One way or another I have been producing material for our newsletters for about 15 years. There was a bit of a break back in 2020 when we moved from a monthly paper newsletter to the present format. The paper newsletter was sent out monthly for about 12 years. Anyway, after Xmas and with the day job getting busier, I decided I needed to take a break.
However, as I put this together, we are just a few days from the beginning of February, when the nature of our work changes and life gets a bit more sane. I must admit to quite enjoying January. It is a time when nobody takes holidays, and the focus is all on tax returns. Although it is hard month with long hours and not many days off, even at weekends, there is something very satisfying in knowing that we have kept clients on the right side of the HMRC deadline, however hard some of them try to be late, and some of you do really try hard to be late.
In just a few days we will return to the usual mix of work, although there is always some debris to be sorted out after January. Initially, you tend to feel that there is something missing but I can assure you that we quickly acclimatise, and even start to plan what to do at weekends and on our time off.
I have always found it very satisfying to work hard and, at the end of the day, look back at what we have achieved, either for our clients, our staff or in the results of our own business. However, I think that over a long period, the pursuit of money is not a strong motivator, so you need to get your motivation and indeed your satisfaction from something else. In our case, we are helping hard-pressed clients to stay out of the clutches of HMRC, keeping them compliant, and paying as little tax (legally) as they can. I did a farm averaging claim for a farm this week, saving them many thousands of pounds. A reasonably straightforward calculation, particularly on our computer systems, but it still meant resubmitting 2022 tax returns after adjusting the capital allowances claims and then averaging the result with 2023. A good result and very uplifting.
So, what will February bring? Well, one thing is that Helen and I will get away for a short holiday. We have done this in February for many years. During the madness of January, it gives us something to look forward to and keeps us going. The first year that we did this, we had gone into the office early in January, almost dreading what was to come. So, before we did anything else, we looked around for a show we wanted to go and see, and having bought the tickets for a show in Aberdeen, we then booked accommodation for a long weekend in the city. It worked a treat. It got us through the tough days in January and it worked so well, that we have done it every year ever since, usually a few days in Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
I think that it is good to understand what you need in order to be able to perform at your best during a time like January. We do, and that works for us. It really does not need to be much, but a little reward for yourself, for putting in that extra effort, particularly when you are working to a deadline.
We are nearly a month into the new year. What do you think 2024 has in store for you? Are there things you want to do? Maybe you want to expand your business or buy and amalgamate another business into your present set-up. It may be that you are happy to trade away as you are. Some of you will be struggling and we are here if you need us. Whatever your goal for 2024, we hope that this year is a good one and that 2025 is even better.
There are a lot of changes coming up in the tax system and also at Companies House, so it’s not going to be without its problems, but let’s travel this road together and then we will all get through it.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership