t: 0141 556 5348
e: mail@ngmaccountants.com

Business is fun


Do you constantly seek excitement and new thrills every day?

As we all get older, it often becomes a "seen it, done it, got the teeshirt" kind of world. For this particular accountant though - even at my advanced age - I am still trying new things and being simultaneously scared shitless and having adrenalin rushes. You just need to check out the ngmaccountants facebook page to see what I'm talking about.

The film world seems to have hit on 3D as the next big thing although actually 4D is the next big thing, it's just that it would take too much to modify the cinemas I guess to make it a good business proposition right now.


I've often wondered whether I don't have the skills to be a tradesman. My wife would absolutely say "No Way!", but it is still nice to dream of working with wood and creating something pleasant to look at or better still, be a plumber and deal with creating new central heating systems or fixing bursts or just simply dealing with the waste products of the world...well on second thoughts, maybe not. Maybe a joiner after all... There is something satisfying I guess about making a "thing" and then getting paid for it.

But now I think about it, an accountant is a master craftsman too: kind of like electricians and joiners and plumbers all rolled into one. [That's me made a couple (at least) of enemies].

Accounting isn't about adding up the numbers. That's bookkeeping. Accounting starts afterwards; business advice starts after we have the numbers and that's why as a master craftsman we spend as long as any tradesman getting to understand what business is about and THEN another 3 or 5 years serving our apprenticeship.


Even the youngsters among you will know of the Enigma Code and the efforts that the UK (and perhaps other allied forces) made during the second world war to break it. It was one of the most complex coding systems built in those days and the enigma machine much sought after.


I did read the book at one time and while the basic story took up about two thirds of the pages, the remainder explained how the coding worked and what they did to get the answer - more or less.

Plain English is the norm we all strive for in our language though most will use jargon at some stage or another; mostly unthinkingly but some in a deliberate attempt to mystify their listeners or readers. Many larger organisations have achieved the coveted (?) Crystalmark for clear written language, but it doesn't mean that the documents are simple to understand. They seem to be long agreements produced by Insurance companies which never made for stimulating reading. Now with Crystalmark they are long clearly written pieces of unstimulating reading!


A challenge that many people face in business is getting the message across. In fact being more specific about it, it's a challenge that I sometimes face with customers while trying to help them understand the complexities of business accounting and ratios.

For me it's easy to demonstrate how a ratio works and what it means but sometimes that's not enough, no matter that I explain it - as I do in every situation - in plain, jargon-free english.

But consider what would be better. Consider what could convey instantaneous meaning. Think about how TV works these days: whether you're watching a general election broadcast or ordinary day to day news, many news items containing concepts or numbers are presented in a "Minority Report" style with tables and charts and images flying on to the screen and off again, overlapping and connecting, clicking through the tables to real data and back up again. Even Sage50 Accounts has developed some of this technology so that you can "drill down" through the different layers of numbers making it easier than ever before to find out the cause of an over or under spend.


Its true to say that not all business development tools work in Small Businesses.


I suspect that its not about the tools themselves but much more about the business owners and their expectations of the outcomes.

Why don't people listen?

Mrs Richards was the complainer in that particular episode of Fawlty Towers. Ironically it was she who didn't want to listen as she regularly turned off her hearing aid. In fact that was what made that particular scene so funny!

Many people have selective hearing and occasionally very short spans of attention to things that don't actually interest them.

I find sometimes that while explaining something important about tax, a dull shine comes over peoples eyes as they mentally tune out of the discussion either because its not as interesting as they first thought it would be or because they understand the words but fail to see how it impacts on their wealth just yet. It would be understandable if I said either out loud or to myself "Why don't people listen?"

Urban legend

Men can't do it.

Women are great at it.

I would say it doesn't really exist. (But then YOU might say that, as a man, I WOULD say that!)

Screen play

I find it difficult to read long tracts of text on a computer screen. Especially narrative. Maybe this is because my brain is conditioned to see reading on screen as needing to be fast and in "byte" sized chunks only; because I need the kernel of tax information or the accounting rule in a few words (in joke!).

Everything these days is chunked down to small bits - twitter limits you to 140 characters - and no one seems to want to spend more than 1 or 2 minutes on any web page searching for information. And that piece of information is taken directly from my own web stats. So small is beautiful it seems.

This blog post has been commented on 12 times, tweeted 22 times, and actually read 3 times! - An Andertoons Cartoon


KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid. I think everyone knows this acronym and uses it regularly (sometimes appropriately).

But I think it's more complex than just using the glib, almost hackneyed phrase. It's almost an automatic response nowadays, almost like the "air quotes" many people use.

It's more complex because the glib phrase requires action to make any sense of it. As business owners it's all too easy to get so embroiled in the complexity of a problem which by its nature grows arms and legs just by looking at it. Arms and legs that twist and turn and become tangled, making a real gordian knot of a problem.