My Week: Style v Substance  

pondHello folks. Thankfully UK plc had enough stock of gas that kept us warm over a brrrr week. The best view for me, over the snow week, was the frozen pond on my walking commute to the office. Also, it was good to snap some icicles outside my flat. The way the cold spell is going gas may have to be rationed. Snail’s Pace

I have started some early stage work on marketing. I did not have time to do more. The plan is to do some work every week.

Please allow me psychiatrist’s couch time in today’s My Week

Research 

In my early days of being a practice owner, I spent a substantial amount of time looking at accountants’ websites and also reading profiles of practice owners.

Startup practices who do well, meaning those who have grown into a sizeable fee bank tend to be very good at presentation and selling. It is not always backed up by the required technical skills. You only have to look at a well-known franchise in our field.

Style

By good at selling, I mean they have a well thought out website and superb marketing activities. They give confidence and a very clear impression that they have the required technical skills. The fact that clients perception of the word accountant is similar to that of a solicitor is in their favour.

Substance

By now you know, my tax technical knowledge is out of date. I am currently addressing this weakness through studying for tax exams.

Over the week, studying got too much for me. I was tempted to take the easier way out – more style and less substance.

I have seen time and time again, in our field it works and it works extremely well. Some are even shortlisted for Practice Excellence if you give any credit to these awards beyond just a beauty parade and meeting self-interests.

Concentrating on style would further increase my fee base, with less effort, particularly at my age,  than the tougher route I have chosen.

Why not?

Style without substance does not fill me with confidence. Something in me just does not let me take the easier route. I wish it would for a less stressful and a lucrative life.

Further, I do not like to fudge it with dealing with client queries. Also, I do not want to be a poor example of an accountant to my employees.

Studies are very hard going for me. Like most people, I  have a day job. It adversely affects the growth of my fee bank. It is simply because you I am devoting less time to grow the practice.

In any decision you make, there is always a price to pay.  As you know, the economists have termed it as opportunity costs. My opportunity costs are less social time and a slower (not slow) growth.

Age 

Please do not think, I am not conflicted. I am. The conflict is over whether gaining technical knowledge is the best use of whatever time I have left before I am not able to enjoy what a healthy body and mind allows me to appreciate.

At the same time, in the short period I am have been studying, my confidence in handling clients taxation queries has grown significantly.

I will remain conflicted and I will continue with the tougher route.

And Finally

I think I am losing my touch on blogging. I pulled the earlier version of today My Week. It did not come across the way I intended. I am not sure if the current version does. I can’t be bothered. Looking at the comments from the previous blog, it will skim read again anyway.

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