can to get a good result. You will probably still complain about the amount of tax you have to pay!
This all takes time and is particularly challenging when we get close to a deadline. So, how many hours are there in a typical working week? That depends upon your priorities. If you want time to play, then you prioritise this over the efforts you put into working. If you want a successful business, you must prioritise that. Most people are probably somewhere in the middle. Where you pitch it is entirely your choice and nobody else can or will make that choice for you. If you listen to the media, anyone who works more than 7 hours a day, works in a pressured environment, or commits to working weekends to any degree is scorned. But, being in business, life is just not like that.
I was reading a post this morning and it was so refreshing. It was from Angela Roy from Ptarmigan Homes in Inverness. Their tag line is “Building contemporary homes with traditional values”. They manage self builds for clients throughout the Highlands so if you are thinking of building your own home, maybe you should get in touch with them.
Anyway, Angela was saying that she regularly works weekends. She needs to visit clients when they want to be visited and that is commonly out with the client’s normal working day. So, evenings and weekends including Sundays are fair game. She may take her two daughters with her if appropriate but fitting in with their prospects’ and clients’ needs is just a normal part of their service delivery and probably explains why they have been so successful over the last few years. She and her husband, Martin Roy (also known as “the House Martin”) run the business. It is obvious that there are few red lines when it comes to delivering the service that they “choose” to deliver.
It is not uncommon for us to have meetings in the evening. Saturday meetings diminished over the last couple of years but are still offered when appropriate. I still work Saturdays, but generally from home. In January, Helen and I went back into the office on the 2nd and we worked every day including Saturdays and Sundays until the 31st as did many of our staff. That is one of the reasons why virtually all of our client’s tax returns were submitted in January and we did not need the extended deadline, no matter when we got the client’s records.
As well as getting work done for our clients, as Directors, we have a business to run. With 4 offices and nearly 30 staff, that is an important part of our days.
So, why does Angela Roy work weekends? Why do we do what we do? Why do so many other business owners and their staff put themselves through the mill? Why don’t we all just go and get jobs working 9 till 5, 4 days a week? Our choice! Ultimately it makes sense to us, and so it is what we choose to do.
That is not to say that we do not have a lot of fun along the way. You may or may not manage extended holidays, but we will all get some form of relaxation and enjoyment but maybe in smaller doses, that we can fit into our chosen lifestyle.
So, what path have you chosen?
If you want to carry on this discussion but you are not sure where to find us, please click here.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership