Opinions are like noses, everybody has one.
There seems to be a commonly held view that everyone should have an opinion about absolutely everything. Why? The media are particularly bad for this.
A few years ago, I decided that this was just not the case so, if I do not need to opine on something, I don’t. This is especially the case when it is something that does not affect me or that I cannot influence.
I know that sometimes it can be hard to focus on one particular problem because my head is so full of thoughts getting in the way. I have plenty to think about already without worrying about “stuff” I cannot control. Many of you will be the same. If you run a business, whatever the size, there is always either some problem to resolve or some event coming up that needs your attention. There is always something on your mind. The trick, as I see it, is to clear your mind so that you can properly focus on the matter at hand.
I realise that this could well be a man’s perspective. I don’t multitask, so don’t expect me to talk while I work on the computer. I was once told that multitasking for a man is biting off small chunks of multiple problems in rotation, not really attending to anyone properly.
Women, on the other hand, can multitask, and I am quite envious. They can also change what they are doing in an instant. I just cannot change my train of thought that easily, ask Helen.
I think that is why I like doing financial projections either for ourselves or for clients. I can sit in front of a computer for hours, if not days, just working on the one matter at hand.
January is a little like that. We have one job to do. Every tax return has to be submitted by midnight on 31 January. A few seconds late, and there is a penalty. In that sense, it is a hard deadline. Either it’s on time or it isn’t. OK, there are workarounds so we can submit provisional returns with estimated figures, but we try not to do that too often.
I don’t especially look forward to the January mayhem, but once we are in it, I quite enjoy it. I suppose it’s a bit like a builder on a time-limited construction project or a programmer working to a fixed deadline. I have often likened January to lambing for a farmer. We all end up a bit bleary-eyed.
Anyway, now it is February. Not quite sure what to tackle first. I don’t like February. I much prefer January. In February, you cannot get ahead and move forward, because I have so many things to address that were put off during January.
I can remember on more than one 1st February, when the phone rang just after 9 o’clock in the morning and I heard “You remember that piece of work you were going to do for us once January was out of the way…”. Such is life!
So, what’s coming up? Well, we have the introduction of the new basis periods for self-assessment, there are the ramifications of the Spring Budget, and we will have all the posturing of all of the political parties ahead of the inevitable election. As I said, it’s going to be an interesting year.
With the change in the basis periods for self-assessment, we have already started looking at changing the sole trade and partnership year ends to 31 March. More on this over the coming weeks.
As for the budget, let’s see what actually gets enacted, especially if an early General Election is called.
Here’s hoping we all have a fantastic year and that you achieve everything you want, and don’t get too many bruises along the way.
Time to unclutter your mind!
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership