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Thoughts from an Aberdeen Accountant – Taking stock of your business for the year ahead


January is a long month! It seems an age since you got paid in December and it seems an age till you get paid in January. And if you’re self-employed and not an accountant, January can be a s-l-o-w month. So it’s no wonder we start dreaming of holidays somewhere warm.

Looking back to the past

There was a time when you’d pop along to your high street travel agent and take home loads of brochures to places you can afford, places you can save for and those you just dream about. Now it’s far easier to go online to indulge your overseas daydreams.

When I was a child, our family holiday was a trades fortnight in Edinburgh staying with my Grandparents. Am I showing my age? Maybe!

But believe me… at the time, Edinburgh was a glamorous destination for a quine from Aberdeen.

The shops there were so much better, we’d have our regular trip to the zoo and I’d catch up with all my cousins (and even though I hadn’t seen them for a year, there was never any awkwardness). My Mum would make her famous tablet, a tradition I carry on, and my Grandad would make soup.

Now I know you’re thinking “soup?”, but my Grandad was the main chef in the Murphy household and his soups were legendary. No matter what day or time you arrived at their home there was always a pot of soup on the stove. Everyone was offered one.

10 am, you’ll have a little bowl of soup?
Lunchtime, you’ll have a roll and soup? (Edinburgh rolls are fantastic but need to be well fired – sorry all you pale and interesting people!)
Supper – what’s for tea? Mince or fish and a bowl of soup to start.
Home from the pub – a warming bowl of soup?

There wasn’t a lot of variety, but from his time spent in India, we would occasionally get a spiced veggie soup – my first taste of spices!!

The stock was important and he’d get bones or a ham hock from the butcher, though not a chicken as their feet were too close to the ground for Grandad’s liking!

And to this day there is nothing like a great plate of lentil soup so thick that it’ll stick to your ribs with occasionally a bit of spice!

quote - white text on black background "Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer" by denis waitley

Taking stock and looking to the future

So with this in mind maybe we could use January as the month for us to take stock? I know it’s a tenuous link but stay with me.

In my past blogs I have spoken about taking time out to review the business and in December I spoke about cutting out the dead wood so we can regenerate the business. So hopefully you will have reviewed your business, cut away the deadwood and it’s now time to take stock.

In my case, I used my holiday in September to review my business and realised I needed to take on some extra help. But I also decided to review my whole pricing policy and prioritise the areas of my business that gave me the most pleasure and also hire staff to take control of the areas that weren’t so enjoyable for me.

In December I looked at what was working for me and what was deadwood – maybe I could, streamline my accounting procedures, use some of the amazing software packages which would make my life so much easier and educate my clients so that they are not so dependant on me.

This month I’m going to look at what has worked and what hasn’t. Hiring staff has had it’s problems not least because one member of staff left after just one month! But this made me realise I hadn’t been looking for the right person to fit me and my business. Lesson learned.

Streamlining my accounting procedures is working, I just need to dedicate some more time to it. And I’ve had great success in educating one client, who I feel will be teaching me what’s what soon!

But there are plenty of other areas for me to take stock and I’m sure the same applies to you:

  • Maybe the accountancy firm you use now just isn’t working for you?
  • Perhaps you need to look at the software you’re using (or not using) – are you using it properly?
  • Are your bank fees too high?

If you’d like to talk to me about any of these issues or just fancy a coffee, scone and chat then I’m your girl.

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